Posts Tagged ‘ Church ’

VerseD: Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time.
Proverbs 17:17, CSB

Christ again is our example: be a friend to all people, loving through all areas of life; be a brother to all, especially other Christians, sacrificing of yourself in times of need.

VerseD: Colossians 3:13

bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Colossians 3:13, ESV

We are family by Christ’s blood. Sometimes family gets annoying and offend each other.

Get over yourself and love them fiercely. You may even be the offensive one!

VerseD: Titus 3:10

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,
Titus 3:10, ESV

Some people only want to cause trouble. They gossip, demean, and mock, all in the guise of “prayer” and “accountability”.

Tell them stop, and if they refuse to listen avoid them (even to the point of kicking them out of the congregation).

VerseD: James 4:7

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7, ESV

It is especially hard for the devil to attack you if you remain close to God.

Read your Bible, live with a church family, and pray.

VerseD: Philippians 1:3

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
Philippians 1:3, ESV

Do you love and pray for the Church? We may not always agree on everything, but it is our family. We should pray for each other with thanksgiving everyday.

The Church: What isn’t it?

Is the Church full of hypocrites or only for perfect people?

First, we should deal with something the Church does that kind of refutes what many are fighting for in our culture.

The Social Justice Movement is horribly flawed in one major way: they are demanding the government take care of everyone on the most basic levels. But the government is not meant to do this.

Romans 13:1-7 – The government is for giving out justice … to wrongdoers. It is not the government’s job to meet all of the needs of the people.

The Church is meant to help people. We are the ones who should be helping the widows, orphans, and poor. It is supposed to come from a grateful, loving, and generous heart, not compulsion, which is what taxing people to take care of others is.

The Church is not the government. It is the Body of Christ, separate from the government (but can and should influence the government), serving the lost and hurting.

Which leads to the main point:

Is the Church full of hypocrites or perfect people?

Matthew 9:9-13 and Mark 2:13-17 tell the way Jesus called Matthew/Levi to follow Him. “Why does He eat with sinners and tax collectors?” “It is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick. . . . learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

What this tells us is that Jesus expects to find people in His Church who are able to admit they are not perfect, that they need help. (No one is perfect. All people need God’s help!)

Firstly, this means we have to deal with hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is telling people to do something and not applying that to yourself. Does this mean we find hypocrites in the Church? Absolutely! That is one of many reasons we need God’s grace and supernatural help to truly repent (change our thinking and behavior)! But this also leads to the second part of imperfect people being in our churches.

This means that you should not wait to come to church until you have “everything together and figured out.” The Church is supposed to help guide you through your troubles, problems, and imperfections. Only God can truly help you.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:1-7, ESV

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:12-14, ESV

So … what isn’t the Church?

It is not for perfect, flawless people.

It is a spiritual hospital – a place for hurt, broken, messed up people who can admit that they need help, to trust God to help them … to trust other hurt, broken, messed up (even hypocritical) people. Flaws and all.

And we should help each other turn to God and to get through this life.

What are your thoughts? Comment. E-mail us. (Together@asimplemanofgod.com)

The Church: What is it?

“I do not need a church. I can worship on my own.”

So, say … many people. But what is the Church? 

There does seem to be some confusion about what church is. Whether we feel like we do not need to attend a church (because we are each the temple of the Holy Spirit of God – which is true) or that the church should be meeting our needs (which, to a point is true) or that we have been wronged by the Church (read the two letters to the Corinthians as well as Galatians. Paul understands!), there are many grievances people have about the Church. 

However, these come from misunderstandings about the Church.  

Likewise, some people assume the Church should be making all the calls about society. While this is technically true, we have plenty of historical evidence to show how this should not be done. (Look at much of the Middle Ages through the Renaissance to see how the Roman Catholic Church and other church-led states messed that up.) Yet, people still think the Church should simply lead government. The US was built on seeing how governments led by religion can mess up societies and religions. Hence the separation of Church and State (to be discussed in greater detail another time!) 

This is a good time to address the other issue: that religion/the Church only made things worse. Again, these are largely based on misunderstandings. 

So, what does the Bible say the Church is? (This will not be an exhaustive survey!)

Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:16-18, ESV

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20, ESV

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

Ephesians 3:1-12, ESV

These explain pointedly that the Church is to spread the truth of Christ.

“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. 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. 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. 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. 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. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:15-20, ESV (as well as much of 1 Corinthians, especially chs. 5-6 (5:12-6:11))

The Church is meant to rout sin and hold each other accountable; that we judge each other within the Church based on God’s Word, and lovingly call each other to account and uphold justice. Why?

1 Corinthians 3 tells us we are individually and collectively the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit dwells. Not a building, per se. And as Hebrews 10:19-25 reminds us, we meet together to ensure we remain strong in the faith, we have the true gospel, and can encourage each other through troubles and into good works. Such that …

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

James 5:12-20, ESV

The Church is for confession, prayer, and anointing – the calling of sinners to repentance, praying for healing and repentance, and anointing for healing and ministry. 

Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 2:10, 6:9-10

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:27

The Church is to take care of the poor, widows, and orphans. First within the Church, so world may see how we care for family, then in the world, so they may see we love all people.

In summary: 

The Church is the temple of God – the people – who spread the Gospel, encourage each other through teachings, rebukes, confessions, prayer, and good works, and do good things for each other and the world. 

Nowhere in there does it say the Church is for making us feel good or giving us all that we desire in this life. (In fact, 2 Timothy says that these teachings are a sign of the End!) Instead, Philippians 2 reminds us to look to meeting others’ needs before our own, to share the same love Christ shared through the Cross. 

What are your thoughts? Do you think I should have mentioned something else? Comment below (or at the video) or e-mail us at Together@asimplemanofgod.com.