Paul the apostle was held in prison many times, he was possibly chained to a Roman soldier and his mind may have turned his thoughts to the fact that he also was a soldier, a soldier of Christ. The armour of God is an illustration in the word that reminds us about the reality of spiritual battle and describes the protection available to us. It is not a convenient scripture that lends itself to Sunday school classes! Each piece of armour has a distinct purpose and means of defence against temptation and evil. Daily “suiting up” in the armour of God can feel abstract but with prayer and practice, believers can better understand and implement the habit of putting on the full armour of God everyday.
As we continue our journey into 1 Corinthians, we consider what the big deal was about Greeks and their wisdom, why this formed the basis for much of western culture today, and how it stands in complete contrast to the culture of God’s Kingdom. Fresh from intellectual debate with the Athenians (Ac 17), Paul came to Corinth (Ac 18) determined to show the Corinthians what God’s true wisdom was all about (1 Co 1:30).
Because we’re loved by God and because we love God, we love those around us. It’s love that is our motivation for giving. We demonstrate the love of God as we give. Samaritan’s purse are a fantastic organisation that give out the love of God in practical and life changing ways. In this message we hear from them about how we can partner with them to give out the love of God.
In Ephesians 4:2-6 Paul encourages the church in Ephesus to ‘make every effort’ to be united with one another. In this message we look at what unity is, and how the covenant meal (comm-union) is an opportunity for Jesus’ body (the church) to demonstrate the powerful joining and unity that was made possible when He died on the cross.
There will be no division among you” said Paul to the Church in Corinth, and the same message applies to us today. It can sometimes be easier to create division than unity; to reject people that we don’t like or agree with and only spend time with people who are just like us. As Christians we are called be united around the message of the cross, even if this may look foolish and unimpressive to those around us. In this message, Ovi explores what this looks like; the difference between ‘foolishness’ and the ‘power of God’, and how we can unite around the foolishness that the Bible describes.
As we continue to consider Paul’s practical instructions to us (Eph 4:17 to 5:21), we take a look at what it means to ‘put on’ our new life in Christ (4:24), in this second part of a two part message. The apostle shows us how ‘all of God does all that God does’ in our salvation and sanctification. He points us to the PRESENCE of the Holy Spirit (4:30) empowering us to change, the GRACE of the Father (4:32-5:1) enabling us to let go of self-orientated thoughts and feelings, and the LOVE of the Son (5:2) endowing us with the capacity to love God and His people, as we look outward instead of inward.
As we read Paul’s practical instructions about walking in our new life in Christ (Eph 4:17 to 5:21), we consider in this first part of a two part message, what it means to ‘put off’ our ‘former way of life’ (v.22). To do so, we’ll look at the difference between salvation and sanctification, and how as new creations (2 Co 5:17) the power balance has changed within us, enabling us to live as God created us to. No longer ruled by body and soul, our newly empowered spirit is able to take control of our thoughts and impulses, in order that we may be transformed through renewal (Ro 12:2), from the inside out.
Launching our new focus for Autumn-Winter, we consider the background, context and purpose of Paul’s first epistle to the church in Corinth, before looking in a bit more detail at how the apostle begins his letter (1 Corinthians 1:1-9). Here we see that he starts by reminding the church who they really are – “God’s church in Corinth” – men and women called-out of the culture of the city in order to live-out a radically different life and lifestyle. They are God’s planting in that place – a charismatic Kingdom community, set in the midst of a culture that lives for itself. With its many parallels to our 21st Century challenges and opportunities, we see that – like us – they really matter, and have all that they need as they stand-up for Jesus Christ and prepare the way for His return! Paul’s great longing is to see this church grow strong and fulfil their destiny, and he has much to say that will help us do the same!…