April 2018

Explore the Bible Lesson for April 15: Serving God’s People

April 3 2018 by Randy Mann, pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson

Focal passage: 1 Corinthians 12:4-12, 21-26
I have mentioned previously that I was a Registered Nurse before I was a pastor. My primary area of work was cardiovascular nursing. We would primarily serve heart patients but would occasionally encounter someone who had suffered a stroke.
As a result of losing blood flow to some part of the brain, the stroke patient would often lose some type of body functionality.
He could have an ocular stroke and lose his vision. Or he might have a more substantial stroke and lose the function of one whole side of his body.
These affected parts are not only unable to carry out their function, but other body parts then have to accommodate that lack of function.
I’ve seen patients have to use their left arm to pick up and move their no longer functioning right arm.
I can’t help applying that background to what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 12 regarding spiritual gifts. Paul is clear that God has given every single part of His body gifts to utilize, not for the sake of the individual himself, but for the building up of the body of Christ.
There are several truths we must not miss here. First, God the Holy Spirit is the one who gives gifts to the children of God (we don’t get to determine our own giftings). Second, every body part is important – put in place by Christ and gifted by the Spirit – serving a particular function for the benefit of the body. Third, there is no time to “take a break” from serving Christ. With Christ as our head, we are to give ourselves daily in service to Him for His glory and the building up of His body.
So many in the church today act like those stroke-affected body parts – present but not functional, requiring others to try to work around them or make up the loss. As a result, our churches are struggling to function as Christ intends, with every part functioning and serving with Christ as head.
May we each utilize our spiritual giftings for the glory of Christ and the building up of His church!

4/3/2018 7:54:05 AM by Randy Mann, pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for April 15: Our Righteousness

April 3 2018 by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Jeremiah 33:3-8; 14-16
In Jeremiah 33, the Lord makes a great many claims: “I will answer you,” and “will tell you,” “I shall strike down,” “I have hidden my face,” “I will bring it to health and healing,” “I will heal them and reveal to them,” “I will restore,” and “rebuild,” “I will cleanse them,” “I will forgive,” “I will fulfill the promise,” “I will cause a Righteous Branch.”
Finally, Jeremiah declares that Jerusalem will be called, “The Lord is our righteousness.”
I hope the pattern is obvious.
The Lord is the active agent when it comes to righteousness. We are like the people of Israel. We have been given commands and expectations, but we consistently fail.
We are certainly to strive toward righteousness.
No doubt the scripture teaches that God expects holiness. But we must acknowledge that we have no hope of earning the righteousness we desperately need.
When we examine our lives against the expectations of righteousness that God has for us, we can grow depressed and discouraged. Thankfully, the Lord does not leave us wandering in hopelessness. He acts, answers, heals, forgives, fulfills and provides a Righteous Branch.
The Righteous Branch is none other than the Lord Jesus who is the incarnated fulfillment of God’s righteousness for us. Jesus came to do what we could not. He obeyed God’s Law, kept every standard and fulfilled every expectation. He did what we could not do.
Because He is Righteous, He could take our place. He became our substitute, carrying our sin on the cross and transferring His righteousness to us.
Again, I hope the pattern is obvious. Jesus is the active agent with regard to righteousness.
We cannot hope to earn God’s approval. But we can receive it.
We should heed the Lord’s command to Jeremiah, “Call to me.” If we will call upon the Lord, we can receive the righteousness without which we cannot know the Lord.

4/3/2018 7:52:07 AM by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments

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