Sunday, June 7, 2015

Internet Church vs. Attending Church

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Why do we form churches‏


We live in a day of great technology.

Some believers have left the local church in favor of a digital church.

The question is...are these believers then in the church of Jesus Christ?

Today we are going to spend a great deal of time focusing on one word in Paul's letters.

Paul established many churches and on each set the seal/stamp ALLELON.

"Allelon" frequently translates as...
  1. one another, reciprocally, mutually

For Paul, the church was a place of training, and this training did not only entail teaching.

Rom. 12:5
5 So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

1 Thess. 5:11
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Cor. 12:25
25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

1 Thessalonians 3:12
12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.

We support each other.

Ephesians 4:2
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Galatians 6:2
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Ephesians 4:32
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 5:21
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Philippians 2:3
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

Romans 12:10
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 12:16
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.

The interesting thing is, not one of these verses can be be fulfilled by staying at home...for Paul, this was the work
of the Holy Spirit, not by hearing a lesson.

A big part of our spiritual formation is being in embarrassing circumstances, and presenting ourselves in a less than favorable light. In that conflict we let the Holy Spirit transform us.

These words of Paul cannot be ignored.

God doesn't just want to save a few people; He wants a people reserved for Himself.

This was so important that God sent the Holy Spirit to carry out this plan...God does not search for parts of a body, but a finished, complete body.

When Paul sought proof of his ministry, what did he consider?

Speaking in tongues...NO

But..what was he looking for?

He looked for a group maturing together.

2 Corinthians 3:1-3
3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

The term "Koinonia" means" coexistence."

First with God….
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Then with others..the church:
2 Corinthians 13:14
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

How do we respond with those who wish to remain outside the Church and say it is a personal pilgrimage?
1. We recognize their wounds and the reasons they have to stay outside…and pray for the health that only comes by the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Invite them to return to the body for the benefit of all.
A. They will mature.
B. We will mature.
C. We will see more clearly the work of the Holy Spirit.


Saturday, August 30, 2014


When one Christian wrongs another, God's will is that the second Christian forgive and the first Christian make amends. I have seen this happen. But many times, the second Christian forgives and the first Christian does nothing.

"Closure" in this instance is not God's perfect will. It occurs when the second Christian forgives, the first Christian makes a solid refusal to set things right, God takes vengeance, and the second Christian learns of it.

About 34 years ago, I worked for a Christian school that badly mistreated its teachers. The pastor's son was above the rules, and I received a loud chewing out for making him obey them.

We had an insurance meeting, and everyone on staff voted to include pregnancy insurance. The pastor's enraged wife, her face livid with anger, lashed out at the young couples who were teaching in their Christian school. The insurance agent pointed out that older women had the same average costs as younger women with pregnancy insurance, but she made her husband give in. A valuable lesson I learned that day was how much the leadership in Christian schools despised their teachers.

When teachers made a student behave, the principal would send the student to take the teacher out of class for a chewing out in front of the student.

About a week after the school year ended, they informed me that I was not coming back next year. It was difficult to find a position with such short notice, but God took care of me and I went into a much better school.

One reason was that I had forced the pastor's son to behave in class. The pastor had literally yelled at me for doing it, and I had told him that his son was lying. A few days ago, the son, now 47, was sentenced to 16 to 20 months prison for molesting boys while he was his father's youth director.

"Closure" does me little good. I had forgiven them back when it happened. God had taken care of me, and I had become a better teacher as a result of all that happened. Reconciliation would have been better for everyone.

Especially the Christian who did wrong.

 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19

Saturday, August 16, 2014

“Discretion”—the ability to apply these other virtues to everyday living.
More than one word is translated “discretion,” but I am only dealing with a word that appears four times in Proverbs. Discretion NEVER appears alone; it is always accompanied by other virtues. Proverbs 1:1-4 shows that wisdom and instruction will give you understanding, and these will give you prudence, knowledge, and discretion.
When you have these other virtues, discretion will preserve you. 2:11  An important point here is that possessing these virtues will keep you from making a wreck out of your life.
Discretion, combined with wisdom, will give you physical safety  3:21 ff
Along with other virtues, discretion will keep you from immorality 5:1-2ff

Friday, August 15, 2014

“DISCERNMENTt”—the ability to recognize truth that you already know.

Solomon tells how he discerned among the youths, among the simple ones, a young man void of understanding. Since understanding gives you the ability to recognize wise counsel, Solomon must have known that this young man did not accept wise counsel. Instead, he went off to a prostitute.

It is important to realize: Discernment is NOT the ability to produce new information. A person who makes accusations is not discerning; he is judging.

How do you get discernment? Hebrews 5:14 tells us “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Now, this is important: You cannot be a fully mature Christian without discernment. If you follow man-made rules instead of using your spiritual abilities, you cannot exercise your senses to gain discernment.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Discernment is rarely mentioned in Proverbs.

In Genesis, Isaac was tricked into blessing his son Jacob instead of Esau. Isaac knew he was hearing Jacob’s voice. He knew that Esau could not possibly have hunted, killed, and prepared savory meat in such a short time. He knew that his wife loved Jacob more than Esau, and he knew that Jacob was a supplanter. Knowing all this, he failed to DISCERN that he was talking to Jacob.

Another instance tells of a disguised prophet fooling the King of Israel. But after he removed his disguise, the King DISCERNED that he was one of the prophets.

“DISCERNMENT”—the ability to recognize truth that you already know.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Because "discernment" is often confused with "judging," I am going to explain judging first.

"Judging"--recognizing your own sin in someone else, whether or not it's really there.

Romans 2:1 tells us "Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things."

As a weapon of sin, judging has both strong and weak points. It gives a false accuser confidence, because the accuser actually believes the accusations. A weakness is that the false accuser does not realize how many people recognize him as a false accuser.

A Christian who understands judging can use it effectively. When I taught Christian school, I would sometimes deal with enraged parents whose children had lied to them about their misbehavior. Listening to the parent's accusations against me, I learned what the parent's spiritual problems were and was sometimes able to help them. Don't laugh--less than half of all Christian school teachers enter their third year; I lasted ten years and had better behavior than most of my peers.

People who judge often insist that they are discerning, even though they have their facts wrong. The idea is that judging is making false accusations, while discerning is making true accusations. Neither belief is true.