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.”