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Change: Waiting on God
In the first chapter of the Gospel According to Luke, the births of both John the Baptist and Jesus are foretold and tied into the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. God’s people had waited many years. What can Parkway learn in a transitional period of waiting?
Romans is the Apostle Paul’s most systematic letter, covering the main themes of theology he thought necessary to pass on. Paul describes turning away from God in several ways, perhaps the most surprising is it being a lack of thankfulness to God.
1 Peter 4:7-11
As people who have responded to God’s grace, we are the church of Christ. While there are many characteristics of the church that we could explore, as part of my final words before retirement, I have chosen to focus on five. All of them would fit under the umbrella of love. We have already looked at our call to forgive and to encourage. Today we focus on our responsibility to serve one another.
I believe that Parkway is an encouraging church. I want to be like the Apostle Paul and say, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) In the early church we encounter a man by the name of Joseph, who was so gifted by God that he was surnamed, Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement.” We can learn much from him.
Colossians 3:12-17 & Matthew 6:9-15
I think our culture is becoming more unforgiving. Public shaming and severe consequences are the result of many things that need correction and changed lives. But there also needs to be forgiveness when one sincerely asks. Jesus and the writers of the New Testament are very clear about the beauty and power of God’s forgiveness and the necessity of us forgiving others. (Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 6:37, 17:1-5, 23:34; Ephesians 4:30-32; Hebrews 12:11-15)
Being the Church
Romans 12:1-8 & 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
Being the church (God’s called out people) is always important for us to understand and live out. During the coming time of transition, it will be even more essential as you discern together Parkway’s future. In the next five weeks we will explore these important marks of the church: forgiving, encouraging, serving, giving and thanking.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus!
In order to embrace the “whole counsel of God”, we must also consider what God’s end game is and how it will come about. The end times include the tribulation, rapture, millennial reign of Christ, return of Christ, final judgment, receiving resurrection bodies, and the creation of the new heavens and new earth. Differing views on how this plays out arise because scripture offers bits and pieces here and there. Scripture delivers this with literal events and conditions and also a fair amount of imagery that may or may not be taken at face value. To find proper perspective and truth, we affirm that:
Romans 8:1-11, 12-17, 26-30
As disciples, we are to learn and have our faith shaped by “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). We are only able to accomplish this through the work of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 is an incredible chapter. Many theologians consider it to be the most significant chapter in the Bible. We cannot even begin to scratch the surface of the depth of theology found there about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Even narrowing our focus to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we only have time to lightly touch on a few aspects. The Holy Spirit:
Our Great Calling
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 & Matthew 28:16-20
It is important for the church to be clear about the purpose for which we were reconciled to God. Is there something greater outside of our own salvation? Jesus gives that answer after His resurrection and it should give direction to our lives and ministry as well. He tells His disciples to make disciples.
The Whole Counsel of God
1 Peter 3:13-17 & Acts 20:16-38
In Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders, he says that he has declared to them the “whole counsel of God.” This is not merely information about God, but all that is necessary for genuine faith.