Connecting Point – November 1, 2023

 

Today is called ALL SAINTS DAY in Christian cultures around the world. All Saints' Day, also known as All Hallows' Day, is observed by many professing Christians in November. It is a day to honor all the saints who have lived righteous and holy lives in accordance with Christian teachings. All Saints' Day is part of a broader tradition that includes All Hallows' Eve (Halloween) on October 31st and All Souls' Day on November 2nd.

But the question is, "Who is a Saint"? The Catholic Church and several other Christian denominations teach that Saints are special Christian "stars" who lived holy lives or performed miracles at some time in their lives. But the Bible teaches that every Christian who is striving to live for God is a "saint."

Here are some Scriptures from the New King James Version of the Bible that support that premise.

  • "But Ananias answered, 'Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.'" (Acts 9:13)

  • "Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:27(

  • "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (Revelation 14:12)

In Ephesians 1:1 in the New King James Version we read, "To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus." Apparently there were a good number of "saints" in the Church in Ephesus. And I want you to know there are lots of "saints" in Celebration Church as well.

The word "saint" simply means "set apart ones."

 Again, it's a reference ot Christians who are committed to loving the Lord and living for Him. Ephesians 1:1 in the New Living Translation says,  "I am writing to God's holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus." Are you a faithful follower of Christ Jesus? Do you strive daily to love Him, live for Him and serve Him? If you do, according to the Biblical definition, you are a "saint of God." You have been "set apart by God'' for the purpose of serving Him and making a difference in the world.

So today, on All Saints Day I could introduce myself to others as "Saint Dennis." And you could introduce yourself to others as a Saint, although I don't suggest that you do so. What I do suggest is that you live every day as a "Saint of God." Because when you do, the Lord will bless you and use you to make a difference for good and for God in the world around us.

Speaking of making a difference for good and for God, we are closing out our CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE Spiritual Growth emphasis this week by learning about why we should be "difference-makers", and how we can be "difference-makers." We began CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE with a study about how people choose to either live Natural lives (apart from God), Spiritual lives (being directed and empowered by God's Spirit) or Carnal lives (knowing the Lord but still living by the world's beliefs and values). And we learned from sermons, Life Group studies and daily devotions that to live Spiritual lives we need to: 1) Acknowledge our Struggles, 2) Clean Up our Act, 3) Pray Effectively, 4) Follow God's Direction, 5) Live By Faith, 6) Live Daily in the Power of God's Spirit, and 7) Make a Difference for Good and for God in the World around us. So ask yourself, "How am I doing with applying those principles in my life?" In your Life Group address that same question. And if there are principles that we've learned that you need to keep working on, make it a priority to do so. Because when we implement into our lives these CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE principles that we've learned the past 8 weeks, we will find ourselves living vibrant, victorious lives rather than defeated, discouraged lives. And remember that you can constantly review the sermons, Life Group studies and daily devotions by going to www.celebrationchurch.org/change.

This Sunday at Celebration we begin a new study titled, The Struggle Is Real. Be sure to join us throughout November at our Celebration Campuses as we learn from this study of important Biblical principles that will bring positive and powerful transformations to our lives, circumstances, and relationships. And encourage friends and family members to come with you.

Remember, Jesus Changes Everything,
  
Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
  dennis.watson.96
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