Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 22, 2015 | Joe Porter | Faith and Forgiveness | Mark 11:22-26

I have been puzzled why these verses on forgiveness, vv. 25-26, are inserted in this passage of prayer and faith. It seems to be out of place. However, there must be a good reason why our Lord Jesus taught His disciples about faith and connected it with forgiveness.

Let us start by remembering that in our lesson on Have faith in God, it teaches us that our prayer depends on faith, and faith in God depends on our relationship to God. Faith is about our relationship with God, and prayer depends on our relationship with God being clear, no obstruction or no hindrance: nothing blocking our relationship with God. Example: Have you experienced being in sin? How was your relationship with God then? One of the fruits of sin is guilt, shame, and awful feelings that hinder you from freely facing God. Try to recall an incident where you sinned and felt ashamed, guilty, and could not face God. How was your faith then? If you will be honest with me, you will admit that it felt terrible, and that you could not exercise faith as you should because your relationship with God has been affected. Right?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 15, 2015 | Pastor John Bayles | The Hour is Now Come: The Lamb is Now Ready | John 17:1-5

As Jesus concludes His final discourse, “Before I Leave You,” He looks to the beginning of the end of His suffering. He has just proclaimed: “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 6:33b). All that the broken world could muster against Him, Jesus had overcome. This declaration marks the final and full success of an impossible mission: the proclamation, confrontation, exhortation, and presentation of the Son of God and the, now ready, lamb of God for glorification. This three part prayer is in complete unity with the mission and message of the Savior.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

March 8, 2015 | Pastor John Bayles | Before I Leave You: A Hard Transition | John 16:12-33

In this text the disciples go from confusion to belief and then back to confusion and fear. The cross is still in their future. They seem to be in a state of wonderment about what is happening or could happen next. On the one hand, Jesus is giving them instruction about the near future, of how to handle his arrest, trial, suffering and death, as well as their ensuing sadness and grief. And, on the other hand He comments upon the far future: how they will be equipped with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus will send. In addition, they will come into a new time frame of revelation and relationship directly with their heavenly Father.