Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pew Peons, freely give!

Perhaps I'm weird, but that word sounds so funny to me 'peon'.

In one sense we are all peons, in another sense we have more responsibility than we ever imagined.
This one is for the pews! (though Pastors would do well to be applying some of these things).

Dear brother, dear sister, if you are apart of the body of Christ then this applies to you, if you are not connected to a local church then applies double to you.
In the words of Christ, "freely you have received freely give"!
What have you gave lately dear believer? More specifically what have you given to your family (the body of Christ) lately? In what way are you serving the body of Christ, now i won't assume that means you are supposed to be doing something within the local church. "WHOA wait a minute, we need to be serving in the local church!" Yeah I know that, but let's face it most local churches don't function in a way that this is even possible (at most you might be able to sign-up for something but that doesn't mean you are 'serving' necessarily). It's not that difficult to hide behind volunteer activity and still NOT benefit the body of Christ.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

In other words-don't stop coming to 'church', helping out in the nursery or cleaning up. Sarcastic? Yes, thank you! Yet i suppose this is the extent of what many today think about church and are totally missing, totally stripping the purpose out of our assembling.

Consideration please? Let us consider one another
We should be concerned about the welfare of our brothers and sisters, yet it doesn't end or even start with temporal or physical things. Why then should we be concerned, with what should our concern be focused on? To stir up love and good works: our main concern for others should be focused upon their love and obedience towards Christ. This love, this intimacy which is the root, the life, the cause of all good works.

------Ultimately this CONCERN is a test of true faith----------

1 John 5: 1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.
Ultimately i say, because for one reason or another there may be seasons where this doesn't happen (which I'm not necessarily saying, that means we are guiltless). Yet if you are a true believer then at the very least, you do have a DESIRE to do something for the body of Christ.

Why then should we not forsake meeting together, why then is fellowship so important? As a means of grace which God has been pleased to use, we fellowship in order to exhort one another. This doesn't mean giving endless compliments, but the exhorting entails teaching, reproof, correction, and training! In fact it seems the writer of Hebrews goes on to stir up love and good deeds with everything he says next. Consider how he (in chapter 11) uses the many examples of saints in the past in order to stir us (we are challenged by them), then we get to look to Christ as our chief example and motivation (the author and finisher of our faith).

Why? For some odd reason our lives, our struggles, to be more specific the grace of God working within us as individuals serves as a blessing to the whole body.
So with that, in what way are you fulfilling this purpose? This extends far beyond something you participate in, and this is open and available to all believers, whatever their state or condition.
True fellowship then is when we are able to stir one another towards communion and conformity to Christ, it's when we attempt to challenge one another in the things of the Lord. It's when we give ourselves as ministers of grace to one another. To this mother, father, and young person you are called; this like prayer is open and required by all within the body.

I thought that's what ministers are for? No, not really!

Eph 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

Leaders of the church rather, have been appointed to EQUIPPING, like equipping soldiers for war right? Exactly for the very purpose of fighting. Not like a coach though, the leaders of the church are called to be player-coaches, otherwise they have no business leading the body of Christ. The purpose of you receiving from God appointed teachers, is so that you can in turn GIVE to others, including 'him'. PASTORS, TEACHERS, this is WHY it's so vital that you are not just leaving a 'wow, he's amazing' reply from your listeners, you are delivering truth that is to be used, but if it's not understandable then to what purpose do you preach?

"BUT THAT'S NOT ME! I'M JUST A........."

HOLD up, wait minute! That's a lie, to this you have been uniquely gifted. You have been gifted to be a blessing to other believers. Let me put it in question form then? Has the Lord done NOTHING for you? "Yeah but!" 'but' NOTHING, think about what you are saying, you are saying that there is no way that God can use you to bless others, to encourage, to correct, to challenge others towards loving God and pleasing Him, because the Lord hasn't given you these things, you have no testimonies, you have nothing praiseworthy, you have nothing which has helped you. If you refuse to bless other believers in this way then you are a taker, a leech, one who is withholding the praises God deserves.
Yet our culture is not fellowship friendly, we are so used to being 'private', we're so used to mere chit-chat. "That's none of your business!" could be tattooed on our foreheads, but the Christian life doesn't encourage that type of thinking. Rather the Christian life encourages a transparency, a humble welcoming of examiners. With that said, if you faithfully seek to do this, to be a blessing to other believers then you will be misunderstood often. Any faithful pastor is misunderstood often which is why he too needs to be stirred as well. Yet whether it's welcomed or not we must seek to stir one another, which at times may seem to be 'sticking our noses' in others peoples business. Yet here is a test of scriptural reality for us, are we not a 'family' in Christ, is this family not deeper and stronger then any blood relation? Then you should certainly feel more 'comfortable' speaking to and exhorting fellow believers! The best of the best are men at best, there are times they need to be exhorted to trust God, to not lose hope, to not guard themselves, to stay focused, to be diligent, to praise, to not complain, to not grow bitter and so on.
This can be done at all times of fellowship, oh how i wish true fellowship existed more often. I wish something far beyond 'how's the family, is everybody well?" dominated our conversations. So formal, so foreign that it's quite appalling. Why not say what we are thinking, what is weighing upon our hearts, why not delight in Lord together, rather then ridiculous get togethers that do nothing to stir us. Let your children see this, let your teens see this as well, it's crucial that they are able to observe such things to see that this Christianity is not something keep in secret but a ruling passion, ruling our conversations.
The first church i was exposed to in England, had this principle down. They knew how to enjoy themselves in the Lord. Praise times, prayer times, teaching and testimony often outside of the church (the four walls), it was amazing. Of course being quite naive i thought this was 'normal', well it's NOT normal in America. Oh let us REBEL against this culture! I remember going over many a 'messy' and loud home, but it was 'natural'. There wasn't this 'everything has to be just right' attitude, it's as though we are trying to leave this good impression upon each other, like we're interviewing for a job. It was weird, it was odd when these believers didn't go over each others homes to eat each week and that might just mean some sandwiches. This has to be why healthy churches overseas have such a vibrant intimacy and ministry, because they are following a closer new testament example of body life!
This takes intentionality, not necessarily more time; even a mother of many can do this with a phone call, when people come over and especially in passing at church. Have you ever prayed for such opportunities? Sure we've all been exhorted to pray for 'opportunities' to witness, but how about concerning fellow believers? Well, then why not start begging God to take you out of the norm, to allow the good, His work of grace in the things you've endured, the good teaching you've heard, and the testimonies of others to be a blessing to the body of Christ.
Whether you've had many victories or many failures, there is much to learn from them. In this sense your life can serve as a warning and encouragement to others. May you then be a blessing to your family!

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