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Sermon Passages: Colossians 1:3-8

Regardless of the things of this world, faith deepens, love increases, hope abounds, and the Gospel advances. That is the power of the Gospel and proof that the Gospel is all we need. Thank you, Mark Prater, for an encouraging reminder of the Gospel growth that happens as we love God, love one another, and love our neighbors.

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Sermon Passages: Acts 2:22-36

At the cross, though Jesus had no sin of his own, the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. Jesus suffered the penalty we each deserve. But then, the power of God raised him! And we celebrate the risen Christ, for there is no salvation without the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That salvation, "God's grace in Christ, received by faith, is the fountain from which everything good flows" (Dennis Johnson). Believe in Christ, and you will be saved.

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Sermon Passages: Malachi 3:6-12

Giving is part of our worship. Everything belongs to him, yet he asks us to return a mere tithe of what he gives, and he even promises to bless us as we give back what he has provided. Then God uses mightily our meager offering—to provide for the needs of the church, the needs of the church body, and the needs of those he has called to preach and teach and care for his church.

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Sermon Passages: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

We are called to humbly set forth the simple truth: 1) We are sinners in need of a savior. 2) Jesus is that savior, dying in our place and then rising again. 3) To be saved we must turn and trust in Christ, in the salvation he alone accomplished for us. Sharing the gospel need not be complicated. Simply share the truth and let the power of God do the work to save.

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The Word of God is clear: a child in the womb is a person already, fashioned by God, fearfully and wonderfully made, even able to leap for joy. And so we stand our ground in the fight for the sanctity of life—fighting with compassion, with honor, with wisdom and truth, with endurance, and with prayer.

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Sermon Passages: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11

Sin and evil are real, and pain really happens, but we must remember that we are sinners ourselves and we have been forgiven an incalculable debt. Christians are called to forgive one another as God, in Christ, forgave us. When we forgive someone who has sinned against us, we are making a proclamation of the Gospel that speaks loud and clear! The Gospel must inform how we regard people who sin against us. Forgiving others is an expression of the power of the Gospel in our lives and through us to other people as well. Consequences and punishment are just, but then our heart should be to forgive. That forgiveness must include real love - the sacrificial, agape love we have received from Christ. Real love means we are called not merely to forgive, but even to comfort the repentant heart so that our brother or sister might be restored to fellowship and walk in joy just as we, in Christ, are forgiven, comforted, and joyfully restored. We fulfill our calling when we forgive sinners and extend our love.