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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
February 23, 2020
Holy & Blameless: Positional & Practical
I trust that the sermons since the beginning of the year have been beneficial to you in helping you to think more deeply about the nature and characteristics of God and your relationship to Him. (See: The Incomprehensible God) We cannot live successful lives if we do not have a clear understanding of the purpose of our existence. What good is it to successfully gain any of the common things that humans strive to achieve if in the end none of those things actually have any significant eternal meaning. Or as Jesus stated it in Matthew 16:26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
When you align yourself with the reality of truth to recognize that you are a creature made by God for His own purposes, and specifically so that He might glorify Himself in you, then life regains its significance and meaning. (See: The Purpose of Life) However, we live in a time when an increasing large portion of our society has turned away from God. At present nearly a quarter of the population is self identifying as religious “nones.” Most of those are either atheists or agnostics who deny God exists or is knowable. People endeavor to make some sense of their existence and find some meaning to life, most often it is fame, fortune, pleasure, position or power, but in the end they will discover as did Solomon that it is all vanity, empty chasing of the wind. Tragically, that will cause some to fall into despair and search for ways to numb the pain of nihilistic futility through things such as unfettered hedonism, alcohol, drugs or even suicide.
Jesus said in John 8:31-32, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Truth can be difficult to hear and even more difficult to commit yourself to follow since it is often contrary our natural sinful bent, however, walking with the Lord brings about peace and purpose in life so that you become free from your bondage to sin and futility. The Holy Spirit’s work of conforming you to the image of Christ also means that your will is also changed so that you begin to desire what God desires. That makes it a lot easier to submit yourself to God’s will whatever the circumstances may be because the priorities in your life also change. Instead of being bent on “looking out for #1” in selfishness, you recognize you are #3 and it is God that is #1 and other people are second. We have spent the last few weeks emphasizing the fact that the purpose of your existence is to glorify God, that the great and foremost command and therefore the highest priority is to love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12:30) (See: The Priority of Loving God). The second greatest command is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39), with an even higher calling to Christians to love one another as Christ has loved us. (See: The Priority of Loving Others)
This morning I want us to focus our attention on two characteristics that God places a priority on developing in the lives of everyone that places their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are going to look at these characteristics from both the position every true Christian has before God and from the practical aspect of these qualities developing in the life of a believer. Turn to Ephesians 1.
God’s Purpose in Salvation – Ephesians 1:3-6
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
I will first make a brief explanation of this passage before moving on to my main point.
God is blessed in two ways. First, as Luther pointed out, “God is praised in Himself.” God stands eternally blessed apart from man or any other creature by the very nature of who He is. Part of that, as pointed in this verse, is the relationship that God the Father has with God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, God is blessed because He is due honor and praise from man and the rest of creation.
God extends a blessing to a particular group of people that Paul describes in verse 1 and with whom he identifies. The “us” in verse 3 are the saints. Those made holy by God. Those who are faithful in Christ Jesus. There is no question that this refers to those who are saved because verse 5 describes this same group – “us” – as those God predestined to “adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself.”
God extends to His saints “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” These blessings, which have their origin in the Holy Spirit, are much more important than any material benefit we might receive because they are eternal instead of temporal. God also provides for our physical needs, but Paul focuses here on the spiritual realities that exist in the heavenly places.
Paul speaks of these blessings being located in the “heavenlies” because true Christians are part of God’s kingdom and therefore already citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20) because they are “in Christ.” And I emphasize the fact that these blessings belong only to those who are “in Christ.” How does a person become someone who is “in Christ”? That is verse 4 – “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” The phrase, “just as,” introduces this as an amplification and explanation of Paul’s thoughts in verse 3. God’s blessings belong to those He has chosen / selected / elected in Him, referring to Christ.
Please note that Paul’s grammar here speaks of these blessings as already belonging to the saints. It is not that Paul does not recognize that God’s blessings arrive in a time sequence, but rather that Paul is stating that these things already belong to believers though we may not have them at the moment. If you will, it is sort of like having everything you will ever need for life stored in a large warehouse. You already own it all, but you will not take possession of it until it is needed.
I talked about the intersection of God’s sovereignty and man’s volition in salvation a few weeks ago, so I will not give an extensive explanation again this morning. (See: God’s Sovereignty & Man’s Volition) However, I do want to at least briefly explain it again because it is pertinent to our subject this morning.
I have heard some professing Christians say they do not believe in election. They should be more careful because that sounds Biblically ignorant since the noun and verb forms of elect in the sense of “chosen one of God” are used at least 17 times in the New Testament. Unless they are trying to deny the Bible itself, they should at least say they do not believe in some particular form of the doctrine of election.
Denial of the doctrine of election is usually done in the effort to protect the doctrine of man’s volition, which they often refer to as the doctrine of “free will.” However, that is poor terminology because man’s will is very limited by his own sinfulness. Man’s will is not free. It is in bondage to sin (Rom. 6). The unsaved “walk in the futility of their mind” and are “darkened in their understanding” (Eph. 4:17,18). The offer is made that “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13), but the reality is that no one will call upon the Lord on their own. Psalm 14 as quoted in Romans 3:11 states that fact plainly, “There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God . . .” That is why Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
That God by His sovereign choice chooses who will be saved does not violate His commandments for men to repent or His offer of salvation to whoever will come. The sinner that responds to the call of salvation does not violate his own will, instead, he is responding in harmony with the sovereign grace of God upon him. As pointed out a few weeks ago, the intersection of Divine Sovereignty and human responsibility is a mystery that will not be solved this side of heaven. I like the old saying, “Try to explain election and you may lose your mind, but try to explain it away and you may lose your soul!” Both are true and both are essential.
I also want you to quickly note the time marker as to when God made his choice of who would be saved. It is “before the foundation of the world.” God’s plan of salvation was mapped out before the world began. Rev. 13:8 & 17:8 both point out that the names in the Lamb’s book of life were written from “the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:34 tells us that our inheritance in Christ was prepared from the foundation of the world. And just to boggle your mind a little more, the word foreknew (proginwvskw / proginōskō ) in Romans 8:29 speaks of knowledge or relationship and not just knowledge about. In other words, God had a relationship with you and predestined you before you came to exist in time. And no, I do not understand that and neither do you, but it is still true. God is not trapped in the time box with us. He knows the end from the beginning.
What is the purpose of God’s election? Why does God save people? Two reasons are to be noted in this text. First, those chosen are to “be holy and blameless before Him.” Second, the saints are to be “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” Or to combine the two, salvation of man is about God’s glory, and He will glorify Himself in the saints becoming holy and blameless before Him.
You were not saved so that you could escape hell, you were saved so that you could live a holy and blameless life. This covers both the positive and negative aspects.
“Holy” means “set apart” to God. It is the same word as “saints” in verse 1. Holiness takes in three aspects – past, present and future. You are set apart to God when He chooses you, you are being set apart in the present as you more faithfully live for Him, and you will be set apart in fullness in the future when you dwell with Him in heaven. Blameless means “without blemish,” or “spotless.” The stain of sin is washed away and you no longer seek to play in its mud hole. It also has three time aspects. You were made blameless when Jesus’ righteousness was imputed to you. You are becoming more blameless as you are being conformed to the image of Christ. You will be completely blameless when the good work God began in you is made perfect at Christ’s return and you are glorified. I will be spending the rest of the morning speaking about the positional, practical and perfect righteousness of God’s saints.
Positional righteousness refers to God’s judicial view of you after you have placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul begins to explain justification by faith in Romans 3:21-26, 21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
In Romans 4, Paul uses Abraham as the example of someone who was justified by faith apart from works of the Law. In verse 3 Paul quotes Genesis 15:6, Abraham believed God, and it was credited / counted / accounted / to him as righteousness. Paul continues on in verse 5 to say, “but to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” Paul continues on to explain that this happened without any works of the law and before Abraham was circumcised. The issue was faith in believing the promises God had made to him including that he would have a son. Paul then states again concerning that faith in verse 22, “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Paul continues in verses 23-25, 23 “Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”
Since the KJV translates the word “credited,” (logivzomai / logizomai), as imputed, this is known in theology as imputed righteousness. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to us as described in 2 Corinthians 5:21, 21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” In Philippians 3:9 Paul speaks of his own hope to “be found in Him [Christ], not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”
This judicial action of reckoning the sinner to be righteous occurs when faith is born. Paul explains in Romans 10:9–10 “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” That is why Paul could speak in Romans 6 of those who are baptized into Christ Jesus as being freed from sin and enslaved to God and righteousness. Believers have a new master.
Being made judicially righteous before God is also what allows us to have confidence in coming before God through the blood of Christ having hearts sprinkled clean (Hebrews 10:19-22). The warning and promise in Proverbs 15:29 is, “The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.”
Positional righteousness means that God has declared you to be holy and blameless before Him because of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The judicial action is instantaneous upon its declaration, but its outworking in changing your manner of life will occur over time.
Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Whatever sin characterized your life can be forgiven, and you can be justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in a moment. You are also sanctified – set apart to be holy – at that moment and the Holy Spirit washes you by regeneration (Titus 3:5). However, this passage and all the corrections given in 1 Corinthians makes it clear that you cannot continue in your sinful practices. To do so brings God’s chastening on believers (Hebrews 12:4-11), or it exposes a false profession of faith (Matthew 7:16-20; 13:18-23; 18:15-17; 2 Cor. 13:5). Positional righteousness will result in practical righteousness.
As already pointed out, there is no question that a purpose in God saving people from their sin is so that they will be holy and blameless before Him (Eph. 1:4).
1 Peter 1:15–16 states this truth directly quoting from Leviticus 19:2, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Paul uses this same truth in 1 Thessalonians 4:7 in calling them to live righteous lives, 7 “For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.” The word sanctification has the same root as holiness meaning to be set apart. To be sanctified is to be set apart, consecrated, dedicated to God. That is the manner in which Christians are to live their lives.
It would be wonderful if Christians lived sanctified lives of holiness in practical righteousness immediately upon being saved, but the reality is that we will be battling sin in our lives until we die or Christ returns and we are glorified. That is a common theme throughout the New Testament. Paul laments this struggle with sin indwelling his flesh in Romans 7, yet grateful that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), and that the Holy Spirit will continue the good work that He began and will in the future perfect it (Philippians 1:6) conforming him to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). The same is to be true for every Christian.
1 John 1:8-10 is very direct that Christians will still sin in this life, and that to deny that fact is to lie to yourself and call God a liar. The true mark of a Christian in living life in the here and now is confession of sin as the Holy Spirit does His work of Sanctification. There is perfection of holiness at present in position before God, and there will be perfection when the believer is glorified in the future, but believers will still battle sin in this present life on earth.
It would also be nice if the passive “let go and let God” philosophy of the holiness movement was actually true, but while God does save in an instant making you a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), He calls you to be active in the work of sanctification. As Paul described it in Philippians 2:12-13, “. . . work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
2 Peter 1 is also clear that personal holiness takes work on our part. After pointing out in verses 2-4 that God by His power has “granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness,” Peter continues in verses 5-7, 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.” These are the qualities of spiritual maturity that make you useful in the kingdom of God and developing them takes work. There is no doubt that God will do His part, but you must also do your part. Again, as Peter states here, “applying all diligence.”
The Scriptures give us many reasons to pursue a life of practical holiness. The most obvious is that a disciple of Jesus is by definition someone who wants to follow and be like Him, and the more you are like Him, the more holy will be your manner of life. I recognize that many people who say they are Christians do not understand this since Christianity for them is only a matter of family, cultural or religious identity and therefore traditions, and not the actual teachings of Jesus, are of what is of importance to them. However, all true Christian are disciples of Jesus who want to know and follow the teachings of Christ. Becoming more like Him is a major motivation for learning to live a holy life that would be pleasing to Him.
1 John 3:2–3 describes it this way, 2 “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
What does such purity look like? I am sure that long lists could be and have been produced in the effort to define all the particulars of a holy life, but all of those can be reduced to some simple truths just as we saw in the last few weeks that Jesus reduced all the law and prophets to just two commandments. Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. In the same way a pure life can be defined very simply. A holy life looks like Christ and is opposite sin, selfishness and worldly pursuits. Romans 13:14 summarizes, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Know Jesus well enough to know how He lived, and follow His example and teaching.
Another motivation is found in 2 Corinthians 7:1, the promises of God. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Paul mentions quite a few promises in the previous 6 chapters including: God’s comfort in our afflictions (1:4), the sealing of the Spirit (1:22), the unfailing ministry of the Spirit (3:8), the life of Jesus manifested in the believer (4:10-11), the renewal of the inner man (4:16), future resurrection and glory (4:14-5:8), and being a new creature in Christ to become the righteousness of God in Him (5:17,21).
God’s promises for the future are another motivation. 2 Peter 3:10-13 describes the future destruction of the present heavens and earth and the coming of new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells with verse 14 exhorting “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.”
The quest for personal holiness is a defining characteristic of a Christian, and our desire for it makes us even grateful for God’s chastening when we stray as described in Hebrews 12:4-11.
We understand the truth of verse 10 that our parents “disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but [God] disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.”
Though the practical righteousness of believers in this life will never completely match the positional righteousness God judicially declares them to have in their standing before Him,
we are not discouraged because God has given us a great two-fold hope for the future. First, His promise is that He will continue His work to make us more like Christ in this life. Second, a day will come when our positional and practical righteousness will become the same in perfect righteousness when we are gathered into His presence.
Paul encouraged the Philippian believers saying, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Jesus is the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2), and He “will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).
In addition, Jesus has established His church in part for that very purpose. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 12-14 that all the various gifts, ministries and empowerment by the Holy Spirit enable each member of the body of Christ to strengthen the other members of the Church. Paul is more succinct in Ephesians 4:11-16 explaining that every part of the body works together to build itself up in unity, knowledge of the Son of God, maturity and love, and so is able to withstand false doctrine, the trickery of men and the scheming of our adversary. God is at work in His people to make us more like Christ.
Colossians 1:22 states that Christ “reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.” Ephesians 5:25-27 adds that Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” We have absolute confidence He will fulfill His purpose.
One reason for such confidence is that it is part of God’s eternal purpose and plan. Consider Romans 8:29-30. 29 “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” The assurance of positional and practical righteous becoming unified in the perfect righteousness of glorification is so strong that Paul speaks of this future event in the past tense.
When will that happen? As already pointed out in 1 John 3:2, true Christians will be like Jesus when He appears. That is when the good work He began in the saints will be perfected as pointed out in Philippians 1:6. According to 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, at the last trumpet, these earthly bodies will be transformed from mortal, perishable bodies into immortal, glorified ones without sin. “The Lord will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God,” and those who have died in Christ will be resurrected first, and “then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
God saves people so that they will become holy and blameless before Him. When you place your faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, God reckons / credits / counts / imputes Jesus’ righteousness to you so that you have positional righteousness before Him. Throughout the rest of your life as a disciple of the Lord Jesus, God will be at work to increase your practical righteousness as He conforms you to the image of Christ. Your life will be marked by increasing personal holiness. When Jesus returns, your positional and practical righteousness will be become one in perfect righteousness. You will become like Christ in character. You will be absolutely holy and blameless before God in position and practice.
The benediction of Jude 24-25 will become reality in time. 24 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Sermon Notes – February 23, 2020
Holy & Blameless: Positional & Practical – Selected Scriptures
Success without eternal meaning is ultimately ___________ – Matthew 16:26
Truth, even if difficult to hear, aligns you with God to bring peace and __________ in life
God created man for His own _____- the first priority is to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, strength
God’s Purpose in Salvation – Ephesians 1:3-6
God stands eternally blessed apart from man or any other creature by the very nature of ________________
God extends to the ____________“every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”
God’s blessings ____________to those He has chosen / selected / elected in Christ
Election is a substantial ____________ doctrine, to deny it is to show ignorance or worse
Man’s will is limited by his own _________to sin – Romans 6; Ephesians 4:17-18; Psalm 14 / Romans 3:11
God’s sovereign choice neither _______His command for men to repent & believe or man’s will to respond
God choose __________man came into existence in time and space – Eph. 1:4; Rev. 13:8, 17:8, Matt. 25:34
God’s __________are to be “holy and blameless before Him” and “to the praise of the glory of His grace”
“Holy” means “___________” to God. Blameless means “without blemish,” or “____________.”
Positional Righteousness –
God’s judicial view of you after you have placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
Romans 3:21-26 – Paul’s explanation of ____________ by faith
Romans 4 – Abraham, the example of justification by ______- credited / accounted to him for righteousness
_____________ righteousness – 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9
The sinner is reckoned to be righteous _________ faith is born – Romans 10:9-10; Romans 6
Judicial righteousness allows the believer to approach God with ____________- Heb. 10:19-22; Prov. 15:29
1 Cor. 6:9-11 – you were washed, sanctified, justified in a moment when you are _____________(Titus 3:5)
__________sin brings either God’s chastening (Heb. 12:4-11) or exposes a false profession (Matt. 13:18-23)
God saves people that they might be __________ – Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 Thess. 4:7
Christians will ___________ with sin until the day they die or are glorified – Romans 7; 1 John 1:8-10
The true mark of a Christian in present life is _____________, not perfection
While God saves in an instant (2 Cor. 5:17), sanctification takes active _________on our part – Phil. 2:12-13
1 Peter 2:1 – God has granted to us everything pertaining to life & godliness, but we must apply all _______
The most obvious reason to pursue personal holiness is the quest of a _______to be like Jesus – 1 John 3:2-3
A pure / holy life looks like _________and is opposite sin, selfishness and worldly pursuits – Romans 13:14
1 Corinthians 1-7 – the many ____________of God are another motivation to pursue personal holiness
The promise of _______heavens and earth to replace the current one motivates to holiness – 2 Peter 2:10-13
The quest for personal holiness making us grateful for God’s __________when we stray – Hebrews 12:4-11
God will __________the good work He started in you – Phil. 1:6; Heb. 12:2; 1 Peter 5:10
Every part of the body of Christ is to work together to build itself up in _______- 1 Cor 12-14; Eph. 4:11-16
Col. 1:22; Eph. 5:25-27 – Christ will fulfill His purpose to make each Christian & the Church _________
God will _____________His plan from eternity past when the justified are glorified – Romans 8:29-30
Christians will be ___________when Jesus appears – 1 John 3:2; Phil. 1:6; 1 Cor. 15:50-57; 1 Thess 4:16-17
God saved you to make you ____________ and blameless before Him
God gives you _____________ righteousness at salvation
God will work in you throughout your life to increase your ___________ righteousness
God will transform you to __________ righteousness when He glorifies you at the return of Christ
Jude 24-25 will become ___________ in time
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Count how many times “holy” or “righteous” are mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about how you can be righteous before God in position and practice
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What value is human success on any level if it does not have eternal significance? Why has the population of religious “nones” been increasing? How can you know truth and how does it make you free – John 8:31-32? How does walking with Christ bring peace and purpose to life? According to Ephesians 1:3-6: Why is God blessed? Who does God bless and how does He bless them? For what purpose did God choose people? When did God make His choice? What possible reasons could cause a person say they do not believe in election? Is man’s will free or limited? Explain. What does it mean to be holy? Blameless? Briefly explain justification by faith in Romans 3:21-26. How is Abraham an example of this? How is a sinner made righteous before God? When does justification occur in the life of one of God’s elect? What else occurs at the same time? How does positional righteousness give confidence in prayer? What happens when a professing Christian continues to sin? Why doesn’t a Christian become practically righteous when they are saved? Why does a Christian continue to battle sin in this life? According to 1 John 1:8-10, what is a key characteristics of a believer? Can the Christian life be lived passively? Why or why not? According to Peter 1:2-7, what has God given to the Christian and what must the Christian do in the pursuit of godliness? How is being a disciple of Jesus a motivation to personal holiness? What do you think a pure life would look like? What promises of God motivate you toward personal holiness (1 Cor. 7:1)? Read 2 Peter 2:10-13. Why should this revelation of the future motivate you to personal holiness? What motivated you to live in greater righteousness? How does God work in you to perfect you in holiness? What role does the church have in your pursuit of personal holiness? How do you help others in the church toward spiritual maturity? Why can we be confident that Christ will accomplish His work in the believer? When will the believer be made perfect?
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