Encouragement, which comes in many forms, is necessary for healthy and faithful relationships. We have the ability to encourage another by offering affirmation. And yet, sometimes we should not be affirmed. At times, our encouragement needs not to show up as affirmation, but to show up in the form of exhortation, where we are encouraging others to live more faithfully.
God’s desire for the world is not that a few succeed, while the many suffer. God’s desire is for us all to thrive as one body, as one people, as one creation who live and love in a peaceable union. This was not the world before COVID-19, and it is not the world today. So yes, we have work to do, essential work to do, and it does not take our gathering in this building to do that work.
Many will claim that spirituality is deeply personal, but the Biblical claim is that faithful spirituality is most authentic when shared in the body of Christ.
We tend to act, talk, and think in ways that acquiesce to societal pressures and norms. Yet, God calls us to get past the false pretenses and live in to our grace-given gifts. It takes intentional work to be authentic, but that is Paul’s teaching on living faithfully.
The world will try to convince you that you need to be more, do more, and look better – but Paul says, you just need to be who you were created to be – perfect, in the image of God.
Commitment isn’t easy. But if we commit ourselves to Christ, He can do miraculous things, and He blesses the world through the committed.
Paul says that those who are in Christ Jesus have no condemnation. What does he mean? Who are they that are in Christ Jesus? How is it they have no condemnation? John Wesley explains in his sermon, “The First Fruits of the Spirit.”
In re-preaching John Wesley’s sermon, one is able to see that becoming justified to God is the foundation of our hope. Truly no person can be at peace or have joy if they are not reconciled to God.
When Paul writes, “nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God,” it means that in our strange human activity and creativity, we can’t even separate ourselves from the love of God.