What is the obstacle that is keeping you from breaking through to experience lasting change? How can you experience the fullness of life with Christ? Pastor Don Loose explains from Romans 7: 1-6 that we have been changed by God to live a new way. We have been given Spirit power to let go of deep-seated bad habits and embrace God’s mercy. Romans 7 clearly leads us through the change we desire: we are no longer controlled by the sinful nature because Christ’s death released us from the power of sin over us. We can embrace a new reality of freedom from sin because of Christ’s resurrection. And going forward, salvation becomes a daily reality whereby we renew our minds with Biblical truth. Moment by moment change occurs. And with support from others, lasting change becomes evident.
Have you ever been to a parade? It’s a celebration, purposefully moving in one direction, with a crowd of clapping people on the sidelines. Does your life ever feel like a victory parade? Often it does not. But 2 Corinthians 2:12 says God leads us in “triumphal procession in Christ. “. Harold Ebersole, FCC global partner in Bangladesh, encourages us to face our daily problems as Paul challenged the Corinthians: with thanksgiving, as a fragrant aroma of Christ to those we interact with, and in utter daily dependence on the risen Savior. He reminds us that our confidence and competence only can come from a life called by and dependent on God.
“What is the greatest of all the laws?” asked the teacher of the law. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” answered Jesus. In Mark 12:28-34, Jesus teaches that only a spiritual life that places God at the center and as most important is a life of true devotion. And as an outflow of that God-centered love we can love others, which is the second greatest commandment. But often we get stuck trying to keep the law on our own. We focus on the external do’s and don’ts of God’s commandments instead of allowing the law to act as a mirror, revealing our sin and pointing us to God. Pastor Mark teaches that the focus of spiritual life is dependence on Jesus. But life is never lived God’s way if we try to keep his law and commandments on our own. We need a “spiritual makeover” or an internal transformation which Jesus offers us. With Jesus as the center, we can live and bear much fruit.
Heaven. Have you ever imagined what it would be like? Pastor Mark uses Mark 12:18-27 to uncover two typical beliefs about heaven that people have. First, there are those who reject the supernatural, taking a naturalistic view of God and rejecting both the Scriptures and evidence of God’s power. On the other hand, often believers do the opposite. They embrace the reality of heaven, but reject the physical life today as a picture of things to come. Pastor Mark encourages us to think about heaven as a place where all the goodness and glories of the natural world will someday exist in all their fullness. Heaven will offer a reunion with loved ones. It will answer our deepest longings. And it is our final hope.