Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 5

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

This week in our study of 1 Peter we are looking at the role of Scripture in the salvation of God’s people. Our salvation was decreed by God before the foundation of the world; revealed gradually throughout the scriptures of the Old Testament as men called by God prophesied of the coming of Christ, his suffering, and his glorious victory; and it has now been announced to us by those who preach the good news of our risen Lord. This good news, brought to us over the millennia with increasing light and culminating in our new birth, demands from us a response. We who have been made new are to turn away from our former lives and live as obedient children of our Father. This is our lesson in a nutshell; let’s take a closer look. Continue reading

Partnering 2 Remember, Week 5

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

Congratulations on reaching chapter two of your memorization! This may be a milestone for you—you have memorized an entire chapter of the Bible! Way to go! Now, wherever you may be, whether stuck in traffic or folding laundry, you can recite to yourself an entire chapter of the living and abiding word of God. I hope that you are encouraged by your progress to keep going with the rest of the book. Continue reading

Acts of the Apostles, Lesson 5

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By KATHY HORAN|CONTRIBUTOR

As we pick up the storyline of Acts, Chapter 6 presents a conflict in the infant church. It involved the care of widows. There were two groups of Jewish Christians in the church. The Hebraic Jews were from Palestine and spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. The Greek Jews had come from Gentile countries and spoke Greek. Scripture tells us that the Hebraic widows had been taken care of by the church, but the Greek widows were being neglected. The apostles’ solution was to appoint deacons for this mercy ministry, and interestingly enough they appointed all with Greek names. We see the beginning of the Presbyterian Church government. To read more about how the PCA government works today, here is a link to the Book of Church Order. These men were ordained in the local church with congregational approval. The qualifications for this position were they must be of good reputation, full of the Spirit, and full of wisdom. Then, as well as today, this ministry was taken very seriously.

In this chapter, we meet Stephen, who was one of the men chosen by the church to oversee the equitable distribution of food to the needy widows. “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8)”.

Continue reading

Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 4

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9) Continue reading

Acts of the Apostles, Lesson 4

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By KATHY HORAN|CONTRIBUTOR

In Acts 4 and 5 we see exciting times in the infant church. Their numbers were growing, but so was opposition to the Jerusalem Church. Peter and John had been bold in front of the Sanhedrin and this had a vital effect on the church. Members of the church shared what they had with each other, focusing on caring for the local church.

Barnabas enters the picture and would become a familiar figure in the early church. We are given a contrast between Barnabas and Ananias and his wife Sapphira. You can read in chapter 5 the story of this couple’s deceit and their subsequent punishment from God. There is a lesson here for us, we need to take God seriously, he is not to be trifled with. Continue reading

Partnering 2 Remember 1 Peter, week 4

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

We begin this week’s passage, 1 Peter 1:20-25, by again looking back. “He” in verse 20 refers to Christ, as he is mentioned in verse 19. Peter is now telling us that Jesus Christ, whose precious blood ransomed us from our futile ways, was foreknown—fore-loved, fore-ordained, pre-destined (the same word used for us in verse 2) —to be our substitutionary sacrifice before the foundation of the world. There was no “plan B” with God. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God didn’t need to re-think what he had ordained for mankind. Before creation, God knew man would sin and need a savior. Christ was appointed to be our atoning sacrifice in the eternal counsel of the Trinity. Continue reading

Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 3

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

In the third week of our study we come at last to First Peter. The best way to begin our study of this letter is to read the whole thing in one sitting. This is, after all, how its first readers would have treated it. It would have been read in its entirety, out loud, to the assembled congregations of the churches to which it was sent. As we read there are several themes which are repeated throughout the letter. Continue reading