RECAP: CHRIST IS THE ANSWER based on Romans 8:1-11
There are many reasons why people are unsuccessful in completing a New Year’s resolution, but overwhelmingly the greatest reason for failure is a lack of discipline coupled with a lack of accountability. That is why so many start strong, but by the end of January have already given up on their resolutions. But if one has the discipline and someone to keep accountable, coupled with a goal that is worth pursuing, there is a great chance for success.
The same thing is true spiritually. We can make spiritual resolutions to grow in our faith until we are blue in the face, but unless we have discipline and accountability, coupled with that goal, it is easy to quit and give up. After all, that is what the enemy of our soul wants. Even though he has been defeated and has already lost, he deceives us into believing that we can’t be successful, and so we quit. But if we have a specific goal that drives us with discipline and accountability, we can overcome the enemy’s lies and be victorious.
Over the course of this year, we will look at the twelve major spiritual disciplines, as well as there will be a practical exercise each week in the Good News Brief on how you can practice that discipline. But the disciplines work when we have our goal–Christ is our answer!
Paul was abundantly clear in the letter to the Romans that Christ was the answer to it all. In chapter 7, he outlined the struggle between his sinful nature and his desire to do what is right. He asked in 7:24 “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” The answer: “Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our LORD” (Rom 7:25). Then he continued in Romans 8: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Christ is our answer and should be our highest goal. Why? What are the benefits?
- No more condemnation (8:1). Jesus became the penalty for our sins so we do not have to face one. Instead of judgment and a permanent record, Jesus offers us redemption, grace, and a fresh start. If we are in Christ Jesus, if we are living for him and repented of our sins and he is our LORD, we no longer dwell in judgment!
- Spiritual Freedom (8:2). Through Christ, the Spirit has set us free from the law of sin and death. Jesus broke the hold of the power of sin. Our past is our past, and we do not have to dwell in bondage anymore. We don’t have to be haunted by our failures and past mistakes. Sin no longer has mastery over us!
- Life and peace (8:6). The life controlled by the spirit is life and peace. Jesus came so we can have eternal life (John 3:16), but also came so we can have abundant life (John 10:10). He also came so we can live in a state of perfect peace (Isa 26:3). We don’t have to live according to the world’s “normal”–which is really “commonplace”–but according to God’s normal in his Word. The way of the world is drama, but the life controlled by the Spirit is peace and at rest. We can choose what to focus our minds upon!
- Our spirit is alive (8:10-11). Our old person is gone; in Christ we are a new creation! We have been granted newness of life!
Christ is our answer to living! So how do we enact the discipline to overcome and grow spiritually in light of our goal? Through the spiritual disciplines, leading off with the discipline of worship. Worship is defined as “showing honor or reverence to God.” We can do that by offering our whole selves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). We break the power of the enemy through worship! How can we worship?
- Break the sinful nature (8:3-6). The sinful mind is hostile toward God. It cannot please God. We cannot live for the sinful nature and for God simultaneously. We have to intentionally choose to distance ourselves from that which brings us death. Otherwise, it is no different than trying to shove a square peg through a round hole with a fire truck! We have to starve the sinful nature to break its power. The ways of the world will be contrary to the ways of God.
- Set our minds on the Spirit (8:3-9). If we are going to remove something from our lives, we also need to fill our lives with something in its place. That something is the Spirit of God. The more we focus on the spiritual instead of the earthly and allow the Spirit to take control, the stronger our faith will grow. That means we need to change our diet, to fill our senses with spiritual things!
- Access resurrection power (8:10-11). We can let our sinful nature die and live as new creations. And we have spiritual power at our disposal to do so!
Questions for Reflection
1) Is your life characterized by life and peace, or drama? How can you invite the Spirit’s presence on a daily basis?
2) What practical steps can you take to put away the sinful nature?
3) What spiritual practices can you add to your regular diet?
4) Do you need spiritual freedom today? Do you feel the weight of condemnation? Can you allow Jesus to change that?
5) What is your personal spiritual goal for 2023?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the study on the spiritual discipline of Worship with the sermon titled, “Christ the King,” based on Revelation 19:11-21. Epiphany is all about the revelation of the light. How does knowing the end influence how we live? How can we live in worship of our King? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for January 3 – 9
January 3: Luke 7:11-17 How did Jesus demonstrate he was the answer to a widow and son?
January 4: Luke 7:18-35 How did Jesus show John the Baptist he was the answer?
January 5: Luke 19:35-43 How did Jesus show a blind man he was the answer?
January 6: Luke 22:47-53 How did Jesus show the crowd he was different?
January 7: Luke 23:32-43 How did Jesus show a criminal he was the answer?
January 8: Matthew 2:1-12 How do we know Jesus was king?
January 9: Matthew 2:13-23 How did Herod try to remove Jesus so he could not be king?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, January 8–First Sunday Offering for Our Community Place, Breakfast, and communion
Sunday, January 8–Worship Team Meeting @ 12 nn
Sunday, January 8–Church undecorating
Monday, January 9–Timothy Bible Study resumes, 7 pm
Sunday, January 15–Gideons presentation during worship & love offering for Gideons
Wednesday, January 18–Outreach Team @ 7 pm
Thursday, January 19–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
New Year Long Series
We believe in following Jesus. How do we grow in our faith? All year long, we will explore the twelve Spiritual Disciplines. These are spiritual practices with the intention on helping us grow deeper in our faith and relationship with God. Each month, we will focus on a different discipline. For January, we will explore the discipline of worship. And in this section, I will include an exercise you can practice to help with spiritual growth.
The word “worship” comes from a Hebrew term meaning to make oneself low, bow down, and exalt another. To fully worship God, we must take the counsel of John the Baptist: “I must decrease, so he can increase” John 3:30.
One way we can practice this is to write down all of our accomplishments, or things that we have been blessed by in the past year. Then, we declare the list out loud, give God all of the credit for those accomplishments and blessings, and thank God for his goodness. Then, after we do this for the year, once a week do the same thing for that previous week. This will help position ourselves lower and exalt God to his rightful place and help our perspective grow.
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office or leave in the offering plate your birth date so we do not miss anyone!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are in need of both worship leaders and children’s storytellers. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading).
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to the Christian Education Team and let them know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
Sandy Bennington (peace)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Norlen Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Mary M Miller (health)
Savannah Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (recovery)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Tess Southerly (recovery)
Norma Suter (health)
Whitmore family (house)
Grayson Whitmore (recovery)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church