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The Church: A 168 Hour a Week Community of Love

Text: Romans 12:9-10
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: March 28, 2010

Many American Christians look upon church as something they do for an hour a week, often viewing their role more as the member of an audience watching others perform. Many approach their church involvement as consumers looking for the assembly with the best programs to meet their needs, being quick to change if they think they can find a better deal elsewhere. Some even take advantage of activities from many different churches without committing to joining and serving in one fellowship. In contrast, the early church was a community of love in which they were devoted to each other twenty four hours a day seven days a week. The New Testament is filled with exhortations and examples of how we are to love each other deeply and bear one another’s burdens just as Jesus loved us and bore our greatest burden (sin).

One such text is found in Romans 12 where Paul calls upon the Romans to use their gifts to serve each other (12:3-8 which we covered two weeks ago) and to love each other (12:9-16) and even to love outsiders (12:17-21). My fellow elders and I share Paul’s (and Jesus’) deep burden for Grace Bible Church that we grow in love for one another. This week we will focus on verse 9-10 in which Paul call us to love with sincerity, discernment, deeply committed affection, and honor (mutual respect).

We also will be reminded that our love for one another is not THE most important thing. First comes God’s love for us. Next comes our response of loving God. Finally, because of God’s love we are able to love one another (I Jo. 4:19).

Love So Amazing…

Text: 1 John 4:7-11
Speaker: Jason Ching
Date: March 21, 2010

“God is love.” This is perhaps one of the best known phrases of the Bible, right up there with “For God so loved the world…” and “Do not judge.” The problem with well known phrases is they are not always well understood.

In the case of God’s love, non-believers sometimes come to believe that because God is love he no longer cares about sin. In contrast, believers might be unsure how God’s love continues to play a role in their everyday lives.

For all these issues and more, we will be blessed to dwell on our God’s amazing love, how he showcased that love in sending Jesus to die for our sins and how that love enables us to love one another daily. In order to be acquainted with the passage, I’d encourage you to read 1 John 4. If you have time, read the entire book of 1 John (read out loud it only takes just over 10 minutes).

Your Vital Role in the Church Body

Text: Romans 12:3-8
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: March 14, 2010

This Sunday we are continuing in our mini-series in Romans 12 as we cover verse 3-8 which focus on how we are to use our gifts in the body of Christ.

It is ironic that our technology, which is supposed to draw us closer together, can keep us apart.

Some people are in contact with others for hours a day through texting, email and facebook; without ever leaving their own homes to have face to face contact with their ‘friends’.

I have even heard of people who have virtual fellowship in virtual churches, even serving virtual communion and performing virtual baptisms.

God, in His wisdom, puts those whom He saves into local church communities in which we need each other and learn to serve and love one another.

Paul speaks of the church as a ‘body’ in which each of us performs an important function.

Our need for one another should humble us. We are stewards of the gifts God gives us so that we can build up the body.

While I think that it is important that each of us discovers how God has gifted us so that we can be most effective members of His body, my focus on Sunday will be that we are meant to be God’s gifts to one another in the church body. More important than discovering our gift so that we can engage in a program is our need to become involved in one another’s lives with each of us seeking to build up our brothers and sisters by loving each other as we are able.

Consecrated to God

Text: Romans 12:1-2
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: March 7, 2010

This week I am diverting from our studies in 2 Samuel and will be expounding Romans 12:1-2.

I plan, on certain Sundays over the next few months, to preach through Romans 12 with a special emphasis on our love and devotion for one another in the body of Christ.

Because our love for one another springs from our devotion to the Lord, Paul starts Romans 12 by exhorting us to be living sacrifices who are not to be conformed to the world.

Of course the foundation of our devotion to the Lord is the sovereign mercy which He has shown us in Christ — which was the subject of the first 11 chapters of Romans and forms the basis of Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:1.

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