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Honor One Another Above Yourself – Romans 12:10

Today is Wednesday, April 29, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 37

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

Shout Out – The Two Witnesses Podcast with Michael Anderson and Caleb Harris. URL link: https://anchor.fm/thetwowitnesses/episodes/The-Two-Witnesses-Podcast-Episode-016-Job-21-ed6q0g/a-a212i7b

Today in the News:

MY San Antonio reports: Texas will reopen stores and restaurants on Friday – with limited number of customers. Meanwhile, Louisiana joined New York in extending its stay-at-home order until at least May 15.
USA reports: Before the pandemic between 20-30% of death certificates in the U.S. were wrong – and it’s about to get worse. The reports say that overworked employees and people who are untrained in filling out forms may make the data incomplete and inaccurate. It went on to say that inaccurate death reporting is a long-standing problem.

Riddles:

Riddle: The more you take, the more you leave behind. What are they?
Answer: Footsteps

Riddle: I turn once, what is out will not get in. I turn again, what is in will not get out. What am I?
Answer: A key

Riddle: People make me, save me, change me, raise me. What am I?
Answer: Money

Riddle: What breaks yet never falls, and what falls yet never breaks?
Answer: Day, and night

Riddle: What goes through cities and fields, but never moves?
Answer: A road.

Pause for Prayer:

  • Marilyn’s brother, Richard.
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • 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 12:10

Honor one another above yourselves.

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

What is meant by second fiddle? Just how important is second fiddle?

Some people have a very hard time playing second fiddle. Gene Getz writes about a young man named, Brent. A very well – known soloist came to his church, and he had the privilege of serving as her accompanist. He was excited, seeing this as an opportunity to demonstrate his skills at the keyboard. During the rehearsal, he proceeded to run his fingers up and down the keyboard in Liberace style while she sang the first stanza of her song. Following this initial verse, she stopped, looked at my friend, and said with a smile — “You know, Brent, I really make a wonderful accompanist for you!” The light went on! Suddenly Brent saw what he had done! He was to be the accompanist! He was to support a soloist — never overshadowing and calling attention to his own skills. In short, he was to do everything he could to make her “look and sound good”!

You see every Christian is to be “an accompanist” to every other Christian. We’re all to make one another “look and sound good”!

I’ve served as an associate pastor. I always sought to make sure that the senior Pastor was always honored. I always used his name, and I always thanked him publicly.

CHRIST’S SUPREME EXAMPLE

Jesus Christ, when He walked on earth, set the supreme example in honoring others above Himself. Jesus was the MASTER SERVANT!

On one occasion, a short time before His death, He taught the disciples a powerful truth, which is also a great metaphor. At an evening meal together, Jesus — knowing full well “that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God” — filled a basin with water and stooped to wash His disciples’ feet. After He had finished the task, He shared with them a lesson I’m sure they never forgot. He said to them,

Do you understand,” He asked, “what I have done for you?”

Then He went on to answer His own question,

 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your fee, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:12-15).

MARK OF TRUE HUMILITY!

Promise Keep Rally – One of the keynote speakers, Bishop Wellington Boone was preaching. Suddenly, he stopped and turned to Tony Evans — a fellow pastor — who was seated on the platform. “Tony,” he said, “I’m willing to wash your feet in order to serve you.”

Wellington Boone was given a piece of cloth and a basin of water. He knelt down before Tony Evans, removed his shoes and socks, and began washing his feet — all the time telling this brother in Christ that he loved him and wanted to serve him as a fellow pastor.

How powerful do you think that example was to the 40,000 men that were attending that Promise Keeper Rally? What an example of true humility! Have you seen this type of humility in action?

That is what Jesus had in mind when He told his disciples to serve and love one another in John 13:12-15,3-35.

MARK OF TRUE SERVANTHOOD!

A mark of true servanthood is someone who is willing to play second fiddle, take second place, and serve another human being. Are you and I willing to play that role?

Our feet today don’t get dirty like those of Jesus’ disciples, but the point is not dirty feet, it is that of being a servant – washing feet to caring for someone who is sick and cleaning up vomit.
Being a servant means doing for others what you may not really like doing.

A MARK OF TRUE HONOR!

What is the mark of true honor? Is it being served, or being a servant? Most people like being served. For whatever reason it makes us feel important. Listen to the way Jesus took some religious leaders to task. We read in Matthew 23:5-12,

Don’t miss in that passage that Jesus turned to His disciples and drove home the lesson they had to learn if they were to be mature men of God who could be used in His service. He said to them,

   “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt. 23:5-12).

PAUL’S DYNAMIC APPLICATION

  1. Christ’s Attitude

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians:

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

  1. Christ’s Sacrifice and Service

What was that attitude? Paul carefully spelled it out! Christ demonstrated toward all humankind the greatest act of unselfishness, humility, and self-sacrifice ever known in the universe. In Philippians 2:6-8 we read,

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!”

The result of Christ’s act of love and submission brought to Himself in essence the very same result He promised His disciples if they would “honor others above themselves” — exaltation!

  1. Christ’s Exaltation

This is what God did for Jesus Christ. We read in Philippians 2:9-11,

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name , that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow , in heaven and on earth and under the earth , and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord , to the glory of God the Father.”

God will exalt Christians who truly honor others above themselves.

Jesus Himself taught,

“many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” (Matt.19:30).

Let’s go back to some earlier verses in Philippians. Take a look at verses 3-4. We read,

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

The Bible doesn’t teach that we should not have our own interests. That would be impossible. The very nature of life — rearing a family, making a living, competing in the workplace, and taking time for ourselves — demands that we look after our own interests. However, the Bible does teach that we should,

look not only” to our “own interest, but also to the interests of others.”

It also teaches us that we should,

consider others better than ourselves.”

JOY

We should not be motivated by self-centered motives and pride (“vain conceit). Our goal should be to honor Jesus Christ first, others second, and ourselves third. If we’d, we will be honored in due time. As Jesus said, we cannot lose our lives without finding them again (Matt. 10:39).

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR APPLYING THIS PRINCIPLE TODAY

Step 1 Take a careful look at your “honoring others” quotient!

  • How many situations can you recall where you purposely attempted to honor someone above yourself?
  • What about yesterday?
  • Last week?
  • Last month?
  • In what ways did you reflect sincere appreciation for the other person?

Step 2 Don’t forget to honor those who have helped you become what you are!

What people made you who you are today? Parents, teachers, a mentor?

Can you name them? Make a list today.

Take time to send a letter, or make a phone call to thank the people who made you who you are today.

The facts are that all of us have gotten where we are with the help of others.

Step 3 If it is difficult for you to compliment others and to enjoy their successes, take a close look at your own personality.

The following checkpoints will help:

  1. Some people cannot compliment others and enjoy their success because they have always been the center of attention themselves.
  • self – centered.
  • “compete” with him.
  • reflects immaturity.

Memorize Philippians 2:3-4, and meditate on these exhortations every day.

Every time you’re tempted to “hog the show, “quote those verses to yourself.

  1. Some people have difficulty complimenting and honoring others because they are insecure.
  • don’t feel good about themselves.
  • difficulty “honoring others” because they feel in need of honor themselves.
  • often complain no one pays attention to them.
  • insecure person.
  • desire for recognition and attention.

Some people just might need to reprogram their mind and emotions. We are called to renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2).

In addition to memorizing Scripture (such as Phil. 2:3-4), they need loving counsel blended with direct confrontation regarding their patterns of behavior.

If either of these two problems describe your behavior, begin today to seek help from another mature member of the body of Christ. Find someone that you will allow to speak truth to your life.

Don’t disobey God another day (no matter what the cause of your problem). If you continue, you’ll rob yourself of the blessing that will come if you truly “honor others above yourself.”

Remember, you can never lose by sincerely honoring others. God will not forget, and neither will those you honor.

I thank God for Royal Blue, my pastor, Bob Ramsey, my youth pastor, Debbie parents, my mom, Dr. Charles Smith, Bible college professors, Pastor Dwayne Hester, Pastor Jerry Kennedy, and so many others who have made me who I am today.

Who do you need to honor today?

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

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

Lord willing I’ll be back tomorrow!


Devoted to One Another – Romans 12:10a

Today is Tuesday, April 28, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 36
Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

  • SLBC Regathering Guidelines -SLBC Regathering Guidelines
  • Visit SLBC2u.com – Resources

Today in the News:

BBC News –

  • Children in Spain were able to leave their homes for the first time in six weeks.
  • Italy, under the world’s longest lockdown, will begin to lift restrictions.
  • K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to work after recovering from COVID-19.

VOX News –

  • Where is Kim Jong Un? Speculation has ramped up that the North Korean leader is seriously ill, missing, or even dead after he disappeared from public view. The U.S. says that it is monitoring reports.

Good Housekeeping –

All face coverings – DIY or otherwise – should meet the following requirements, as outlined by the CDC:

  • Fits snugly but comfortably against the side of your face.
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Includes multiple layers of fabric.
  • Allows for breathing without restriction.
  • Can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

The Institute of Textiles Lab suggests that tightly woven,100% cotton is the best fabric to use, which means you can turn a bandana, or fabric from pillowcases, curtains, or woven shirts into face masks. To make the mask even more protective, use a nonwoven interface, coffee filter, or HVAC filter (as long as they don’t contain fiberglass) inside the mask to help particles.  

Riddles That Make You Think:

Riddle: What is so fragile that saying its name breaks it?
Answer: Silence.

Riddle: What can run but never walks, has a mouth but never talks, has a head but never weeps, has a bed but never sleeps?
Answer: A river

Riddle: Speaking of rivers, a man calls his dog from the opposite side of the river. The dog crosses the river without getting wet, and without using a bridge or boat. How?
Answer: The river was frozen.

Riddle: What can fill a room but takes up no space?
Answer: Light

Riddle: If you drop me I’m sure to crack, but give me a smile and I’ll always smile back. What am I?
Answer: A mirror

Pause for Prayer:

  • Marilyn’s brother – Richard. Is in the hospital. Keep him in your prayers.
  • Church leaders and regathering on May 3rd at SLBC.
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson – ALS
  • Shut-in’s
  • Wisdom for these days

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Romans 12:10a

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

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

 I want to tell you a story about a couple that one time attended church here at SLBC. I’ll call them the Richardson Family.

  • Handsome man
  • Beautiful wife
  • Three wonderful children.
  • Attended faithfully for years.
  • Kids were involved in kids’ programs.
  • Parents were involved in Sunday school.
  • Husband cheated on his wife.
  • Problems ensued and Debbie and I counseled them.
  • Soon they dropped out of church.
  • Kids were not encouraged to attend.
  • Wife decided to get even with her husband, and she cheated on him.
  • Larger problems developed.
  • They divorced.
  • The man lived with several women over the years.
  • The wife lived with several men over the years.
  • On an Easter Sunday the man took his own life – suicide.
  • Kids were constantly in trouble with the law.
  • One son actually blew his hand off his arm playing with fireworks.

   Why do I tell you that story? Because through the years I have seen my share of dysfunctional families, and the devastation it leaves in its wake.

Parents – the greatest legacy you can leave your children is NOT money, personal possession, or toys. No, it is a healthy marriage, and a testimony of living for Jesus Christ. Get your kids to church. Show them by your example to be in Sunday school, or a Bible study group. Pray with your kids, for your food, and for guidance as a family.

Let your children see your living faith. Let them see you read and study the Bible. Let them hear your prayers. Furthermore, teach your children to love God. Exemplify it – YOU love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Speak well of your church – it is the bride of Christ. It is His Church. If you can’t say something good, say nothing at all. Show your children what it means to love what God loves – the Church. Submit to the leadership God places over you. Teach your children that it is okay to come under the authority of others.

Have you heard the statement – Like father, like son? Well, the same is also true of families. What you demonstrate in your home will be caught by your children. My Pastor used to say, “More is caught than taught.” That is so true.
How your children feel in your home may be an indication as to how they may feel in the church, among the people of God. Build security in your children. Let your children grow up in a save environment.

A lady in this church, Margie Sowers used to tell me, “Pastor Kim, I feel closer to my church family then I do my own biological family.” What a great testimony of a saint that understood what it means to be a part of THE FAMILY OF GOD

Have you ever heard that song – The Family of God?

You will notice we say brother and sister ’round here—It’s because we’re a family and these folks are so dear.

When one has a heartache we all share the tears And rejoice in each vict’ry in this family so dear.

From the door of an orph’nage to the house of the king, No longer an outcast, a new song I sing.

From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong, I’m not worthy to be here, but praise God, I belong.

When the Apostle Paul told the Roman Christians to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love,” he introduced us to another powerful metaphor to illustrate the church. The term Philadelphia is translated “brotherly love,” refers to family relationships.

Applied to the church means that God’s people are to love each other as brothers and sisters.

This is exactly what Paul was referring to. Believers are to love those in God’s family like brothers and sisters (together we are in Christ). Many in my home church used to call each other, brother and sister. It was a common practice.

The term “brother” or “brothers” in the Greek is “adelphos”. It is a part of the word Philadelphia. New Testament writers used it some 220 times to refer to the “Christian family” beginning with the Book of Acts. Acts provides for us the history of the church for the first thirty years.

The word literally means “from the same womb”- and in its generic form, includes both “brothers” and “sisters.” It is distinctly a “family term.”

When it is applied to Christians, it means “fellow believers,” “members of God’s family,” “brothers and sisters in Christ,” and “members of God’s household” (Eph. 2: 19).

It means we have all been “born again” into God’s eternal family. We are vitally related to each other through a common heritage. God has “adopted” all of us “as [sons and daughters] through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1: 5).

Important Truth – The “family” – as God designed it to function – gives us an even greater appreciation of what a healthy church should be.

This metaphor adds a dimension of warmth, tenderness, concern, and loyalty—in short, human emotion and devotion. Put another way, when Paul used the “body” metaphor, he used the physical aspects to illustrate the necessity of every member’s participation in the church. But when he used the “family” metaphor, he was illustrating the psychological aspects of relational Christianity.

BAD NEWS! GOOD NEWS!

Do you want to hear the good news or the bad news first? Let’s take a look at the bad news, and the we will discover what the Good News is Good News.

The Bad News is that children often grow up not knowing what it feels like to be accepted, loved unconditionally, and made to feel secure.

  • They’ve not learned to trust others.
  • They develop habits that are anything but Christian – learning to lie, cheat, and manipulate.
  • Their values are based on relativism rather than on the absolute standards outlined in the Ten Commandments.
  • They’ve learned to be selfish rather than benevolent and giving.
What about a new Christian? If they grew up in a bad environment, what can we expect from them when they come into the church? Just because some becomes a Christian doesn’t automatically mean these attitudes and actions change, actions and attitudes that had been developed over a lengthy period of time.

Many people have a hard time adjusting in a church because they have no clue what it means to be a part of the “family of God.” They have no idea what it means to be a loving, caring, trusting, and sincere brother or sister in Jesus Christ.

The Good News. God designed the church—the family of God—to be a “reparenting organism” to bring emotional and spiritual healing to people who have grown up in unhealthy families.

When I was a youth Pastor, I would tell my wife that I need to be a pastor because the parents of the youth need to be reparented. I still believe that a lot of parents have never grown up, and that they are acting very immature for their age, and for the responsibility they possess.

My home church was excellent at setting an example for the youth. They demonstrated for us how to love, and to care for others. They sacrificed for us, and showed that they cared for us. It was the love of my home church that drew me back for a second visit, and at that second visit I was saved.

I learned how to love my wife by watching the men of my home church loving their wives. Again, they set an example for us young teenagers. I thank God for my Pastor, Royal Blue, and for my home church, North Valley Baptist Church.

TWO-WAY STREET

 Important Truth – Strong, mature families create strong, mature churches, and strong, mature churches create strong, mature families.

Isn’t it time that you become DEVOTED to your Church Family? Isn’t it time or you to care and love the people you worship God with each week? It’s time to grow up and to mature. It is time to be church member that takes a active role.

God’s people must make a difference to every person who walks through the doors of our church. They may come from very broken and fallen families. They need a place that is safe, and a place where they can experience (like I did) the love of God that flows from the family of God.

Do you believe that the church can bring healing and health to people who have been thoroughly secularized? I personally believe that noting is too hard for God! God is in the business of changing lives.

SLBC, or any church for that matter will ever help people grow spiritually and recover from their abusive family life if the church is not functioning as God says it should. Paul penned these words, “be devoted to one another in brotherly love.”

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR DEVELOPING

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS IN YOUR CHURCH

Step 1 Showing affection and love to other Christians and treating them as brothers and sisters in Christ does not happen automatically.

If it were automatic, we would not have so many exhortations to do so.
  • Take seriously what the Bible says about brotherly love.
  • Stick with me as we study the one another exhortations.
  • Ask God to help you apply them in your life knowing this is part of walking in His will.

Paul penned the following words to the Thessalonians,

Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more (1 Thess. 4:9-10).

Additional Scripture: Heb. 13: 1-3; 1 Peter 1: 22-23; 1 Peter 3: 8-9; I Peter 1: 5-7.

Step 2 Evaluate your attitudes and actions toward other members of your “Christian family.” Do you REALLY care for your Church family? Do you have feelings for your spiritual family?

Note that Paul, in the context in which he exhorted Christians to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love,” also exhorted that we “rejoice with those who rejoice” and “mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12: 15). This, of course, involves emotion: deep feelings of joy as well as deep feelings of sadness. Some Christians find it difficult to identify with other believers at the “feeling” level.

Consider the following questions:

  1. Do I fear rejection? Does this keep you from loving others?
  1. Have I had a poor family background?

Am I basically angry and resentful? Some Christians are controlled by deep feelings of anger and resentment toward other people. They are usually individuals who have repressed these feelings in early childhood. They find it very difficult to express positive emotions even toward fellow Christians.

 Do I spend most of my time thinking about myself? Some Christians are very selfish and self-centered. They think only about themselves. They couldn’t care less about their brothers and sisters in Christ. Naturally, they find it difficult to express “brotherly love.”

Step 3 If you identify with any of the difficulties above, seek help from a fellow member of the body of Christ who is mature and someone you trust.

Whatever step you take, begin to act immediately on what you know to be God’s will.

For example, if you have difficulty telling a fellow Christian you love him, begin to act on what you know is the right thing to do. Don’t wait until you feel like it! Start by doing something that is not overly threatening emotionally – sharing with that person a gift, a note of appreciation, an invitation to dinner.

It has been said that, feelings begin to follow actions – particularly when we are emotionally rewarded and appreciated for our acts of kindness. Expressing love in a tangible way will help you to eventually develop feelings of love that you can share verbally.

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.”



Members of One Another – Romans 12:5

Today is Monday, April 27, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 35
Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.
How are you today?

Announcements:

Who wants some Good News today? Idaho Governor Little’s guidelines allow churches to reopen May 1st, and we will have church services back at the corner of 3rd and New Hampshire this Sunday. We still must follow the CDC guidelines.
 
I will be meeting with Jeff Floyd and Darrell Woods tomorrow morning to work up our strategy for reopening. Please pray for us as we seek to develop steps that will satisfy everyone, and yet keep everyone safe.

Did you watch the Daniel 7 message yesterday morning? I hope you did. I have uploaded it, and it is available at both the SLBC2u.com website, as well as YouTube. Please subscribe at the YouTube channel. Thank you.

Today in the News:

Onenewsnow – How will people ‘do church’ after COVID crisis?

Share video from YouTube –  What we should all be doing right now.

Reuters Reports – Don’t Hoard! Here is how much food You Actually Need. This calculator shows you how much of each staple to buy. I’ll attach the website for you to take a look at this.

https://apple.news/AsznaTXmZRVKBa0NODamdvg

 

Double Take: What do you see in these pictures?

Pause for Prayer:

  • Wisdom in reopening the church
  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson – ALS
  • National leaders
  • Idaho steps in reopening business
  • God’s people to be the church in Spirit Lake
  • Cup of Grace ministry
Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Romans 12:5,

  So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another

I want to have a word with you about being: Members of One Another

What does the New Testament teach us about being Members of One Another?

Truth from God’s Word – We are members of one another (Romans 12:5).  

The Church has the POWER to Impact the World

Have you ever heard someone say, “There’s power in numbers?” Well, we also know that there is power in unity.
  • We see this played out in various sport teams all the time.
  • Imagine what could happen in the church if this kind of effort is empowered and energized by the Holy Spirit.

This is what Jesus had in mind when He prayed that the members of His body would be one as He was one with the Father. We read in John 17:20-23,

   20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 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. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 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 Church has the Power to Defeat Satan

This kind of unity defeats Satan! He is powerless to stop a church that is marching forward, “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15) and at the same time, demonstrating oneness “in heart and mind” (Acts 4:32).
What was Paul’s take on the church? He shares three great metaphors. Lets take a look at these three metaphors.

THREE DYNAMIC METAPHORS

  1. Agricultural analogy – In his Letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote – “You are God’s field” (1 Cor. 3: 5-9a). This metaphor beautifully correlates with Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13: 1-23; Mark 4: 1-20; Luke 8: 4-15).

We are to be GROWING!

  1. Architectural analogy – In the same context, Paul identified the Corinthians as “God’s building” (1 Cor. 3: 9).
We are to be BUILDING!
 
  1. Anatomical metaphor – One of Paul’s most graphic illustrations for the church and one that is exclusively his own in the New Testament. Paul identified God’s people as the “body of Christ.”

We are to be SERVING!

In Paul’s letters to the churches (Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians), he used the Greek word “soma”—which is translated “body”—more than thirty times.  In half of these times he applied the term to the church—the body of Christ.

The Church is to be a functioning unit with all of it various working parts.
And the other half of these times he used the word to refer to the human, physical body with its many parts and members.

The human body is to work together with all of it working parts.

 THE “BODY” ANALOGY

 Paul’s most extensive use of the analogy of the human body appears in his Letter to the Corinthians, no doubt because of their carnality and immaturity and especially because of the disunity and divisions that existed among them (1 Cor. 1: 10; 3: 1-4).

In two extensive paragraphs, he used the Greek word “soma” fourteen times to illustrate just how the human body actually functions.
Read: 1 Cor. 12:14-26,
   14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

You can’t miss Paul’s instruction:

There was no way that even the most immature Corinthian Christian could miss Paul’s message. His point of application was that Christians are “members one of another.”

Thus he concluded these lengthy, descriptive paragraphs by adding this concise statement and application in 1 Cor. 12:27,

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it”

When Paul wrote to the Romans, he assumed that they understood the body metaphor – probably because these believers were a lot more mature than the Corinthians.

Consequently, he simply stated the analogy and then immediately drove home his point of application:

The Metaphor – Romans 12:4 – For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function (NASB).

The Application – Romans 12:5 – So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another (NASB).

THREE IMPORTANT TRUTHS

  1. Interdependence: No individual Christian can function effectively in isolation and alone. No Lone-Ranger Christians. We were never designed to do the Christian life alone. We need the community of the saints.

Just as “there are many parts of one body” in the makeup of human beings that enable each of us to perform as individual physical units, so the body of Christ—the church—is made up of many individual members. And each member is important. We are indeed “members of one another.” No member of Christ’s body can say, “I don’t need you.” We all need each other. If we are to win the battle against our opponent in the spiritual realm, we must function as one dynamic unit. Interdependence and coordination are absolutely essential.

  1. Humility: No member of Christ’s body should feel more important than any other member of Christ’s body. Watch out for PRIDE – it was the devil’s downfall, and it is the downfall of many people (Christians included).
  • For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you (Rom. 12:3).
  • “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4: 2).
  • “There is one body and one Spirit” (Eph. 4:4).
  • “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13).
  • Though one person may have a more responsible position, in God’s sight even the person who may go unnoticed is just as important and necessary in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12: 22-23).
  • On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty (1 Cor. 12:22-23).
  1. Unity: Every Christian should work hard at creating unity in the body of Christ.
Have you ever heard the statemen: If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem? Let’s consider the following Scripture:
  • I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Cor. 1: 10).
  • “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4: 3).
  • Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification”(Rom. 14: 19).

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

We can focus in spiritual gifts (seeking and searching for them), or we can simply use the gifts and abilities God has given us to build up the body of Christ with a proper attitude: SAVED TO SERVE. No one is too good to serve another. Every believer has been saved to serve. We are all ministers within the body of Christ.

A BIBLICAL EMPHASIS

In the Bible we are told to become mature both corporately and personally. As a church, and as individuals.

  1. Corporate maturity

It is reflected in the degree of faith, hope, and love—but especially love—that is developed in any given local church. Love is a verb, it is an action word.

This is why Paul concluded 1 Corinthians 13 by saying:

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

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thes. 1: 2-3; see also 2 Thes. 1: 3-4; Eph. 1: 15-18; Col. 1: 3-5).

  1. Personal maturity

It is reflected in the characteristics outlined by Paul in 1 Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter 1:

being above reproach, morally pure, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 2 not addicted to wine, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not pugnacious, uncontentious, gentle, free from the love of money, a good manager of the home, respected by non-Christians, one who loves what is good, just, and devout (1 Tim. 3: 1-13; Titus 1: 5-9).

These in reality are a profile for Christian maturity that is detailed throughout the New Testament. Not only should a pastor have these characteristics, but so should the people of God.

Four Preaching/Teaching Goals:

  1. Teach believers how to become both corporately and personally mature in Christ.
  2. Teach the results of maturity in Christ – dynamic spiritual growth in their lives.
  3. Teach all believers how to practice the positive “one another exhortations”.
  4. Teach obedience and reliance on the Holy Spirit, and we’ll see more body function take place than ever before.

To focus on our “gifts” is to focus on ourselves. To focus on maturity and building up the body of Christ is to focus on God and others.

A VERY IMPORTANT FIRST STEP

The church must be organized for “body function” to take place. Where all people can participate.

The Church cannot afford to allow only certain high-profile people to participate?

Consequently, forms and structures need to be developed to enable Christians to minister to one another. How? Good question. Here is a possible real solution:

  1. Development of small groups
  • Where people can love on one another
  • Where people can serve one another
  • Where people can care for one another
  • Where people can be devoted to one another
  • Where people can encourage one another

   A small group become a place where people can carry out all of the “one another” exhortations and where we will see real body function takes place.

Two Questions

  1. What is our church doing to make it possible for Christians to practice the “one another” exhortations?
  2. How are our forms and structures contributing to this process or hindering this process?
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.”



Building Up One Another – Ephesians 4:16

Today is Saturday, April 25, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 34
Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.
How are you today?

Announcements:

It looks like we are going to be reopening our church on May 3rd. I will send out a letter with all the details this coming week. We still must maintain the CDC guidelines, but we will be back! Praise the Lord.
Sunday Worship – Download the Sermon Outline from our webpage. Join me tomorrow morning at 10:00 A.M. We will be taking a look at Daniel 7, A History Lesson Worth Remembering.

Today in the News:

  • Bloomberg Businessweek reports: Carnival knew it had a problem, but kept the party going. More than 1,500 people on the company’s cruise ships have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and dozens have died. What were executives thinking?
  • The Atlantic reports: Why Some People Get Sicker Than Others – COVID-19 is providing to be a disease of the immune system. This could, in theory, be controlled. The article went on to say that our immune system is not strong. We need to work at developing a strong immune system.
  • Real Simple Magazine Reports: The Sleep Commandments:
  1. Don’t skimp on shut eye. Get the right amount of sleep – 8 hours of sleep.
  2. Keep your cool – turn down the heat. Between 60-70 degrees.
  3. Do the lights right – get bright light in the morning and avoid it in the evening. Dim the lights.
  4. Wake up smart – don’t wake up at the wrong time of your sleep cycle.
  5. Channel Goldilocks – sleep on the right bed. Get the ideal mattress.
  6. Perfect Your pillows – Fold your pillow, if it just lies then, and doesn’t bounce back, it’s a dead pillow and you need to replace it.
  7. Sleep seasonally – take into consideration the time of the year. Layer your coverings appropriately.
  8. Cut your Cortisol – anxiety can cause a lack of sleep. Suggestion a weighted blanket – provides deep pressure stimulation.
  9. Sound off – check out pink sound – flatter and more staticky than white noise.
  10. Use good scents – Lavender has long been a sleep-inducing staple.
  11. Choose Your Colors – Cool and neutral color palettes. Don’t use high gloss paints. It reflects light, and makes it hard to sleep.

Double Take: What do you see?

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Ephesians 4:16,

   from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

   Today I want to have a word with you about: Building Up One Another

    Beginning today I will be starting a new series with you on the theme of Building Up One Another. We will be using Dr. Gene Getz book by the same title. My prayer is that God will use our time in God’s Word to equip us to be the people (the church) that God has designed us to become.

Looking Ahead

If there is one major concept that keeps jumping off the pages of Scripture. It is the concept of “one another.” Over and over again we have the exhortations regarding what believers are to do for one another.

   Paul used the Greek word “allelon” nearly forty times to instruct Christians regarding their mutual responsibilities to their fellow believers. The truth of the matter is – We have a responsibility toward each other.

Look at Ephesians 4:16 once again, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

What is Needed

Total body function is absolutely essential if a local church is to become all God intended it to be! We cannot have people who refuse to do nothing. No Pew Potatoes at SLBC.

There is no more important emphasis to teach Christians what the Bible says about these “one another” injunctions.

 

If you desire to grow in your Christian life you need to learn these injunctions from the Bible. The Holy Spirit desires to teach them to us, are we just as desirous to learn them?

Contrasting The Flesh Vs. The Spirit Filled Life

For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other [allelon] (Galatians 5:17). In this instance, Paul used the “one another” or “each other” concept to show the marked difference between people who follow the “sinful nature” in their relationships with “one another” and those who “live by the Spirit” and “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Living in The Flesh

  • lusting for one another (Romans 1:27)
  • judging one another (Romans 14: 3)
  • depriving one another (1 Corinthians 7:5)
  • biting one another (Galatians 5:15a)
  • devouring one another (Galatians 5:15b)
  • destroying one another (Galatians 5:15c)
  • provoking one another (Galatians 5:26a)
  • envying one another (Galatians 5:26b)
  • lying to one another (Colossians 3:9)
  • hating one another (Titus 3:3)
  • slandering one another James 4:11)
  • grumbling against one another (James 5L:9)

Living in The SPIRIT – Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is –

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • and self – control (Galatians 5:22).

Notice how these exhortations reflect the fruit of the Spirit:

  • members of one another (Romans 12:5)
  • being devoted to another (Romans 12:10a)
  • honoring one another (Romans 12:10b)
  • being of the same mind toward one another (Romans 12: 6; 15: 5)
  • loving one another (Romans 13: 8; 1 Thessalonians 3 :12; 4:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 1:24; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4: 7, 11, 12; 2 John 5)
  • edifying one another (Romans 1:19)
  • accepting one another (Romans 15:7)
  • instructing one another (Romans 15:14)
  • greeting one another (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16: 20; 2 Corinthians 13 :12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14)
  • waiting for one another (1 Corinthians 11:33)
  • caring for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  • serving one another (Galatians 5:13)
  • carrying one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
  • bearing with one another (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)
  • being kind to one another (Ephesians 4:3)
  • submitting to one another (Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5)
  • esteeming one another (Philippians 2:3)
  • encouraging one another (1 Thessalonians 4: 8; 5:11, 14)
  • confessing sins to one another (James 5:16a)
  • praying for one another (James 5:16)
  • offering hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
  • fellowshipping with one another (1 John 1:7)

Two Types of Churches

  1. The Spirit-powered Church – A church that is manifesting “the fruit of the Spirit” is practicing the “one another” injunctions that build up the body of Christ and lead to one – mindedness and unity.
  2. The Flesh-powered Church – A church that is reflecting the “acts of the sinful nature” is carnal and is practicing the “one anothers” that keep the church worldly and in a state of disunity. Drawing on a New Testament example, this kind of church can be called a “Corinthian church” (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).

Which type of church do you want to be a part of?

How can your church — and mine — become a mature body of believers, reflecting “the fruit of the Spirit”? The answer is clear in Scripture. All believers must “live by the Spirit” and “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).

The Individual Decision: I will do this.

  • To do this, we must practice the “one another” exhortations that build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:16) rather than destroying and dismantling it (Galatians 5:15).
  • We must obey God’s Word. In no instance are these exhortations qualified, such as “if you feel like it,” “if it’s convenient,” “ if it fits your personality , ” etc .
  • These exhortations form a profile for doing the will of God! All Christians are to be involved.
  • We must be committed to looking for opportunities to carry out these positive “one another” injunctions in our personal lives.
  • At the same time we must avoid practicing the negative “one anothers.” This is the essence of love!

The Corporate Decision: We will do this.

These “one another” passages are directed at the entire church. We read in Ephesians 5:18-19,  

   Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, [ as a body of believers] be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another1 with psalm, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

And as always, as my friend, Dr. Robert Cook used to say as he brought his daily radio program to a close, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”



What is the answer to Nominalism? – 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5

Today is Friday, April 24, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 33

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

  • Visit our slbc2u.com webpage
  • Lots of free resources for you and your family
  • Subscribe to grace2u4 YouTube channel – Thank you.

What do you See? Double Take:

Today in the News:

Download the Guidelines For Opening Up Idaho – Pdf will be attached to today blog.

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson – ALS
  • Shut-in’s
  • Church opening – May 1st.
  • National Revival
  • Christians to make a difference in the world today
  • Cup of Grace
  • Quiet time for Christians

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from 2 Timothy 3:16-17-4:5,

   16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

4 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

What is the answer to Nominalism?

 Do you recall my definition of Nominalism from yesterday? Nominalism defined by P.K. – Knowing truth and refusing to live it out. As if truth doesn’t really exist. English definition for nominalism – Anti-reality.

What is the answer to nominalism? Here are the answers we see in today’s Christian communities – in churches around the world, and right here in our own backyard. I want us to consider seven possible answers. They are:

  1. The Spirit Answer: Pentecostalism /Charismatic

Since the 20th century there’s been a rise of Pentecostalism in world Christianity

We especially see this on the landscapes of Africa and South America. These places have been caught up with the Pentecostalism movement, and the Charismatic movement.  We can really see it in the names of churches in Africa. Here are a few of the names:

  • Deeper Christian Life Ministry – William Kumuyi, 1982
  • The Lord’s Chosen – Lazarus Muoka, 2002
  • Living Faith Church (also known as the Winners’ Chapel) – Bishop David Oyedepo (worth 150 million).

   Like U.S. televangelists, Winners Chapel preaches the “prosperity gospel” that faith in Jesus Christ lifts people out of poverty, and that message partly explains the explosion of the Pentecostal movement in sub-Saharan Africa, where misfortune and poverty are often seen as having supernatural causes.

  • The Synagogue, Church of All Nations – T.B. Joshua (worth 10-15 million).

Churches in Europe and North America have been affected.

Churches in our own country – Bethel Church out of Redding, California.  It’s the home of strange and weird things. For instance:

  • The Glory cloud appearing in the auditorium
  • Gold dust falling on people
  • Grave sucking – laying on graves of saints to receive their unction.
  • The school of miracles, signs, and wonders

Many of these Christians think the answer to the church the nominal Christian lies in rediscovering biblical teaching of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Many Pentecostals teachers speak of the experience, which includes speaking in unknown tongues, which they say, signifies conversion. They teach that true Christians speak in tongues. What did Paul say?

Many newer Charismatics say baptism of the Holy Spirit is a second experience intended for every believer after conversion. But the Bible says that the Spirit is not given by measure. We either have the Spirit at our conversion, or we don’t.  

These leaders say that Christians baptized by the Holy Spirit would replace the dull witness of too many Christians and their congregations.

  1. The Size Answer: Every Member/Small group/Home church

Some believe that rediscovering small groups is the answer to nominal Christianity

  • We are seeing a rise in small groups meetings – churches taut how many small groups that have in their town.
  • There is a rise in cell churches
  • House church movements are springing up – their thought is that the institutionalized church has it wrong, and we can do it better.

Some even advocate that churches should number their size and once they reach a certain size that they should split and start another church.

  1. The Substitute Answer: Parachurch/Missional centered

Still other Christians have given up on the traditional local congregation all together. This despair or rejection can be observed in the growth of the philosophy that recommends forming whole congregations around a single vision statement.

  • Having a single mission
  • Seeking to reach a certain subculture
  1. So Long Answer: Individualism

Some who called themselves Christians look at the state of many congregations and have concluded that the organized congregation simply should be rejected. This rejection can occur publicly, as with radio preacher Harold Camping who pronounced that Christians should desert the churches because the church age has ended.

Some Christians just simply and quietly ride off into the sunset and disengage in any and all church participation.

Many times nominalism and hypocrisy in churches are used to justify noninvolvement.

I’ve also heard Christians say,

  • There just a feeling I don’t like when I attend church
  • People here are not serious about the Lord
  • I face enough problems at work, why face them at church
  • People in the church are not what you think, I’ve seen them…
  • The church is filled with hypocrites

There answer is simple – walk away. They think they can do church all by themselves. It doesn’t work! I have seen this tried.

  1. The Sales Answer: Excitement, Give them what they want, Pragmatism, Marketing, Consumerism.

Others placed the churches hope for recovery in recreating excitement. Make the church like Disneyland. Make it a fun place to attend.  It shouldn’t be convicting.

I literally had a person walk up to me one day before I preach (in another church) and asked me, “Do you preach positive message?” I asked them why they would ask me that, and their response was, “I am in Amway, and I can only be around positive influence. I can’t have negative in my life or I won’t succeed.”

For many the church is a place to go for entertainment, it is a theater. I attend hoping that it will be of interest to me. If not, I can sit there and wait it out.

Some say that people want to be entertained so give them entertainment.

I wonder though how many people will laugh themselves to hell.

  1. The Sacramentalist Answer: High church alternative services, the emerging church, the Great Traditions

And there are some who believe that the problem in church stems from the wrong (or at least unnecessary) focus on the subjective appropriation of the Christian faith by individuals.

   In response they advocate refocusing on the objective ordinances, or sacraments, of the church, not on individuals’ responses of piety (holiness). Such sacramentalist responses can be found in great variety.

  • Alternative High church services – excitement reigns
  • Looking in the past at earlier movements in church history – earlier Christian practices – Meditation, silence, night watches in prayer.
  • Replacing doctrine with tradition

  What we are looking at here is RELIGION – man’s attempt to find favor with God. It won’t satisfy.

  1. The Biblical Answer: The church created by God’s Spirit through his Word in the shape of His church.

To these and many other punitive solutions to current problems in the churches, recourse must be relentlessly taken to scripture.

A clear understanding of the gospel is foundational for any genuine renewal in evangelical churches. Scripture Alone!

Solutions treated as normative, but which are not found in scripture must be rejected as latter-day tradition that lacks the authority of the apostles.

Ecclesiology cannot be reduced either to evangelism or to self enhancement.

In the Christian Church the reigning consumer must become the repenting Sinner – John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and the Apostles all called man to repentance, and the Church must do the same.

It is a shame that people are being saved today without transformation in their daily lives.

The Christ-ordained sacraments are better not received than being received without personal faith – 1 Corinthians 11:30

God creates his church by his Spirit through his Word (Romans 10:17). All other answers to the lack of discipleship in too many of today’s churches compound the problem they intended to address.

If we stick with the Bible and we seek God’s interpretation of the Bible, we will not go wrong.

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.



Why does it Matter? Why does the Church Matter? – Hebrews 13:17

Today is Thursday, April 23, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 32

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

Today in the News:

Across my desk‘Experts know best, say homeschooling needs regulation, reform. I want to read sections of this article put out by Onenewsnow.com. Homeschooling Summit

NBC News – Trump says Georgia is reopening “too soon”. President Trump said he strongly disagrees with the governor of Georgia’s decision to ease social-distancing restrictions and reopen some businesses tomorrow – but stopped short of saying he would intervene.

The Washington Post reports: The bigger U.S. study of coronavirus outcomes showed that hypertension was the most common underlying condition in COVID-19 patients who died in hospitals.

The Wall Street Journal reports: The First-Ever Virtual NFL Draft kicks off tonight. Here’s how the league is pulling off the socially distanced event, the NFL draft picks will be announced from commissioner Roger Goodell’s ‘man cave’. That’s right the NFL 16 billion-dollar business will be conducted out of a home basement. It is estimated that millions of people will be watching.

CNN reports – A team of researchers from India, upon discovering a new species of green pit vipers, have decided to name the snak eafter the one, the only Salazar Slytherin (one of the founders of the Hogwart School of Witchcraft and Wizardy. Slytherin was known for his ability to talk to snakes. What makes this new snake stand out is the orange-reddish stripe found on the side of the head in males.

 

 

 

 

What do you See? – Double Take

 

 
 

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson – ALS
  • Shut-in’s
  • Governor Little and reopening Idaho
  • National revival
  • Our Christian response to COVID-19
  • That the Church would make a difference today
  • Cup of Grace
  • Personal Bible time

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Hebrews 13:17,

   Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Today I want to have a word with you about: Why does it Matter? Why does the Church Matter?

What significance does a right ecclesiology have for the church today? A right ecclesiology matters for the churches leadership, membership, structure, culture, and even character. Ultimately, a right ecclesiology touches on God’s glory itself. The church is not only an institution founded by Christ; it is also His body. In it is reflected God’s own glory. How will theology, the Bible, and even God himself be known apart from the church? Remember the Church is God’s Plan A – there is NO Plan B.

If not the Church, then what community will understand and explain God’s creation and Providence to the world? How will the ravages of sin be explained, the person and the work of Christ extolled, the Holy Spirit’s saving work, and the proclamation of the second coming to coming generations if not by the church?

Getting the doctrine of the church right becomes a benefit to people, as the truth about God and his world is more correctly known, taught, and modeled. We as the people of God must know this book – the holy Bible well.

    I. This Matters for the Church’s Leadership

Centrality of Preaching in our Churches – Paul said to Timothy, “Preach the Word…” 2 Timothy 4:2

Pastors and churches today must recover the understanding that their primary role is to preach the word of God.

This must happen for the sake of the flock and for the sake of reaching those outside the flock.

The purpose of preaching God’s word to God’s people is to build up, or edify, the church, which is God’s will for the church – Ephesians 4:11-12.

Preaching helps the people of God to grow and mature in the faith – Colossians 2:7-10.

Preaching allows us to get a biblical perspective of church discipline – Matthew 18; 2 Corinthians 5.

Congregations are better fed and healthier, and then they become better witnesses in their community. Don’t you ever say, “I just don’t feel like I’m being fed at that church.”

The Importance of Believer’s Baptism and Believer’s Communion

God’s spirit creates believers through the preaching and the hearing of the word (Romans 10:17), yet God also intends for those believers to be collected together in a congregation that is pure and protected.

  • Saved – I have been converted
  • Baptized
  • Partaking of the Lord’s supper
  • Healthy intake of God’s word
  • Being witnesses to the community
  • Leaving a lasting legacy

Hebrews 13:17 promises that leaders will give an account for those under their charge. Don’t make it difficult for a spiritual leader to care for your soul.

   II. his Matters for the Church’s Membership

A right ecclesiology also has implications for church membership. Therefore, the reason for the requirement for membership should be widely and clearly understood. Here at SLBC we require all perspective members to participate in our Membership 101 Class. My desire is for you to know everything about us. But I also want to hear your own testimony of how you came to faith in Christ. Membership class protects the church from having people join us without ever having been truly born again. Many churches care less about a saved membership. We are not one of them.

Why Join a Church?

Most evangelical Christians today seem to treat their church as one more thing to help out their Christian life, perhaps along with Bible study, Christian music, books, retreat, and keeping a Journal. Today is the age of the Buffet Church. One author calls these Christians, “The Fellowship of the Fickle Floaters.” Many Christians conceives of his or her spiritual life as fundamentally one’s own business, managed by selecting among various helps. This approach contrasts an older and more biblical way of thinking about the Christian life that is congregationally shaped, where the demands of the gospel are made concrete in a particular local church.

This is why you will hear me say:

  • Hatched – birth
  • Matched – marriage
  • Dispatched – funeral

The local church provides you everything from the cradle to the grave.

Being a member of a local church should be made to seem normal for Christians. Life lived in regular love, fellowship, and accountability make the gospel clear to the world. Jesus said that Christians love for one another would enable the world to recognize Christians as those who follow Christ – John 13:34-35

  • Church membership actually activates congregational evangelism. Share the Good News.
  • Church membership helps one clearly understand their own assurance of Salvation – 1 John 4:11-13
  • Church membership is good for the weak Christian because it brings them to a place of feeding and accountability.
  • Committed church membership is also good for the leaders of the church.
  • Church membership is required for God’s work to go forward. How is a leader supposed to care for sheep if he has no idea who his sheep are?
  • Church membership is required to receive the gifts that God gives them in their leaders.
  • Church membership actually glorifies God as Christians gather together to form the body of Christ, his characters reflected and expressed.

Recovering this understanding of church membership should be one of the chief desires of congregations today. Do you love your Church?

What are the Requirements?

The idea that membership in a local church should only require a profession of faith in Christ is an ideal that is both common and destructive in the life and witness of the church. Historically, Baptist have realized that any profession of faith should be tried and deemed as credible. After all, a saving profession of faith includes repentance. A Christian life will be revealed not only by participation in baptism and the Lord Supper, but also by regular attendance at a congregation gathering and a submission to the discipline of the congregation. This includes regularly praying for the congregation and tithing. Every congregation has the responsibility for deciding what membership standards are appropriate for its own church.

   III. This Matters for the Church’s Structure

Americans do not distinguish authority, which is something good, from authoritarianism, which is something bad.

A lot of Christians are dealing with inward rebellion. This has been made vary obvious to me during our quarantine time. If you are one of them, I would ask that you ready do some soul searching. Rebellion in the heart is not good for the believer.

God Instituted Church Leadership Structure

God has also placed leaders within the body to teach, give direction and guidance, be examples, and make decisions. Exercising trust in almost every sphere, whether marriage, family, work, the state, or the church, is for the Christians ultimately a reflection of trust in God

Rejecting leadership deprives the Church of Christ gift, improvises the body, and hinders the church in its life and work. The polity of the church is like the prongs of a ring which hold the precious treasure of the gospel. Comparatively unimportant, its purpose in role is to secure that which is most important.

While the most biblically structured congregation will make mistakes, the nearer a church polity gets to the recognizing the biblical responsibility held by the pastor and the congregation, the better protected and prepared the congregation is for the storms that inevitably come to all churches in this fallen world.

   IV. This Matters for the Church’s Culture

Not only are matters of leadership, membership, and formal structure affected by a doctrine of the church, so too are matters of church culture.

Culture of Discipling in the Church

Matthew 4:19 – The He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

It has been said that the soundness of a church is greatly improved when the congregation cultivates a culture of discipleship and growth in which individual Christian growth is normal, not exceptional.

My heart as a pastor is DISCIPLESHIP. All of us taking on the heartbeat of Jesus Christ.

One indicator of growth, moreover, is an increasing level of concern for the spiritual state of others. A concern for others should include non-Christians around the world (thus an emphasis on missions), in the congregation’s own local area (thus an emphasis on evangelism), and especially for other members of the congregation (thus an emphasis on discipling one another). A culture of discipling, evangelism, and missions best encourages the church to be what God is made it to be – a reflection of his own character.

Disciples produce disciples!

Current Challenge of Nominalism

One of the biggest problems we’re facing in the church today is a growing nominalism.

Nominalism defined by P.K. – Knowing truth and refusing to live it out. As if truth doesn’t really exist. English definition for nominalism – Anti-reality.

Congregation after congregation is marked by membership rolls filled with nonattending members.

You may ask a Pastor how many people attend his church, and he will often respond by sharing with you the number of people that are on his membership roll. But I know for a fact that a church can have a large membership roll and many of them never attend, or are sporadic in their attendance. Sometimes they are called C&E Christians – Christmas and Easter Christians.

I want to deal with this topic again tomorrow. Where we will look at the answer to nominalism?

Another large problem that we see within the church today is that too many believers their lives indistinct from non-believers around them. It’s just plain hard to tell who is and who isn’t a Christian.

Both nominalism and living indistinct from those who are unsaved is what dulls and undercuts Christian evangelism; it pushes the church and individual Christians towards disillusionment, apathetic discouragement, or division; and ultimately it dishonors God. This has just got to stop. God’s people must stand up and be accounted for.

Question: If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?

What part of TRANFORMATION/NEW CREATION do we not get? 2 Corinthians 5:17

I want to challenge you as a believer not to be satisfied with the status quo.  Don’t allow your life to be nominal. Your life and my life have been transformed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must make a difference in this world while we are alive. We have been called, like David, to SERVE our generation well (Acts 13:36).

How important is the CHURCH in your life? Are you just an attender, or have you stepped up and taken OWNERSHIP?

As I bring this to a close remember, I’m in touch so you be in touch. Get connected with your SLBC Church family. Pray for, call, send out a postcard. Let your Church Family KNOW that you are thinking of them

And as Dr. Robert Cook from the King’s College used to say as he brought his daily radio broadcast to a close, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”
 
Please remember that this material is taken from The Church by Pastor Mark Dever. 


A Baptist Church: Should We Have Baptist Churches Today? – Matthew 28:18-20

Today is Wednesday, April 22, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 31

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

Today is Professional Assistant Day! I would like to ask our church family to send Marilyn Bidwell a card and let her know how much you appreciate her. If you would like to give her a gift, I would encourage that too. I do not believe that we can over BLESS another person. Let’s shower her with appreciation today.

SLBC Web Page – PLEASE visit our page.  So much good stuff available for FREE.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel. I need you as a church to sign-up at YouTube for the weekly sermons. Thank you in advance.

Share these Facebook Live posts with all of your Facebook friends. Let’s use the quarantine as a time to get the GOSPEL out to people. Share the Good News with all of your friends.

Today in the News:

NYT reports – Governors are getting pushback from local leaders about reopening. Mayor of Savannah, Georgia said, “I am beyond disturbed.” This was in response to the governor wanting to ease restrictions while the coronavirus still lingers.

Washington Post reports: The Director of the CDC says that the next wave of the virus could put even more strain on the health-care system because it’s likely to coincide with the flu season.

VOX reports: Senate passed a $ 480 billion stimulus bill to replenish the small-business loan program, provided aid for hospitals, and increase testing capacity. The house is expected to vote on it before the end of the week.

Apple News – It’s Earth Day! It was all about recycling, build a greener world, fight against climate change.

 Well, I want to talk with you about CREATION DAY! This is my name for this day. Christians we have been given the dominion over the earth, and we are to care for it (Genesis 1:26). I believe that Christians are the better caretakers of God’s CREATION because we understand that this planet is a gift from God. However, we also aware that we live in a fallen world, that this world is NOT what God originally designed. But even in a fallen world we have a responsibility. Christians, I challenge you to do your part in caring for gift that God has entrusted into your care.
 
Download your copy of The History of Pandemics: The History of Pandemics

Church Bulletin Bloopers: Submitted by Jeff Floyd

This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin. 
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Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM . All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done. 
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The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday. 
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Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door. 
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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy. 
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Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. 

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson – ALS
  • SLBC family
  • Shut-in’s
  • Idaho to reopen soon
  • Revival across America and the world
  • That the Church would make a difference right now
  • Physical health/Spiritual health

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Matthew 28:18-20,

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

I want to have a Word with you about: A Baptist Church: Should We Have Baptist Churches Today?

 What is at the heart of Church Membership?  

  • It is the coming together for the Lord’s Supper
  • It is those who have self-examined (1 Corinthians 11:28) and who also have been examined by others (that is, by those who have not been excluded as an act of discipline).
  • Being baptized is part of the obedience that would be expected for one to come to the table.

Baptist have traditionally thought the baptism is a prerequisite to other rights and responsibilities in the church, including participation of the Lord supper.

John Gill put it, “After the ordinance of baptism, follows the ordinance of the Lord’s supper; the one is preparatory to the other; And he that has a right to the one has a right to the other; and none but such who have submitted to the former, ought to be admitted to the latter.”

In the New Testament we have no record of anyone taking the Lord’s supper who has not first been baptized. The sign of union with Christ – baptism – precedes the sign of communion together. In Christ Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), baptism is mentioned before teaching them to obey everything that Christ commanded. It is clearly intended to be an initial step in discipleship.

Old Testament Analogy

Consider circumcision and the Passover meal. In the Old Testament, no uncircumcised male was to take the Passover meal – Exodus 12:48,

    And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it.

We can surmise by that analogy that only those who are baptized are to take the Lord supper.

Should the church take members who have not been baptized?

What is the picture of baptism? Outward sign of inward change. It is a public profession of an inward possession. You are saying, I believe in the gospel – death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

People argue for what’s essential to salvation, and anything else is not worth talking about. But is that true? If baptism is not essential for salvation, then why have Baptist churches? We encourage baptism! We believe that baptism doesn’t save you, but it does identify you as a follower of Jesus Christ. We also believe that it is an essential when it comes to discipleship, being a follower of Jesus Christ.

Story of Missionary Maynord Seamand who served as a doctor in Nepal. He wasn’t allowed to proselyte, but if he was asked about his faith he could share about his own conversion. People in Nepal would ask him how to become a Christian, and he would tell them. They would pray and receive Jesus Christ into their lives, and the government of Nepal would do nothing. You see, in Nepal it is against the law to change your religion. You are born a Hindu and you are to die a Hindu. The government would only take action against someone when they went down to the river and were baptized. It was at the point that the government recognized that a person left being a Hindu, to become a Christ follower. Baptism was the outward sign of an inward faith.

There are a lot of things that are not essential for salvation, but are extremely necessary for a church to function. Church government, qualifications for membership, roles of men and women in the church. The use of spiritual gifts within the body of Christ. Worship music and meeting in a building. Non-essential to salvation, but important for the church to function.

It is also important that a church settle the fidelity of Scripture. If baptism is not essential for communion and church membership, it effectively becomes a matter of individual judgment. The desire for doctrinal inclusiveness and unity in the spirit ironically reduces obedience to a matter of subjective preference.
 
  • James 4:17 – Therefore, to him that knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
  • 1 John 5:2-3By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
If we know the commandments in the Bible, and we refuse to follow them, what are we doing? We are being disobedient, and what is disobedience? It is sin.

Is baptism a command? Yes, it is found in all four gospels, throughout the book of Acts, and is a part of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

As believers how do we know what God considers obedience? By His own self-revelation – what He has revealed to us through His Word. There is no other sure and certain guide! If Christ has commanded Christians to be baptized, then countermanding that instruction, or substituting mere intention, even sincere intention, does not serve him best.

Christ glory is most displayed in the church when baptism guards both the regeneracy of church membership and the consistency of a church corporate witness. If we understand that Christ commands the church to baptize only those who believe, then it seems clear that it biblically faithful church is a Baptist Church.

Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch. Make contact with your church family.
And as always, as Dr. Robert Cook from the King’s College used to say, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”


The Congregational Church: Putting Together the Structure of the Church – Titus 1:5-9

Today is Tuesday, April 21, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim, and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 30

Welcome – so glad that you are joining me today.

Announcements:

20/20 Ladies Bible Study – PLEASE pick up your book. Available at the church.

Thank you for your Faithful tithing during the Coronavirus pandemic. Paul Kressin reports that we have met budget last month, and we look good so far this month.

 Make sure that you visit the SLBC website – lots of free stuff available. Today I want to highlight: Adventures in Odyssey and Answers in Genesis. If you want a great program for kids have them listen to Adventures in Odyssey, and if you want to learn about our young earth visit Answers in genesis.

 

 In The News Today: I want to read to you about a New Bible Translation – It is called the 2020 Bible. It was published by the Danish Bible Society. You are not going to believe what you hear.

I will attach this article as a PDF. Lutherans Publish New Version of Bible Without the Word

The Hill reports: President Trump intends to sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration, a move he says will protect jobs as the country begins to reopen. It’s his most drastic attempt yet to seal off borders, though officials say flow to the U.S., has all but stopped during the pandemic.

Bloomberg reports: The price of U.S. oil fell below zero for the first time in history. Producers were willing to pay customers to take barrels off their hands after storage ran out.

 Church Bulletin Bloopers:

 At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice. 
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Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones. 
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Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children. 
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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
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Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow. 

 Pause for Prayer:

Bob Ahsmuhs

Tom Spann
 
Dianna Paschall’s son, Andy. For test results today. 

Paul Kressin

SLBC families

National and local response to COVID-19

Revival in America

Our WORD from the Lord today is taken from Titus 1:5-9,

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

I want to have a word with you about, The Congregational Church: Putting Together the Structure of the Church

There is nothing in the Bible about how the universal church worldwide is to be organized. The Bible is silent. However, there is 66 books telling us how we are to live the Christian life before a watching world.

Also the Bible does have a lot to say about the local assembly – those who have been called out, and placed into the body of Christ, and then who by choice join a local assembly. We find a lot of information in the book of Acts, and in the letters from Paul to the churches, as well as Paul’s letters to Pastor Timothy and Pastor Titus.

The Bible has principles which inform congregational life. And the New Testament has explicit teaching on church structure. Both church officers and polity (structure or organization) of the church. Again I would direct you to the letters of 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus.

Local and Universal

A congregational church recognizes the congregation as the final earthly court of appeal in matters of dispute. Decisions are made by the members of the local church. SLBC Constitution and Bylaws read, “The will of the church on any matter duly expressed by its vote shall be carried out by all committees, officers, and organization of the church.”  

A lot of responsibility rests on each individual member.

Relations Between Congregations

Southern Baptist Churches are independent (they are governed by their own respective congregational body – church members).

Church history tells us that churches have cared for other churches and have come alongside and helped other churches. We see this exemplified in 2 Corinthians 8-9, and in Philippians 4:10-19.

In the New Testament period collections were taken and given, missionaries and teachers were sent, and recommendations and cautions were shared between congregations. This pattern continues to this day. Southern Baptist share much of the Great Commission together through the Cooperative Program. We are able to support 5,000 plus foreign missionaries. We also support a large number of North American missionaries here at home. We are also big time into church planting, and this happens better together.

The Benefits of Associations

SLBC is in association with the Inland Empire Baptist Association. We have around 43 churches that are a part of our Association. Here is a partial list of what benefits we receive from being a part of a local association:

  • Pastoral support
  • Church strengthening
  • Conferences – VBS, Leadership training
  • Missions conference
  • Support when problems arise
  • Church planting
  • Financial support

Denominational Relationship – Southern Baptist Convention

Can you name various denominations? (Make a few comments below).

  • Southern Baptist Convention
  • American Baptist
  • National Baptist Convention

These denominations have long settled into the popular American consciousness as denominations.

Many denominations are connectional churches – they are dependent upon their denomination to settle issues – Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran to name a few. However, this is not true of Southern Baptist Churches. Each SB church settles its own internal issues, and each church set its own policy and structural decisions.

Congregationalism with Leadership

Congregationalism doesn’t mean anarchy. We have a strong leadership structure based on Scripture. All of it is clearly laid out in our constitution and by-laws, and it is Scriptural based.

Elder Led, Congregationally Governed

Elder can also be translated, bishop, pastor, overseer, shepherd.

Churches are led by a congregation and a shepherd (a pastor who tends the sheep).

People have various ideas:

  1. Church should be led by a pastor (like a CEO).
  2. Churches should be led by a plurality of elders and the congregation.
  3. Church should be led by the elders.

It appears to be that churches were led by a pastor with active involvement by the congregation. Timothy at Ephesus.

What is your take? Congregationalism, Plural eldership, or Senior Pastor?  Is it possible that anyone of these can work, or a combination of them?

NOTE: Nothing will work without being Spirit led – Ephesians 5:18

Never should a congregation be in competition with the elders, nor the elders with the congregation. The congregation’s authority is more like an emergency brake than a steering wheel. The congregation more normally recognizes than creates, responds rather than initiates, confirms rather than proposes.

Congregations are responsible for:

  • What is being taught – church doctrine (What the church believes) – Galatians 1:6-9
  • Who can be admitted and dismissed from membership – 1 Corinthians 5:2; 2 Corinthians 2:6-7
  • Congregations CANNOT delegate their responsibility to others. You can ask for council from others, but ultimately responsibility for determining teaching or membership in the local church may not be outsourced to anybody outside of itself.
The New Testament teaching on the nature of the congregation and the role of its leaders clearly indicate that a biblically faithful church is a congregational church.

Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch. Make contact with your church family. Be supportive at this time.

As always, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.” (Dr. Robert Cook).



A Gathered Church – Hebrews 10:25

It’s Monday, April 20, 2020, and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 29.

Welcome, so glad that you have joined me today.

How are you all doing?

Announcements:

  • Download sermon from Sunday – Daniel 6 at YouTube, or SLBC2u.com
  • SLBC Church App.
  • Resources available at SLBC2u.com
  • I’m praying that we can gather as a Church by the first Sunday, or at least by Mother’s Day, May 10th.

Today in the News:

  • CBS News: Yesterday in Canada a shooting left 16 people dead. Worst attack in the country’s history. Gunman dressed as a police officer.
  • CNN Politics reports: Democrats and the White House said they’re close to reaching a deal to replenish a fund for small-business loans. The initial $350 billion ran out amid reports it was being misused.
  • Apple News: Will warmer temps bring a Coronavirus reprieve? It’s complicated. Many scientists predict reduced spread in warm months, but can’t say by how much.

Church Bulletin Bloopers: Sent in by Deacon Jeff Floyd

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals. 
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The sermon this morning: Jesus Walks on the Water. 
The sermon tonight: Searching for Jesus. 
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Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands. 
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Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help. 
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Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation. 
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For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs . 
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Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get. 
————————– 
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days. 

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs – Home, treatment on Tuesday.
  • Tom Spann – cancer treatment
  • SLBC family
  • National response to COVID-19

Our Word from the LORD is taken from Hebrews 10:25,

   not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Today I want to have a word with you about, A Gathered Church: Putting Together the Membership of the Church

What does a True Church look like?

  • A biblical faithful church is a gathered church.

It is voluntarily assembled congregation that is not bound together by nationality, ethnicity, or family alone. No mere circumstance of birth should determine the membership of a biblically faithful church. Rather, a profession of faith in Christ and the act of submitting to the teaching and discipline of a particular church should regulate a congregation’s membership. Christians choose to gather together and regularly out of obedience to God’s word.

Church history: Doctrinal Reform

  • Magisterial Reformers: used the office of the state to bring about doctrinal reform in the church.
  • Non-magisterial Reformers – outside the state (underground, unsanctioned churches) also sought to bring about doctrinal reform in churches.

These reformers preached sermons that exhorted the gathered to examine themselves to make their own calling and election sure. We read in 2 Peter 1:10,

   Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble

The local church is more than a congregation, a gathering, but it is never less.

Congregationalism understands that each gathering that has preaching and the administration of baptism and the Lord supper has been given the keys of authority by Christ and should therefore have its own leadership, accountable under God only to the gathered church.

The word “ekklesia” in the New Testament means “assembly.”

Diversity in the Body of Christ

One fact we know about the church is that it is made up of every group of people found on planet earth – Revelation 5:9,

   And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,

And to open its seals;

For You were slain,

And have redeemed us to God by Your blood

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

Reasons for establishing a Church

Division should not likely be introduced into a local church. Language, distance, and even size are legitimate reasons to establish separate congregations. But then each separate congregation must uniquely represent the unity of Christ’s end-time assembly, and nothing should be encouraged which should obscure that witness – a witness of holiness and love, yes, but also of actual togetherness across lines of income, ethnicity, class, and more.

Churches shouldn’t TARGET certain group

As churches have reduced worship to evangelism, they have begun to risk introducing divisions amongst these kinds of groups. They have adopted actions appropriate for evangelism (like targeting certain groups such as the old or young, the upper class or the artsy class, the rock music or country music listeners) as an excuse to “narrow” their congregations by dividing them along worldly lines. Yet these are the kinds of divisions which we must not introduce to Christ body, just as it would not be right to try representing their reconciling gospel of Jesus Christ with services that are only for non- Jews or Caucasians.
 
Churches must be careful about creating subgroups acting as complete congregations that divide the church wrongly. In the New Testament Jewish and Gentile believers were not to have separate congregations. Indeed, their togetherness helped to display the gospel they proclaimed (Ephesians 2:11-22). The same is true today.

Churches that submerge differences of age, race, status, background, or employment give witness to the power of the gospel. Neither youth group meetings nor denomination scattered across the whole continent are in a strictly biblical sense a church. Nor are the leaders considered alone. A biblically ordered church regularly gathers the whole congregation.

Other Aspects of the church

  • It’s Christlike love
  • Its service in corporate worship and outreach

   In Ephesians 4:12-13 we read,

“So that the body of Christ being built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” 

Weekly Gatherings are another aspect of the Church

God created a weekly rhythm – The Sabbath Day – Seven days.

  • Is your week Monday through Sunday?
  • Is your week Sunday through Saturday?

Christians have always gathered together weekly, even in the scriptures. It is not surprising that the New Testament churches apparently met at least weekly if not more and even began referring to Sunday as the Lord’s day (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10; Acts 2:46).

  • Preaching in the Bible presumes a gathered audience
  • Partaking of the Lord Supper requires a gathered audience
  • Church discipline requires a gathered audience – Matthew 18; 2 Corinthians 2

Hebrews 10:25 exhorts us,

   not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

 Non-Christian Roman Official Pliny (AD 112), The Didache (Second century), Justin Martyr (middle of the second century) all spoke of Christians gathering together on the Lord’s day.

Christians came together for the following reasons:

  • Hear God’s Word
  • Baptism
  • Lord’s Supper
  • Prayer
  • Singing together
  • Taking an offering up
  • Teaching
  • Encouraging each other
  • Share in each other’s burdens
  • Know each other

The Church is a gathered people. A solid belief, and a participation.

The Church also recognized the need to maintain a truly saved membership. Born-again believers – Grace through Faith plus nothing.
 
Remember I’m in touch so you be in touch. Stay connected as a congregation.

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



Jesus is Better – Hebrews 1-13

It’s Saturday, April 18, 2020, and I’m Pastor Kim, and this is COVID-19 Connection Series # 28

Welcome to today’s broadcast. I am so very glad that you have joined me today. You are in for a special treat.

How in the World are you today?

Announcement: 

  • Church Web App
  • Masking Contest
  • Worship Service tomorrow 10:00 A.M. on Facebook

Dad Jokes:

I should have been sad when my flashlight batteries died.

I was delighted instead.

……………………………………………..

I hope I passed history

As those who fail history are doomed to repeat it.

……………………………………………..

I knew a guy who collected candy canes.

They were all in mint condition.

 …………………………………..

Today in the News:

Fishing season remains open in Idaho – You can still go fishing during COVID-19 restrictions. So get out and enjoy.

Lions take over empty road that normally would be filled with tourists. (See Photos).

Several hundred people marched across the Sandpoint Long bridge yesterday holding signs that read:  

  • Let my people go
  • We will not comply
  • Freedom is Essential
  • Stop using fear to steal our Freedom
  • End Tyranny NOW!!
  • Impeach Chicken Little
  • Open Up Idaho
  • Honk for Freedom
  • We have Rights

I’ve attached a YouTube video of the event if you are interested in watching: https://youtu.be/5HBjvKauYqU

Masks seen in Public: Here are some Unique Masks from various places

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs is having a tube inserted in his chest today to drain water off his lungs. Pray for him. He hopes to come home today as well.
  • Pray that the COVID-19 will pass soon.
  • Christians to have the proper response (Rebellion, Fear, Faith).
  • Online Worship to reach millions at home (Really Pray).
  • National leaders, governors, and local leaders – for wisdom.
  • Our entire SLBC family.

Our WORD from the Lord today is taken from the book of Hebrews. What I want to do is provide an outline for the book of Hebrews which clearly show us that Jesus is Better.

   “Better” is a key word that occurs thirteen times in this book, emphasizing the central thesis of Hebrews that the way of Jesus Christ is so much better!

  1. Jesus is better than the Prophets and the Angels – Heb. 1
  2. Jesus is better than Moses – Heb. 3
  3. Jesus is better than Joshua – Heb. 4
  4. Jesus is better than Aaron, the High Priest – Heb. 5
  5. Jesus is better than the Priesthood – Heb. 7
  6. Jesus is better than Old Testament Tabernacle – Heb. 9
  7. Jesus is a better Sacrifice – Heb. 10
  8. Jesus is the author a better Salvation – Heb. 11:1-13:25

Today I want to take a break from our study on The Church, and I want to do something different. Today I want to have a word with you about – Jesus is Better. But allow me to give you the back story as to why I am sharing this today.

   Most nights I wake up several times. At my age you get up to use the restroom, water closet, bathroom, or whatever you call it. I usually get back into bed, and for whatever reason I can’t seem to fall back to sleep. So, sometimes I pray, but a lot of time I will put in one air pod and listen to Christian music. I seem to fall back to sleep pretty quickly. Well the other night I woke up around 2:20 A.M. and I heard the following reading (or song?). It was so good that I actually took a screen shot on my cell phone so that I would remember the name of the reading (or song). The reading (or song) is titled: Jesus Is Better by Caleb and Sol.

   I really think you are going to like this, but more importantly I hope that you are challenged by it. So here it is…

Jesus is Better – I’ve got 5 minutes to convince you of one thing.

Altogether, it’s 13 letters, 3 words, and 1complete sentence.

And I hope you never forget it.

In fact, I hope it haunts you.

I hope you always remember these 13 letters, these 3 words, and this one complete sentence. Jesus is better.

You say… Better than what? I say… Better than everything else.

He’s better than any passing dream you might be chasing after.

He’s better than any worldly ambition that may have captured your devotion. He’s better than anything that could distract you from doing what you were created to do. Jesus is better.

He’s better than a 6-figure salary.

He’s better than a 3-story home.

He’s better than a trophy wife, a job promotion, and a Caribbean cruise. Jesus is better.

He’s better than a starting position on the football team.

He’s better than a lead role in the spring musical.

He’s better than a 4.0 GPA, a college scholarship, and a nomination to homecoming court. Jesus is better.

He’s better than money, cars, clothes, sex, entertainment, achievement, and popularity.

He’s better than anything this world can offer you. Jesus is better.

He’s better than any person that has ever walked this earth.

He’s wiser than Gandhi and smarter than Einstein.

He’s more holy than Mohammed and more spiritual than Buddha.

He’s more eloquent than Shakespeare and more creative than Mozart.

He’s more powerful than Napoleon and more compassionate than Mother Theresa. Jesus is better.

The Bible says… He’s better than Adam, better than Abraham, better than Moses, David, and Mary.

He’s better than the angels, better than the demons, and better than any prophet, priest, or saint. Jesus is better!

And there will be times when it’s hard to believe: times when it doesn’t feel like Jesus is better.

The world will hate you.

Your flesh will fight you.

And the devil will lie to you.

Storms… will… come.

You’re gonna face disappointment, deception, betrayal, rejection, regret, sickness, and death.

You’re gonna feel tired, empty, broken-hearted, scared, and alone. But don’t forget in the darkness what you learned in the light. Jesus is better.

He’s the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

He is the Prince of Peace and the light of the world

He is the friend of sinners and the enemy of Satan.

He is the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is the way and the truth and the life. Jesus is better.

And if you really, truly believe it, it’s gonna cost you.

You’re gonna deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him.

You’re gonna help the poor, swallow your pride, and love your enemies.

You’re gonna read your Bible when you’d rather watch TV.

You’re gonna pray when you’d rather sleep.

You’re gonna serve when you’d rather be served.

You’re gonna speak up when you’d rather be silent.

But when it’s all said and done, you won’t regret it. You’ll say, “It was worth it. Jesus is better.”

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…” Jesus is better.

So my hope for you isn’t that you’re safe, successful, and well-liked.

Sometimes those are the very things that get in the way of you learning the one thing you can’t afford to ignore; that Jesus is better.

So, if being unsafe, unsuccessful, and unliked is what it’s gonna take for you to see that Jesus is better, well then I’ll pray that your life is filled with danger, failure, and persecution.

Whatever it takes; I want you to know that Jesus… is… better.

13 letters, 3 words, 1 sentence, and no question about it. Jesus… is better.

I am going to post the lyrics of this reading (song), and also a version of it that you can listen to on YouTube. Click link to hear the original soundtrack:

https://open.spotify.com/track/7hjly7NYTN3esr1YShN4Q4?si=D1j7td7kSjCa0T3KfF2PpQ

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 as he brought his daily devotional program to a close – “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”