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Like Joseph, the church is called to be a fruitful vine, bearing fruit within our culture and amongst the nations. We may feel forgotten in Lockdown, but God has no more forgotten us than he forgot Joseph in prison. Whilst in prison, Joseph showed God’s love when he noticed the sadness of his fellow prisoners, he continued to believe in the supernatural, and he continued to believe in the sovereignty of God.
We have been justified by faith. This is a done deal, and three facts follow from this: We have peace with God (not just a feeling, but reconciliation); we stand in grace (we are not just saved by grace but we live by grace); and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
On Easter Sunday, Mary, Peter and John found the stone rolled from Jesus’ tomb, not so that he could get out but so that they could see he was no longer there. We should stop, look and listen, to enable us to believe. If we have lost our focus, it’s time to focus again on Jesus.
The problem is that we are not basically good people who sometimes do wrong things but that we are utterly rebellious against God and deserve to die. The price paid was Jesus, who took upon himself all our sin and died on the cross. Our response is to praise God.
Peter wants to remind us of our secure position in Christ, from which we need never fall so long as we continue to trust in him. He also urges us to grow in grace, which we can do by focusing on Jesus and fixing our thoughts on him, by making a list of everything he has done in our lives and thanking him for it, by seeing suffering and hardship as an opportunity to depend on God, and by talking to God about everything on good days and bad days.
The church is urged to have a unity that derives first of all from a right understanding of the cross. The cross shows us that Spiritual leadership doesn’t involve being at the top of a pyramid but at the bottom. Leaders are the servants of Christ, the stewards of the mysteries of God, the scum of the earth, and father-like.
The temple, or sanctuary, is where God’s presence is. Jesus is the ultimate temple of God. The church corporately is also God’s temple, as are our individual bodies. Ananias and Sapphira (in Acts 5) and Simon the sorcerer (in Acts 8) are examples where people had to be dealt with harshly by God because they were in effect destroying God’s temple.
There was a real and serious problem in the church where vulnerable people were going hungry. The leaders recognise the problem, but they also recognise their own limitations, so they delegate responsibly to others.
God’s power works through weakness - he work in weak people with a weak message preached by weak messengers. Hence we should boast in God, not in ourselves. We should think of our time of worship as a time of boasting in God.
Paul desired to see the church holy and united, but there was a problem of division in the church at Corinth. Paul’s response is to appeal to them in the name of Christ, to encourage them to fix their eyes on Jesus, and to draw their attention to the Cross and to the one who died for us.
Great darkness covered the land when Jesus was born. Herod was an example of this. The religious people, who knew the Bible, made no effort to search for the Messiah. We must not fix our eyes on the evil that surrounds us, but on Jesus.