Good morning and welcome to Bolton Community Church!

I am so thankful that you are joining us this morning.  If you need anything grab one of our NEXTGEN ushers to assist you.  There are refreshments in the Connections Cafe in the next room and bibles are located underneath the chairs.  We have a children’s church available for those in grades pre K to 5th grade before the morning message.  I hope that you will be able to grow deeper in your faith and walk away today feeling blessed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at work today.

Thanks again for coming – Pastor Scotty.

 


Our Commitment To God Outside Our Comfort Zone

We have been seeing how Nehemiah is being faithful to God and rebuilding not only the wall but also their faith.  For a chapter-by-chapter summary click here:  The Book Of Nehemiah Summary By Chapter (1-13): Concise And Comprehensive – Ever Growing Christians

This week we will be looking at Chapters 10 and 11 together.  To read those verses turn to page # 484 in the leather bibles and page # 561 in the hardcover ones.  Chapter 10 explains whose names are on the firm covenant document.  In Nehemiah 9:38 says “Because of all this ‘we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests.”  Chapter 10 verses 1 through 27 starts to list those names that are on the seal.  .https://www.bible.com/bible/59/NEH.10.ESV

The list of those who signed and sealed the pledge to obey God included Nehemiah, who had been granted the position of Governor, plus 22 priests, 17 Levites, and 44 leaders.  God brought all these influential people together so they could encourage one another to stick to their convictions.  If one Levite began to weaken, a priest might inspire him to carry on.  If the Governor became downhearted, a leader could come alongside to motivate and invigorate him.  God had provided all the resources they needed to fulfill their obligations to him, to get their community back on track.

Last week we spoke in order to have TRUE CHANGE or spiritual renewal can only happen when 3 things are present:

 

Day 1

Source of Joy

Read: John 15:9-17

Background:

In John 15:9-17, Jesus speaks to His disciples about the importance of abiding in His love. He emphasizes the inseparable connection between abiding in His love and experiencing true joy. Jesus highlights that His love for us is the source of our joy and that abiding in Him enables us to bear lasting fruit.

Key Words:

  1. Abide (Strong’s G3306): To remain, dwell, or stay closely connected. Jesus urges His disciples to abide in His love, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a deep, intimate relationship with Him.
  2. Joy (Strong’s G5479): Gladness, delight, or rejoicing. Jesus promises His disciples that His joy will be in them and that their joy will be complete, pointing to the fullness of joy found in Him.

Theological Truths:

  1. Source of Joy: Jesus teaches that His love for us is the foundation of our joy. As we abide in His love, we experience the overflowing joy that comes from being intimately connected to Him (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Completeness in Christ: Jesus assures His disciples that His joy in them will lead to their joy being complete. This highlights the transformative power of abiding in Christ, which brings about a deep and lasting joy that surpasses circumstances (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on Jesus’ invitation to abide in His love in John 15:9-17. How does abiding in Christ’s love contribute to experiencing true joy in your life?

  2. Consider the promise of Jesus’ joy being in you and your joy being complete (John 15:11). How does this understanding of joy differ from worldly happiness? How can you cultivate this deep joy through abiding in Christ?

  3. Meditate on the inseparable connection between abiding in Christ and bearing lasting fruit (John 15:16). How does the fruitfulness of your life reflect your relationship with Christ and the joy found in Him?

Application:

Today, commit to abiding in Christ’s love as the source of your joy. Spend time in prayer, reflecting on His love for you and the joy He promises to those who remain connected to Him. Seek to cultivate a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus, knowing that true and lasting joy is found in Him alone. As you abide in His love, allow His joy to fill your heart and overflow into every aspect of your life.

 

Day 2

Sorrow Turned to Joy

Read: John 16:16-24

Background:

In John 16:16-24, Jesus speaks to His disciples about His impending departure and the sorrow they will experience. He uses the analogy of a woman in labor, illustrating how their sorrow will turn to rejoicing when they see Him again. Jesus assures them that although they will grieve at His departure, their grief will ultimately be transformed into rejoicing when they are reunited with Him.

Key Words:

  1. Sorrow (Strong’s G3077): Grief, distress, or sadness. Jesus acknowledges that His disciples will experience sorrow due to His departure but promises that their sorrow will be temporary.
  2. Rejoicing (Strong’s G5463): Joyful exultation, gladness, or celebration. Jesus assures His disciples that their sorrow will be replaced by rejoicing when they see Him again, emphasizing the transformative power of His presence.

Theological Truths:

  1. Temporary Sorrow, Eternal Rejoicing: Jesus teaches His disciples that while they will experience temporary sorrow at His departure, their sorrow will ultimately be transformed into eternal rejoicing when they are reunited with Him. This highlights the redemptive nature of Christ’s work, where He turns mourning into dancing and sorrow into rejoicing (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Hope in Christ’s Return: Jesus encourages His disciples to endure temporary sorrow with the hope of future rejoicing when they see Him again. This underscores the importance of looking forward to Christ’s second coming as the ultimate source of rejoicing and fulfillment (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on Jesus’ analogy of sorrow turning to rejoicing in John 16:16-24. How does this illustration resonate with your own experiences of grief and joy in life?

  2. Consider the temporary nature of sorrow in light of the eternal rejoicing promised by Jesus. How does the hope of Christ’s return impact your perspective on suffering and trials?

  3. Meditate on the transformative power of Christ’s presence in turning sorrow into rejoicing. How can you trust in His promises and find hope in the midst of difficult circumstances?

Application:

Today, embrace the truth that sorrow is temporary, but rejoicing in Christ is eternal. Spend time in prayer, surrendering your sorrows and burdens to Jesus, knowing that He is able to turn your mourning into dancing. Trust in His promise of future rejoicing when you are reunited with Him in His glorious presence. As you await His return, choose to live with hope and anticipation, knowing that He is faithful to fulfill all His promises and bring everlasting rejoicing to those who belong to Him.

Day 3:

Joy in Trials

Read: James 1:1-12

Background:

James, the half-brother of Jesus and a leader in the early Christian church, addresses his letter to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations. In the opening verses of his letter, James encourages believers to consider it pure joy when they face trials of various kinds because these trials produce perseverance, leading to maturity and completeness in their faith.

Key Words:

  1. Trials (Strong’s G3986): Testing or trials that challenge one’s faith or character. James emphasizes the inevitability of trials in the Christian life and encourages believers to embrace them with joy, knowing that God uses trials to refine and strengthen their faith.
  2. Steadfastness (Strong’s G5281): Endurance, perseverance, or steadfastness in the face of trials and difficulties. James highlights the importance of remaining steadfast in faith during trials, as this leads to spiritual maturity and completeness.

Theological Truths:

  1. Purpose of Trials: James teaches that trials are not random occurrences but have a divine purpose in the lives of believers. God allows trials to test and refine their faith, producing endurance and character as they trust in Him amidst difficulties (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Perseverance and Maturity: James highlights the connection between trials, perseverance, and maturity in the Christian faith. As believers endure trials with joy, their faith is strengthened, leading to greater maturity and completeness in Christ (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on James’ exhortation to consider trials as sources of joy. How does this perspective challenge your understanding of suffering and adversity in the Christian life?

  2. Consider the role of trials in shaping your faith and character. In what ways have you experienced growth and maturity through facing various trials and challenges?

  3. Meditate on the promise of God’s wisdom and provision in the midst of trials. How can you trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness, even when facing difficulties that seem overwhelming?

Application:

Today, embrace the truth that trials have a purpose in your life as a believer. Instead of viewing trials as obstacles to joy, choose to see them as opportunities for growth and refinement in your faith. Ask God for the wisdom to endure trials with joy, knowing that He is working all things together for your good and His glory. As you face trials, rely on God’s strength and grace to persevere, trusting in His promises and resting in His unfailing love.

Day 4

Joy in God’s Presence

Read: Psalm 16

Background:

Psalm 16 is attributed to David and is a beautiful expression of trust and dependence on God. In this psalm, David declares his refuge in God alone, acknowledging Him as his Lord and the source of all blessings. He finds joy and security in God’s presence and commits his future into His hands.

Key Words:

  1. Delight (Strong’s H6026): To take pleasure or find joy in something. In Psalm 16:11, David speaks of the fullness of joy and eternal pleasures found in God’s presence, highlighting the deep satisfaction and contentment that believers experience when they abide in Him.
  2. Presence (Strong’s H6440): The face, presence, or nearness of someone. In Psalm 16, David acknowledges God’s presence as the source of his security and joy, emphasizing the intimate relationship believers have with God and the comfort found in His constant companionship.

Theological Truths:

  1. Joy in God’s Presence: David’s declaration of finding fullness of joy in God’s presence underscores the believer’s experience of deep and lasting joy when they abide in communion with Him. This joy surpasses temporal circumstances and is rooted in the unchanging character of God, who delights in His children (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Security in God’s Presence: As David expresses his confidence in God as his refuge and portion, believers are reminded of the safety and protection found in a relationship with God. In times of trial and adversity, God provides a secure foundation and an unshakable hope for those who trust in Him (The Bible Knowledge Commentary).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on David’s declaration of finding fullness of joy in God’s presence. How does this concept of joy differ from worldly pleasures or temporary happiness?

  2. Consider the significance of God being described as a refuge and portion. How does trusting in God’s sovereignty and provision bring security and peace in times of trouble?

  3. Meditate on your own experience of finding joy and security in God’s presence. In what ways has abiding in God’s Word and spending time in prayer deepened your relationship with Him and brought assurance in difficult seasons?

Application:

Today, take time to meditate on Psalm 16 and reflect on the truths it presents about finding joy and security in God’s presence. Consider areas of your life where you may be seeking fulfillment or security apart from God and surrender them to Him. Spend intentional time in prayer, seeking refuge in God’s presence and allowing His Word to renew your mind and strengthen your faith. As you delight in God’s presence and trust in His provision, allow His joy to fill your heart and His peace to guard your mind, knowing that He is your refuge and portion both now and forevermore.

Day 5

Rejoicing in the Found

Read:  Luke 15

Background:

Luke 15 contains three parables spoken by Jesus: the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. Each parable illustrates the joy of God and the celebration in heaven over the repentance of a sinner. In these stories, Jesus emphasizes God’s relentless pursuit of those who are lost and His boundless love for each individual.

Key Words:

  1. Lost (Strong’s G622): To be astray, wandering, or separated from the right way. In Luke 15, the parables depict individuals who are lost in different ways: a sheep that strays from the flock, a coin that is misplaced, and a son who rebels and squanders his inheritance. These illustrations emphasize the universal need for redemption and the compassion of God towards those who are lost.
  2. Found (Strong’s G2147): To discover, to come upon something that was previously lost or hidden. In Luke 15, Jesus describes the joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, highlighting the moment of discovery and restoration when the lost is found.

Theological Truths:

  1. God’s Pursuit of the Lost:  In Luke 15, Jesus portrays God as the Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to search for the one lost sheep, the Woman who diligently seeks the lost coin, and the Father who eagerly awaits the return of his wayward son. These parables reveal God’s compassionate heart and His unwavering commitment to seeking and saving the lost (Grudem, Systematic Theology).
  1. Repentance and Restoration: Through the parables in Luke 15, Jesus illustrates the transformative power of repentance and the joyous response of heaven when a sinner turns back to God. The stories of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son demonstrate God’s eagerness to forgive and restore those who repent, highlighting His boundless grace and mercy towards humanity (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son in Luke 15. What do these stories reveal about God’s character and His attitude towards those who are lost?

  2. Consider the joy in heaven over the repentance of a single sinner. How does this concept of rejoicing in heaven challenge your perspective on the value of each individual in God’s eyes?

  3. Meditate on the theme of repentance and restoration in Luke 15. In what areas of your life do you need to turn back to God and experience His forgiveness and restoration?

Application:

Today, take time to read and reflect on Luke 15, paying attention to the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. Consider the ways in which you may have strayed from God’s path and how He is inviting you to return to Him in repentance. Spend time in prayer, confessing any sins or areas of disobedience, and surrendering them to God’s grace and mercy. As you experience God’s forgiveness and restoration, rejoice in His love and join in the celebration in heaven over the found being restored.

Congregational Singing

There is a Peace

Welcome & Call to Worship

Isaiah 40:28-32

Congregational Singing

Jesus Over Everything

Jesus We Love You

Catechism

Question 7: What does the law of God require?

Kingdom Prayer

Kingdom

Church

People

Congregational Singing

Cornerstone

Colossians 2:6-8: Walk This Way

I want to become a mature disciple – how do I do that? I don’t want to be deceived by enticing
arguments – how do I make sure that doesn’t happen? In this text, Paul gives some of the most
beautiful and simple pictures of a growing Christian. From what they have received in the past, to
how they must walk in the present, and how to be on guard in the future. Let’s learn obedience and
unmask the tools of the enemy who wants to hold you hostage this morning.

In this text we see:
The two basic postures of the growing Christian …

1. Gospel Walking [v6-7]

2. Guarded Watching [v8]

Reflective Singing

Benediction & Direction into Spiritual Conversation

* For Spiritual Conversations – What do you admire in mature Christians you have observed as to how
they walk out their faith? What have you observed about how they guard against being taken captive
by lies?

Ephesians 4:1-16 Walking in Christ: Living Out Our New Identity

V.1 Because we are prisoners of Jesus, Paul then urges that we live or walk a certain way that will result in maturity and growth. The question is: as Christians, how do we walk/live?

1. Pattern: Your spiritual walk reveals a lot. How does one walk? V.1 literally walk worthy of the calling/vocation we received. The pattern is a worthy manner balanced by calling.

2. Path: V.2 Where you walk is critical.  Eph. 5:1-2 Walk in love as Christ loved and gave himself for us. Ephesians 5:15 Walk carefully. 

a. Humility – Greek combination – low mind (You aren’t thinking of yourself).

b. Gentleness – Strength under control. Not driven by anger.

c. Patience – over time. longsuffering.

d. Bearing with one another – Putting up with the imperfections of the other.

V.2 is the chain of characteristics of a worthy walk that precedes building unity (v.3).

3. Priority: V.3 Make every effort. How? Based on God’s word, not my opinion or feelings. v.4-6 What we share in common is far greater than our differences.

4. Posture: What is our spiritual posture? V.7 The only way to walk out any relationship leading to unity over time is with a posture of grace.

V.8-11 Jesus through his death, set the captives free and distributes spiritual gifts to his people:

a. Apostles – sent ones. Those that establish pioneering work.

b. Prophets – those giving divine insight and revelation of God’s word.

c. Evangelists – those who are especially gifted in giving the gospel.

d. Pastor-Teacher – Most likely one office with two descriptors. Shepherds.

5. Purpose: Walking always has a goal.

V. 12 leaders aren’t to do the work, they are to equip the saints for 2 reasons. 1. The work of the ministry 2. So the body would be built up and grow.

V.13-16 with ultimate goal of being mature, looking more like Jesus, our Lord.

Summary: To walk according to the pattern and path of God, not my own, with a priority, which results in a great posture so that I can now get equipped, mended and fulfill my individual purpose of my high calling until together we reach the end goal of being solid, mature people working under the headship of our Lord Jesus without being emotionally tossed all over the place.

Grow Group Questions:

  1. We are saved by grace through faith, yet 1 John says there will be evidence by action. Do you have a “pattern” of walking in “balance” with your high calling and inheritance? What areas in v.2 don’t match up in my life? Why?
  2. Why is biblical humility so important? How can we cultivate it?
  3. Why is unity among believers so important? Am I divided with anyone that I need to “make every effort” to preserve unity with? Are there ever conditions on which we should divide?
  4. What does my spiritual walking pattern (gait) say about my life?
  5. What prevents us from “growing mature”, and having unity according to these verse?

 

As we face this election remember:

1. God is our .

2. God is in .

3. God’s will .

Todd Huff – Host of The Todd Huff Show

How to vote:

Clarify (Scripture)

Be & seek

Listen to

1 Timothy 2:1-4 NLT I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.

Ephesians 4:2-4 NLT Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

Ephesians 2:13-16 – But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

Jesus Reconciles Us

  • How does Jesus reconcile us?
  • Who does Jesus reconcile us to?

Because we are reconciled, we belong…

  • to God’s people
  • to God’s promise
  • in God’s peace
  • in God’s presence
  • in God’s place

Ephesians 2:11-12 – Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Ephesians 2:17-22 – And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

The same Spirit that allows for speaking in tongues and who’s presence changes the atmosphere does something very simple to put into words- He goes with us. When you’ve given your life to God and been baptized the Holy Spirit takes up personal residence in your life.. He moves in and starts to remove other tenants that are taking up space.

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Paraclete or Parakletos: One who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate. It’s one called to another side specifically for the purpose of helping and aiding.

 

What does a good helper look like?

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1 Corinthians 12:4

Now there are a varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the for the common good.

 

Types of Gifts

word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing

 the effecting of miracles, prophecy, the distinguishing of spirits,

various kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.

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1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NASB

What does He do as The Helper?

John 14:26 NASB

What is He teaching and reminding us?

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Just what we read in verse 17:

”He is the Holy Spirit, who!… The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.“

John 14:17 NLT

He is our counselor.

He advocates for us and with us.

The role of a counselor is to assist someone to reach the optimal level of functionality by resolving negative patterns, prevention, rehabilitation, and to improve the quality of life. He counsels in life management. His goal is lead us in the right direction.

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The Bible says that he comes to -which means what we’re doing on our own isn’t going to work. It’s never going to fit! Not if we desire for the plan God has for us. 

He our lives with more than just PRINCIPLES. He gives us POWER.  We’ve been empowered. 

It was never God‘s expectation that we, his people, carry out HIS principles without HIS power.  God‘s principles seem like mountains of impossibilities without HIS power.

Luke 6:27-31 NLT

He sent us HELP. He counsels us to right judgement. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives by the values of Jesus.

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He is the Spirit of Truth!

John 15:26-27 NASB

Holy Spirit: Our Helper & Counselor 

Ephesians 2:19-22

Ephesians 2:11

Galatians 5:6

Ephesians 2:12

Ephesians 2:11-12

Ephesians 2:13-17

Ephesians 2:13

Romans 5:1

Ephesians 2:14-15

Colossians 3:11

Colossians 1:21-22

Ephesians 2:13-17

Ephesians 2:18-22

Romans 9:8

Ephesians 2:18-22

We Are Witnesses

Acts 3:1-16

Why be a witness for Jesus?

1. We have been GIVEN something to give away.

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2. It brings GLORY to God.

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3. It increases our JOY.

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How do we do it?

1. Stay .

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2. “ what is put in front of you.”

3. Share your .

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  • God’s against His people.  Is. 1:2-4
    • They were .  Is. 1:11-13

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    • They were .  Is. 1:23

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    • They committed .  Is. 1:29

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  • God’s call to .
    • To to do evil.  Is. 1:16

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    • To walk in a .  Is. 1:17

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  • God’s invitation to .  Is. 1:18-20

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  • God’s for those who repent.  Is. 1:27-28

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