Victory in Jesus

Romans 8.28-39

Confidence in the right thing makes all the difference. For those of us who have trusted in Jesus, our confidence is in exactly the right place. Not in ourselves or in anything that we’ve done, but in Jesus and all that He’s done on our behalf. From beginning to end, our salvation is secured.

Paul wants us to be encouraged…what God has started, even before the foundation of the world, He will bring to completion. If we have trusted in Jesus, we can be assured that one day we will reign with Him in His kingdom.

No doubt suffering will come…everyone who walks this planet has suffered, is suffering or will suffer. Guaranteed. But the difference is this…for those of us who have trusted in Jesus, our suffering is not wasted. God is using it to make us more like Jesus. And not only is our suffering not wasted, but in the midst of our suffering, we never have to doubt God’s love for us. The Spirit is constantly interceding for us (along with Jesus) and is pouring out God’s love within our hearts.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster

To Err Is Human?

Luke 4.1-13

Jesus knew the Word and was in-dwelt by the Spirit (Ephesians 6). He never doubted the Father’s love for Him, and He fully trusted God. Jesus knew that His Father would provide for Him and that the short-term, fleeting pleasures of this world, even good things like daily bread, could not compare with His relationship to the Father. That allowed Him to forego grabbing power and to wait on the Father’s timing and endure intense suffering even for the things that had been promised Him by the Father. That allowed Him to trust in the Father’s protection without having to test it.

This all flowed out of a deep understanding of the Father’s words spoken through the Scriptures. Jesus knew the Word…He was the Word! But while Luke builds the case for Jesus’ deity, he also presents a very human Jesus. And Jesus who goes toe-to-toe with the enemy does not rely on His deity to defeat him. He leans into His humanity and relies on the power of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit who dwells in all of us who have believed. But how did He do it? Well, I believe that Jesus immersed Himself in the Scriptures so that He might know His Father’s Words and might recognize the truth of the Father’s love for Him. So when He responds, the words of the Father naturally come out.

So what about you?

We can let Adam and Eve be our example and believe the lie that God really doesn’t love us, is holding out on us, and take things into our own hands…I think we all know how that turned out…or we can let Jesus be our example, and we can walk away from current temptation and instead trust in God’s provision, power and protection. We can remember that God is who He says He is – a loving Father who wants the best for us.

How do we build this trust in our Father the way that Jesus did?

We submerge ourselves in the truth. Only then can we recognize the lies and false promises of the devil, so that when temptation comes, we can remember the words of our Father. Remember the same Spirit who empowered Jesus to face temptation lives in us as well. That same Spirit can also empower us to face temptation.

The Scriptures tell us that all of us who have believed are children of God the Father. It’s not just a distant, theological relationship. It’s the intimate relationship of a Father to His child. He wants that for us, He wants that for you. He wants you to spend time with Him, to hear His words so that you might know and be settled in the truth that He really loves you and has amazing plans for your good. You are His beloved son/daughter…not because you are the prettiest or the funniest, the fastest on the playground, or because you got the best grades, or for any other reason other than that He loves you. If those were the words that we heard and had settled deep in our souls, then the lies of the enemy…God doesn’t love, you’re not good enough, don’t you deserve more, etc…truly would fall on deaf ears. We would not be so easily crushed by temptation.

One practical way to settle the Father’s words deep in our soul is through time spent reading His Word. Our daily reading blog is a great vehicle for that. Regular time in the Bible will begin to combat the false messages you hear everyday and the lies of the enemy. Spend time in the Word with a group of friends in community. Encourage one another with the Word. Memorize Bible verses like Psalm 119.11 “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Or 1 Corinthians 10.13 “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” We call it renewing hearts and minds through biblical teaching.

And it’s key to victory over temptation.

Until next time…stay salty.

“May we be like Jesus, led by the Spirit, relying on the Word, never doubting for a moment the Father’s love for us, fully trusting in Him so that we too may be able to resist temptation.”

This post is based on a sermon from our Luke series, Redefining the Family. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @ccclancaster

They Turned the World Upside Down

“… these men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” Acts 17:6

I have to admit I am partial to the narrative books in scripture.

I love stories, I have been reading books since I was a very young lad, carried away to far off lands filled with heroes and villains.

The book of Acts is noteworthy for its narrative qualities.

Here we have an adventure filled with travel to far away places, arrests, imprisonments, beatings, riots, close calls and escapes, shipwreck, rescues, and more.

Although the book focuses primarily on Peter and Paul – the founding and growth of the church, we cannot forget the real hero in our story – The Holy Spirit!

Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to empower the apostles as witnesses, to spread the message of the gospel, and to draw to Himself, a people from all nations.

We see in the book of Acts how the the early church followers and witnesses of Jesus impacted the Roman empire – we are told in Acts 17:6 “they turned the world upside down”.

Old time preacher and evangelist Vance Havner, much admired by Billy Graham, once wrote, “We will move this world not by criticism of it, nor conformity to it — but by combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God.”

The early church shows us the difference between “witnessing” and being a witness. It is our witness, grounded in the Word, powered by the Holy Spirit that moves and expands His Kingdom.

As we continue to explore the ministry of Peter, we see him assume a leadership role in Chapter 1.

After he is filled with the Holy Spirit in Chapter 2 – Peter begins his public ministry.

We have designed our reading plan to focus on the chapters related to Peter and we will pick up the rest of the adventure when we explore the teachings of Paul.

As we read this narrative in Acts, we wonder, can this be the same man we read about in the gospels? What has changed with Peter? Simple answer – the Holy Spirit!

Peter was always a man of action but tempered with doubt.

Jesus promised to make Peter a fisher of men – indeed Peter became an evangelist who would bring many people into the kingdom over the course of his life — three thousand were saved during his first sermon alone.

When we read Acts we are reminded that when we open our hearts to Jesus, the Holy Spirit indwells within us.

And through the Holy Spirit, God calls us to join Him on this journey, this adventure – witnesses, expanding His Kingdom – turning the world upside down.

Until next time… keep reading!


Sources used for this blog: ESV Study Bible, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, New Testament