Posts Tagged With: Faith

A Great Example of Faith in Action

I originally posted this on Facebook, but thought I’d get it out on this blog for everyone else.

A neat story: my family and I went to Chick-Fil-A last night, and it started pouring down rain as we pulled in. When I got out of the car, I thought I heard something fall, but with the rain, I couldn’t see what it was. We were in CFA for about 30 minutes. We made it to our van, and as I was buckling in, a lady who I’d say was in her late 50’s tapped on my window. She asked me if I dropped my phone. Feeling my pockets, then checking my console, I realized that what I dropped was my phone. And there it lay. In the rain. For who knows how long.  Not a good mixture, ladies and gentlemen.  

Here’s the neat part: She and her grandson took my phone to the Verizon store and waited there with my phone, watching for me to get in my van. She could have taken it, or just dropped it off at the Verizon store–I’d have been none the wiser. I thanked her, and she said, “Well, it’s all a part of God’s plan.” She had to go, so I couldn’t inquire further. But whatever her faith, it’s a lesson for us not to just talk about it, but to go the extra mile and put it into action.

My phone, even after the rice treatment, is not behaving well at all. But I sure am grateful to the woman who looked after it and us, even without knowing us. Our faith in action, friends. People need to see the Light of Christ.

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Do You Have the Right Trainer? (Jude 1-2, 24-25)

1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,

To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for[b] Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. . . .

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (ESV).

__________________

The Olympics are now in full effect. Approximately 10,960 athletes are competing from 204 countries. The UK has 557, the USA has 534, and Russia has 441, rounding out the top three. Each of these athletes has trained their entire lives in order to participate. Once the 2008 Olympics were finished for many athletes, they began preparing for the 2012 Olympics. They would engage in a regimen of training, diet, and other entire lifestyle arrangements in order to best ready themselves. Underlying all of this is a desire, devotion, and motivation to win!

A popular website tells us what a personal fitness trainer should look like:

A personal fitness trainer will work with you on an individual basis to create and monitor an exercise regimen tailored to your fitness goals. There are several advantages to using a personal trainer, whether you are aiming for health maintenance, weight loss, rehabilitation and recovery — or training for a specific event or race. A good personal trainer should be experienced and certified in the field, and ready to listen to your fitness history, ambition and any concerns about exercise.[1]

Dear Christians, Christ is our trainer. And we need it! Daily! Hourly! Minute-by-minute! In Jude, we come to it by asking ourselves are we contenders or pretenders? Do we have the right trainer? Only Christ is qualified to train you! He is experienced and certified in the field—holy God who became Man, meaning that He knows our situation! He doesn’t need to be ready to listen to your fitness history—He made you, and he already knows it. And we cannot do it alone!

In this sermon, I pray you see that your position in Christ will fuel your passion for Christ! He is our trainer, teaching us, pushing us, telling us exactly what we need. He made us, wired us, and loves us! He disciplines us, tells us the truth, all to fashion us into His image! We are His, and He is ours!

1. Who wrote this? Jude!

Jude, by the world’s standard, was the half-brother of our Lord Jesus. Jude by the world’s genealogy is the brother of James. So Jude grew up with Jesus in his formative years along with James. I shared this when I preached through James, and it bears repeating when we speak of Jude: this may be one of the greatest evidences of the deity of Christ imaginable. He grew up with Jesus, seeing how he acted in his upbringing at home. These seeds were planted and eventually he came to Christ!

But notice how he describes his relationship with Christ. He could have said, “Jude, the half-brother of Jesus,” but that was not his primary understanding of his relationship. He said, “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James.” Keep in mind an exchange that took place in Mark 3:31-35:

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers[a] are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

James understood this eventually, as did Jude. It wasn’t about having the same mother (Mary), it was about having the same Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ!

Do we understand the great humility it takes to say you are a slave (doulos) of Jesus Christ? We are slaves to something. Paul tells the Romans:

16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:16-18).

Our wills have become freed from the slavery of sin to become slaves of righteousness! Christians relish in this! Why? Because we were once slaves to that which was impure that leads to death, now we are servants/slaves to the ones that Christ is “leading to sanctification” (Romans 6:19).

To what are we slaves? Around what do we schedule our lives to the sacrifice or replacement of Christ?

2. What does it mean to be a Christian?

This is the ultimate question, isn’t it? So much confusion. When we witness to individuals, we ask them, “Are you a Christian?” They may answer, ‘yes’—and we’re on our way. Bobby Welch developed an evangelism course in which you ask people what it means to be a Christian? Some say it’s about what you do—earning your way to heaven. Others may say, “I don’t know.” Others may say, “I don’t really care!” Others may say that we’re all Christians—we’re all going to heaven, for God saved everyone regardless.

We’ve already alluded to one aspect of this in regards to Jude, and this applies to everyone: “We are slaves of Jesus Christ.” Our minds, hearts, and wills have been set free from the slavery of sin into the slavery of Christ!

Jude is writing to a group of people who are Christians who are called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ (Jude 1). So, between the servant, the calling, the loving, and the keeping, we see clearly the position that God has placed us as Christians in Christ. We hear much about the passion Christians must have—but if we begin to appeal to an emotional and experiential passion that is not founded upon the position that God has placed us in Christ, we will be drawing water from the wrong well.

It reminds me of Jeremiah 2:9-13:

9 “Therefore I still contend with you,
declares the Lord,
and with your children’s children I will contend.
10 For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see,
or send to Kedar and examine with care;
see if there has been such a thing.
11 Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit.
12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
13 for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Man-made cisterns after a while will crack and contaminate the water, but God-made ‘natural’ wells hold water, keeping it fresh and clean to drink. If the well of our being is made by us, then the dirt and minerals from the dirt of this world will contaminate that good which is in us.

The well of our lives as Christians is one that is fixed and tight.

Called. Jude writes “to the called.” Throughout all of Scriptures, God’s people have been a called people. God called Abraham out of his idolatry to lead him to a place he did not know where he would go. God called Moses from a burning bush. Moses reminded the people of Israel of this prior to them entering the Promised Land:

6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deuteronomy 7:6-8, ESV).

God chose the people of Israel not because of their size (they were fewer than any other people group) but because of His love and because of the promise He made to the ‘fathers.’ But we see here that God initiates it and implements it.

The word here (kaleo) is used to mean called or chosen, but in some cases invited! The only place where this is translated invited is in Matthew 22 in the Parable of the Wedding Feast. The king sent out an invitation to a wedding feast for his, but “they would not come” (22:3). They either ignored him, hurt the king’s messengers, or killed them. So he exacted vengeance on them, but told his servants to go to the “highways and the hedges” and invite as many as they found. So they “went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good.”

Those merely invited did not come of their own volition. But God sent his servants to come and gather them in! Isaiah was right, “All have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). But this call is one where God effectually calls and brings them in. And as Romans 8:29-30 says:

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

From the foundation of the world, God has called a people to himself in order to fashion them into Christlikeness!

Beloved by God the Father. This phrase is found only in this passage. We talked a few weeks ago about the different types of love displayed by God. In this case, it is a particular love that God has for His church!

I mentioned last week that our anniversary on August 1—a great day in the land, to be sure! I have told all of you in the place who much I love and appreciate you. But I have also expressed to you how much I have asked God to plant a love for our neighbors and the nations who do not know Christ. I have also mentioned how much I love my wife, my bride! Now, are these loves the same? Would you say with good authority that I have a particular, special, exclusive love for my bride that is different from my love for anyone else?

God has a particular love for His bride, the church—the church that is blood-bought by His own Son, and Spirit taught as well! Based on what? Look at John 17:26: “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Do you believe that the Father loves His Son? Without question—He loves His Son more than anything in time and eternity. Jesus says, “Father, love them like you love me! May your love be in them, and may I be them!” And the Holy Spirit comes to indwell in us—this is the present reality of us as third-chair believers! Ligon Duncan is right: “You need to revel in the depth of the Father’s love for you in Jesus Christ. That’s who you are. That’s what a Christian is.’[2]

Kept for Christ Jesus. One day, Christ will return for his church. Regardless of how you view the end times, this is something to which all orthodox Christians hold. Christ is coming back. There is an ancient threefold saying that the early church spoke that is still spoken in some Christian circles today: Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Historically, the first two have already happened, and we know that the last one will at some point in the future.

But what about in the meantime? The point of this letter is to urge the church to contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints. Why? “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

This brought a lot of concern and angst in the church. Some were wondering what was next, some were beginning to stray, others stayed apathetic. But Jude reminded them not only were they called by God (not by their own work or desire), were they loved by God but they were kept for Jesus Christ.

In 2 Timothy 1:8-12, we read another nice summary of this!

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

Called and kept! This is our position provided by our Lord! No matter the situation, no matter the false teaching, no matter what persecution may come, those who are truly his are called, beloved, and kept. In John 10:27-29:

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

3. What does Christ do for the Christian?

Join me in reading the last two verses in Jude, verses 24-25:

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

We have a Savior and Lord who is able! Our Lord God has invested Himself, His Son, and His Holy Spirit into His people—and as He created all things (Genesis 1:1) and sent His Son to atone for the sins of his people (Matthew 1:21), and as we see that God has secured our position in calling us, setting his love on us, and keeping us—he is able to keep you as you live your life in Him. There is more to the Christian life than simply coming to Christ! The Christian life is about a joyful pursuit of Christ and a joyful love of his people.

So Christ is able to preserve you. Our passion for Christ stems from the position Christ purchased for us! We contend for the faith because Christ preserves us in this position and instills in us a passion!

Does this mean we don’t do anything? Does this mean that we aren’t careful, aren’t watchful, aren’t diligence as believers to keep his commands? Not at all, for does not Jude himself even say, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 20-21). Notice the commands: building yourselves up in the faith, praying in the Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, wait for the mercy of Christ. These are imperatives, commands! But how is this possible?

“He is able to keep you from stumbling.” This is a word to those who may be young in the faith and wonder. If you are truly in Christ and have surrendered to him, then he has called you, loves you, keeps you in Christ and from stumbling. You may have heard of the minister of a large church who was a gifted preacher in a Baptist church in Indiana who fell into a serious moral failure. How did this happen? This minister, 54, finished preaching and left his phone on the pulpit. One of his deacons happened to be there when a text came through—it was a picture of him kissing a very young girl (not his wife). This girl, investigators found out, was a 16 year old girl. He was summarily dismissed, devastating his witness, his ministry, his marriage, his church, and this girl’s life. Turns out this girl came to him for counseling and the relationship progressed. Only God is able to keep us from stumbling—but he still warns us to “keep yourselves in the love of God.” Ephesians 3:20 says, ““Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.”

Christ is able to present you blameless. He is able to even do this. To whom will he be presenting us? To His Father in heaven! Remember the line in Romans 8:30: foreknown, predestined, called, justified, glorified. He is working, as Paul tells the Ephesians, “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. . . . For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:27, 29).

How does this happen? Through Christ’s resurrection! In 1 Corinthians 15:42-44:

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

All of you who are third-chair Christians, understand this: the world will persecute you for your beliefs, they will hate you because they hated the Christ you love and who keeps you, and they will sneak into the church to try to undermine your faith and tear apart His church. But you must know this: he is able to keep you from stumbling! And he is able to take you when your life is done and bring you to the throne and present you as one clothed in the righteousness of Christ, washed and sanctified, prepared to approach the King without fear, but with humility and gratitude for His grace!

Conclusion

I first heard this at a Promise Keepers event back in 1999 by Dr. Kenneth Ulmer (although I do not believe it came from him).  But it’s an appropriate way for us to close our time together.

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19
A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends whose hands it’s in

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6
A baseball in Mark McGuire’s hands is worth $19 million
It depends whose hands it’s in

A tennis racket is useless in my hands
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras’ hands is a Wimbledon Championship.
It depends whose hands it’s in

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal
A rod in Moses’ hands will part the mighty sea
It depends whose hands it’s in

A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy
A sling shot in David’s hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it’s in

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in Jesus’ hands will feed thousands
It depends whose hands it’s in

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse
Nails in Jesus Christ’s hands will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it’s in

Whose hands are you in?  Who is your trainer?  Come to the Savior who calls you, loves you, keeps you, and who will keep you from stumbling and present you glorious and blameless. 


[1]Why a Personal Trainer is So Important? By Jae Allen http://www.livestrong.com/article/334217-why-a-personal-fitness-trainer-is-important/#ixzz22dNbbpqk .

[2]J. Ligon Duncan, What is a Christian? (Jude 1-2). http://www.fpcjackson.org/resources/sermons/Jude/jude1.2.htm

_______________

Preached by Dr. Matthew Perry, Arapahoe Road Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 5, 2012 as Part I of Contending or Pretending: Real Faith for Real Life.  Sermon mp3 forthcoming!

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Whatever Your Condition: The Power of Faith in Prayer (Part I)

(To listen to this sermon in full, go here.  This was preached at Arapahoe Road Baptist Church in Centennial, CO on Sunday, February 26, 2012.)

As we come to the end of this Epistle to James, we would do well to remember why this book was written to begin with. These were Jewish Christians who had dispersed and were facing persecution left and right. Temptations from the inside, trials from without—and James began with the notion of exhorting them to “count it joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and compete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

This epistle is bookended by prayer. We have received warnings about the misuse of the tongue—quarreling, grumbling, and that the tongue is a fire, a restless evil, a poison, staining the whole body, directing all we do—set on fire by hell itself.

Look at the type of suffering that can happen to a Christian just from the book of James:

  • Trials and temptations (James 1:1-18);
  • Anger (v. 20-21)
  • Being on the wrong end of partiality (James 2:1-13)
  • Inability to control one’s tongue.
  • Quarrelling and divisiveness within the church.
  • Being defrauded by the rich.
  • Persecution for your faith.
  • Sickness

So, whatever your condition, send Him your petitions. (James 5:13-15).

Look with me at James 5:13-15:

13Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Notice verses 13 and 14. He brings out three attitudes and conditions: suffering, cheerfulness, and sickness. And in all three areas, where does the Spirit tell us to run? To God! Back in James 4:7-8, James exhorts:

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Those dealing with trials on the outside and temptations from within, the primary solution is coming to God in prayer and praise.

Over this past week, it’s been interesting to talk to people who have rather backstories in regards to their testimonies. Some have been involved in eastern religions looking for spiritual peace; others have been involved with alcohol and drugs looking for a type of peace in that area. Some go to the mountains or were environmentalists, trying to find peace with their surroundings.

All of them have one thing in common: to escape! To get away from the sorrow and conviction of their soul, they look to empty their minds, numb their spirits, or get away from where they believe the issues lie. But we cannot get away from ourselves—nor can we get away from God.

Part and parcel of being a radical, dedicated follower of Christ is undergoing persecution and suffering. And it can come in many ways. We read in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 that faithful men were “afflicted and mistreated” in countless ways (Hebrews 11:32-38). And the more we speak up for Christ, the more we will suffer at the hands of the world and, even like Jeremiah, suffer emotionally and spiritually:

[7 ] O LORD, you have deceived me,

and I was deceived;

you are stronger than I,

and you have prevailed.

I have become a laughingstock all the day;

everyone mocks me.

[8 ] For whenever I speak, I cry out,

I shout, “Violence and destruction!”

For the word of the LORD has become for me

a reproach and derision all day long.

[9 ] If I say, “I will not mention him,

or speak any more in his name,”

there is in my heart as it were a burning fire

shut up in my bones,

and I am weary with holding it in,

and I cannot.

(Jeremiah 20:7-9 ESV)

What do you do when you are suffering? You pray! You ask for wisdom, having faith in the One you are petitioning (James 1:5-8). In Psalm 42: “Why so cast down, o my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 42:5). God is the only one who not only has the perspective above all that we have, but He is working everything in the world to an appointed end. By connecting with Him, He allows us through the Spirit to tap into that understanding.

Is anyone cheerful? If you are cheerful, what do you do? You glorify God for that situation as well. In what ways may someone be cheerful in the Lord? Remember how James said to “Count it joy when you are facing trials of various kinds?” (James 1:2). God may have blessed, God may have answered a prayer, God may have sent a trial your way—all things being worked together for good (Romans 8:28), knowing that our steadfastness is being worked out! You know that the victory is won (1 Corinthians 15:55-57; 1 John 5:4-5).

The result? “Let him sing praise!” We don’t praise to talk ourselves out of our situation, or praise Him in hopes of Him removing us from our situation. We praise Him because of the strength He provides in the midst of our situation!

Whatever your condition, make your confessions!

James now gets to this third question: Is anyone among you sick?

The word here is for those who are physically sick, to be sure. But it also allows for those who are under such mental anguish that it manifests itself physically. How often have I heard of spouses who, after a divorce or death, lose weight due to an inability to eat, or gain weight to try and salve that comfort? Emotional or mental stress and strain can show itself physically.

Sickness can come from sin. Look at verse 15-16: “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

Our unconfessed sins show themselves. Look at Psalm 32:

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity.
And in whose spirit there is no conceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
My strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to you,
And I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
And you forgave my sin.

There are three categories of ‘sin’ mentioned here.

  • Transgression: this literally means a ‘going away,’ or ‘departure—rebellion against God and his authority. Even what we deem the most insignificant act is not simply against ourselves or a person, but against God himself. Psalm 51: “Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”
  • Sin: “falling short of a mark,” like an archer missing his target. Romans 3:23
  • Iniquity: a corruption, a twisting, a crookedness of our heart and spirit.

The Lord’s Supper narrative in 1 Corinthians 11 also says this:

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).

The broken body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who atoned for our sin and removed our guilt, justifying us by grace alone through faith alone must never be approached in a casual manner—either at the Table or in our lives!

Notice dear church how your brothers and sisters in Christ are a part of this process:

First, the leaders of the church are part of this process: “Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14b). If I may, there is a word here that every one of us would do well to hear. How often do we hear of people who are sick, but keep it to themselves? They are sick from anxiety, from spiritual or emotional distress about their standing before the Lord, or from countless other reasons. Some even go into the hospital for such issues—but tell no one. They only tell who has to know: their spouse, (maybe) their children, and their doctor (if they go). They don’t want to worry their pastor (he’s so busy as it is) or their small group (they have their own issues—I don’t want to put more on them)—so they keep it to themselves.

The reasons why so many fail to inform are (1) don’t want to be a bother, and (2) do not want the pity, or (3) they are ashamed!

If you are in this boat, consider these two things:

First, God did not create us to be alone, but in fellowship with one another. You will miss the benefits of that fellowship in how they may pray for you and apply the Word of God, through the anointing work of the Holy Spirit. The leaders of the church are the ones who are (or at least should be) the most mature. This is why Paul warns against those who are immature in the faith becoming a deacon or a pastor—they become full of themselves, their position, their authority. They do not handle their responsibility well. In fact, some who are immature in the faith and are leaders begin looking under every rock for sin—even when it’s not there. It’s not enough to be a pastor—they want to be Holy Spirit, Jr.

Secondly, you deprive your brothers and sisters in Christ the blessing of coming alongside and ministering. There is a blessing in being ministered unto and also ministering. Look at 5:16: “The effective prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

What does this mean? When sins are confessed and ones walk with the Lord is strong, what powerful prayers come forth!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book Life Together notes:

Confession in the presence of a brother is the profoundest kind of humiliation. It hurts, it cuts a man down, it is a dreadful blow to pride. To stand there before a brother as a sinner is a humiliation that is almost unbearable. In the confession of concrete sins the old man does a painful, shameful death before the eyes of a brother.

What does this look like for the church? In confessing your sins:

  • If it’s a private sin, find a mature brother/sister to confess it to.
  • If it’s a sin against that brother, go to that brother personally.
  • If it’s a sin against the body, go to the body.

It’s not helpful to bring private and personal matters before the assembly—go and find that accountability with someone else. Yes, it’s tough and humbling, but there will be strength in that obedience and confession and accountability.

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Creationists Expected To Put The Bible Down When Discussing Origins

Dr. Jason Lisle writes a very thought-provoking response to a critic of his website who disagrees with Lisle’s contention of the truth of the Bible when dealing with origins.

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