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Pray With Us

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By: Joel Polk

This past Sunday was very special for our church family. In both services, we gathered in groups to pray for how we believe God is leading us. We focused on five things that we are asking God for as a church:

1) To Be Sacrificially Diverse: Revelation 7:9-10
2) To Intentionally Multiply: Matthew 28:18-20
3) To Be Involved In Doing Justice: Micah 6:8
4) To Be Theologically Healthy: 1 Timothy 4:16
5) Spirit-Filled Revival: Ephesians 5:15-21

We want you to continue to pray with us over the coming weeks and months for these things. Please use these prayer points and the accompanying Scripture to focus your time with God.

1) Sacrificially Diverse

After this, I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!

Revelation 7:9-10

Prayer Points

1) Help us see racial prejudice in ourselves and repent.

2) Help us see racial injustice in our city and act.

3) Prepare us to sacrifice to make our church diverse and unified in Christ.

2) Intentionally Multiply

18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

Prayer Points

1) Help me make disciples in my neighborhood and friend-group.

2) Help me make disciples in my workplace, campus, and classroom.

3) Help me make disciples in my church.

3) Doing Justice

Mankind, he has told each of you what is good
and what it is the Lord requires of you:
to act justly,
to love faithfulness,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Prayer Points

1) Open our eyes to see injustice in our city and our hearts to care about it.

2) Show us what more we can do to help current justice efforts in our city: Bradley Academy, Journey Home, Portico, Greenhouse Ministries, etc.

3) Give us a clear direction and faith to serve the marginalized.

4) Theologically Healthy

Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Timothy 4:16

Prayer Points

1) Help us repent of our indifference toward your Scripture.

2) Make us unafraid to read the Scripture, ask questions, and engage our doubts.

3) Use this church, our community groups, our elders, and each other to help us believe right things about you, God.

5) Spirit-Filled Revival

15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit: 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-21

Prayer Points

1) Will you show us how we are quenching your Spirit with our sin and move us to repent?

2) Will you make us sensitive to your Spirit?

3) Will you bring Spirit-filled revival in our church and our city?

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Soteriology 101: 5 Common Questions About the Doctrine of Salvation

 

By Joel Polk

Soteriology is the study of the doctrine of salvation. This doctrine is very much at the core of who we are and what we teach at City Church. Though there are tons of ways to talk about this deep and vast doctrine, I want to keep it simple here and focus on 5 common questions people have about salvation. OK—it’s not quite Soteriology 101, but hopefully these questions and the answers to them will help prepare you to talk to others about salvation and similarly help you frame what Christ has done for you personally. 

Why do we need to be saved?

City Church we believe that apart from Christ’s redeeming work on the cross, our sin—our rebellion against God—alienates us from our Creator, both in the present and in eternity. This alienation serves as the greatest punishment of all—eternal separation from God in Hell (Gen. 3; Matt. 25:46; Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Rev. 19-22).

So why do we need to be saved? What are we saved from? We need to be saved in order to be reconciled to this great God. It’s sin’s power, death, and Hell that we need saving from. It’s the useless struggles and striving for perfection that we need saving from. Our only hope is the undeserved love of this very same God to whom we stand condemned.

How do we become saved?

This undeserved love of God is what we call the gospel—the good news of Jesus Christ. Since death is the punishment for sin, God sent His son to Earth to become a man and die in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin, and then to bring us back into right relationship with Him. Through the perfect, sinless Christ, God credits all of His righteousness to us and remembers our sin no more (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 8:12).

So how are we saved? We are saved by God’s grace—not by our good works or our best behavior—through our faith in Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross (Eph. 2:8-9). God extends to us Christ’s righteousness, without any merit of our own, when we repent—the turning away from our sins—and placing our faith in His atoning work on our behalf by the power of the Holy Spirit. This faith is the act of recognizing the truth found in God’s Word, placing our trust in God, and resting in Him alone for salvation.

What’s the deal with justification, sanctification, and glorification?

Justification, sanctification, and glorification are the three tenses of salvation: we have been saved (justification), we are being saved (sanctification), and we will be saved (glorification).

  • Justification is our declared righteousness before God because of Christ’s righteousness and resurrection for us.
  • Sanctification is the ongoing and growing work of righteousness in our life made possible by the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
  • Glorification is the culmination of sanctification in that it is the final and ultimate removal of sin at Christ’s second coming.

Can we lose our salvation?

No. Paul tells us Ephesians 1:13-14 that we are “sealed by the Holy Spirit.” This means that Christ guarantees that he will complete the work he started when we placed our faith in him (Phil. 1:6). If we can do nothing to gain God’s grace, then we can do nothing to lose it. God makes us new creations in Christ, and promises that we won't become old creations ever again (2 Cor. 5:17). Christ also says in John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.” This is a scriptural promise and should give us peace, knowing that God’s love will never leave us, regardless of how much we sin. This is yet another reason why the gospel is good news.

What’s the value of the gospel beyond our salvation?   

The gospel not only has the power to bring about our justification, but it can also bring about great change everyday afterward—radically affecting the way we respond to life’s temptations and to the world around us (1 Cor. 10:13). I hope I’m not stating the obvious, but this is the kind of thing Christians should be thankful for and act on. Sanctification, the ongoing process of becoming more like Christ, is a gift of God that we rest in and work toward everyday (Rom. 7; Phil. 2:12).

When you have the gospel at the forefront of your mind—constantly considering Christ’s work on your behalf—you’ll think differently. You’ll see the world differently. You’ll respond to life’s circumstances differently (Rom. 12:2). This gospel filter—Jesus giving us His life we couldn’t possibly live and dying a death we all deserved to die—is the filter through which we should process all of life. This will radically change lives. It will radically change you. The gospel has this kind of power. The power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that can restore broken relationship, rescue individuals from the strongest grip of sin, and bring comfort and healing in the midst of suffering (Rom. 8:11).

Remember the gospel and the life-changing power it holds.

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