DEEP CHANGE: CHRISTLIKENESS IN CONTINUING CRISES | GOD’S CARE IN CONTINUING CRISES
07-Feb-21 | 2 Cor. 12:7-10 God’s Grace Despite Weaknesses | Pt. Narry Santos
GOD’S GRACE DESPITE WEAKNESSES
This Sunday, we conclude our 6-part series on “God’s Care in Continuing Crises,” based on selected passages in 2 Corinthians. In the string of suffering, struggles, and setbacks that Paul experienced in his life and ministry, he felt weak and powerless. In 2 Cor. 12:7-10, Paul shares what he learned at this time of weakness and pain.
1. GOD HUMBLES US IN OUR PAIN (12:7-8)
Paul begins this passage with the purpose of our pain: “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” (12:7; humility mentioned twice at start & end of the verse). What was the “thorn in the flesh”? It could a reference to aggressive opponents to ministry, spiritual or psychological anxiety due to constant difficulties, or chronic physical pains (migraine headaches, epilepsy, malaria, or eye problem [Gal. 4:14-15]), or disability of ability. Though we are not sure what it was, it did bring much pain that tormented him (hindrance by Satan in ministry or physical limits). It was so painful that he asked God to take it away thrice. God “gave” it to him for a beneficial purpose: to keep Paul humble, especially in light of his “surpassingly great revelations” (12:7a; see vv. 2-4). In our pain, remember God’s purpose for it is for our good.
2. GOD’S GRACE IS ENOUGH (12:9-10)
Paul affirms that in our pain, the Lord’s grace is sufficient (i.e., adequate in the sense of providing contentment). Paul even states that he delights in weakness (not because he likes them) but he learns to rest in God’s grace and to be content in the midst of his weakness. Note the contrast of divine power and human weakness. God’s power and strength shows up in the midst of our weakness (which is not just physical but the sense of inability, insecurity, and inadequacy that weakness brings). In our life and ministry, both God’s power and our weakness need to co-exist. In our weakness, claim God’s care, strength, & power
14-Feb-21 | Matt. 1:1-17 God’s Love in an Unloving World | Ptr. Jon Bernardo
LOVING THOSE YOU DON’T LIKE
Have you hated someone strong enough that you didn’t wish them well? You may not feel like this now, but we’re all capable of hating and hurting others, especially when they’ve hurt us badly. Maybe they’ve borrowed money from you but didn’t pay it back. There may be those who were mean to you, demeaned you, bullied you, or just plain detested you. Or you may not want to hurt them back but you certainly don’t care what happens to them at all. You’re not alone. Jonah felt the same way. His dislike for the Ninevites quickly turned to hatred. In this day of the hearts traditionally observed worldwide, may this message turn our hearts to what God meant when He said we ought to love all people.
1. God cares much about the people you don’t care much about (vv. 1-3)
2. God cares that you learn to care for those He cares for (vv. 4-11)
3. Inspiration / Application / Celebration
DEVELOPING A DEEPER INNER LIFE IN SHALLOW TIMES
21-Feb-21 | Matt. 4:1-11 Turning Away from Temptations | Pt. Narry Santos
TURNING AWAY FROM TEMPTATION
This Sunday, we start a new 6-part series on “Developing a Deeper Inner Life in Shallow Times,” based on selected biblical passages. Our inner life deepens when we turn from temptation, deal with deception, tame our thoughts, learn contentment, find rest & solitude, & overcome worry. In Matt. 4:1-11, we learn the three ways on how Jesus handled temptations.
1. BE GOD-SUFFICIENT, NOT SELF-SUFFICIENT (4:1-4)
Satan’s 1st temptation to Jesus is “tell these stones to become bread” (4:3b), which tempts Jesus to be self-sufficient. But Jesus replies with God’s Word: “Man shall not love on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (4:4), which affirms submission to God & His will (Jn. 4:34). We get deep in our inner life, when we submit & obey God.
2. BE STEADY, NOT SPECTACULAR (4:5-7)
Satan’s 2nd temptation to Jesus is “throw yourself down” (4:6a), which tempts Jesus to be spectacular (doing what people expect from Him outside of God’s will). But Jesus replies with God’s Word once more: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (4:7), which means not to expect God to do something out of His will but to steadily do God’s will. We get deeper in our inner life, when we keep doing God’s will.
3. BE A SERVANT, NOT SHORT-CUT SPECIALIST (4:8-11)
Satan’s 3rd temptation to Jesus is “bow down & worship me” (4:9b), which tempts Jesus to shortcut the way of the crown without the cross. But Jesus replies with God’s Word again: “worship the Lord your God, & serve him only” (4:10b), which decries compromise and shortcut by continuing to worship & serve God. We get deepest in our inner life, when we continue worshiping & serving God only
28-Feb-21 | Gen. 3:1-13 Dealing with our Deception | Ptr. Jon Bernardo
WORSE THAN WHAT YOU BARGAINED FOR: DEALING WITH OUR DECEPTION
Deception doesn’t bring to light the price you will truly pay when you succumb to it. It doesn’t tell you what you’ll be trading for as the price or penalty you will pay for in exchange is always higher. When playing to its allures, you will always get worse than what you bargained for. How then can we break its hold over us as it did then with our parental ancestors? Nothing! Jesus paid the penalty of its consequence when deception led to disobedience and disobedience led to death. But let’s consider how we can be better armed with the knowledge to fight its stronghold in our lives by affirming the realities we encounter when it comes to deception.
1. Deception breeds ____________ (vv. 1-5)
2. Desires blur ____________ (v. 6)
3. Disobedience brings ____________ (vv. 7-14)
4. Deliverance bested ____________ (vv. 15, 21)
5. Inspiration / Application / Celebration
07-Mar-21 | Phil. 4:8-9 Taming our Thoughts | Ptr. Narry Santos
TAMING OUR THOUGHTS
We learn to develop a deeper inner life when we learn to tame our thoughts. What agitates the mind and makes the heart restless is worry. What guards our heart and mind is the peace of God, which we experience when we pray (Phil. 4:6-7). In Phil. 4:8-9, we learn the two more ways to not worry (so we can tame our thoughts).
1. PONDER ON WHOLESOME THOUGHTS (4:8)
Paul commands the Philippians to think wholesome thoughts. These thoughts must be: (1) “true”—valid, reliable, & honest; (2) “noble”—dignified & worthy of respect; (3) “right”—just, confirming to God’s standards; (4) “pure”—morally clean; (5) “lovely”—promoting peace, not conflict, agreeable; & (6) “admirable”—positive & constructive, attractive, true to highest standards. Paul describes these 6 wholesome thoughts as excellent & praiseworthy. This kind of thinking also wards off worry. Let’s think wholesome thoughts about people & situations in our lives.
2. PRACTICE WORTHY WAYS (4:8)
Paul commands them to put to practice what they learned, received, heard, and seen in him. We get deeper in our inner life, when we keep doing God’s will. This practice of what they learn results in experiencing not just the peace of God but also the God of peace Himself. This also results in our transformation of worry into a worthy walk. Let’s practice worthy ways