Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again – 2nd Corinthians 1:8-11

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2nd Corinthians 1:8 (ESV) For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Corinthians, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. This is a great letter of exhortation and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure today. For other bible studies in 2nd Corinthians please click here and for other epistles please see our main epistle page.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the first chapter of Second Corinthians.

V8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.

In the last article in Second Corinthians we looked at the afflictions that Paul suffered and although we don’t know exactly what he suffered we can be aware that due to the text it was affliction worth writing about and was likely some kind of persecution as we read all throughout Acts and the Epistles of the scrapes and violent persecution that Paul endured because of faith in Christ Jesus.

Whatever it was it was enough to make him “so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself” and reading that it makes me despair at the things that travail me and cause me grief. They are but small things compared to what Paul has gone through as no-one is threatening me with my life and no-one is driving me to the point that I wonder whether it is worth even going on anymore.

V9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Paul was threatened with death and he writes here that “we felt that we had received the sentence of death” and Paul often talks about a “thorn in his flesh” so we also know that Paul was not a well man so he could also have been battling an ongoing illness. He felt a sentence of death as something that was internally imposed on him rather than a sentence being handed down from a Governor or High Priest.

I feel that the real message in this passage though is that Paul’s afflictions made him rely on God even more than he had been doing up until that point. This echoes what he wrote in the third chapter of Philippians…

Philippians 3:8 (ESV) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

If we suffer for Jesus sakes we know that we will be blessed in his sufferings and Paul’s faith was not just in the closeness of God but that God would help him and if it was in God’s will deliver him.

V10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.

Paul uses three tenses here to describe the delivery of God…

  • Past tense – He delivered us
  • Present tense – He will deliver us
  • Future tense – We have set our hope that he will deliver us again

In layman’s terms Paul is saying “regardless of the timeline God has got this” and Paul touches on the importance of looking at the past and remembering how God has delivered you in the past if you are having a failure of faith in the present or can’t see how God will deliver you in the future. You have to remember that God is a God of truth and keeps his promises.

V11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Paul valued prayer and coveted the prayers of the saints, regardless of where they were from and despite the fact that all through the letter of First Corinthians Paul chided the church in Corinth for its carnal nature; he wanted their help through the power of prayer.

Do not think that a prayer is futile, even if it is a prayer that you are confident is being prayed for by many in your assembly. Paul states that “many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” and behind every Paul the apostle is many more people who were praying for him to be used by God and to be used effectively and despite having such a good repute and was obviously called by God, Paul saw that value in those who labored in praying for him, that it was not just a quick five minute prayer, it was a regular labor of love.

I am challenged on this and who I pray for, often times I pray for Pastors, leaders and missionaries for them to continue to be guided according to God’s plan in their life. I pray for my own walk and that the decisions I take be guided by his will but I do confess that I am probably not laboring as much as I would like. How do you view this area of your Christian walk?

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Corinthians we will look at verses twelve through twenty two where Paul explains why he had a change in travel plans and he explains how he plans his missionary journeys. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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Pray for kings and pray for paupers

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This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse one of the second chapter of First Timothy.

Pray for All People

1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Paul categorizes this point in order of importance to what Paul wished to tell Timothy, the first chapter was a general greeting and a charge to Timothy personally to stay in Ephesus. Now we get into what is of top of mind in the mind of Paul and what he wished to share with Timothy and the greater church at large.

How should we worship?

Paul deals with the way we should worship, that when we pray we should not forget anyone, that no man is too lowly to not be prayed for. Paul lists four ways of communication to God, these are:

Supplications – asking for something, let’s be honest we all do it! We shouldn’t make it all about asking but we should know that God will supply our needs, perhaps not on our timescale but God is faithful.

Prayers – is a catch all term for all of our requests and dialogue with God, both individual and on a corporate basis.

Intercessions – We are told in Galatians 6 to “bear one another’s burdens” so it is just that we should pray for others, we should always make times to intercede for others, often times non-Christians who know that I am a Christian will make request of me to pray on their behalf, it is a humbling experience and can be done either in the persons presence or far away. When we pray for our mission’s people we are interceding and partnering in prayer with them to help them in the mission God has placed them in.

Thanksgiving – Not just a day where we eat too much in North America! This is vital in our Christian walk; we have been saved of so much, it is only right that we give thanks and praise. We have been plucked out of the bowels of eternal damnation and on many occasions, when I have not been thankful; I don’t fully give gratitude and don’t attribute what I should to God.

I have never met someone I could not pray for, however how many of us do? Yes I get it, we are busy and we prioritize our prayer life but as Paul states we should be praying for “all men”, that’s right, even the ones who despise us and hate us! We have to pray for them in the same way we pray for our kids, our spouses, our family, our friends and even our pastors. I would encourage you to pray for them more!

Pray for them all in the same way

V2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,

In Paul’s day Christians were often persecuted under the charge that they claimed there was someone higher than Caesar. In many cases this is the charge they would levy against Christians, and in all reality all the Christians could be tried for is trying to give the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul commends this and tells Christians to be good citizens, pay your taxes, pray for those who rule over you (much like he states in the book of Romans chapter 13) and be godly and dignified in every way. Don’t embrace the world but be a light to the world.

Pray for a revolution?

It is obvious that we would pray for calm and stability in our countries fortunes as who in their right mind would pray for anarchy and a tumultuous governmental structure? It is important to pray for the prosperity in the short and material term, but we must also pray for them spiritually, that they would turn to Jesus and that they would make decisions based on sound biblical and doctrinal standpoints.

In many cases Governments are areligious, they will not subscribe to a particular faith as to not lose a vote anywhere but we are not to conduct ourselves in a way that Christianity would become a target for government involvement. It sounds far-fetched in the western world, but there are many countries in the world today where it is illegal or restricted for people to profess a faith in Jesus Christ. My prayer for those people is that the Governments would leave them alone to practice their faith.

God is pleased when we honor those in authority.

V4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

Let’s hear from Jesus

And this is why; God desires all to come to a knowledge and faith in his son Jesus Christ. Jesus stated in John 14:6 that “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (ESV) We should be doing it all in an effort to be evangelists to our leaders. Look at how Daniel conducted himself in the land of Babylon, he rose to prominence in a very pagan land but stayed true, loyal and faithful to God and lived a life that was an example to me.

God desires that all be saved but they have to come to that one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ states also in John 10:9 “I am the door. If any man enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and find pasture” (ESV) We have to make a response and accept Jesus as our Savior.

Jesus is attributed with “giving himself” he did that literally on a wooden grave for criminals in the cruelest possible way by one of the most barbaric methods of death ever devised for a criminal. He gave himself “as a ransom” because he did not deserve what he got; he became sin despite never committing one. He became a ransom in the most loving way when he paid a debt that we couldn’t in order to absolve our sins and reconcile man to God.

The reason for Paul’s position

This was the reason “For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (V7) Paul preached what he preached. This was a massive U Turn in message from the man who used to persecute those who spoke of the exact same message. He was a preacher of this message and this was the reason why his life changed so dramatically.

Paul calls himself “a teacher to the Gentiles” Paul started off as a minister to both but it was a common pattern of the early church, the apostles, the believers and the new converts would attempt to reach the Jews first to confirm Jesus as their messiah, (they were still waiting for the messiah that they crucified) often times though they would not be received well and they would then go out to the Gentiles who would accept the testimony of Jesus Christ and the Word of God as truth.

Does God want only Gentiles? Only Jews?

Truth is God wants to be reconciled to you whether you are Jew or Gentile, we are all his creation and Jesus died for the sins of the world, not just the sins of a certain tribe or continent. No-one can be saved just by being born a certain way, you have to choose to follow your messiah, Jesus Christ

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

Pastors – Let us treat the “City of Houston” biblically

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Pastors – Let us treat the “City of Houston” biblically

Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 5:38 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

The idea of this article is perhaps to shed a little balance and take away emotion from something that is obviously a highly charged issue.  I will gladly share my bias here, I am a Conservative Christian blogger (duh, if you are here you will most certainly know that) who actually has a “dog in this fight” to use a British term. I have friends who are in the process of establishing a church in the very city that I am blogging about.

I have relative safety from this in the fact that I am blogging about this from the safety of my own home in Central California and have no ties to the City of Houston or any of its entities. As it stands at the moment my local authority has not requested any teaching that I have done or any pastors that I have been associated with.

Persecution?

This heading is rightly a question as I am a little unsure as I have heard many provocative remarks regarding whether this is “persecution” or not. The fact is that an elected official is using power that she has in order to air personal grievances. I am of course meaning the Mayor of Houston and her crusade to request copies of sermons (or as it was later requested “public speeches”)

This was done to find out if any of the pastors had taught a biblical perspective on issues of a LGBT nature, the mayor Annise Parker (which a lot has been made out of the fact that she is a lesbian, however I deem that irrelevant) has made it a personal goal to single out five pastors for “special treatment”.

I don’t necessarily call it persecution as I don’t see that I see in many other countries where biblical teachers are being dragged through the streets and tortured for even professing the name of Christ. These guys have freedoms that pastors in former communist and current Muslim countries would dream of, they have financial backing, many get paid to pastor and they can meet out in the open safe in the knowledge that the next convert may or may not be a Judas and sent them to their death.

So in the truest sense of the word it is not persecution.

Do as the verse says

We are told in the above verse that “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well” give her the sermons, give her as much literature as she wants and needs, don’t send her bibles! listen folks. I follow a BIG GOD who has told me that this in Isaiah 55 (That the word shall not return empty) Here is the full discourse for balance.

Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Here is the crux of what i wish to say, I believe that there is some reason behind why she is asking to have these sermons, in her mind she is doing her own bidding, however I would not count out that God may be orchestrating something bigger. God has done this before remember,  one of the greatest evangelists was the Apostle Paul, who up until his conversion just shy of Damascus in Acts 9, was the Pharisee Saul who tortured and killed Christians.  (In fact he was on his way to do likewise when he was converted)

If Jesus can come face to face with a murderer and a man responsible for a lot of the first century persecution,  he certainly can work this situation to the glory of God using the ones who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)

Final thoughts

We are told (again by Jesus) in the book of Matthew

Matthew 28:19 (ESV) 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

So my prayer to the pastors is to let them have the sermons. (Most are available on the church websites) and be available to counsel those who have questions. Embrace those who breathe evil against you are no show them the love of Christ.

I pray for the government officials that they find the knowledge of the one true messiah. His name is Jesus Christ and he is the LORD.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is through him and him only that you can have eternal life.

God bless and I pray that this was a blessing and please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads.
TGBTG
TTE

A vision of clarity for the church (Part 1)

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A vision of clarity for the church (Part 1)

See also

A vision of clarity for the church (part 1)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 2)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 3)

Titus 2:2 (ESV) Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

Regular readers of my blog will know that there has been something brewing in my heart for some time, a vision that we actually become the church we are supposed to be in the bible, a place where folks can come forward in confidence that if they reveal their gifts, they will have an opportunity to use them.    

Elder (in age or maturity) teaching the younger

I got a real life visualization of this in a non-ministry setting at the weekend.  

We visited with the guy I call “my mentor” & his really awesome wife ( I am not sure about mentioning his name online so he will remain anon) & we visited a beach down in the San Diego area, he is a surfer and knows the waters of that area well so he offered to show me how to “body board” I wasn’t confident, however it did give me time to relax and see God’s vision play out for me in a literal sense on that beach.

It was a nice day so people were all in the water and many young kids had smaller boards that they raved into the water with and often times the older men were showing them the basics, getting them used to the water, letting them fail on the smaller waves before allowing them to do it themselves,  this was true quality time and I thought, that’s one way to ensure surfing (or body boarding) survives.

That is how it should be with the church dear Christian

You see my vision is not unique, and I believe that it probably is  happening in many churches, but sadly it is probably not happening in many others.

It is simple, we have to raise up our newer believers while they are still baby Christians, disciple them in the word and have them evangelize their non-Christian friends. This has two benefits to the new believer:

1) they grasp solid doctrine right from the beginning
2) lots of non-Christians are hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ from someone in their “sphere of influence”

We have to work on our established believers also, get them in, get them connected,  give them a chance to use their gifts and callings.  Then once they are solid, have them pour into others.

In my view, it is not enough to raise up a quality teacher, or to raise up a quality worship leader, or quality evangelist,  if that is the gifting of that person,  allow him to be the one who raises up many more. They may stay within your fellowship,  they may go to be used in the greater kingdom of God.

With more skilled people at the pastors disposal, suddenly the conduit is there for church growth,  but leaders have to be willing to share, share pulpits, share space on the podium where the worship leaders are.

With increased discipleship will lead to people wishing to go deeper with one another,  if the fellowship is smaller then that can be done corporately,  but as the fellowship grows, community groups. This does however require buy in from the ones chosen to be leaders.

If the buy in does not come from the top down, the average Joe in the pew (or foldable seat) will not see the importance if the leaders don’t. 

I will of course hear that “I don’t have time” that of course is tragic if you do not have time to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, you may have to defer to your elders.

I would go so far as to say that if the eldership does not have time to fulfill the duties of being an elder, they may wish to respectfully and prayerfully step down.  There should be no “honorary titles”.

Plainly put guys, we are failing this and the next generation of believers.

This is a lot to read and I am sorry, I have cut it into a few parts,  please stay tuned for another article soon (unless the LORD comes)

God bless and please share, comment or like as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Social Media in spreading the Word of Jesus Christ

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Social Media in spreading the Word of Jesus Christ

2 Timothy 4:1 (ESV) I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

At the most recent #CCSPC14 (or Calvary Chapel Senior Pastors Conference 2014 if you do not speak hashtag) the need and call was made for pastors to be relevant and engage people where they spend quite a bit of their time, on social media. Whilst I agree this is paramount, it probably won’t be the Pastors but the general ethos is there, we need to as believers as a collective be where we need to be in order to meet people, minister to people, show them the real Jesus and help them into a relationship with the living God.

Truth be told, not all Christians like social media, and I can see why, it is easy to get sucked in, especially if you are proud of a certain post you have made and you wish to see how well that “played to the crowd”. In that case and scenario then you can find yourself checking it more than you should.

We have to use all opportunities and technology that science has allowed us, in order to further the gospel. This blog is a great example of this, I can reach people on a worldwide basis and they can learn the Word of God in comfortable, non-threatening surroundings. I also use social media to promote these articles and you may be reading it because you saw it on one of those platforms.

We have to be ready, as the verse states, to preach the word, in and out of season. We have to be open to the opportunities that technology has afforded us. Personally I am on this blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I do not boast that I try to get as much of the Word of God out there as I can. I do not mind that I am a “Fundy Wing nut” to use the terminology of those who would question what I do.

We have to be honest, sometimes the truth hurts, sometimes we don’t do things as well as we should. We have to reprove, rebuke and exhort. (Some folks leave it there) The cruncher in this verse states we have to do all of this with complete patience and teaching. I have had some blogs in the past where I have prayed “God is this really what you want me to say?” but we must check our motives at the door also, are we doing it to be mean or are we doing it because we want to encourage or perhaps help. The terminology used is “complete patience and teaching” which tells you that it is not a knee jerk reaction; it is something that has been meditated on and being covered in prayer.

This whole deal is a process:

Teach and evangelize (some say use apologetics) until conversion
Nurture and disciple as long as the new believer needs
Send out and make more disciples
If in error then correct, rebuke and exhort

Of course, some of you will go on to become teachers, evangelists or Pastors and will go for more discipleship/training. But that is a whole new scenario.

I have never courted being the “big name” and I balk at the idea of my name even being read out in church, there have been occasions where I have been getting kudos when I would rather have remained anonymous. I have kind of sunk down in my seat, not really enjoyed the spotlight being on me. When I started this blog, I tried my hardest to not list my name. I want Gods word to be front and center, not mine.

We have to nail the basics as far as our doctrine goes because on social media, much like anywhere else, we have the false teachers, the name it and claim it guys, the spiritual circus roadshows, the health, wealth and prosperity doctrines that on the face of it seem harmless, but really have as much poison as they do nutrient.

We are warned to avoid “ear tickling preachers” I am blessed that in my life I have had Godly men, I have friends that are actually glad to see me, will exhort, love on me and encourage me, I have friends who are pastors, friends who are youth leaders, worship leaders and friends who are in the ministry of encouragement. I am glad that the pastors God has allowed me to learn from have been men with a desire to teach the whole counsel of God, line by line, verse by verse, word by word in context and in order, if they link a scripture it is to make a doctrinal point based on good solid theology.

For me we can get into a lot of pointless debates on Facebook (Wander into myths) and other social media’s, we have to use the tools to evangelize, convict, convert and disciple. I love social media as folks who have been in ministry with me have always have had doubts about whether folks could understand me if I was to preach, so in the text driven world I have a level playing field with everyone else. It is not a substitute for day to day discipleship but it can open a door.

Also when someone becomes your friend, or likes you on social media, they are giving you an invite into their life. You can see the mistakes they choose to put online, you can organize your prayer strategy, perhaps find some common ground to develop that relationship to introduce Jesus. My wife is awesome at connecting with people virtually.

Lastly we are called to be “long suffering”, be an evangelist, be sober minded and fulfill our ministry, we all have different callings and ministries, in my opinion none are more important than others, and the guy who cleans the bathrooms is every bit as pivotal as the guy who preaches the sermon.

This life is not easy, even as a Christian we are still going to have money problems, life issues, relationship issues, ourselves coming through as our personalities. The church is no different, we have a collection of people as different as can be, all with different back stories (some more tragic than others) and all with different baggage and most times we make that work.

A bit like social media really!

I hope this was a blessing, a challenge and please share, like and comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

P.S. If you are a little Social Media “un-savvy” then contact me and I would be happy to help you and your ministry out.

Why good koinonia is required for sustained Christian growth

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Iron sharpens Iron

I have been blessed to have been strengthened recently by two friends that I met around February time and they have been a constant source of encouragement. We are three busy guys and often times the encouragement is in the form of a text message here there and a wee exhortation.

I have to admit that I am not all that complete at encouragement, I love to be encouraging but my follow up and follow through with people leaves a lot to be desired. This is regrettable as when I was helping out at a mission’s church plant at Calvary Chapel in Glasgow, I was “Mr. Let’s get together” or “Mr. Koinonia” and I was always keen to either have folks over or trample on others hospitality. In short I loved being around believers who were a blessing to my soul.

When I arrived in America this was not the case, the homeland (US) churches are not set up that way. People have lives, people have jobs, people have families, spending time with their Christian brothers and sisters slides further and further down the priority list.

The need for Koinonia

Not all Christians have it easy, we all struggle with different things! When I was a “baby Christian” I used to say all the time “Why do they struggle with that?” and then it came to me (I believed that it was revealed by God) that perhaps the stuff that I had issues with they didn’t and vice versa.

This is why I believe that good quality koinonia is really important, you have to find people not only that you can disciple to, but we all need to be ministered too. Even Pastors go to conferences to be ministered to so why shouldn’t I as a layperson require any less.

My psyche is such that I need to be challenged, need to have a goal to aim towards so I look and seek out men that can help me, talk things over and grow in God. I am blessed to have found two such men in “Bob” and “Chris” (I hope they won’t mind that I mention them by name) but the three of us have taken upon ourselves to encourage one another and Bob set a challenge this month to have memorized the three following verses:

Romans 6:7 (ESV) – For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Romans 6:14 (ESV) – For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 8:12 (ESV) – So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

The idea of going through scripture together is a good one, it gives a scriptural point of order to talk from, we can share viewpoints that will both challenge us and help us grow. Growing together is good because of the bond it creates. Fellowships that grow together are more likely to have committed serving members that will go that extra mile to evangelize and bring the Word of God to more and more people.

What I get out of this

Well I get two different things from both guys, Chris is simply inspirational, he is slow to speak, but when he does it is well thought out and he is much more mature than I am, he has a shedload of knowledge but more importantly, he has wisdom. Chris is a worship leader and he has a worship leader’s heart. Bob on the other hand is simply an inspiration, this guy is an evangelist, and he is a walking, talking billboard for Jesus. He is not boastful but he spreads inspiration wherever he goes. he can’t meet a stranger without trying to introduce them to Jesus. He has this bag which is chock full of stuff that he uses to share the gospel! Awesome stuff

What they get out of me?

I don’t actually know! Funny stories maybe? I hope that I bring something to the proverbial table, but they seem to like me for who I am which is awesome! I have truly missed the great koinonia since being in a close knit fellowship where we were bummed if we didn’t spend time with each other as often as possible.

In the book of Proverbs we are told that “iron sharpens iron” and we were never meant to walk the Christian life alone, I have my wonderful wife who is way more than I deserve, but sometime I need some “guy time” (My wife feels the same with “girl time”) as it is good for the soul.

If you are a guy that is leading his home properly as a good and Godly leader of the home then the stresses of leadership will wear on you, sometimes you need that “peer refreshment” and it can be anything, can be a baseball game, can be hunting, can be Starbucks, could even be through text messages, but sometimes you just need to open the word with the boys. (Or girls if you are a lady)

I don’t have anyone

If you don’t then don’t be a lone wolf! The scriptures advise that “where two or three are gathered” not “when someone goes it alone” we all have issues, we all have struggles so let’s be accountable to one another and lets be real at church. That is the one place where we should be confident of not being judged and being loved.

God bless and I hope that this was a blessing, please feel free to share and comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE