Topics: Who were the Wise Men?; What was the Star?; The One who takes the lead; God’s departments of health, education, justice, and welfare; Human government is a reflection of God’s image; Wise Men worship the child and not His mother.
Topics: The Virgin Birth; God’s spirit; Joseph’s character; God’s communication skills; Double fulfillment of Scripture.
The account of Christ’s life from birth to resurrection; Amazing history behind a genealogy; Christ saves sinners.
The Apostle Paul prayed that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would be with the believers in Corinth. Who could ask for more? However, in the next verse, he adds, “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 16:24). Why? The grace of Christ produces love in our hearts. Love delights in reciprocal love.
God designed us to love each other. Paul was interested in each person in Corinth. They didn’t constitute numbers on his conversion list or followers of his ministry to whom he could send flattering donation appeal letters. They were individuals created in God’s image, and he loved them.
Paul wasn’t the type to parachute in and out of people’s lives depending on his “preaching tour schedule.” He knew them intimately. “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Paul’s words express the strongest affection and connection.
Paul prays this for us: “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, helping us maneuver through life. The fear of the Lord includes knowing who God is, what He’s done, what He’s doing, and what He’s going to do. Faith gives the believer assurance. God promised Abraham a land that the Canaanites occupied. However, Abraham’s faith looked beyond the current situation and saw that same ground occupied by him and his descendants (Genesis 12:6-7, King James Bible).
So, too, believers see through the current corruption and chaos to the orderly establishment to come. The trouble for the believer is the present evil. Today, the believer’s greatest virtue is patience. The story of Job beautifully illustrates the struggle. Job has a prose introduction in which Job loses everything and a prose conclusion in which Job has everything he lost restored double. In between describes, in poetry, a great struggle between Job, his friends, and God Himself, which resembles the larger conflict of the ages. The believer, too, struggles now and complains from time to time, but he knows what’s coming. Like Job, He knows His Redeemer lives and that resurrection is assured.
The Christian worldview gives the believer joy amid suffering, encourages him to love others despite their behavior, and inspires him to sacrifice for others irrespective of gratitude.
God is supreme, humanity is God’s crowning achievement, and Jesus is a masterpiece, but something went wrong with humanity, requiring God and the Lord Jesus Christ to act. In Genesis three, humanity plunged into sin because of Adam’s disobedience; strife, wars, disease, and death ensued. The human race made a mess out of God’s world. However, there is nothing wrong with this earth that God cannot fix. On the heels of man’s fall, God promised that the woman’s seed would undo the devastation. Beginning with Moses and through the prophets, God promised the restoration of the world and its people. These promises converge in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World.
God, through Christ, will do much more than restoring creation. His grace will overwhelm all sin and evil and establish a better world. Paul said, “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many” (Romans 5:15, King James Bible). Christ’s work will bring creation into a more remarkable state than what Adam had in the garden. The Bible promises such a world, and believers accept it by faith. They see beyond the present chaos and suffering and latch on to the sure hope laid before them in the Scriptures. That’s the blessed hope.