A Simple Letter of Encouragement

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I trust that you and your family enjoyed a Happy and blessed New Year’s day! I pray that God’s blessings will begin to come upon you and overtake you and your family this year, as you draw closer to Him in faith by walking with Him in the light of His written word! Each year I renew my own commitment to walk with God in the love of Christ through the power of His written Word, and to help our Church to collectively use our faith intentionally in our daily living to advance the cause of Christ together.

Matthew 7:24-27

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

 This is of course the foundation passage that House on the Rock Christian Fellowship is built on.  In this passage, Jesus was not just addressing those who were under the Law. He said “everyone” who hears His words (including this teaching from the Sermon on the Mount) and keeps walking in them, putting them into practice every day, is like a wise (sensible, prudent, thinking) person who has built their house on solid rock. In no other way, would His Church ever be on solid enough ground to bless cities and disciple nations.

Building on the solid rock foundation of a right relationship with Christ, obviously begins with being saved by grace through faith, and to continue living that way. Continuing to live by faith in Him requires the Church to depend upon His written Word and the guidance of his Holy Spirit. As we continue living in the light His written Word we are proving be His disciples, and we will increasingly come to know the truth, and His truth progressively sets us free, and keeps us free (John 8:31, 32)! It takes a freed people to help set others free, and a unified Church following in the way of Christ and His apostles to make disciples.

The Church can weather any storm that comes by practicing God’s written Word

 The storm pictured in Matthew 7:25, in the original Greek, is one with torrential rains carrying hurricane force winds. This was common during the winters in Palestine. The rushing waters from the storm, running down the mountains into the valley below, could easily sweep away everything in its path. This is symbolic of the trials of life that come to all of us, as well as all attacks from the kingdom of darkness. His Church, moving forward together depending on His word in faith, will successfully stand firm amid such storms.

 All Believers have faith

We have all been given a measure of faith to work with (Romans 12:3-5). The only difference between us and all the apostles is the development of the faith we’re walking in. Peter encourages all believers to grow in their faith by desiring the milk of God’s word in his first letter: 1 Peter 2:1-3 “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Peter also said that believers have all received the same faith as they had: 2 Peter 1:1 “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ”

Growth comes from walking closely with God practicing the basic truths in His Word

Genuine Christian maturity doesn’t come automatically with the passing of time. Many believers remain immature because they do not live in the light of God’s written word. Look at Hebrews 5:11-14. At a time when these believers were under all kinds of pressure, they were second guessing the message of Christ, and stunted in their growth: “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Faith Grows by using it

Faith grows and matures by reason of use. We are told to feed (add to) our faith the truth from God’s written word. 2 Peter 1:3-8 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Church Grows by every Member doing their Part

Keep in mind that Jesus is the pioneer and developer our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It’s HIS FAITH to begin with! Yet, It takes each member growing and maturing in the grace and knowledge of Christ to have the entire body of believers maturing – “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:13-16 

Make this a year to draw closer to God, use your gifts and talents to help build up your Church when and where you’re asked to, and May you, your family, and your local Church Be Blessed and Be Well in 2017!

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