|Encourage0gram January 15. 2020|
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Happy New Year!
Our theme verse for this year is from Psalm 100:2 – “Serve the Lord with gladness!” We are an active Body of Believers! I am thankful for each of you and your role in our service to Jesus. I pray that true, deep gladness with infuse us with strength all year long! May God bless us with fruit that will last as we serve Him together! (John 15:16)
We have already experienced an amazing start to 2020. Keith’s sermon on prayer in the morning worship and our concert of prayer last Sunday evening were such a blessing! It is time to pray! I am so blessed to serve together with you!
As we embark on a new year, we will review the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12.
These beatitudes were given at the start of the Sermon on the Mount. This is the longest message of Jesus found in the Scriptures. The blessings are full orbed, with a view of circumstances on earth and eternal spiritual blessings. All these blessings come from God alone. They are free by grace and cannot be earned. They remind us that external things cannot satisfy internal needs.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
“Poor in spirit” The poverty expressed here is very deep; it is spiritual poverty. It is the poverty of a beggar who has nothing. It is spiritual in nature. With our spirit we connect with God. The blessing comes to one who understands they can never reach up to God with any offerings; they are poor. They must rely on the Lord who reaches down to give them all they will ever need. This confession of poverty in spirit is offered by humble ones who acknowledge their debt of sin before the holy God. In this humble way the poor in spirit will discover the kingdom of heaven which begins on the earth. They willingly confess the King and He will reign over them. They freely worship the King and seek to follow his will on earth as it is done in heaven. This truth is synonymous with the gift of eternal life. A relationship with God which is given to everyone who believes on Jesus Christ. By faith in Jesus alone we are made rich in Christ!
This is the experience of the tax collector in Jesus parable in Luke 18:11-13.
ESV Luke 18:11-14
The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
We thank you Lord Jesus for finishing your work on the cross so we can be complete in you alone! We come to you broken in spirit and you give us life. Now we are spiritually alive and rich in You!
I agree with the Puritan Thomas Watson who said, “Self is nothing; Christ is everything.”
This Sunday, January 19, we begin a new sermon series entitled: “Outlook Determines Outcome.” This will be an exciting study in the letter of Paul to the believers in Philippi. I invite you to join us this Sunday morning at 9:00 or 10:30.
Your servant for Jesus’ sake,