"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is a wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil."
O Lord, help me to LIVE these Words today and everyday. I know it won't be easy.
And I realize it goes against every "natural" thought and attitude of myself. (Which is a good thing, right? :-))
I don't ever want to come across to someone else as "holier than they", or a "Miss Goody-too shoes".
I don't ever want to live in such a way that rather than drawing people to the Cross I am driving them away. O GOD! Keep my heart pure, my spirit humble. Make me what YOU want me to be!
Last night we were blessed to be able to go to church.
Pastor Jeremy preached the Word of God!
God gave confirmation over and again to me, to us.
<Thank you Pastor Jeremy for your faithfulness to the Word of God!>
With Pastor Jeremy's permission, some of the points in the message from last night ...
I Thessalonians 5:12-22
"Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the
timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this
is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."
The title for the message - THE BIBLICAL CHURCH
Considering that WE are the church - individually, then, this is the Biblical ME.
*Outward morality without inward restoration is empty and vain. Like the Sadducees.
*Priority of cleansing is to start with the inside first.
Even baptism is an "outward sign of an inward change".
*It doesn't matter what anyone thinks or says about the church (what the church should be or do)- what does God say?
What are the characteristics of THE BIBLICAL CHURCH? And of me?
Before you can lead, you have to show that you can follow.
Leadership is to be honored and respected.
*We are to acknowledge and appreciate the leadership. Know the value of the man of God. Their job is not an easy job.
Ministers have issues of life just like we do.
We show more acknowledgement and appreciation for the
"professional" world than we do for the man of God!
*We are to respect our leaders.
Respect means to admire and esteem.
Esteem means to think very highly in love.
The work they do is a God-work. A holy work.
*We are to reward our leaders.
What is the greatest reward to our leaders?
Think about being a parent ... what is the greatest reward we have as a parent? When our kids LISTEN and OBEY - from love.
Be at peace among yourselves.
Leaders are not to be dictators.
But, the people under the leaders are not to be constantly griping and complaining either!
Remember the story of Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness - when the children of Israel complained and griped, God sent serpents among them!
*We do not have revival because the church does not get behind the pastor!*
*We are to warn the unruly, the disorderly, the loafer. Warn the "soldier" who has broken rank. Severely warn. Not with condemnation, but with a firmness of love.
We have more "used to be's" in the church than not. What we "used to do" for the kingdom.
What are doing NOW for the kingdom?
Is my life drawing others to God or driving them away?
Is my walk matching my talk?
*Comfort the fainthearted. Those that lack courage. Those easily discouraged. Those that are fearful. Those that lack the
courage to live their convictions.
Fear trumps faith too many times. Again, we are not to condemn.
But those that are more spiritually mature, stronger in the Lord - and in the power of His might and Word - have the obligation to come along side the weaker ones and lift them up, teach them the ways and train them to be strong.
*Support the spiritually weak. Those that are easily led astray. Again, those that are more spiritually mature, stronger in the Lord (walked this way already) have the obligation to cling to and hold onto those that are weaker.
To seek out the immature believers and disciple them, help them to grow in the Lord.
Everyone should have 2 others that they work closely with ... One who is mentoring them, and one who they are
Who am I upholding? Who am I allowing to uphold me?
*Patience. Consistency. Long suffering. Giving others time to grow up in the Lord. Allowing patience to have its perfect work.
Forming a hedge of protection around one another.
We are to build up one another. Encourage one another.
In the terms of the Old West - it is time to CIRCLE THE WAGONS!
*There is not much joy in the church.
*We should be found always rejoicing! We have much to be thankful about, much to rejoice in! We are the children of the
Living God! Jesus died and rose again for us! His Blood covers us and forgives our sin! We are going to live with Him forever! This world is not our home!
*Church should not be a place of misery! And neither should my life, my home, be a place of misery!
What about me draws others to Jesus? Who wants to be a part of misery?
*Pray without ceasing. My life should be a prayer - a prayer of intercession, a prayer of praise and worship.
*Prayer is God's way of communication. His law of operation.
*Prayer stirs fellowship - with God, among one another.
*Prayer binds us together. A church, a family, a marriage that prays together, stays together.
*This is the will of God. Be thankful.
*Being thankful is a witness and a testimony to the work of God in our lives.
6. Spirit filled and Spirit following.
*There are 4 sins against the Spirit as taught in the Word -
1. Quenching -- means to snuff out. To pour cold water on.
We do this by not spending time with Him.
We are all given 24 hours each day. How do we use that time?
We also do this by our disobedience.
And we do this by not being sensitive to the urgings and movings and workings of God in our hearts and lives.
2. Grieving -- meaning to pain or sadden. Is there anything in ny life that is contrary to the image of God? That pains the Holy Spirit, makes Him sad. Grieves His heart.
Remember - the Lord goes where we go, He sees what we see, He hears what we hear.
3. Blaspheming -- rejecting the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.
4. Lying -- the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5.
7. Humility. *We are to humble ourselves under the preaching.
*Preaching is pleasing to God.
*Too often the preaching of the Word is despised in the church today.
We should be desiring to hear the true Word of God, even tho it hurts our pride! The Word of God is not preached in order to "tickle our ears" and give us "warmth and fuzzies"!
8. Be careful. *Test all things. Not everything is of God.
Put everything up against the Word of God and let the Word make it stand or knock it down.
9. Be holy. *Evil is real. We are to FLEE from evil! Flee meaning to run away from, have nothing to do with it!
*Sadly, we as Christians more than not, try and see how close we can get to evil and sin without being touched by it and still call ourselves "Christians" (Christ-like).
*We are to get away from even the appearance of evil!
*If it has the possibility of tarnishing the Name of Christ in our lives - get away!!!
Dear God our Father - I am sorry. Change my heart. Change my life. Make me a Biblical me for YOU.
In Jesus' Name ...