Take Courage in the Face of Tribulation

Jesus with His Disciples

Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:32-33).

On this occasion, Jesus was talking with His apostles shortly before His death. He warned them that they would be scattered, which would happen when He was arrested (Matthew 26:56). However, despite the fact that these men would leave Him, Jesus knew that the Father would not leave Him so that He was “not alone.

Jesus encouraged them with the fact that He had “overcome the world.” It is important to note that this was said prior to the crucifixion and resurrection. Yet these events were so certain, Jesus could speak of them as though they had already happened. They were still in the future, yet they were facts. He told them this to give them the courage to endure the trials they would face (cf. John 16:2).

The Lord’s disciples continue to face tribulation even today. Paul encouraged the brethren on his first preaching tour “to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God’” (Acts 14:22). We suffer in this life on account of persecution, sin, hardship, sickness, and more. Yet we can “take courage” just as the apostles were told to do.

So how can we “take courage” in the face of tribulation? Jesus made three points in our text – reasons why His disciples can take courage.Continue Reading

Measuring the Love of God

Measuring

Midway through Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, the apostle described a prayer that he offered to the Father (Ephesians 3:14-21). Part of this prayer emphasized the greatness of the love of God.

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Paul began this chapter by describing what God has given – His grace in the gospel (v. 2-3), a way to understand His will (v. 4), salvation to the Gentiles (v. 6), His wisdom revealed (v. 10), the church (v. 10), and His eternal purpose carried out in Christ (v. 11). All of these were part of the demonstration of the love of God. As Paul said, God’s love “surpasses knowledge” (v. 19).

Paul described the greatness of God’s love in terms of measurements – breadth, length, height, and depth (Ephesians 3:18). What do these measurements mean? Some commentators suggest that God’s love is described in this way simply to emphasize the fact that it cannot be quantified. However, each of these terms mean something and the New Testament shows how they apply to the love of God.Continue Reading

Why Would Anyone Be a Christian?

Sitting and Looking at SunsetIn the previous article, we discussed the demands of discipleship. We saw that in order to be one of Jesus’ disciples, we must be willing to surrender earthly homes and family relationships and make a lifelong commitment to Him. Many are unwilling to do this. Others are not only unwilling, but they also do not understand why anyone would do this.

The fact that people would question the reasonableness of being a Christian is understandable. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote, “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19). For one who is only looking at things as they pertain to life here on the earth, it does not make sense for anyone to be a disciple of Christ.

Yet there certainly are reasons for being a disciple despite the demanding nature of that life. In this article, we are going to consider four reasons why we are Christians and why we believe others should be as well.Continue Reading

When the Son of Man Comes

Sun behind the clouds

Different people look forward to different events in their future. A high school student may be anticipating graduating and going to college. A young couple may be looking forward to having children. Those who are older may be preparing for retirement. People might look forward to the weekend as a time for fishing, attending a sporting event, or just spending time at home.

These anticipated events will be different for everyone because each person has different desires, priorities, and interests. Their plans for the future are different because everyone has unique circumstances so they can expect certain things to happen (good or bad).

However, one future event that is the same for all of us is the return of Christ at the end of the world. What will happen then? How can we prepare for this day? To answer these questions, we will consider what Jesus taught about the coming of the Son of Man.Continue Reading

Preparing for the Future

Future

It is wise for us to be preparing for the future. However, when many people think of this, their mind goes to things like summer vacations, saving for college, and planning for retirement. While there is certainly nothing wrong with making these sorts of preparations, we need to place a priority on preparing for our future that extends beyond our lives here in this world.Continue Reading

Great Days in History (Part 7): The Day of Eternity

Great Days in History

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).

In the previous lesson we discussed the final day when the Lord will return in judgment. But what happens after life on earth is over? Let us consider what the Bible teaches about the day of eternity.Continue Reading

Great Days in History (Part 6): The Day of Judgment

Great Days in History

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

In this sixth lesson, we will be discussing the day of judgment. Like the second lesson, this may seem like a bit of a jump to go all the way from the day of Pentecost to here. However, we are not skipping so much as we are going to be summarizing the time between these two days.Continue Reading