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When Jesus ascended to heaven shortly after His resurrection, He charged His disciples to be witnesses to the ends of the earth and to take an active roll in the work of his Kingdom, in anticipation of His sure return. In the gospel of Matthew we find the Parable of the Talents, by which Jesus teaches us exactly what He expects of us in this commission He has given us. We learn that Jesus expects us to take risks for Him and to make gains for Him. We also learn how great our reward will be when we are wiling to take these risks.
In this second message on God seeking us, we turn to John 10 and the powerful teaching of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. We learn that He loves us in such a great way that He lays down His life to save His flock. Jesus also knows His sheep and everything about them; and He expects us to know Him as well. And, finally, He owns His sheep, which means He will never let anybody or anything snatch us from His loving hands. Indeed, He makes a great point of finding all of the lost ones and brings them home. Wow, how can we be more like our Good Shepherd?
As we study Ezekiel 34 we learn a couple things about sheep and shepherds. First, we are all sheep and this is not a compliment. We are dumb, abstinent, short-sighted and easily lost. So we need a shepherd. Second, shepherds, both civil and religious leaders, tend to be selfish and unwilling to care for the needy. Therefore, God will send Himself, in the form of Jesus Christ, to protect and provide for His sheep.
There are three very important characteristics of a healthy church found in Hebrews 10. The first is that we should exhibit confidence. Because of Christ's work on the cross the veil is open and we now forever reside in the inner circle of God's presence. A second vital characteristic is hopefulness. We are able to look toward and move into the future because we know that Christ is in the work of transforming the world. And finally, the church must be compelling. We move each other by spurring each other on, by offering encouragement to each other, and by serving together and meeting together.
There are two words for time in the Greek language. One is kronos, which describes the chronological passing of time. The other is kairos, and this is the time in which God often works. Kairos time is the right or opportune time, and when God works in this kind of time He always has a redemptive purpose. This can be seen throughout scriptures as God unfolded His redemptive plan. It can still be seen today as God moves through His church to continue bringing redemption. Kairos moments are often preceded by crisis and they come through prayer. These moments also bring with them the power of the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish what God wills to accomplish by producing boldness in God's people, creating authentic community, and growing the church. Trinity church is at a Kairos moment and it is up to us to get in step with the Spirit as He moves among us.
Pastor Haman Cross from our sister church, Rosedale Park Baptist in Detroit, preached on Numbers 20:8-12 with the title: "Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick"
God commanded Moses to speak to the rock to get the water the Israelites needed. Instead he struck the rock with the staff. We need to follow God's will for our lives even when it does not seem to make sense to us. This is the only way to move forward on our journey.
The Christian life is like running a marathon. Sometimes it feels like we may never succeed in taking even one more step, much less reaching the finish line. But the author of Hebrews gives us several reasons to keep running the race. The first is that great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us and have already completed the race and given us their example of a life of faith. The second is that those things that hinder us and the sins that entangle us can be thrown off if we keep our eyes on Jesus. And the third is that the goal is Jesus, who is the very one who gives us faith, who completes that faith in us, and is the greatest example of faith for us. So keep running!
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