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The Genealogy of Jesus Christ – Matthew 1:1-17

Today is Monday, May 11, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 47

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.
How are you today?

Announcements:

I want to give a shout out to Destry Hergret for the new film he is working on called: DAYBREAK. I would encourage you to watch on YouTube. The URL is attached: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn0RCz7tS-M

Men’s Bible Study – Friday night at 7:00 P.M. at the Church.

Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper – https://youtu.be/S-J5SqB86LQ

Today in the News:

USA TODAY – White House faces its own outbreak – President Trump’s team is scrambling to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the West Wing after two staff members tested positive. Trump and Mike Pence are being tested daily, and three top officials, including Dr. Anhony Fauci, are self-isolating.

REUTERS – More details emerged about a rare syndrome that’s affecting kids and is believed to be linked to COVID-19. New York governor Andrew Cuomo said its shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, and three children have now died from it.

THE WASHINGTON POST – Georgia asked the justice department to investigate the handling of Ahmaud Arbery’s case. Local officials wanted more than two months to make arrests – and did so only after footage of the unarmed black 25-year-old being fatally shot by two white men went viral.

Bible Quiz – Challenge Your Bible Knowledge

Q: What four books tell about Jesus life on Earth?
A: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

Q: Which book did Jesus directly write?
A: None

Q: What is the longest book in the Bible?
A: Psalms

True or False: David wrote the entire book of Psalms.
False: The Psalms are a collection by many writers, but David contributed the most.

Q: What is the shortest book in the Bible?
A: 3 John

Q: How many books are in the Bible? 
A: 66

Q: How many books in the Old Testament?
A: 39 books in the OT

Q: How many books in the New Testament?
A: 27 books in the NT

Q: Which NT book has Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount?
A: Matthew

Pause for Prayer:

  • Great Worship Service for Mother’s Day
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • People working through COVID-19
  • Lowana LaBolle
  • Pastor/Deacon meeting
  • Men’s Bible Study start up
  • Summer activities

New Study – The Gospel of Matthew

Author – Matthew (Levi) one of the 12 apostles (Mark 2:14). He was a Roman tax collector (Matthew 10:3). When Jesus called him, he left all to follow Christ (Luke 5:27-28). He made a great feat for Christ and invited sinners and tax-collectors (Luke 5:29).

Date: A.D. 60

Theme: Jesus is King

Written to whom: It was written to the Jews. There are over 60 references to the Jewish prophecies an about 40 quotations from the O.T.

Key Word: Fulfilled is repeated frequently. Kingdom appears fifty times. Kingdom of heaven is used 30 times.

Key Verses: Matthew 16:16-19 Peter’s Great Confession that Jesus is the Christ.

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Matthew 1:1-17,

 

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.

David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. 11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. 14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. 15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.

I want to have a word with you about The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

This section of Scripture has been called, Jesus’ Tree of Life

Here in Matthew we discover that Jesus’ genealogy is traced from David the King (verse 1) all the way down to Joseph, the husband of Mary (v. 16).

Next we discover that there are three sections of genealogy traced here in Matthew 1:1-17:

  1. From Abraham to David = 14 generations
  2. From David until the captivity in Babylon = 14 generations
  3. From the Babylon captivity to until Christ = 14 generations

The grand total of the number of generations we are considering in these first seventeen verses are 42 generations.

Key passages to consider:

  1. Ruth 4:18-22
  2. I Chron. 2:1-15
  3. Luke 3:23-38

Don’t miss the historical information shared in this section of Scripture:

  1. The Calling of Abraham – Gen. 12
  2. The Anointing of King David – 2 Sam. 2
  3. The Babylonian Captivity – Jer. 25

Verse 1 – Jesus Christ is called: Son of David, Son of Abraham

Abraham – Genesis 12:1-3

Verse 2 – Abraham’s offspring – Isaac (he waited for this son for twenty-five years) – Jacob – 12 sons of Israel. Note that Judah is mentioned here and his brothers. Jesus Christ came through the line of Judah.

The first section takes the history down to David. David was the man who welded Israel into a nation and made the Jews a power in the world. The first section takes the story down to the rise of Israel’s greatest king.

Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon.

The story of Tamar is found in Genesis 38. Tamar was a deliberate seducer and an adulteress. Perez and Zerah were twins.

Verse 5-6 – Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king, David the King begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

There are four women listed in these verses:

  1. Tamar – Genesis 38
  2. Rahab – Joshua 2 (The Canaanite harlot in Jericho)
  3. Ruth – Ruth 1-4 (A Moabite woman)
  4. Bathsheba – 2 Samuel 11:1-12:23 (Adultery and murder)

Women where are not normally mentioned in genealogies, but these are not just your average everyday woman. No, the Bible has quite the story about these two women.

Verse 7-11 Here we have the names of the Kings of Judah. Judah had 20 Kings – 12 were Bad and 8 were Good.

Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. 11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

  • Rehoboam – 1 Kings 11-14 – (Bad) It was this son that caused Judah and Israel to split.
  • Abijah – 1 Kings 14-15 (Bad)
  • Asa – 1 Kings 15 (Good)
  • Jehoshaphat – 1 Kings 22 (Good)
  • Joram or Jehoram – 2 Kings 8 (Bad)
  • Uzziah or Azariah – 2 Kings 15 (Good)
  • Jotham – 2 Kings 15 (Good)
  • Ahaz or Ahaziah – 2 Kings 16 (Bad)
  • Hezekiah – 2 Kings 18-20 (Good)
  • Manasseh – 2 Kings 21 (Bad)
  • Amon – 2 Kings 21 (Bad)
  • Josiah – 2 Kings 21-23 (Good)
  • Jeconiah – 2 Kings 23 (Bad)

Verse 11 – Israel was carried off into the Babylon captivity. It lasted 70 years.

This second section takes the story down to the exile to Babylon. It is the section which tells of the nation’s shame, tragedy and disaster.

Verse 12 15 – Offspring were born even during the captivity.

Note: Zerubbabel was born during thus time. He is mentioned as one of those who helped lead Israel out of the captivity and back into own land. Remember the book of Ezra and Nehemiah. Zerubbabel played a key role.

Verse 16 – Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

The third section takes the story down to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the person who liberated men and women from their slavery, who rescued them from their disaster, and in whom the tragedy was turned into triumph.

This is a very interesting verse. Note that it does not use the word “begot”. That word was used in every other verse, but once here, it is no longer used. Instead we read that Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. No mention that Joseph begot Jesus. Why? Because Joseph didn’t father Jesus. Jesus was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit.

This is actually a proof text for the virgin birth of Jesus.

Next, notice that Jesus is called Christ. The word “Christ” means anointed of God, or Messiah.

Matthew 1:1-17 provides for us the criteria needed to show us that Jesus the Christ has ROYAL Blood flowing in His veins. He came from the Royal line of King David.

Matthew’s Gospel presents Jesus Christ as King.

What are some lessons? Bible teacher William Barclay presents three lessons:

  1. The barrier between Jew and Gentiles is down – Rahab and Ruth find their place in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
  2. The barriers between male and female are down – No genealogy would mention women, but Jesus’ is different. Men and women in Christ stand equal before God.
  3. The barrier between saint and sinner is down – God will use all things for His purposes. Jesus came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13).
Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch.
 
And as always, as Dr. Robert Cook from the King’s College used to say, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”


Encourage One Another – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Today is Saturday, May 9, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 46

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

FAITHLIFE Bible Library – FREE

How much free time do your members have compared to a couple of months ago? Most travel is postponed, kids’ sports are cancelled, and many people are working from home due to the coronavirus crisis.

But times like these are where churches can thrive. Encourage your church members to grow spiritually through this crisis by recommending solid resources they can walk through—on their own or with their family.

Since this is such a key time for churches like yours, we’re offering a Digital Church Library from Logos for everyone in your church. Get it for free now and your whole church will have access through June 30, 2020. Each person in your church only needs one login to access edifying books, theology courses, and more. There’s something for everyone in your digital pews, from the new believer to your biggest theology nerd (and we mean that in the best way!).

There is no credit card required to get access to this library. Simply sign your church up for a church group below, follow the steps to check out with the library for free, and invite your members and attendees to join your group.

*The library will automatically be removed from your group on June 30, 2020. There is no subscription to cancel, and there are no fees to worry about. Enjoy the library as a free resource for your church until that date.

Today in the News:

China has banned all commercial fishing on the Yangtze for 10 years – the first ban ever for Asia’s longest river – to restore aquatic life.

Art teacher Sue Mowrer Adamson from Vermont created an art gallery on her front lawn for students and passersby to view and enjoy while they practice social distancing. The display, which Adamson has named the “6 Feet apART Gallery,” features works from some of her favorite artists like Picasso and Keith Haring. It also offers activities to students that encourage them to think creatively. Watch the video above to learn more about Adamson’s unique “on-lawn” learning experience. (Watch this Video)

 Electric vehicles in their current form are not practical for long distance travel due to the need for multiple or lengthy stops at charging stations. But what if they could like planes being refueled in the air from another aircraft – get charge-on-the-go.

The idea sounds like science fiction, but there are already technologies in use that would help facilitate specialized vehicles for charging.

For instance Tesla cars use radar to detect the speed of another car around them which controls the speed of the car in relation to traffic – a feature that would make “docking” possible.

With rural electrical charging stations almost non-existent, Swarup Bhunia an engineer at the University of Florida, Gainesville, are postulating that “peer-to-peer charging” and “mobile charging stations” could likely solve this problem faster than the current proliferation of charging points or battery advancements.

The idea is cars charging cars! Will we see this happen? Perhaps!

Riddles: What is your answer?

Riddle: What has lots of eyes, but can’t see?
Answer: A potato

Riddle: What has one eye, but can’t see?
Answer: A needle

Riddle: What has many needles, but doesn’t sew?
Answer: A Christmas tree

Riddle: What has hands, but can’t clap?
Answer: A clock

Riddle: What has legs, but doesn’t walk?
Answer: A table

Riddle: What has one head, one foot and four legs?
Answer: A bed

Pause for Prayer:

  • Mother’s Day – For Mom’s to feel encouraged
  • Spirit Lake Domestic problems – Kevin Ward
  • Job loss – Pray for the unemployed. The struggle is real.
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • Lowana LaBolle
  • Ginita Angel’s niece – baby born with skin disease. Needs a miracle.
  • Roy and Jane Moore – Uganda ministry
  • Pandemic response – Idaho and national
  • Christians to make a difference in our community
  • Cup of Grace – Food distribution

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from I Thessalonians 5:11,

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.

Today I want to have a word with you about Encouraging One Another

Who have you encouraged lately?

What lead you to believe the person need encouragement?

What was the response from the person you encouraged?

  • Thank you, thank you.
  • I needed that!

Goal: You will seek to encourage one person today.

Pastor asked a young kid to pray in church. It was an awful prayer, but when the kid finished the pastor looked at him and said, “That was the greatest prayer I have ever heard prayed.”

FAITHFULNESS SHOULD BE REWARDED

The Bible says that we are to “honor one another.”

In Christianity we should see mutual encouragement – it’s a two-way street.

Do you know anyone that needs some verbal feedback for their faithfulness?

If you hear someone say something positive about another person, share that with the person when you see them.  Be a good listener and then pass what you hear on to those who deserve it.

A NEGLECTED EXHORTATION

Why are we so hesitant to encourage others?

Why do we neglect this very important biblical responsibility?

Why is it that some feel they possess the “gift of discouragement?” The only time they communicate anything to others is when they have something negative to say!

Don’t you be a negative willy!

I don’t know a Christian who doesn’t need encouragement.

Even leaders who appear to have it all together need encouragement.

We all need encouragement – the truth is that no matter how successful we are, none of us “has it together” as well as it may appear.

God’s Gift of Encouragement – The Holy Spirit

Four times in John’s Gospel, Jesus identified the Holy Spirit as a “counselor” (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).

Translators of the King James Version call Him “another Comforter.”

In the New American Standard Bible, He is identified as “another Helper.”

Why these different English titles? The word in the language of the Greek New Testament is parakletos, and it’s transliterated into English as “another paraclete.”

The Greek verb parakaleo is frequently translated “to encourage.”

We can identify the Holy Spirit as “another encourager”—which is why the King James Version uses the synonym “comforter.”

This is why He said, “The world cannot accept him [as counselor], because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (14:17).

Though the Spirit is a separate person in the Godhead, yet He is one with the Father and the Son. He who has seen the Son has seen the Father; likewise, he who had seen the Son had also seen a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. They are three persons, yet one God.

He would continue Christ’s work on earth. He would never leave the apostles—or others who followed Christ.

Jesus also identified the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of truth.”

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor [encourager] to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17).

When the Counselor [encourager] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me (15:26).

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come (John 16:12-13).

THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD

One of His greatest gifts to us is the inspired Scriptures. The authors of the inspired Word “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21) and Paul told Timothy that “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16).

The primary means then for “encouraging one anotheris God’s truth!

Paul outlined the qualities for eldership in his Letter to Titus, he emphasized that a pastoral leader “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine” (Titus 1:9).

When Paul wrote to Timothy, he charged this young pastor to “preach the Word.” He was to “be prepared in season and out of season” in order to “correct, rebuke and encourage (2 Tim. 4:2).

Furthermore, when Paul, Silas, and Timothy discipled the new Christians at Thessalonica, they dealt with each one of these people just as a “father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting, and urging [them] to live lives worthy of God” (1 Thess. 2:11-12).

A KEY TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb. 10:25).

What should happen to Christians when they meet together regularly and “encourage one another”? Three things:

  1. We should grow in our faith (Heb. 10:22).
  2. We should grow in our hope (Heb. 10:23).
  3. We should grow in our love (Heb. 10:24).

A MESSAGE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Paul dealt with this question in his first letter. “We do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep [that is, those who have died],” Paul wrote, “or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope” (1 Thes. 4:13). Then Paul gave the reason they should not grieve: “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (v. 14).

Paul made it clear that all believers—dead or alive—will be part of the Rapture. “The dead in Christ will rise first,” he reassured them, and then “after that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (4:17). To make sure they understood this matter clearly, he stated: “And so we will be with the Lord forever” (v. 17).

Paul told us to “encourage each other with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18; see also 5:11).

THE POWER OF WORDS

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up (Prov. 12:25).

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Prov. 16:24).

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov. 17:22).

Are you a “healer” or a “hurter”?

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver (Prov. 25:11).

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR ENCOURAGING ONE ANOTHER

Step 1 – Learn to use the Word of God.

Step 2 – Allow the Holy Spirit to minister through all members of the body.

Step 3 – Evaluate your church structures.

Christians should meet together for the body of Christ to function—to encourage one another. This is why Paul wrote to the Colossians:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom (Col. 3:16).

Now is the time for all o us to look for that one person today that needs some encouragement from us. You can actually build up another believer by offering a word of encouragement.

Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch.

And as always, Dr. Robert Cook from the King’s College used to says, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”



Submit to One Another – Ephesians 5:21

Today is Friday, May 8, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 45

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

Sunday is Mother’s Day at SLBC. Don’t forget to PLAN to do something special for your mom.

Cup of Grace – Donations to buy food for those in need.

Today in the News:

The New York Times – White House pushed back against the CDC’s proposed guidelines for easing coronavirus -related restrictions, which include details for schools, places of worship, and mass transit, over concerns they risk further damaging the economy and infringe on religious rights.

BLOOMBERG – April job reports comes out today, and it is expected to affirm that we’re in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

The Wall Street Journal – COVID-19 is perplexing doctors. As the number of cases grows, they’re finding it wreaks havoc not just on the lungs, but also the brain, kidneys, heart, and vascular and digestive systems.

The Seattle Times – The virus is already changing city planning: Seattle will permanently close 20 miles of streets to vehicle traffic, leaving more space for pedestrians to walk a safe distance apart.

Riddle: What is your answer?

Riddle: You see a boat filled with people, yet there isn’t a single person on board. How is that possible?
Answer: All the people on the boat are married.

Riddle: You walk into a room that contains a match, a kerosene lamp, a candle and a fireplace. What would you light first?
Answer: The match

Riddle: A man dies of old age on his 25 birthday. How is this possible?
Answer: He was born on February 29.

Riddle: I have branches, but no fruit, trunk or leaves. What am I?
Answer: A bank

Riddle: What can’t talk but will reply when spoken to?
Answer: An echo

Riddle: The more of this there is, the less you see. What is it?
Answer: Darkness

Pause for Prayer:

  • Spirit Lake Domestic problems – Kevin Ward
  • Job loss – Pray for the unemployed. The struggle is real.
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • Lowana LaBolle
  • Ginita Angel’s niece – baby born with skin disease. Needs a miracle.
  • Roy and Jane Moore – Uganda ministry
  • Pandemic response – Idaho and national
  • Christians to make a difference in our community
  • Cup of Grace – Food distribution

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Ephesians 5:21,

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

I want to have a word with you about Submitting to One Another

Who have you submitted to lately?

  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Boss
  • Government
  • Church leader

Principle: Even though we may be in a position of authority, submitting to others does not undermine authority. It actually enhances it.

  • With your husband or wife
  • With your children
  • With someone who works under you

There may be a few people who will take advantage of the situation. But when they do, they’re very immature people.

A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

Submission is used by biblical writers to describe a variety of Christian relationships:

  1. Paul exhorted all Christians (both men and women) to “submit to one another” (Eph. 5:21).
  2. Peter exhorted young men to “be submissive to those who are older” (1 Peter 5:5).
  3. All members of Christ’s body are exhorted to “obey” their “leaders and submit to their authority” (Heb. 13:17).
  4. Servants are instructed to submit to their masters (Titus 2:9; Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22; 1 Peter 2:18)—which applies when serving either Christian or non-Christian masters. Children are admonished to obey and submit to their parents (Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:20).
  5. Christians are also instructed to submit to other authority figures in their lives who are not Christians—particularly those who are leaders in government (Rom. 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13).

Servant Leadership

The Bible makes it clear that Christians who are in positions of authority must also function with a submissive attitude.

  • Husbands are directed to love their wives “just as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25).

We cannot love like Christ without being servants, and we cannot be servants without being submissive.

  • Fathers are to deal sensitively with their children, understanding and meeting their needs (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21).
  • Elders or pastors are commissioned to be “servants.” As leaders, we are to be “eager to serve” (1 Peter 5:2). We are not to lord it over other Christians, using our position as a means of unjust gain—either financially, psychologically, or socially (1 Peter 5:1-4).
  • Christian masters are to treat their servants fairly and sensitively just as Christ treated us when He gave Himself for us (Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1).

How could a Christian husband treat his wife as inferior when he believed she was his spiritual equal in Christ (Gal. 3:28). This also demonstrates it is possible to maintain our position of authority, both in the family and in the church, and yet be a servant.

Mutual Submission

Matt. 20:25-28 – 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be yourservant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Mutual submission is a distinct concept made possible by Jesus Christ. Christianity is unique.

In Christ, all believers have the potential to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

CHRIST’S EXAMPLE

He, the Lord of the universe, became a servant to all men. He, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing (Phil. 2:6-7).

Paul made it clear that all Christians—even those in authority—are to follow Christ’s example.

We are to “look not only to [our] own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). We are to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21)—the One who set the perfect example. Our attitude “should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

SELFISHNESS

Some men use the concept of submission and headship to lord it over their wives and others, to force them into subservient roles.

Christian men may use the Bible as a “club”—as a means to get own way.

Have you ever used Bible verses to try and get another person to submit to you? Well the Bible says…

INSECURITY

We demand our way because we want to be boss, knowing full well that the other person may be right. We don’t want to admit we are wrong because of insecurity.

One young husband said, “I wanted to establish myself as the leader. Though my wife knew better—and was hurt in the process – she willingly submitted. I didn’t win much respect that day.”

CONFUSION

  • Husbands want to rule over their wives.
  • Wives want to usurp the authority of their husbands.
  • What are our roles? Misunderstanding of roles seem to ROCK the house.
  • We need to understand Scripture – Husbands are to lead, and wives are to follow, but there should be mutual submission.

We can carry out our God-ordained roles as leaders and, at the same time, be servants to one another.

BIBLICAL GUIDELINES

The guidelines for mutual submission are rooted in the authority of Jesus Christ and His Word.

Colossians 3:16-17 – 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

No Christian has the right to request something of another Christian that is not based in the Word of God.

We must never violate the will of God. The disciples answer was, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 4:19; 5:29).

There are Christians, however, who are in authority who will continue to put pressure on others to violate the will of God.

This applies to wives whose husbands are abusive or unethical or immoral. If husbands do not respond to loving exhortations from their spouses, the offended parties (their wives) have the right to seek help from their spiritual leaders, following the procedure outlined by Jesus Christ (Matthew 18:15-17).

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR MUTUAL SUBMISSION

Step 1 – Mutual submission must begin with the leadership of the church.

Step 2 – All believers must clearly understand the teaching of Scripture regarding the subject of submission.

Step 3 Meditate on the following Scriptures that teach submission and obedience to others.

Elders to Other Members of Christ’s Body     

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:2-3).

Christians in General to Elders     

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching (1 Tim. 5:17).

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you (Heb. 13:17).

Younger Men to Older Men     

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. . . . Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:5-6).

Husbands to Wives     

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. . . . Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself (Eph. 5:25, 28).

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them (Col. 3:19).

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers (1 Peter 3:7).

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. A wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, a husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife (1 Cor. 7:3-4).

Wives to Their Husbands     

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. . . . Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything (Eph. 5:22-24).

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord (Col. 3:18).

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God (Titus 2:3-5).

Parents to Children     

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).        

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged (Col. 3:21).

Children to Parents     

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Eph. 6:1-3).         

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord (Col. 3:20).

Masters (Employers) to Servants (Employees)     

And masters, treat your slaves the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him (Eph. 6:9).

Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven (Col. 4:1).

Servants (Employees) to Masters (Employers)     

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free (Eph. 6:5-8; see also Col. 3:22-25).

Christians to Government Officials     

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. . . . Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. . . . Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes, if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor (Rom. 13:1, 5, 7).

Step 4 – Evaluate and prioritize the areas where you need to improve.

Step 5 – Set some specific goals.

Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch.

And as always, as Dr. Robert Cook used to say, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”



Bearing with One Another – Ephesians 4:2

Today is Thursday, May 7, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 44

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

 I listened to the audio book – Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper. Excellent book. It’s free and I encourage you to listen to it. You can download it here at this blog today. I’ll leave a link where you can listen to it – https://youtu.be/St8NlULiuvo

SLBC Worship Service – Mother’s Day on May 10th. Write a poem or a letter to your mother, and I’ll read it from the pulpit.

Today in the News:

The Briefing Reported: Supreme Court Justices online for the first time in American history, and we the people can listen to them. Well yesterday during their session someone forgot to mute their microphone and a toilet was flushed! That’s right, one of the nine justices used the bathroom, and flushed the toilet for all America to hear. How is that for American justice?

Starbucks Store are starting to emerge from the COVID-19 Pandemic. That’s right more and more Starbucks are beginning to reopen to the public. These stores they say are ready to serve you. Entryway pickup and grab-and-go service and drive-thru. You can order ahead with the Starbuck app, and then pick it up at the door or drive thru. They say, “We can’t wait to see you.”

Los Angeles Times reports – More than 40 states will have relaxed some virus-related restrictions by this weekend – but none of them meet the criteria as set forth by the White House to do so, a John Hopkins expert said.

NPR – There is a place on earth where there is no social distancing. That place is the Arctic. There is an International research team on The MOSAiC expedition, and they don’t have to worry about the Coronavirus. They step out on the ship bridge and as far as they can see in all direction is ice! In the future all new arrivals will be quarantined and tested, but for now it’s just the daily grind of normal activities on a science vessel.

Riddles: What is your answer?

Riddle: There’s a one-story house in which everything is yellow. Yellow walls, yellow doors, yellow furniture. What color are the stairs?
Answer: There aren’t any—it’s a one-story house.

Riddle. What can you break, even if you never pick it up or touch it?
Answer: A promise

Riddle: What goes up but never comes down?
Answer: Your age

Riddle: What gets wet while drying?
Answer: A towel

Riddle: What can you keep after giving to someone?
Answer: 
Your word

Riddle: I shave every day, but my beard stays the same. What am I?
Answer: A barber

Pause for Prayer:

  • Spirit Lake Domestic problems – Kevin Ward
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • Lowana LaBolle
  • Ginita Angel’s niece – baby born with skin disease. Needs a miracle.
  • Roy and Jane Moore – Uganda ministry
  • Pandemic response – Idaho and national
  • Christians to live out the Good News

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Ephesians 4:2,

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Today I want to have a word with you about Bearing with One Another.

What is it in another person that is hard for you to accept?

  • Critical
  • Always joking around
  • Harsh
  • Unloving
  • Judgmental
  • Lazy
  • Unkind
  • Rubbing other wrongly

Do you have any faces that come to mind—people who have been very difficult to accept and love?

Have you ever confronted a person you found hard to accept? What was their initial response? Did they receive your rebuke?

At times people will change, but the change is short lived. Soon afterwards they revert right back to their old behavior.

Note: I personal have found that life is too short to hold grudges with people. 

  • Love the cantankerous
  • Pray for those who are hard to love
  • It doesn’t mean you have to be around hard to lovepeople

Sometimes those Christians who are difficult to love. In reality, they find themselves difficult to love.

Commanded to be PATIENCE

Colossians 3:12-13 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Several key words precede Paul’s injunction to “bear with one another”—“compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience.”

The King James Version uses the word “longsuffering,” one aspect of “walking in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).

And we pray this . . . so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light (Col. 1:10-12).

To “bear with one another,” then means being patient with each other’s weaknesses.

How easy it is to expect more from other Christians than we expect from ourselves!

This is particularly true in our families.

We are seen at our best and at our worst—both as parents and as children.

The same is true of our extended family. As we “live together” as brothers and sisters in Christ, we get to know each other’s idiosyncrasies.

When we are tempted to be impatient with one another, we need to think about Jesus Christ and His attitude toward us.

1 Tim. 1:15-17 –

We Must Have A FORGIVING SPIRIT

Colossians 3:13 –

“Bearing with one another” and having a “forgiving spirit” are synonymous in God’s sight. Note again how Paul made this clear in his Letter to the Colossians. “Bear with each other,” he said, “and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you”

Some Christians carry grudges for years. Don’t you be one of them. Learn the art of forgiveness.

How ungrateful for a Christian to hold a grudge against a fellow believer when Christ has canceled our own debt of sin.

A POWERFUL STORY ON FORGIVENESS

Matt. 18:21-35 – 21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

MAKE EVERY EFFORT!”

Ephesians 4:2-3 – “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”

Patience, forbearance, and forgiveness are not automatic actions that follow conversion to Christ. They are deliberate acts of the will. This is Christianity in action.

Is there anyone that you need to make things right with? Do it quickly!

HUSBANDS AND WIVES

Probably the greatest challenge we face as married people is to bear with one another’s weaknesses. It’s at this level that we get to know each other in ways that other people don’t.

Unfortunately, some couples don’t learn to communicate with each other regarding the things that irritate them.

Sometimes these begin as little things that mushroom into gigantic irritants.

Sometimes we bottle up our feelings and don’t share what’s bothering us. I’m guilty of this, are you?

Open and clear communication is absolutely essential to enable us to “bear with one another in love.”

PARENTS AND CHILDREN

Parents face this same problem with children—only to a greater degree. Unfortunately, small children don’t understand reciprocal relationships. They’re naturally self-centered until they reach certain levels of maturity.

A Word to Fathers from Colossians 3:21 – “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged”

Children, of course, must learn to practice this principle. However, they learn best by seeing it practiced by their parents—in a relationship with one another—and with them.

PASTOR AND PEOPLE

We live in a materialistic culture—and it has infected Christians.

Gene Getz says, “it bothers me when I see Christians being selfish with their money—and letting other Christians carry the financial burden for the church. I’m not talking about people who can’t give because of financial difficulties. I’m talking about Christians who pay their television cable bills regularly, sport their mobile phones, go out to eat regularly, and take in movies once or twice a week—and yet don’t support the Lord’s work. I’m speaking of Christians who put away savings every month, drive two or three expensive cars, take expensive vacation trips and yet don’t share their excess with the Lord.”

Gene went on “However, my Bible teaches me that I must “bear with these people in love.” I must continue to model and teach them, realizing that only the Holy Spirit can ultimately change their lives.”

Yes, even pastor must love those whom they find difficult to love.

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE

Step 1- Take a good look at yourself.

  1. What do I do (or not do) at home that irritates my wife and children (or my parents, my brothers, and my sisters, or apartment-mate)?
  2. What do I do (or not do) at church that irritates my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?
  3. What do I do (or not do) at work and/or school that irritates fellow employees and/or teachers and fellow students?
  4. What do I do (or not do) that irritates my friends?

Step 2 – Evaluate your weaknesses in the light of your attitudes and actions toward other Christians.

  • Do you expect more from others than you do from yourself?
  • Do you criticize others in the area of your own weaknesses?

Step 3 – Make a list of all Christians you have difficulty relating to.

If you can’t think of anyone, praise the Lord! Don’t drudge up names just to have something to write about. But make sure you’re being honest.

Step 4 – Consciously and deliberately forgive every person who has ever done anything to hurt you.

One by one, talk to these Christians. Tell them why you feel as you do. Ask them to forgive you for your attitude—even though they may be primarily at fault.

Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch.

And as always, As Dr. Robert Cook used to say, “Walk with the King today, and be a blessing.”



Carrying One Another Burdens – Galatians 6:1-3

Today is Wednesday, May 6, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 43

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

Did you have Taco Tuesday yesterday? What about a Burrito?

Hallie Alexander’s Birthday today – a big shout out to her.

Listen to Audio Book – Coronavirus And Christ by John Piper – https://youtu.be/St8NlULiuvo

Mother’s Day at SLBC – Send in a poem that you have written about your mother, or a letter and I will read it from the pulpit. Make sure you plan to do something special for your mom this Mother’s Day.

Today in the News:

 New York Times – Major cities like New York, Chicago, and New Orleans have seen drop in cases of COVID-19 – but rural towns that were unscathed a month ago are now suddenly seeing an increase. Dakota County, Neb., which has the third-most cases per capita in the country, had no known cases as recently as April 11. Now the county is a hot zone for the virus. The Tyson Beef processing plant is located there.

The Wall Street Journal – Meanwhile the Whitehouse is discussing phasing out the coronavirus task force, saying it will eventually take “a different form.” The wind-down comes as the administration shifts its focus to restarting the economy, (they then add) – despite the virus’ continued spread.

The Washington Post – Fifteen children in New York have been hospitalized with a mysterious illness that’s possibly tied to the coronavirus. The patients had persistent fevers and symptoms similar to a syndrome called Kawasaki disease.

Buzzfeed News – Three Russians doctors treating COVID-19 patients have fallen out of windows. People starting to ask questions.

Riddle: What is your answer?

Riddle: David’s parents have three sons: Snap, Crackle, and what’s the name of the third son?
Answer: David

Riddle: I follow you all the time and copy your every move, but you can’t touch me or catch me. What am I?
Answer: Your shadow

Riddle: What has many keys but can’t open a single lock?
Answer: A piano

Riddle: What can you hold in your left hand but not in your right?
Answer: Your right elbow

Riddle: What is black when it’s clean and white when it’s dirty?
Answer: A chalkboard

Pause for Prayer:

  • Spirit Lake Domestic problems – Kevin Ward
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • Lowana LaBolle
  • Ginita Angel’s niece – baby born with skin disease. Needs a miracle.
  • Roy and Jane Moore – Uganda ministry
  • Pandemic response – Idaho and national
  • Christians to live out the Good News

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Galatians 6:2,

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Today I want to have a word with you about Carrying One Another’s Burdens

Have you heard the story about how the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? How many times have people left their spouse for another person? How many times have people confronted them?

Gene tells the story about a man that was known as a stalwart believer—a former missionary and now a successful businesses man, and he left his wife to live with another woman.
 
Gene and an elder from his church went to this man and sought to talk with him. At first, he wanted them to leave. They refused, and they encouraged him to get counseling. Finally after a lot of persuasion he agreed to get counseling. He stayed with it. And then one day, while I was leading the Sunday service, I looked up—and to my pleasant surprise—he walked into the service with his wife. After the service he made his way to the front, put his big arms around me and with tears streaming down his cheeks he said, “Gene, thank you for not giving up on me.

This man had another eight wonderful years of marriage before his wife died of cancer. He remarried a wonderful Christian woman and is still walking with the Lord today.

A TRUE TEST OF LOVE

Dealing with sin in the lives of fellow believers is one of the most difficult tasks we are called to do as fellow Christians, but it is necessary.

Tough love is much more than a passing concern. It is confrontation on purpose. The desire is to always bring about a restoration.

First, I don’t relish intruding into another person’s private life.

Second, I always fear rejection—which is always a possibility when you have to confront another person.

The true test of love for another Christian is whether I am willing to confront them when they have fallen into sin.

Many churches ignore this responsibility entirely. Others treat it lightly. Still others deal with the issue of sin only after it has caused a problem within the church. By then it is usually too late.

Paul exhorted believers to “carry each other’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2).

The “burden” Paul was addressing was the heavy load that weighs us down.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you

Christians do have a responsibility when another Christian falls into sin.

Paul gave some specific guidelines for carrying out this process—guidelines that are absolutely essential if we are going to see people restored into fellowship.

RESTORATION IS A TASK FOR SPIRITUAL

There are two classes of Christians: “spiritual” and “worldly”

The Corinthians Christians were worldly – (1 Cor. 3:1-3).

They were still “walking in the flesh” rather than “in the Spirit.”

Paul exhorted the Galatian Christians to help people like this.

But he made it clear that dealing with sin in the life of a worldly Christian is not a task for Christians who are also living out of the will of God. Rather, he wrote, “You who are spiritual

However, only those in the body of Christ who are relatively mature are to deal with serious sin in the lives of other believers. This is why Jesus spoke so pointedly about this matter:

Read: Luke 6:39, 41-42

Spiritual Christians, then, have a definite responsibility to help worldly Christians—especially those who are “caught in a sin.”

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up (Rom. 15:1-2; see also 1 Cor. 8:9).

RESTORATION IS A TASK FOR MORE THAN ONE PERSON

First, there is the person who sins against another brother or sister in Christ.

Second, there is the person who sins against himself and the larger body of Christ.

Sin Against Another Christian Jesus Christ outlined a very specific approach for dealing with this kind of sin: See Matthew 18:15-17   

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that “every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

A Christian Who Is Trapped in Sin Paul was dealing with this kind of sin in Galatians. In this case, a Christian is in bondage to sin and needs help. His sin is against himself and the larger family of God. In these instances, Paul indicates that this person should be approached by several spiritual Christians immediately. Thus, he wrote: “You [plural] who are spiritual should restore him.”

At this point, several “spiritual” Christians are to attempt to rescue this person and to set him free from this trap.

Restoration Is to Be Done with Genuine Humility “Restore him gently!”

“If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Gal. 6:1,3).

WE ARE ALL OBJECTS OF GOD’S GRACE

Christians who approach another Christian about sin must do so with a great sense of their own unworthiness to be called children of God.

There go I but by the Grace of God – Have you heard that statement before?

Titus 3:2-5 – At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved [trapped] by all kinds of passions and pleasures We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved, us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy

No saved person who truly understands the grace of God in his own life can approach any person (saved or unsaved) with arrogance, pride, or a sense of superiority.

Christians who were trapped in many sins— “By the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1).

2 Tim. 2:24-26 – Must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct [with patience and humility], in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will

WHEN WORLDLY CHRISTIANS WILL NOT RESPOND POSITIVELY

Some Christians are so caught up in their sins, so self-deceived, and so arrogant that they will not respond to a gentle, humble approach.

Because of the immature way the Corinthians had responded to sinfulness in the church, Paul pulled no punches:         

But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat (1 Cor. 5:11).

This was the final step for Paul. However, his tough love brought unusual results.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance . . . See what this godly sorrow has produced in you” (2 Cor. 7:10-11).

On one occasion, a Christian man swindled several fellow believers in a business deal. He actually violated federal laws—and then denied his wrongdoing. Several men met to lovingly but directly confront him with his sins. He acted as if he had repented, for a short time, and then later refused to acknowledge that he did anything wrong.

RESTORATION MUST BE DONE CAUTIOUSLY

When several Christians, even spiritual Christians, approach someone to help him escape from the trap of sin, it must be done carefully. “Watch yourself,” warned Paul. “You also may be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).

The lusts of the flesh are very deceptive—and very attractive.

Be very careful when approaching anyone in sexual sin. Many a Christian have fallen into sexual sin helping someone in sexual sin.

RESTORATION MUST BE DONE PRAYERFULLY

Christians. “Confess your sins to each other,” he wrote in his epistle. Then he spelled out why: “And pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

When a Christian indulges in sin, when he “sows to please his sinful nature,” he will from that nature “reap destruction” (Gal. 6:7-8).

Read James 5:14-16

Remember this great promise for all of us – If we confess our sins, the blood of Jesus Christ continues to cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:9).

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR APPLYING THIS PRINCIPLE TODAY

Step 1 Always evaluate your own life before trying to help another Christian who is trapped in sin.

Step 2 Always evaluate another Christian’s lifestyle from a truly biblical perspective. Don’t add your personal extrabiblical lists of what you think is sinful behavior.

Step 3 Always follow biblical procedures when confronting Christians trapped in sin.

  1. we are to warn a Christian about his sin, attempting to restore him and release him from Satan’s trap (1 Thess. 5:14; Gal. 6:1-2).
  2. If a person does not respond and turn from his sin, then we are not to fellowship with that Christian (2 Thess. 3:6, 14).
  3. The final step is excommunication—to actually consider this person as if he were an unbeliever (Matt. 18:17).

Remember, I’m in touch so you stay in touch.

And as always, as Dr. Robert Cook used to say, Walk with the King today and be a blessing.



Serve One Another – Galatians 5:13

Today is Tuesday, May 5, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 42

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

SLBC Regathering Service – We were BACK last Sunday! Three Services: 8;30, 9:45, and 11:00 A.M. So glad that you joined us, or that you watched Online. This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day! Send a poem to me to read about your mother, or a letter that expresses your appreciation to your mother.

Three more FREE books from Moody Press –

  1. Parents Rising – 8 Strategies for Raising Kids who Love God, Respect Authority, and Value What’s Right
  2. Design Your Day – Be More Productive, Set Better Goals, and Live Life On Purpose
  3. How To Overcome Worry – Experiencing the Peace of God in Every Situation

Download here: https://marketing.moodypublishers.com/acton/attachment/8780/f-c6bc3308-2fcd-439f-a619-f2b622fbb364/1/-/-/-/-/may-5-header.jpg

Today in the News:

OneNewsNow – The attorney general of Arizona has declared that meeting together for church is an essential activity and has dropped any social distancing requirements for worship services. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver says the public is witnessing a clear difference between the burdensome restrictions imposed by Democratic leadership as compared to those in Republican-led states.

Supreme Court wraps up its 1st phone arguments –
 
WASHINGTON (May 4, 2020) — The coronavirus pandemic has forced the tradition-bound Supreme Court into some big changes. Starting Monday, the justices are hearing arguments by telephone for the first time.
 
The Washington Post: Venezuela says it captured Two Americans who were allegedly planning to infiltrate the country and incite rebellion. U.S. officials and Venezuela’s opposition leader denied any connection. I read this and it sounded like a Tom Clancy Novel.

Riddles: Do you have an answer?

Riddle:

Samuel was out for a walk when it started to rain. He did not have an umbrella and he wasn’t wearing a hat. His clothes were soaked, yet not a single hair on his head got wet. How could this happen?

Answer:

This man is bald!

Riddle:

Why is Europe like a frying pan

Answer:

Because it has Greece at the bottom.

 Riddle:

There are two monkeys on a tree and one jumps off. Why does the other monkey jump too?

Answer:

Monkey see monkey do.

 Riddle:

There are 30 cows in a field, and 28 chickens. How many didn’t?

Answer:

  1. Listen closely: 30 cows, and twenty-eight chickens. Say EIGHT and ATE. They sound the same. Therefore, it means 20 ATE chickens. 30-20=10, so 10 cows didn’t eat any chickens.

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • Lowana LaBolle
  • Ginita Angel’s niece – baby born with skin disease. Needs a miracle.
  • Roy and Jane Moore – Uganda ministry
  • Pandemic response – Idaho and national
  • Christians to live out the Good News

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

I want to have a word with you about Serving One Another

The story is told of an artist that painted the last super, and then showed his finished painting to Tolstoy. Tolstoy looked at the painting and said, “You don’t love him do you.” What do you mean, said the artist? Tolstoy said, “If you loved Him more, you would paint Him better.”

Well it has been said that “If you loved Him more, you would serve Him better.” Furthermore, “If we loved one another more, we would serve one another better.”

Galatians 5:13 told us, “serve one another in love.”

WE ARE TO BE SERVANTS

There are four basic words in the language of the New Testament that are often translated “serve,” “servant,” or “serving.”

The basic concept is used over 300 times (about 130 times in the Gospels and Acts and approximately 170 in the Epistles).

The two words that are used more frequently are douleo and diakoneo.

  • Douleo literally means to be a slave, to serve, to obey, to submit.

On the positive side, the word means to serve God and others in a context of Christian love.

On the negative side, douleo means to become a slave to base power.

  • Diakoneo means to “minister” to someone.

This word is used to describe someone who serves people food and drinks, someone who cares for other’s material needs.

Those who attend to anything that may serve another.

We get the word “deacon” from this word.

The first word, douleo, is the stronger in meaning.

A doulos was a slave, a bondman, a person who served. In its strongest sense, this word describes someone who has given himself up completely to another’s will.

In Galatians 5:13, “serve [douleuo] one another in love”

We are to give ourselves totally to one another—to literally become salves to one another.

This Teaching Is Far From Where We Are Today

If my rights conflict with your rights, I come first. If you cannot meet my needs and I cannot meet your needs—if we can’t work it out together – you go your way and I’ll go mine.

In the book Improving Your Serve, Chuck Swindoll identified this emphasis with a verbal pyramid. At the top is “I,” moving down to “me,” “mine,” and “myself.”

I

Me

Mine

Myself

It reflects the sin principle that is active in us all.

  • All of us have become self-oriented
  • Dominant
  • Cruel
  • Selfish
  • Unsubmissive
  • Rebellious
  • Disobedient

Let to our selves, we concentrate on ourselves – our rights, our needs, our interests. This is our natural bent.

WE ARE TO SERVE ONE ANOTHER

Jesus Christ made it possible for all of us to break out of our self-oriented mold. In Christ, we are set free to minister to others, to love others as ourselves (Galatians 5:14).

Matthew 16:25 – “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will lose it, but whosever loses his life for me will find it.”

Christianity is Relational

First, it involves a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

John 1:12 – “to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

But a new relationship to Christ and with Christ is more than vertical. It is also horizontal. We become members of Christ’s body, the church. By one Spirit we are all placed into one body (1 Corinthians 12:13).

WE ARE TO SERVE ONE ANOTHER

However, they were not to use that “freedom to indulge the sinful nature” (Gal. 5:13a). In other words, it is possible to serve others in am inappropriate and carnal way.

The entire law is summed up in these words – ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Gal. 5:14).

The two basic words for love used in the New Testament (agapao and phileo), and they are used over three hundred times.

Read: Matt. 22:36-40

Five times he expressly wrote, “Love one another” (1 John 3:11,23; 4:7,11-12).

Love is the most important criteria in measuring the quality of Christian relationships.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13)         

  • Follow the way of love (14:1)        
  • Do everything in love (16:14)         
  • Be patient, bearing with one another in love (Eph. 4:2)        
  • [Speak] the truth in love (4:15)         
  • Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us (5:2)
  • And over all these virtues put on love (Col. 3:14)
  • Pursue…love (2 Tim. 2:22)

Love, as it is defined in Scripture, is the guiding principle in all Christian relationships, including the process of serving one another.

FREEDOM TO SERVE

This principle is also true in the spiritual realm. The “law of sin and death” is active in every human being who has ever lived (Rom. 8:2). But the Scriptures also reveal a law that is greater and more powerful and which can be activated, not by human engineering, but by God Himself. It is the “law of the spirit of life” that was made available by the coming of Jesus Christ (v. 2). It is this law that sets us free to serve God and others in love.

FREEDOM IN CHRIST: AVAILABLE THROUGH FAITH

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (5:1).

Read: Rom. 8:1-2 –

FREEDOM IN CHRIST: APPROPRIATED BY ACCEPTANCE

When is a Christian free? The Bible teaches that as believers we “have been set free from sin” the moment we truly put our faith in Christ (Rom. 6:18, 22).

FREEDOM IN CHRIST: ACTIVATED BY OBEDIENCE

Just so with a Christian. I can know I am free in Christ. And I can accept that truth as a reality.

Nothing can compare with the freedom we experience when we walk in harmony with the Creator of the universe, conforming our lives to His will and desires.

SERVANTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

LIFE IS RELATIONAL

As people, we are part of a human family.

It is impossible to live apart from some kind of human relationship that has certain reciprocal responsibilities.

It has been true from the beginning of time. When God created Adam, He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18).

ACTS OF THE SINFUL NATURE

“the acts of the sinful nature are obvious” (5:19).

Paul listed them (vv. 19-21):

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

How do we recognize Christians who “live by the Spirit”? They will manifest the fruit of the Spirit in their relationships with others. Paul outlined these qualities next (Gal. 5:22-23). In his prayer for the Philippians, he identifies these qualities as the “fruit of righteousness” (Phil. 1:11):

These qualities are in stark contrast to the “acts of the old nature.” So Paul concludes, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other” (Gal. 5:25-26).

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR SERVING ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE

Step 1 – Evaluate how much you and others in your church may be reflecting “the acts of the sinful nature” in your relationships rather than “the fruit of the Spirit.”

Step 2 – In order to check your own objectivity and the accuracy of your observations, ask several Christians in your church to take Step 1. Then prayerfully compare notes.

Step 3 – If your group feels others in your church are not actively “serving one another in love,” if the “acts of the sinful nature” are more obvious than “the fruit of the Spirit,” think about taking the following approaches:

  1. Make sure you are not guilty of allowing your old nature to dominate your own relationships with others.
  2. As a small group, commit to modeling among yourselves the fruit of the Spirit to others in the church.
  3. Begin to pray for others in the church—but only after you’ve made sure your own lives are in order.
  4. Carefully guard against “spiritual pride” and “pseudo-spirituality.” Attitudes of superiority and spiritual pride create more problems than solutions.

Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch.

And as always, as Dr. Robert Cook used to says from the King’s College, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”



Greeting One Another – Romans 16:3-6,16

Today is Monday, May 4, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 41

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

Regathering Service – Success! Thank you for blessing us with your presence.
 
Message: My Pandemic Lessons
 

Today in the News:

President Trump announced that the death tolls to COVD-19 could kill 100,000 people in the U.S. Far higher than he previously forecast – but he said that the country should contuine to open.

Coming out of New York – Samaritan’s Purse has received their walking papers. They are being asked to pack up and leave because they leaders do not feel that they are “inclusive” enough. That they don’t embrace the LGBT community like the city of New York does.
New York Times: Millions of Italians can return to work today, but the promise of issuing “immunity licenses” to those already infected has faded: Experts says tests show antibodies do not guarantee protections from the virus. (What is “immunity licenses?)

The Washington Post: Long-struggling J. Crew filed for bankruptcy, making it the first major retail casualty during the pandemic economy.

Riddle: What is the Answer?

Jonah

Instead of going to Nineveh
This person decided to bail
Thrown overboard while out to sea
He was swallowed up by a whale

Joshua

When tasked with what seemed impossible
He didn’t just refuse and frown
He marched the people round Jericho
And the walls came tumbling down

Moses

He led Israelites out of Egypt
And went up Mount Sinai alone
He came back down with ten commandments
Written on two tablets of stone

Jesus

He is someone who
Helped the blind to see
He is also part
Of the trinity

David

It’s amazing what this person did
With a pebble and a sling
He got rid of a giant
And eventually became king

Eve

This woman was created
So Adam wouldn’t be alone
And the way that God made her
Was by using Adam’s rib bone

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • Lowana LaBolle
  • Ginita Angel’s niece – baby born with skin disease. Needs a miracle.
  • Roy and Jane Moore – Uganda ministry
  • Pandemic response – Idaho and national
  • Christians to live out the Good News

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Romans 16:3-6,16

Greet Priscilla and Aquila. . . . Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus. . . . Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. . . . Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.

I want to have a word with you about Greeting One Another

Have you ever asked someone how they are doing when you came into the church?

How are you doing “scenario.” Take place over and over again when we greet one another.

 Question: Do we really want to know how another person is really doing? Do we stick around long enough to hear their response?

Illustration: Hello, how are you? Continue to proceed on to the next person. Without hearing the person say, “I’m not very well. My brother was in a motorcycle accident today!” Another believer saw this exchange, and when and confronted (admonished) the believer to stop long enough to really hear another person.

When we ask people how they’re doing, we ought to stay around long enough to hear what they say. You see, it’s so easy to become ritualistic in our “greetings”—to walk into church and ask, “How are you?” Often the responses are just as superficial –“Fine, thank you, and how are you?” We then move on to more brief encounters.

Don’t misunderstand! Exchanging formalities is natural in every culture.

However, we often really don’t want to be bothered by how people are really doing. Do we?

A PERSONAL TOUCH

Romans 16 – When Paul brought his Roman letter to a close, he extended “greetings” to various people who meant a lot to him. He mentions twenty-six people by name.

Nothing means more to people than to be called by name—a social grace that takes much discipline, especially when we are meeting lots of new people all the time.

Paul provided special words of commendation and appreciation to these people. He closed out this series of special “hellos” by telling them to:

greet one another with a holy kiss” (Rom. 16:16).

Is this “one another” injunction purely cultural?

Are you aware that this injunction is repeated five times in the New Testament – four times by Paul and once by Peter (1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14)?

ABSOLUTES AND NONABSOLUTES

What are the differences between “absolutes” and “nonabsolutes”?

Example # 1 – We are to “teach and counsel one another.” This is certainly a function. However, the Bible does not lock us into a particular form or structure for that process to take place.

Example # 2 – We are also told to “preach the Word,” but are not told specifically how.

We as Christians make a serious mistake when we superimpose a particular cultural form on biblical functions and then make the forms absolute as well as the functions.

Example # 3 –Preaching must always be from the pulpit, arranged with three points, and delivered with a forceful voice.

The Bible doesn’t teach that. The Bible leaves us free to develop the forms that are most appropriate in any given culture, in order to carry out a normative biblical function.

Understanding this concept helps us with this injunction to “greet one another with a holy kiss.” It becomes an understandable concept – relevant in the twenty-first century as well as the first century.

On the one hand, the injunction, to “greet one another” is croscultural; on the other hand, the “kiss” represents a form of greeting very common in the first century. It is still common in some cultures today.

FUNCTION AND FORM

Up to this point, all of the injunctions we’ve looked at focus on function.

We now come to the exhortation, “to greet one another with a holy kiss” and it includes both function and form. On the one hand, to “greet one another” is a function and is a normal practice among people. We see this in every culture. The “form” of that greeting will vary, but people globally “greet one another” in some form.

Russia and the Ukraine – take this exhortation seriously and greet one another with a kiss on the lips—men with men and women with women.

Brazilian Christians – They have a different approach. Men hug other men and men greet women with a kiss on each cheek—which must be initiated by the women. Single women, however, are greeted with a kiss, first on either cheek and then a third time on the first cheek.

New Zealand – the Polynesian people who first inhabited these islands greeted one another by “rubbing noses”.

Most of us realize that greeting customs vary from culture to culture.

American culture – It’s the handshake. In more recent years, we see people hugging each other.

I remember years ago going to a church where a man greeting people at the door wore a lapel button that read, “I Give Hugs.”

Greeting One Another with a Holy Kiss

In whatever way a “kiss” is expressed, it must always be “holy.”

THE “KISS” IN SCRIPTURE

  1. Judas and Christ – Matt. 26:48-49
  2. The father and his prodigal son – Luke 15:20
  3. The Ephesian elders and Paul – Acts 20:37

Note that not a one of these illustrations gives a specific description of the form the kiss took.

Acts 20:37 – “And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him”

Contemporary Christians are often guilty of making the Scriptures teach form when it is not even there. Are you guilty?

SINCERE CHRISTIAN LOVE

Paul’s and Peter’s concern was not the form that the greeting should take, but that it be a “holy” one—a sanctified one—an expression of true Christian love.

In today’s world greetings among people generally tend to be empty and superficial. Have you felt this? I have!

“Hello, how are you?” without any thought of wanting to know how you really are.

Paul’s concern (and Peter’s) was that these New Testament Christians would greet one another with pure motives. Each greeting was to be a true expression of concern and love.

We must make our greetings sincere.

OVERCOMING CULTURAL BARRIERS

Undemonstrative – reared in a home where physical affection was almost nonexistent.

Example: T.K. Andrews, a deacon here at SLBC. I would hug him, and he would become as stiff as a board.

Example: Debbie’s family was very demonstrative. It was new to me. It took me time to get used to it. 

In understanding emotional barriers, we must not allow that to keep us from “greeting one another with a holy kiss.”

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR APPLYING THIS PRINCIPLE TODAY

Step 1 Make sure you are living in harmony with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

You cannot greet others sincerely if you do not really care about them, or if there is something between you and another Christian brother or sister.

Step 2 Make every effort to develop sincere interest in others.

If we are not sincerely interested in other people’s interests, we will never feel comfortable greeting them. Two other reasons:

  • You’re a self-centered person. You always think of yourself first and have built the world around yourself.
  • You feel uncomfortable with people. You are fearful and have deep feelings of inferiority.

God’s people must begin to experience the benefits of relational Christianity.

Step 3 Consider the aspects of physical affection in greeting other Christians.

A kiss—no matter how it is expressed—involved physical contact with the other person.

Several guidelines that will help Christians avoid problems in showing physical affection—particularly to those of the opposite sex.

  1. Men and women who are not related should always be discreet about showing physical affection. A hug from the side would be best.
  2. Intimate physical affection between unmarried people should rarely be expressed in private situations.

Be on guard at all times. It may mean nothing to you, but it could be read wrong by another person.

  1. Pastors and professional counselors must be especially cautious about showing physical affection—particularly in private.

An emotionally or spiritually sick person can destroy another’s reputation through gossip. Such a person might exaggerate any show of affection because of vain imagination.

  1. Unmarried Christians should never show physical affection in such a way so as to stimulate the sensuous nature of the other person, causing improper thoughts and actions.
  2. Some people who are more vulnerable to sin must always be more cautious than others in showing physical affection to the opposite sex.

A FINAL WORD

Mature Christians can and should show physical affection. In our society, shaking hands, a kiss on the cheek, and a gentle, nonsensuous embrace are certainly appropriate.

But it must always be based on pure motives, discretion, and above all, true Christian love.

It can create oneness, unity, and even spiritual and psychological healing.



Admonish One Another – Romans 15:14

Today is Saturday, May 2, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 40

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.
How are you today?
Announcements:

WEDDING: We held a beautiful wedding here at the church last night – Kathleen Mathewson because Kathleen Duke. There were about 16 people present. I personally think it was a “just right” wedding. The service was recorded on Facebook Live at our SLBC page if you would like to watch it.

CHURCH TOMORROW – SLBC to REGATHER on May 3, 2020 Three services: 8:30; 9:45; and 11:00 A.M.  No nursery, and No Sunday school classes.

Download the REGATHER Guidelines at our SLBC webpage – slbc2u.com

FREE Apologetics Study – Faith Has Its Reasons – https://www.credocourses.com/product/apologetics-methods-with-robert-bowman-digital-audio/?goal=0_39525287d9-41d8347940-62678885&mc_cid=41d8347940&mc_eid=82b8d4081d

Today in the News:

Breaking News – Bill Gates seeking to microchip every person as a way to keep track of the Coronavirus. You won’t be allowed to enter stores without the chip. It will provide a bar code saying that you have had the virus, but are now recovered and no threat, or that you are immune to the virus, or that you are a possible candidate for the virus. Yes, Microsoft has a patient in which they are working on that is a “digital certificate.” Is this TRUE? The answer is No! Microsoft is working on technology similar to the Apple Watch. But hey, if you want to run with the microchip story – I can’t stop you!

Wired reports – March 11, 2020 – The Day Everything Changed! The coronavirus pandemic seemed to crystallize in the national consciousness, Americans on the front lines look back on the turning point. 71 days into the New Year and March 11 became unlike any other day in American History – it was the pivot point on which weeks of winter unease about the looming novel coronavirus turned in a matter of hours into a sudden, wrenching, nation-altering halt to daily life and routine. Just 24-hours earlier Americas were busy doing what we have been doing for years – going about business as usual. But on March 11, 2020 it STOPPED! The Dow-jones dropped 1,465 points, the NCAA announced it would play basketball with fans, President Trump announced a ban of travel to Europe, Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita posted on Instagram that they too had been diagnosed while in Australia and were recuperating. All this on March 11, 2020.

Riddles: What is the Answer?

 Riddle # 1

Three times I have been divided
doing what God had decided.
Twice a garment was the tool
that led me to obey God’s rule.
I was the threshold of new things
and the limit of many kings.
Once God’s son I did embrace.
Once the ark stood in my place.
Never have I walked the ground,
nor in the heavens was I found.

What am I?

Answer: The Jordan River.  

The 3 times it was divided were:
1) After the death of Moses when Joshua led the Israelites over to the Promised Land.
2) When Elijah & Elisha crossed over together.
3) When Elisha crossed back after Elijah was taken up in the chariot of fire.

The garment used twice to part the water was Elijah’s mantle.

Jesus was embraced by the waters of the Jordan when he was baptized by John the Baptist & it was the Ark of the Covenant not Noah’s Ark that stood in the Jordan (when the Israelites crossed)

Riddle # 2

Adam, God made out of dust, but thought it was best to make me first. So I was made before man to answer God’s most holy plan. A living being I became and Adam gave me my name. From his presence I then withdrew and more of Adam I never knew. I did my maker’s law obey, not ever went from it astray. Thousands of miles I go in fear, but seldom on the earth appear.
Whales are in the ocean

For purpose wise which God did see, he put a living soul in me.
Jonah

A soul from me God did claim and took from me the soul again. So when from me the soul had fled, I was the same as when first made.
Jonah was freed from the whale

And without hands or feet or soul, I travel on from pole to pole.
Whales are long-distance travelers

I labor hours by day, by night to follow man to give him light. Thousands of people, young and old, will by my death great light behold.
Whale oil burns very nicely in many lamps. But the whale must be killed to get the oil.

No right or wrong can I conceive, the scriptures I cannot believe. Although my name therein is found, they are to me an empty sound. No fear of death doth trouble me, real happiness I’ll never see. To Heaven I shall never go, or to Hell below.

Now when these lines you slowly read, so search your Bible with all speed for that my name is there, I do honestly to you declare.

The answer is one word. There are five letters in the word.
Whale

Whale appears only four times in the Bible.
Genesis 1:21
Ezekiel 32:2
Job 7:12
Matthew 12:40

Pause for Prayer:

  • Wedding Last Night – Austin and Kathleen Duke
  • Marilyn’s brother, Richard.
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • Shut-in’s
  • Wisdom for God’s People
  • Leaders both local and national
  • Sunday service at SLBC

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Romans 15:14,

And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish one another. (NASB)

I want to have a word with you about the exhortation to Admonish One Another

Do you have anyone in your life that speaks TRUTH into your life? A husband, a wife, a friend, a mentor?

There is no greater sign of love than to be willing to risk rejection and broken relationships with others. And if admonishment is done in the right spirit, with the right motive, using an appropriate method, the person who is not living a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ usually senses the risk you’re taking. Though that person may have difficulty acknowledging it at that moment, down deep he really knows. Someday he will probably thank you for your love.

WHY IS CONFRONTATION SO DIFFICULT?

What are the issues that come up that need confrontation?

  • Critical spirit
  • Unloving
  • Sinful behavior
  • Anger
  • Abuse

Do we have the courage to confront others?

A lot of times we talk about people behind their backs, but we refuse to confront them face-to-face.

Why we don’t confront? The number one reason:

  • Rejection

What are the results of confrontation? Two possible results:

  • Rejection – they get mad at you.
  • Acceptance – they thank you for your honesty.

WHAT IS ADMONISHMENT?

Translators use various words to describe Paul’s injunction to the Roman Christians.

  • New American Standard Bible reads “admonish one another.”
  • Williams uses the phrase “counsel one another.”
  • Beck, the word “correct.”
  • New International Version reads: “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are . . . competent to instruct one another.”

The Greek word “noutheteo” doesn’t refer to casual communication or normal teaching and counseling. It implies a definite exhortation, a correction.

Paul writes in 1 Thess. 5:14 – the translators of the New International Version have actually used the word “warn” to describe Paul’s admonishment to Christians who were idle and lazy.

Paul’s exhortation to “admonish one another” in this Letter to the Romans is a divine balance to his instructions to “accept one another.” It may appear that we are to “accept” a person’s sinful behavior. Not at all! We can “accept the sinner” without “accepting his sin.”

By accepting others as Christ accepted us, we earn the right to admonish others who are straying from the straight and narrow path that God has outlined for us in Scripture.

Do we care enough for one another to speak TRUTH into the life of one another? Will we admonish one another?

Not everyone responds positively—even when we “speak the truth in love.”

WHAT MAKES US “COMPETENT TO ADMONISH OTHERS”?

  1. They were “full of goodness” (Rom. 15:14a).

You are “competent,” Paul said, because you “are full of goodness.”

As believers we must become mature enough to make sure that we remove the “plank” from their own eyes before we try to remove the “speck of sawdust” from a brother’s eye (Matt. 7:3-5).

Christians who are sensitive about their own walk with God are capable—and responsible—to admonish other Christians. They have earned the right to warn those who display characteristics that violate the direct teaching of Scripture. Putting it another way, we must make sure we “clean up our own act” before we try to help others clean up theirs.

  1. They were “complete in knowledge” (Rom. 15:14b).

The second requirement for being able to admonish others is an understanding of God’s Word.

Admonishment must be based on God’s specific will and ways—not on what we think other Christians should or should not be doing.

We must be careful at this point. Many Christians tend to confuse absolutes and nonabsolutes.

For example:

  • The Bible does not specifically forbid reading modern literature.
  • The Bible does not say anything about attending certain kinds of movies.
  • But it certainly warns against exposing our minds to impure and unholy thoughts.

Admonish other Christians – should be based on scriptural lists of sins, not a list that we have added to the Bible. It’s the scriptural?

  • Adultery
  • Fornication
  • Pornography
  • Abuse
  • Addictions
  • Stealing
  • Lying

ADDITIONAL BIBLICAL GUIDELINES

  1. Admonishment must be done with deep concern and love.

We see “tears” in Acts 20:31when Paul met with the Ephesian elders.

  1. Admonishment must frequently be personal.

1 Thess. 2:11-12 – For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory.

At times preachers will exhort the whole church, hoping the person who is in need of the exhortation is listening. This can simply be a way to avoid personal confrontation.

The Bible does speak about “public rebuke,” particularly for pastoral leaders, but only after personal confrontation and sufficient evidence of continual sin is given by two or three witnesses (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Tim. 5:19).

  1. Admonishment must be persistent if it is to be effective.

Paul’s admonishment to the Ephesians was “night and day” and for and for a period of “three years.” (Acts 20:31)

  1. Admonishment must flow from pure motives.

To the Corinthians he wrote: “I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn [admonish] you, as my dear children” (1 Cor. 4:14).

  1. Admonishment must have the proper goal.

There should be only one basic objective when we admonish others: to help them become more mature in Jesus Christ.

Thus Paul wrote to the Colossians: “We proclaim him, counseling [admonishing] and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me” (Col. 1:28-29).

  1. Admonishment must be a natural outgrowth of proper body function.

There are two types of admonishment—preventive and corrective. The Scriptures teach us we are to warn each other to “stay away from sin” (preventive counseling). We have already looked at corrective, so lets look at preventive now.

This is what Paul was referring to when he wrote to the Colossians: Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and counsel [admonish] one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God (Col. 3:16).

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR APPLYING THIS PRINCIPLE TODAY

Step 1- Each of us must evaluate our own lives before trying to admonish others. The following questions will serve as personal criteria:

  1. Can I say my own life is “full of goodness”?
  2. Do I really know what the Bible teaches about godly and righteous living?
  3. When I exhort or admonish another Christian (or Christians), do I do so reflecting deep love and concern?
  4. When a Christian needs admonishment regarding specific sins, do I seek that person out in private, rather than use a public tactic that makes it appear I’m speaking to everyone?
  5. Am I persistent in my admonishment without being obnoxious and overbearing?
  6. Do I admonish others—not to tear them down and embarrass them—but to build them up?
  7. Do I admonish others for one basic purpose—to help them become complete and mature in Christ?

Step 2 – Evaluate your own church structures. Do they make it natural and easy for all members of Christ’s body to be involved in “mutual admonishment”?

Step 3 – If you are a parent (or planning to be one), reread the questions in Step 1.

How do you measure up as a parent or as a prospective parent? Are you indeed qualified to admonish your children? If not, remember you cannot suddenly become a “nonparent.” Your only choice to be in the will of God is to become more qualified.

Step 4 – Use the words of the song “Lord Speak to Me” as a personal prayer.         

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak in living echoes of Thy tone; As Thou has sought, so let me seek Thy erring children lost and lone. O teach me, Lord, that I may teach the precious things Thou dost impart; And wing my words, that they may reach the hidden depth of many a heart. O fill me with Thy fullness, Lord, until my very heart o’erflow In kindling tho’t and glowing word, Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show. O use me, Lord, use even me, just as Thou wilt, and when and where; Until Thy blessed face I see, Thy rest, Thy joy, Thy glory share.



Accept One Another – Romans 15:7

Today is Friday, May 1, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 39

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

SLBC to REGATHER on May 3, 2020 Three services: 8:30; 9:45; and 11:00 A.M.  No nursery, and No Sunday school classes.

Download the REGATHER Guidelines at our SLBC webpage – slbc2u.com

Today in the News:

Reuters reports – More than half of states started easing restrictions after federal guidelines for social distancing expired last night – but governors are charting their own courses. Starting today, Texas movie theaters can reopen, while in California, some beaches are closed to prevent crowds.

ONENEWSNOW reports: U.S. jobless claims soar past 30 million. Just a few weeks ago I reported that number at 10 million. 30 million people in the six weeks since the outbreak took hold and shut down factories and other businesses from coast to coast.

ABC News – COVID-19 has now killed 63,000 people in the U.S., but exerts warned that because of testing shortages, the actual toll could be much higher. It’s probably a substantial underestimate of the true number by tens of thousands,” said a Yale epidemiologist.

Next in the News – An experimental drug that proved effective against the coronavirus in a governmental study raised hopes for faster progress in battling the epidemic and restoring wrecked economies and liveliness. The drug, remdesivir, is made by California’s Gilead Sciences. The U.S. government and others are working to make the antiviral medication available to patients as quickly as possible. News of the medical advance lifted world markets. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-diseases expert, told NBC’s “Today” show that he spoke with th chief of the Food and Drug Administration and expects approval for the emergency use of remdesivir to happen “really quickly.”

Riddles: What is the Answer?

 

  1. Riddle:What has to be broken before you can use it?
    Answer:An egg
  2. Riddle:I’m tall when I’m young, and I’m short when I’m old. What am I?
    Answer:A candle
  3. Riddle:What month of the year has 28 days?
    Answer:All of them
  4. Riddle:What is full of holes but still holds water?
    Answer:A sponge
  5. Riddle: What question can you never answer yes to?
    Answer:Are you asleep yet?
  6. Riddle:What is always in front of you but can’t be seen?
    Answer:The future

Pause for Prayer:

  • Wedding tonight – Austin Duke and Kathleen Mathewson
  • Marilyn’s brother, Richard.
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • Shut-in’s
  • Wisdom for God’s People
  • Leaders both local and national
  • Sunday service at SLBC

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Romans 15:7,

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God

I want to have a word with you about: Accept One Another

Did any of you grow up in a legalistic church?

  • Acceptance by others depended primarily on what you did or did not do.
  • You had a list of dos and don’ts.
  • You sought not to comprise a biblical list.
  • Extra – scriptural activities, most of which were cultural.

Nothing shatters true spiritual unity among Christians more thoroughly than extrabiblical rules and regulations that we use to evaluate a person’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

Legalism leads rapidly to judgmental behavior and pseudo-spirituality.

 It also creates false guilt, destroys personal freedom to really be what God wants a Christian to be.

It can often leads to a violation of the true biblical standards for Christian behavior.

 What did your Church look like? Legalism or Biblical?

  • Little in-depth spirituality.
  • Lots of internal divisions.
  • Accepted only if you fulfilled a predetermined set of behavioral expectations.

A biblical Church accepts one another as Christ accepted them.

The problem with legalism is that it takes a long time to shake it off. Sometimes it take years to overcome.

 Note: The Bible does lay down behavioral expectations for Christians, but it also condemns acceptance or rejection based on external patterns that go beyond specific scriptural statements.

LEGALISM VS. LICENSE

 People seem to always lean towards extremes!

  • Reaction to legalism can lead to license.
  • Reaction to license can lead to legalism.

This is called: The Peril of the Pendulum.

Those who move to license use their freedom in Christ to engage in activities that are unequivocally a violation of the will of God. People can convince that what they are doing is okay, under the guise that they are “under grace” — not “under law.”

Those who live in a state of legalism are always judging and looking down on Christians who behave differently than they do.

A true understanding of God’s grace and the freedom that we have in Jesus Christ leads to holiness — not worldliness.

 Once we understand God’s saving grace and when we truly appreciate what we have in Christ, how can we do less than respond to His love by offering our bodies back to Him as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1-2)?

Paul to Titus: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, to live self – controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ , who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own , eager to do what is good (Titus 2:11-14).

A KEY TO UNITY

In this context of Romans 15:5-7, Paul exhorted believers to “accept one another.

Note the context of the injunction, May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you (Rom. 15:5-7)

 Paul used Jesus Christ as his example for acceptance. We are to accept other Christians just as Jesus Christ accepted us — which raises a very basic question. How did Jesus Christ actually receive us?

   Jesus did say…
  • I will accept you if you speak German.
  • I will accept you based on the color of your skin.
  • I will accept you based on your status.
  • I will accept you based on your age.
  • I will accept you based on your sex – male or female.
  • I will accept you based on your wealth.

 Not at all. We read in Ephesians 2:8-9,

“For by grace have you been saved through faith and that not of yourself it is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.”

The Hymn Rock of Ages

Could my tears forever flow,

Could my zeal no languor know,

These for sin could not atone —

Thou must save, and Thou alone.

In my hand no price I bring,

Simply to Thy cross I clin .

Jesus Christ doesn’t even ask us to clean up our act before He accepts us. You see Jesus Christ transforms our lives. It’s not about us turning over a new leaf – it is coming as we are, and allow Jesus to recreate us (2 Cor. 5:17).

 I would encourage you to read Ephesians 2:10,

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

 JUDGING ONE ANOTHER

 To sit in judgment on other Christians is a violation of Paul’s exhortation to “accept one another.”

Paul wrote to the Romans, “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters” (Rom. 14:1).

 In other words, we are not to judge each other in areas that are not specified by God as sin. “Each one,” said Paul, “should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5).

 Then after exhorting both mature and immature Christians not to judge one another, Paul then laid a heavy responsibility on mature Christians — those who could eat meat offered to idols without a guilty conscience: All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall . . .  We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves (Rom.14:20-21;15:1).

We will be careful to do nothing that would cause them to stumble and fall into sin.

SHOWING PARTIALITY

Showing partiality as a barrier to unity and acceptance of others in his letter to the Romans even before dealing with legalism. “Live in harmony with one another,” he wrote. “Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited” (Rom. 12:16).

James called this sin “prejudice.” He allowed no room for misinterpretation when he wrote, “As believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism” (James 2:1).

Problem involving the Rich and the Poor

Have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges of evil thoughts?” (James 2:4).

“If you show favoritism, you sin” (James 2:9).

SHOWING HONOR VS. SHOWING FAVORITISM

It’s not wrong to honor others who are faithful to God with their material possessions — just as it is not wrong to honor Christians for being hospitable, sharing Christ with others, and serving the Lord in other ways.

Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement) in order to honor him for using his material possessions to serve the church in Jerusalem (Acts 4:36-37).

This is about as public as honor can get! But this is far different than showing “favoritism.”

Prejudice, favoritism, and discrimination in the body of Christ rejects and alienates some Christians and accepts others.

BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS!

Tony Evans was one of my students at Dallas Theological Seminary. He was a young black man—one of the first on the Seminary campus at that time. I’ll never forget Tony sharing with me what happened when he and his wife visited a well-known Bible-teaching church here in Dallas. Believe it or not, a deacon quietly but deliberately escorted this young couple to the door and told them they were not welcome in this church.

Gene Getz shares that Fellowship Bible Church, the first church he founded in Dallas—was the only white Bible-teaching church where Tony and his wife, Lois, felt welcome at that time.

Years later Tony was sent out to start a church, and he started the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship where he still pastors to this day.

Practical Ways to Accept One Another

  • Step 1 Make sure you really understand what Paul was teaching in Romans 14.
  • Step 2 Evaluate your own attitudes and actions to see if you’re accepting and rejecting others based upon your own standards that you have set up or accepted because of your own weak conscience.
  • Step 3 Evaluate your attitude toward other Christians concerning prejudice and favoritism.
  • Step 4 Follow this three-point plan for overcoming any problem in your life that reflects legalism and prejudice:
  1. Acknowledge it as sin (1 John 1:9).
  2. Pinpoint the areas of your life where you need to change. Ask God to help you overcome your sins. Pray specifically about specific problems.
  3. Take an action step. For a starter, select another member of Christ’s body you have had difficulty accepting. Do something for that person that reflects true Christian love. For example, you might invite that person to your home for dinner.

 



Being of the Same Mind with One Another – Romans 15:5

Today is Thursday, April 30, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 38

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

SLBC to REGATHER on May 3, 2020 Three services: 8:30; 9:45; and 11:00 A.M.  No nursery, and No Sunday school classes.

Download the REGATHER Guidelines at our SLBC webpage – slbc2u.com

As your Pastor I want to thank you as a church for your faithfulness in giving. Today we have surpassed our April budget. The Church is NOT closed. It is alive and doing well.

Today in the News:
 
VICE reports – Scientists know where aliens might be, but humans will never see them.

CNN reports – No dumbbells, no problem. You can use these five household items to work out your whole body. Check it out at this link: https://apple.news/AZ6EqhdViQQ6_kQmvXSdTMw

 

  1. Backpack squat – 5-10 reps
  2. Broomstick single-leg hinge – 5-10 reps
  3. Chair split squat – 5-10 reps per side
  4. Towel lateral lunge – 5-10 reps per side
  5. Backpack walking lunge – 10-20 reps

Los Angeles Times reports – Los Angeles will offer free coronavirus testing to all residents, even those without symptoms, making it the first major city to do so. Mayor Eric Garcetti says that this is a major milestone that needed to be met before leaders could consider lifting some restrictions. Note: LA County had a grim update with its single largest increase in new coronavirus cases reported in a single day – 1,541 new cases.

BuzzFeed News reported: After One Tweet To President Trump, This Man God $ 69 Million From New York For Ventilators – See article for yourself at:  https://apple.news/AJRzmmuO3SEe-FRorgp1OOw

Riddles: Can you guess the Answer?

Riddle: I am always hungry and will die if not fed, but whatever I touch will soon turn red. What am I?
Answer: Fire

Riddle: The person who makes it has no need of it; the person who buys it has no use for it. The person who uses it can neither see nor feel it. What is it?
Answer: A coffin

Riddle: A man looks at a painting in a museum and says, “Brothers and sisters I have none, but that man’s father is my father’s son.” Who is in the painting?
Answer: The man’s son

Riddle: With pointed fangs I sit and wait; with piercing force I crunch out fate; grabbing victims, proclaiming might; physically joining with a single bite. What am I?
Answer: A stapler

Riddle: I have lakes with no water, mountains with no stone and cities with no buildings. What am I?
Answer: A map

Riddle: What does man love more than life, hate more than death or mortal strife; that which contented men desire; the poor have, the rich require; the miser spends, the spendthrift saves, and all men carry to their graves?
Answer: Nothing

Pause for Prayer:

  • Marilyn’s brother, Richard.
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • Shut-in’s
  • Wisdom for God’s People
  • Leaders both local and national
  • Sunday service at SLBC

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Romans 15:5,

Be of the Same Mind with One Another Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus.

I want to have a word with you about: Being of the Same Mind with One Another.

Have you ever witnessed someone with a severe handicap? A handicap so bad that other people had to care for them? What went through your mind?

An Illustration that Drives Home a Truth 

I can remember a few years back running a Spartan race in Monroe, Washington. I found myself complaining about signing up for something that at that moment didn’t seem like a good idea. As I rounded a corner, I came upon a man that was participating in the Spartan Race without legs. All of a sudden, I felt like I had nothing to complain about. I have two legs – both worked. I was moving along a lot faster than this guy. My complaining stop then and there, and I started to give thanks for a healthy body.

I have been out and about, and I have seen parents with handicap children. Children that needed constant care. My thoughts are, that is a difficult challenge they face. It must be hard to care for that child day-in and day-out with special needs.  I have witnessed children that are unable to control their limbs – they have no motor coordination. For whatever reason the signals from the brain are being blocked. This has always made me feel sad. Sad that we live in such a broken and fallen world. That child didn’t deserve to be born with such debilitating handicap.
 Well, Dr. Gene Getz tells a similar story, and then he says, “But as I sat and reflected, I thought of another tragedy — in many respects, a much greater tragedy. I thought of all of the “spastic churches” that exist in the world today — churches where Jesus Christ the Head sends signals to various members of His body, but they do not respond properly. In fact, they do just the opposite of what the Lord has stated. Consequently, the church lacks unity and coordination. It’s filled with carnality — and divisions. The church in Corinth was this kind of body of believers. “You are still worldly,” Paul wrote “For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? [or like non – Christians]” (1 Cor. 3:3).

CHRIST’S PRAYER FOR UNITY

The High Priest Prayer – John 17

Four major elements in the incomparable message of Christianity. They are seen in Jesus’ prayer –

  1. Salvation (17:1-3)
  2. Incarnation (17:4-6)
  3. Sanctification (17:17-19)
  4. Glorification (17:24)

One major request in Jesus’ prayer – John 17:11

Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.

Later, Jesus amplified this request – John 17:20-23,

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me

THE ESSENCE OF CHRISTIANITY

Unity! The visible unity — a oneness — that reveals the very essence of the Christian Gospel.

That essence comprises the following fact:

“that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:19).

Jesus was indeed God in the flesh. He was (and is) one with the Father. And oneness in Christ’s body in some miraculous and marvelous way reveals that Christ is indeed God. If He had not been God, there could have been no plan of salvation. Christianity would be just another man – made religion. 

Satan’s strategy throughout church history has been to destroy unity in Christ’s body. How many churches do you know that have been devastated by disunity and disharmony? SLBC hasn’t escaped, and you have probably been in a church where you witnessed disunity and trouble among members.

Satan knows that if he can destroy unity, he has eliminated the most powerful means to communicate that Jesus Christ is God.

A POWERFUL MIRACLE

When Christ was on earth, He worked miracles to convince men He was God.

Can you name any miracles that proved Jesus was God in the flesh?
  • Miracles over elements – he turned water into wine.
  • Miracles over death – he raised the dead, i.e., Lazarus.
  • Miracles over disease – he healed Peter’s mother-in-law.
  • Miracles over natural laws – he walked in water.
  • Miracles over the enemy – he cast out demons. 

Jesus Christ has left His church to communicate that truth – that He was God come in the flesh – John 1:1, 14. The incarnation is not an insignificant doctrine. It is a fundamental of the Faith.

What is the CENTRAL key that convinces unbelievers that Jesus is God? It is unity — being of “the same mind with one another.”

  • People tend towards disunity.
  • Historical timelines list the lack of harmony among humankind.
  • Wars have been the norm for thousands of years.
  • Disunity appears to be the standard for human behavior – family, parents & children, Businesses, and even Churches.

 When unbelievers see true unity and true oneness, their hearts cry out to be a part of that kind of love. This is what brought me personally to saving faith. I saw and experienced the love of God’s people. I had not seen that type of agape love before.

My oldest sister, Pam looked at me one day and she said, “I want what you have.” She was taking about my faith. It was evident. Is our faith evident to the unsaved?
Was it the preaching that caused me to be converted, or was it the love of God’s people on open display? To tell you the truth I don’t remember a lot about the first sermon I heard, but I still recall to this day the love that I experienced from the people of God at North Valley Baptist Church, 2960 Hartnell Ave, Redding, California.
Unbelievers are looking for something real, and they can and will see it in Christians who live out the “oneness” we are to have in Christ.

 The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer called this unity “the final apologetic.” I absolutely love this!

 Do we desire to be a part of the answer to Jesus’ prayer – do we want to have unity in the body of Christ at SLBC? I do! Do you?

 The term used for this type of unity is called, “body evangelism.” When we’re “of the same mind with one another,” the Holy Spirit causes the message to come alive in the hearts of unbelievers.

I’m the preacher, but you the body are the real testimony. Is Jesus REAL in our unity as a family of God?

 I have walked many people in a decision for Christ, but in reality, the “whole church” led them to faith in Christ.

PAUL’S PRAYER FOR UNITY

 In Romans 14:3 Paul wrote,

Don’t “Judge One Another”.  Next he wrote, rather, to determine

not to put any stumbling block or obstacle” in a brother’s way.

In other words, even if we feel we have freedom to do certain things that do not violate the will of God, the law of love should cause us to avoid any behavior that may cause another brother or sister to stumble and fall into sin

BUILD UP ONE ANOTHER

In Romans 14:9 Paul wrote to “pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another”

In Ephesians 4:3 Paul wrote, “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

This doesn’t come naturally. We need divine resources to enable us to “pursue” this unity. It comes when we are being Spirit led and Spirit controlled.

It takes work and effort to be the kind of people God wants us to be

 John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

SATAN’S PRIMARY STRATEGY

Satan’s primary strategy throughout church history has been to destroy unity among Bible – believing Christians. He wants to drive people away from Christ. But this is also why Satan has tried to create a sense of unity among false religions — particularly those that deny the deity of Christ.

  • Mormonism – Appear to be a wonderful family, but they deny that Jesus Christ is God.

In Luke 16:8, Jesus said, sometimes the “people of this world” demonstrate more wisdom “than the people of the light.”

  • Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church – Love others while denying Jesus is God.

A young girl gets involved with the Unification Church because they loved her. No amount of “sound doctrine” could convince her that these people were in violation of Scripture

Satan will blind the eyes of unbelievers lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and be saved.

SATAN CAN BE DEFEATED

 God gave us a strategy for defeating Satan.

 It is a SIMPLE (not easy) strategy – it is being “the same mind with one another.”

 A PRIMITIVE SETTING – Missionaries come a live among people. They are lost and live in darkness. For years they share the gospel, and get nowhere with the people. Finally, someone in the village come to faith in Christ. When asked why they came to Christ they respond, “I watched you love your wife.”

 A CULTURED ENVIRONMENT – Atheist denies Christ and anything about the afterlife. But after working with a Christian for years, he finally receives Christ as his savior. When asked why, he responds, “I watched your relationship with your wife and children. I saw the love and the unity in your family.

See how they love one another…

 Are you aware that in the Bible, the family is the church in miniature?

 THE JERUSALEM CHURCH – A DYNAMIC EXAMPLE

 Acts 2:46 – “And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart”

Acts 4:32 – “All the believers were one in heart and mind”

 We read that they enjoyed “the favor of all the people” — obviously the non – Christians in Jerusalem.

Acts 2:47 – We also read that “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

 It is the unity of the church that becomes the evangelistic tools for seeing lost people saved. They will want what we possess – Jesus Christ.

 PRACTICAL STEPS FOR DEVELOPING UNITY IN YOUR CHURCH

 Step 1 Realize first that unity is possible.

 The unity that Jesus and Paul prayed for is a concrete, visible, and practical.  

It is a unity that can exist among believers who are bound together in a particular geographical location, i.e., Spirit Lake.

 Step 2 Realize that unity in a local church is not automatic.

 Paul exhorted, creating and maintaining unity takes effort.

 The practical and visible unity comes when every believer does his part.

 Maintaining unity has two dimensions:

 

  1. Christ prayed (and is praying) for us. We have supernatural help available to defeat Satan.
  2. We must “make every effort” to see that we do not allow human factors to create irritations to bring about misunderstandings that divide us. Satan delights in using trivia to destroy local churches.

 Step 3 Realize that the key to unity is Christian maturity, reflecting love.

 Step 4 Seek to study all of the “one another” found in the New Testament.

When all believers function as “members of one another,” when Christians are “devoted to one another in brotherly love,” and when we all “honor one another above ourselves,” we will be well on our way to being “of the same mind with one another.” But, there’s more, and the next chapter lays down another basic “one another” necessity if the church is to become a unified body.
Remember, I’m in touch, so you be in touch.
And as always, as Dr. Robert Cooke from the King’s College used to say, Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”