Obedience to “One Another”

This is part of my message on God’s Will and the Church. I brought up accountability and ran out of time and said I’d post it here!

Obedience (to God and His Word) is Always a Positive Thing:

The New Testament is filled with imperatives (commands that God expects us to obey). These imperatives instruct us how to talk to one another. Our talk should include confession, prayers, exhortation (suggested next steps for someone), words of comfort, rebuke, admonition (or warnings), and the list goes on.

  1. John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” [more on LOVE is written below]
  2. Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;”
  3. Romans 14:19 “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”
  4. Romans 15:7 “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
  5. Romans 15:5 “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,” [Romans 12:16]
  6. Romans 15:14 “And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.”
  7. Romans 16:16 “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.” [1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12]
  8. 1 Corinthians 12:25 “so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”
  9. Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
  10. Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”
  11. Ephesians 4:2 “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,”
  12. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
  13. Ephesians 5:21 “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
  14. Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;”
  15. Colossians 3:13 “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”
  16. Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
  17. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 “Therefore comfort one another with these words”
  18. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ‘Therefore encourage one another and [Ephesians 4:29] build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (Hebrews 3:13; 10:25)
  19. 1 Thessalonians 5:13 “and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.” [Mark 9:50]
  20. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.”
  21. Hebrews 10:24 “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,”
  22. James 5:16 `Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
  23. 1 Peter 4:9 “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”
  24. 1 Peter 4:10 “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
  25. 1 Peter 5:5 “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
  26. Ephesians 4:25 “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.”
  27. 1 John 1:7 “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
  28. John 13:14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” [This one seems odd but there IS a good explanation]
  29. We are to Love One Another
    1. John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
    2. John 15:17 “This I command you, that you love one another.”
    3. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 “and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;”
    4. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 “Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;”
    5. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;”
    6. 1 Peter 1:22 “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,”
    7. 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
    8. 1 John 3:11 “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;”
    9. 1 John 3:23 “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.”
    10. 1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
    11. 1 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
    12. 1 John 4:12 “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”
    13. 2 John 1:5 “Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.”

When we choose to NOT get involved in these interdependent relationship, accountability or small groups, here is the alternative: Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.”

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Why We Avoid Accountability

This is part of my message on God’s Will and the Church. I brought up accountability and ran out of time and said I’d post it here! The question is “Why do we avoid accountability in the body of Christ?”

  1. Rugged Individualism: we want to go it alone, pull ourselves up without any help.
  2. Image Building Tendency: If I get involved in accountability, they will discover I’m not really all together… like Halloween people – Pretenders
  3. Resistance to Change: I have always lived this way and don’t want to get involved.
  4. Fear of the Lack of Confidentiality: If I share anything to someone else, I’ll be the next sermon illustration or the talk of the church.
  5. Shame & Blame: There will be some “Holier than Thou” people to kick me while I’m down, and shame me into living for God and obeying the Bible.
  6. We are Falsely Led to Believe that we Uniquely Struggle with a Particular Sin: Many of us think our struggles are unique to us, but in an accountability relationship or small group we find out that our personal problems are universal. It’s exciting to find out that the members of your group have not only struggled with common problems but have found common solutions in God’s Word (1 Corinthians 10:13). 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

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Why We Need Accountability

This is part of my message on God’s Will and the Church. I brought up accountability and ran out of time and said I’d post it here! The question is “Why do we need accountability in the body of Christ?”

  1. Because Walking with God in the Past is no Guarantee of Success in the Future (1 Corinthians 10:1-5). For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
  2. Because we Underestimate the Evil Desires and Passions that are in our Flesh (1 Corinthians 10:6-11). Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
  3. Because we Overestimate our Capacity to Handle Temptation (1 Corinthians 10:12). 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
  4. Because we can Easily Become Self-deceived:
    1. James 1:22, But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
    2. Jeremiah 17:9, The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
    3. Proverbs 20:6, Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man? NKJV, a man basically tells himself, “I’m doing pretty good!”
  5. Because of our Tendency to a Double Standard (Luke 12:1; Romans 2:17-24), In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
  6. Because of our Need to be Stretched: Philippians 3:13, Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead…
  7. Because God Never Intended for us to go it Alone: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 1OFor if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

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Being a Man of Authenticity

We all like to make a good impression, but when it comes to God and the church, honesty is the best policy. Here is a creative video about God’s grace and acceptance, and the need for authenticity in our spiritual lives.

This is one concept that should define a believer. By authentic I mean we are to be Christians that reflect the reality of the gospel. We want to be authentic Christians who are members of authentic churches pursuing authentic faith and service.

So, what does this actually look like?

Take a look at what Paul writes in First Thessalonians 1.

Presence: the first sign of Christian authenticity in a community is an awareness of God (1 Thessalonians 1:1-2)

Paul mentions that he is aware of the contributions of both the Father and Son in his relationship to the church in Thessalonica. A few verses later, in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 he references the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. We have to ask the question whether our lives reflect a similar awareness of each member of the Trinity? If not, who is missing, and why do we neglect that Person of the Trinity?

Practice: a second sign of Christian authenticity is faithful service characterized by faith, hope, and love (1 Thessalonians 1:3-4)

Paul says, “As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). It is always exciting to be a part of a community of faith that expresses these three virtues. Our prayer should always be that God allow us to work, labor, and endure with the faith, love, and hope.

Proclamation: a third sign of Christian authenticity is presenting the gospel not only in words, but also with power, the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

To many people the gospel has become mere words, which amounts to an exercise in beliefs rather than living out what we profess to believe. Does a church proclaim Christ only in words? If so, authenticity is going to be lacking.

Persistence: a fourth sign of Christian authenticity is leadership marked by incarnation, modeling, suffering, joy, and reproduction (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)

Sometimes it is easy to come to Christ. These believers came to Christ at the personal risk of life. I wonder how many authentic followers of Christ we actually have in the church today; once the persecution begins. These people not only came to Christ under difficult circumstances, but became an example to others in the region. They had a great testimony!

Perseverance: a fifth sign of Christian authenticity is faith characterized by repentance, service, hospitality and waiting on the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10)

The actions of this church spoke louder than mere words. They were demonstrating their faith and others concluded that their Christianity was authentic.

The church at Thessalonica was:

  1. An energetic church (1 Thessalonians 1:1-3) Paul gives thanks for their strong faith and labor of love.
  2. An elect church (1 Thessalonians 1:4) they were chosen by God himself.
    1. Salvation begins with God
    2. Salvation involves God’s love
    3. Salvation involves faith
    4. Salvation involves the Trinity
    5. Salvation changes lives
  3. An exemplary church (1 Thessalonians 1:5-7) Paul’s example to the church and their example to the world.
    1. They received the Word (1 Thessalonians 1:5, 2:8)
    2. They followed their spiritual leaders (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
    3. They suffered for Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
    4. They encouraged other churches (1 Thessalonians 1:7)
  4. An evangelistic church (1 Thessalonians 1:8) their faith was known everywhere.
  5. An expectant church (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10) they looked forward to the return of Christ.
    1. Decision made (1 Thessalonians 1:9) they turned from idols.
    2. Dedication made (1 Thessalonians 1:9) they turned to the living God.
    3. Devotion to a person (1 Thessalonians 1:10) their focus will be on the  Son.
    4. Deliverance from a penalty (1 Thessalonians 1:10) they escape will be from the wrath of God.

I pray that those who come in contact with King’s Grant will know about, sense and rejoice in the genuineness of the authentic gospel. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35)

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