Archive for the ‘ Christian Unity ’ Category

VerseD: 1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
1 Corinthians 1:10, ESV

When we are focused on Christ, everything else becomes relatively unimportant. We may disagree on some things, but we should agree on the foundational beliefs of Christ.

“They will know you by your love for one another.”

VerseD: Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17, ESV

It is tough living with and loving other people. We can get on our nerves, and we are brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yet, Christ calls us friends. We must love each other, but His love should flow through us.

VerseD: Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 ESV

God has been generous to us. We likewise should be generous to others, and we shall find that he continues to meet (and often exceed) our needs.

VerseD: Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32, ESV

As Chrisitians, we have been failing to be kind to each other.

Denominations are not the problem. Sects are not the problem.

We are the problem.

Forgive and be kind, as Christ did for us.

VerseD: 1 John 4:11-12

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:11‭-‬12, ESV

One of the signs you are a saved Christian is a love for the Church. Just as Jesus was rejected by His own people, we may deal with rude, obnoxious people, or even those who are mean and reject us.

But we still love them.

What is the Church? Where 2 or 3 Gather …

Welcome back, people of the interwebz!

Today we are looking at what it means to be the Church in terms of two or three gathering together.

First, a look at Hebrews 10:23-25 (ESV):

 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 

Two things to discuss:

1.       We should encourage each other;
2.       We should not neglect meeting together.

Last week at church, we had to “deal with” two men who had issue with each other. They had an awkwardness between them. Their wives had an awkwardness. Being a small house church, we dealt with feeling that awkwardness.

These two men probably did it right. They had tried talking it out, but there was still awkwardness between them. So, the pastor called them out, and told them to go talk it out. After the music started, he joined them. Eventually, they were able to come back in, and it was resolved.

This leads us back to Matthew.

In Matthew 18:15-20 (ESV), Jesus said:

 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” 

They did this, they were able to talk about it, but there was still an awkward tension.

16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 

I knew what was going on, as well as the pastor, so there are at least two more people.

17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 

(Treat them as sinner: SHOW LOVE AND GRACE! It may mean kicking someone out of church, but be willing to welcome them back while continually showing love and grace! Thankfully, this was not necessary in this instance.)

18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” 

(We could definitely dive into “whatever bind … loose” and “where two or three are gathered” in more detail, but that is not the focus of today!)

Many people take this passage, verse twenty in particular, to mean that we have church wherever two or three people gather. While this is true, that is not the context of this passage.

It is about church discipline.

This is about handling disputes between Christian brothers and sisters, how to get along.

And it is nice to be a part of a church that lives this out.

This passage is telling us that we should lift each other up in Christ. In this instance, we see Hebrews 10 in action: encouraging each other and not avoiding each other.

Perhaps you are dealing with problems with brothers and/or sisters in Christ: maybe a literal brother or sister, or a parent, or another relative or just a friend.

Regardless, “do not neglect meeting together” means work it out with them in the Name of Christ!

These two guys worked it out in only about five minutes.

Iron sharpens iron,
    and one man sharpens another. ~Proverbs 27:17
  (Proverbs 27:14 mentions how a man who loudly greets his neighbor in the morning is an annoyance … coincidence? DEFINITELY! ;P)

In short, it takes work! Just like in marriage or other relationships, it takes work. If you have problems, you deal with it … in Christ.

Therefore, go out and be excellent to each other!

daniel

Splitting Hairs

There are no two ways about it. Wisdom is good. Find some at Proverbial Thought!

Recently, I have heard a lot of interesting views on things.

One of the topics I have heard a lot over is hair.

First, I saw some videos on YouTube in which men with long hair and women with short hair were called sinners.

Then I had a conversation with someone who said men with long hair are not Christians.

Then I read a blog entry that said women with short hair will take down society.

Finally, I had a conversation with someone who just wanted to know about proper hair length for men and women.

A lot of this is based on 1 Corinthians 11:

Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.
vv. 11-15, ESV

I only find this so interesting knowing of passages such as Numbers 6, which Paul would have known well:

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins.

All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long.
vv. 1-5

We all have heard about Samson. (Judges 13-16. Who, honestly, gives some credence to men keeping their hair short!)

There is evidence Paul himself took a Nazirite vow (see Acts 18:18).

Now, I am not saying all of the people who said these things are necessarily coming from a judgmental frame of mind. Most, if not all, may simply be trying to approach life from a biblical point.

However, how many times have we gotten caught up in particulars only to push people away? Whether it be hair, drinking, smoking, clothes, tattoos/piercings, end of life plans, church paint/carpet colors, political affiliation, or music choice, we could certainly show more grace to each other.

If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.
1 Corinthians 11:16

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Titus 3:4-11

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charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
1 Timothy 1:3-11

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Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29