8 Way Christians Should View Each Other (Romans 1:8-15)

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8 ways How Christians should view each other

 

  1. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
  2. For God, Whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you,
  3. always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.
  4. For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established:
  5. that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.
  6. I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.
  7. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.
  8. So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

8 ways Christians should view other Christians- Based on the Life of Paul

Today we are going to study Paul and how he viewed other Christian’s. We see a clear picture of this as he concludes his greeting to the Romans.

First question is why study how Paul viewed Christians?

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:1-“Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” This is why we should study Paul’s actions. Christ gave a life example but His word gives an account that Paul was imitating Christ. So Paul commanding imitate me as I imitate Christ is a command from the Lord. Because the Bible is God’s Authoritative Word.

1.We should be thankful for other Christians

8) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

  • Paul is thankful for all of God’s people. Not just some
  • not showing  favoritism to those are in the body of Christ.
  • We have a different love for a non-believer and a believer. I deeper love. A love that grows and gives back. Among the love for a non-believer, it is rich but stays on a surface level. The Love grows by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit but the relationship will stay surface level until the Lord opens that person’s eyes to the truth.

Paul was thankful that their faith was being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

If we are to have a sincere Christ-like Love we must have a sincere Christ-like Faith! The Love is a fruit of our relationship with Christ. If we don’t spend time in God’s word or praying our relationship with God will become dull and ineffective….or fruitless.  So we must note what Paul was thankful for.

Paul was thankful that their faith was being proclaimed throughout the whole World. This made Paul happy that the Church in Rome was growing. So he was thankful.

2. We should be Concerned for other Christians

9-10a) For God, Whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, in my prayers

  • Paul had never met the Christians at Rome. This is why the introduction is so personal and revealing of Paul.
  • Earlier he wanted them to know he was a bondservant, an apostle who was set apart for the Gospel. Now he is revealing more about himself.

Nero was the Ruler of Rome and he wasn’t a very pro-Christian kind of guy. If there was any church that needed Paul’s prayers it was this church.

  • Sadly this holds very little weight in our culture. I think it is due to the large amount of ineffective Christians in our country that talk the talk and say all the right things but do not live it out. Remember the Elementary School shooting in newton, CT. Obama made the statement, “our prayers go out to the families of newtown”. But we studied in 1 john that ineffective Christians pray ineffective prayers. Post a trajedy on Facebook and see how many” I’m praying for you” comments you get. Then look at each individual one and see what their posts looks like. Most are selfish prideful post that only uplift themselves and in no way shape or form glorify God.  Paul wasn’t giving one of these “PRAYING FOR YA!” He was genuinely spending time praying for the church of Rome! This is why we are doing the prayer challenge each week, because if you can’t pray for a few minutes a day, how can you mature as a Christian?

3. We should be willing to Spend time with Christians

10b) , if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.

Paul has already told them that he was thankful for them, that he was praying for them and now that he was coming to see them.  By the wording it shows that he was excited about coming to see him. There is a deeper application to this passage as you grow in your maturity as it pertains to leading others. But now there is still plenty of applicable content.

-How often do you attend church?

-How often do you attend bible studies?

  • I have only been going to the Wednesday Youth Service for a few weeks now and I can think of two instances where nearly the entire youth bailed on church to dance and to watch a movie. The response is well they were spending time together. If it is not in a biblical environment it holds little value. Skipping out on church to dance shows the seriousness you have for your walk with Christ. Skipping out on church to watch a Disney movie shows you that you would rather watch some little princess become a frog or a witch than to learn and talk about GOD’S WORD! Paul was excited to spend time with God’s people because he knew what was at stake!
  • Paul was believed to be in Corinth when he wrote this letter. He was going to walk 720 miles. Don’t take for granted spending time with God’s people! Greg Wright lives in Fountain Inn. That’s about 40-45 min and he is here ever week, because he values spending time with God’s people!

4. We should be willing to invest in and receive from other Christians

11) For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established:

  • There are two main types of transactions regarding communication taken from bank terminology.
  • Deposits: (The minister) this is when you are investing toward that person ( Encouragement, serving, teaching, etc…)
  • Withdrawals(the ministered) this is when you are receiving from someone.
  • Paul is clearly excited about investing some spiritual gift to you, that they may be established.
  • There are two applications here:
  • We should be willing to invest in other Christians with time, love, service
  • We should be willing to receive other Christians correction, love, service, time.

5. We should be encouraged by other Christians faith

12) that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.

  • How can other Christians faith encourage us?
  • -The Lord can use it to reveal an area of weakness in our own life (Tim Tebow giving God the Glory)
  • For instance, Paul realized the power of an effective Biblical community. In our generation even among the main stream Christian circles, you can be ridiculed for making a radical sacrifice for the Lord. Like throwing away hundreds of dollars of DVD’s, Video Games, TV’s…. which is sad. Because we should see someone doing that and be encouraging toward them telling them how much more focused they are going to be for the Lord’s Work. Instead of laughing under your breath and saying, “That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?” We can not be encouraged together unless we are first encouraging.

 

 

 

6. We should want to build relationships with other Christians

13) I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.

  • Paul wanted to ensure the Roman church that his delay was not because of lack of interest but of outside circumstances that were out of his control. But Paul was again ensuring this church that he wanted to come and bear fruit among them.
  • The application here is that we should be excited about building and strengthening relationships with other believers. We should never look at a fellowship with another believer as a drag, because God is pleased when His adopted children not only grow closer together in love, but are doing things together that brings fruit. You can not grow closer in the Lord to your fellow Christian if you are not doing fruitful things.
  • -Video games can be fruitful- You can use it as a pass time to communicate. But note the type of game does affect the effectiveness of that time. Make sure the conversations stay guided. Stray from idle talk.

7. We should not discriminate among other Christians

14) I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.

  • This word obligation can also be translated “Debtor”. Paul was in debt to the Greeks and the barbarians. Not for anything they did but for what Christ did. He realized his purpose the Lord had given him and he did not let personal preference hinder his ministry. Paul was an esteemed accomplished Hebrew, a Pharisee. I’m sure there were many people he ran into while doing the Lord’s work that he didn’t care too much for or rubbed him the wrong way. But he was a obligated to them, through Christ!
  • Christ has paid too high a price for use to snarl our noses at other people, because they stink. Or they talk funny. Or they get on our nerves.

8. We should commit to other Christians

15) So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

  • This is the closing statement for his introduction to the Roman church. For my part- Paul is ensuring his commitment to them. That he is eager to preach the gospel. Early he said obligated, now he is saying eager. This is what made Paul so special. Paul is the most transparent author in the new testament. This shows that this obligation was not out of duty or a feeling of having to…but it was out of love. Because He is eager to preach the gospel because He is committed to Christ, therefore He is committed to other Christians.
  • We are given the same call. We are to commit to other Christians. Not out of duty but out of love. What does it look like when we commit to each other? We put others before ourselves. Not only do we put their needs above ours, but we recognize their needs sometimes before they do; and Paul knew that the Romans needed to hear sound doctrine. He was excited to preach them the Gospel.  As Paul committed to the Church in Rome we should use this example and commit to each other!

 

Overview

1.We should be thankful for other Christians

2. We should be Concerned for other Christians

3. We should be willing to Spend time with Christians

4. We should be willing to invest in and receive from other Christians

5. We should be encouraged by other Christians faith

6. We should want to build relationships with other Christians

7. We should not discriminate among other Christians

8. We should commit to other Christians

 

 

P: Pray 4 minutes a day. You choose when

R: Read Romans 1

O: Apply one of these views of Christians to your life each day. Don’t repeat!

  1. We should be thankful for other Christians

2. We should be Concerned for other Christians

3. We should be willing to spend time with Christians

4. We should be willing to invest in and receive from other Christians

5. We should be encouraged by other Christian’s faith

6. We should want to build relationships with other Christians

7. We should not discriminate among other Christians

8. We should commit to other Christians

The Identity, Sacrifice, and Purpose of Christ (Romans 1:3-7)

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Romans 1:3-7(NASB)

 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;

to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as [e]saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Greetings: 1st part Paul identified his identity, his sacrifice, and his purpose.

This is the 2nd part of the greetings.

The identity, sacrifice, and purpose of Christ.

The Identity of Christ

3) Concerning His son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4) who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.

He is the Son of God v.3,4

The Person: Born of a descendant of David according to the flesh v. 3

The first thing we can note that Jesus is royalty Born from a Royal blood line. How is this important relating to the identity of Christ? Genealogies were of very importance in the time Jesus was on the earth. They weren’t met with the same negative boredom as they are today.

Being a descendant of David was respected in Jewish culture.  Matthew 1:1. You can’t argue genealogies. They are statements of fact that is why genealogies are important in the Old Testament because we know that these people existed. It gives credentials to the story.

Jesus was flesh and blood because flesh and blood was required to satisfy God’s wrath toward sin.

The God:  Declared the Son of God. v.3,4

John 17:1,5,21

Jesus – because he was the human vessel that God used to save people from their Sin.

Christ- because He has been anointed by God as King and Priest

Our Lord- Because He is God and is the sovereign ruler of the universe.

Jesus is both God and Man. This is why Paul includes this in the greetings part of the letter. Because it is one of the first things that need to be mentioned regarding Jesus Christ! He had all the power of God dwelling with a human body.

His Sacrifice and Purpose:

Through the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross we can claim His life, and receive power through the Holy Spirit to obey God’s word and grace can be applied all because of the sacrifice of Christ.

Because Jesus’ sacrifice was His purpose, it opens up the purpose for our lives today.

5) Through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles

Through (Jesus) we have received grace and apostleship to bring about obedience of Faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake.

It is impossible to attain grace or obey God without Jesus Christ being Lord and Savior over your Life. A person claiming to be in Christ and their life is utter disobedience is living a complete lie!

5c) for his name’s sake

Don’t be deceived into thinking that you are the reason Christ Came! John 3:16 God did send his Son to save the world and does not wish for any person to perish. @ 2 Peter 3:9 It isn’t for man, the entire purpose of Christ and God’s plan for humanity is all wrapped up into (FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE) Man’s salvation is a by-product of God’s Grace. The main focus is to display God’s Glory!

6) Among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;

{Because of Jesus} you also are the called of Jesus Christ. (John 10:25-30, Ephesians 1:3-8)

Our Response:

7) To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints; Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord is the name God is referred to most often in Scripture. This reveals his sovereign nature of everything. If our life is not in obedience to His word, we are saying with our life that you are not Lord.

This is the closing statement of the greeting in which Paul is addressing the Romans.  It is a statement of promise and reward to those who are beloved of God and called as saints. To them Peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.

If a person does not obey God’s word, and has a life that looks exactly like the world this verse is not for them, because God is not their Father, and Jesus is not their Christ or Lord.

How we act depicts what we believe.

Romans 10:9-10- Notice the two distinctions of what happens when you confess with your mouth, and when believe with your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, and God raised him from the dead.

Heart- brings about righteousness.

Mouth- brings about salvation.

The two are one! Without a heart that believes in Christ and his work righteousness will not follow because the power of Christ does not dwell within you.

Believing in your heart the work of Christ but not having the boldness to declare he is Jesus Christ our Lord, neglects the possibilities of you being a Christian.

 

Called as saints; Note how Paul emphasizes the called in Ephesians 4:1.

Jesus Christ can not receive enough praise for the life He lived and His sacrifice.  As it is important to realize this, do not be hypocritical toward this. Do not claim Christ with your mouth and deny him with your life.

 

PRO CHALLENGE:

P- Pray 3 minutes a day. You choose when that is.

R- Read Romans 1:8-15

O- Using a journal answer these 3 question: What is Obedience? Why is Obedience important? Am I obeying God’s Word?

Praying Effectively Leads to Praying Compassionately (1 John 5:13-17)

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First before we begin let us look at the overview in which John has written in first thirteen stating his purpose for this entire letter.

13” These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life. “

Having complete confidence in your salvation does not mean you are saved, just like doubting you are saved means that you are not saved. Because we are of the fallen man, first Adam, we live in broken depraved bodies. Every aspect of us is fallen, even our emotion that gives us assurance.

Ever thought something was right for so long, now looking back you see the error of it. Take slavery for instance. Slavery was a culturally acceptable term and practice in our nations history. I’m sure there were many Christians that owned slaves. But now looking back, we see the evil that it was. The sheer thought that you can own someone else seems outrageous. But in that time period it was not viewed as wrong. We will always have that problem  in whatever generation we live. I feel strongly and pray that abortion will be that thing that our children’s children look back and ask, “How could they have murdered all of those babies?” Regardless, of our flawed nature it is important that our lives are always under self examination. We must never reach a place in our Christian walk where we have felt that we have arrived at our destination.  By reading 1 John we can learn characteristics and qualities Christian’s should have. Through God’s Grace our lives should line up with this letter John has written.

How can you know you have eternal life based on what we’ve learned so far? John started chapter 5 by answering that. You know you have eternal life if you have a love for God and other Christians, confess that Jesus is Lord, and obey His commandments.

Christianity is a relationship. You can’t have a relationship of any value if communication isn’t part of it. There are two ways this communication happens.

1. Reading God’s Word

2. Praying

Let’s examine prayer for the remainder of this session.

14 “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”

Why is prayer an important instruction when writing people with the hopes of giving them guidance on whether or not they have eternal life?

–          If God isn’t answering your prayers, it could be because you aren’t a believer.

Prayer 101: Praying Effectively

  1. Ask according to God’s Will
    1. 1 John 5:14-15, Matt 26:39, 2 Corinth 12:7-9
  2. Obeying His Word
    1. 1 John 3:22-23, 1 peter 3:12
  3. Abiding in Jesus
    1. John 15:7, John 14:13-14, 1 John 3:24

 

16 “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.”

Prayer 102: Praying Compassionately

NOTE: You cannot pray compassionately until you learn to pray effectively.

  1. Sin not leading to death
    1. God does not punish every believer that sins through death. You see the story of the man in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. That man is told to leave the church. God doesn’t kill him for the sin he committed.
  2. Sin leading to death
    1. Acts 5:1-11. Both Ananias and Sapphira are killed instantly by the Lord. They both lied and were both killed. The lied about the money, and then lied to God about the money.

We can all think of people who claim to be righteous, or Christian, and are living in habitual sin. Our responsibility is to pray for these people. It isn’t our job to pray for death, it’s our job to pray that the Lord’s will be done in their life whether it be through being exiled from the church, being killed, or being revealed on the day of judgment. God will have His way in their life- Romans 2:5.

God’s Love and The Believer’s Response

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God’s Love and The Believer’s Response

1 John 3

 

The only way we have the ability to love is if God gives us the ability to do so.

As we look at His Love and Our love, it is really His love and His Grace.

Only by God’s graceful and merciful nature does he allow us to love.

Man brings nothing to the table except filth.

However, God loves us. In 1 John we see that through out, but in this lesson we will look at what our response should be to his love!

 

God’s love is seen by (v.1-8)

The gift and example of Christ (1)

We are in the Family (1,2)

We will have eternal life and Glorified bodies in perfect communion with Him (3)

He took away our sins (5)

He destroyed the Works of the Devil (8)

            The Gift of Christ:

1 John 3:1 (His love Bestowed)

How is this a sign of love?

John 3:16, 1 John 3:16, and 1 john 3:23

To pay for our sins- Rom. 6:23

To appease God’s Anger toward Sin- 1 John 2:2

So that we may have eternal life!

Through Christ we can become Children of God!

            We are in the Family

1 John 3:1-2

Through Christ we are children of God.

We have a Father in Heaven!

Because we are Children of God we have eternal life.

 

We will have eternal life

1 John 3:3

Only by confessing and believing that Christ is Lord do we have eternal life.

As Christians we need to get excited about the return of our Lord and eternal life.

 

This is the hope that if fixed on Jesus will purify us just as he is pure.

 

He took away our sins

1 John 3:5

By believing in Christ as Lord, our sins are removed. How?

Rom. 6:23 – The price of sin is death.

God paid the price with the life of His son Jesus.

 

He destroyed the works of the Devil

1 John 3:8

Why would the works of the devil need to be destroyed?

John 12:31

Because Christ is removing the king of this world- The devil.

It’s important to see that Christ came to remove sin, to renew the relationship man once had with God.

 

The believers Response to God’s love is love. This Love is seen by…(v.4-24)

What we practice. (4-10)

Love for others (11-16)

The condition of our hearts.(19-23)

Obeying His commandments.(22-23)

Abiding in Him.(24)

 

What we practice

1 John 3:4-10

sin or righteousness?

If we are children of God we do not practice sin.

If we are children of Satan we practice sin.

What we practice shows the children of God and the Children of the devil.

 

Love for others

1 John 3:11-18

Cain and Abel

Genesis 4:1-8

Why did Cain kill Abel?

Because His deeds were evil and His brothers were righteous.

When you do the right thing, it angers those that do wrong.

We are still to love, as He loved

 

The condition of our heart

1 John 3:19-21

 

The heart reveals the nature of our actions for the believer.

If our heart condemns us, how much more will we be condemned in front of the perfect God?

Obeying his Commandment

1 John 3:22-23

If we don’t obey His commandments we are not believers.

What does verse 23 say?

Believe in Christ Jesus

Love on another

Abide in Him

 

Abiding in Him

1 John 3:24

The one that keeps His commandments abides in Him.

And His Spirit is in him.

 

What verse can we look at to help us understand what it means to abide in him?

1 John 15:1-11

 

Challenge:

Look up the definition “Practice” and see how many times in the New Testament it is used using a concordance.

Read 1 John 4.

Pray for God to reveal His love to you and through you.

The World, The Deceived, The Liar, and a Promise (1 John 2:15-29)

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1 John 2:15-29

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, butbecause you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

25 This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you,you abide in Him.

28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

The World: 15-17

  1. The World (v. 15-17)
    1. John commands not to love the world.
    2. Reasons the Christian shouldn’t love the world?

i.       Love of father is not in him (15)

ii.      The Lust in the world – Flesh, eyes, and pride of life (16)

iii.      The world is passing away. (17)

    1. The Believer in the world.
  1. 1 John 3:13- Don’t be surprised if the world hates you.
  2. John 17:14-16- Jesus’ prayer for His disciples- The believer is not of the World
  3. Romans 12:2- Don’t try to be like the world

 

    1. As believers, we are going to be in the world. The word of God will sanctify us, but we must commit to reading it, meditating on it, and obeying it. This is our defense. But many are deceived….

 

  1. The Deceived (v.18-21)
    1. The antichrists deny anything of Christ in hopes of deceiving God’s children. (2 John 7)
    2. There are two forms of deceptions:

1)      The believer that is deceived and get’s involved with the things of the world.

2)      The nonbelievers that think they are believers.

    1. The hope we have lies in the Word of Truth. God’s Word. This will not make sense to the one deceived. John 8:43-44

 

Story: There is a miniseries on TV called: Rosemary’s Baby. It’s a remake from an old movie. It is basically the story of this woman that is picked to have the child of Satan. Though the details aren’t the same, that’s exactly what happens when we disregard God’s Word.

 

  1. The Liar (v. 22-24)

a.Who is the liar John is referring?

-The one who denies Jesus as Christ.

b. How can we deny Jesus as Christ?

-the atheist perspective. Just flat out saying it.

-The Liar perspective. 1 John 2:3-4

c. To Confess in Jesus as Christ is to have the Father. The commandments of Jesus must be obeyed. If we disregard even the smallest detail of the word we are liars and deny Christ.

  1. The Promise (v.25-29)
    1. What is the promise? Eternal Life.
    2. From the text how can we tell we will inherit eternal life? If we abide in Him.
    3. Abiding in him is a topic we have talked about each week since we started 1 John. I’ve asked it 3 weeks in a row. What is a verse we can tell that we are abiding in Him? John 15:1-11
    4. From John 15:1-11 what are some ways we can identify as characteristics for those that abide in Christ?

1.We bear fruit – v.2

2. We are pruned v.3

3. We give God the glory for our fruit, and realize it is not on our efforts or merit. V.5

4. Our prayers are answered. V.7

5. We love one another v.9

6. We keep His commandments. V.10

7. We are joyful. V. 11

The Church and The View of God

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A problem we see in our church culture is having a low view of God and His authority on Scripture, countering the claim with a very high view on man. For the secular culture to place all of the emphasis on man and his glory is to be expected. However, when this sinful thought infects the church it is a much more serious problem. To fully understand the correct view on God and His authority on the Bible; it is imperative that the reader understands the importance of scripture and the supreme authority it holds over everything and how it affects the church. It is only through properly viewing scripture that the church can have a correct view on the supreme and sovereign God. The depth of the view a church places on God and His authority on scripture can be seen by a thorough examination of the heart in the church leadership, the congregation, and the focus of the church as a whole.

Before examining the heart of church leadership, the members of the church, and the focus of the church, it is important to understand why the heart is the foundation for our view of God and His authority on Scripture. “The word ‘heart’ is used 830 times in the Scriptures. It includes such non-material things as your thoughts, motives, and choices”(Peace 60). When I mention the heart I am not talking about the organ in the chest, but merely pointing to the center of a person’s emotional, intellectual, and moral being. It is through this study of the heart that the church’s view on God and scripture will become clear.

The most influential responsibility for how our Lord is viewed is found in the heart of church leadership. The term church leadership is used a lot, but the true leader of the church is God. “The Lord is the head of the church. Not the pastor and not the people; and he leads us by His word. If you don’t follow the authority of scripture everything else is off” (Touchet). When referring to church leadership it is important to make the disclaimer that I am referring to pastor, elders, deacons, teachers, or church staff. If the leaders of the church do not place a supreme view of God and His authority and do not repent, it would be better for them to leave the church altogether.

It is impossible to have a high view of God and not place a high view on His Word. They are one in the same. Looking at what the church leadership is investing time in teaching from the pulpit and their obedience to the Bible will play a vital role in determining the view they place on God and His word. In his book, Every Thought Captive, Richard Pratt writes, “As followers of Christ, we must remember always to build our faith on sure foundation of the Bible. If we do so, there will be no weight too great to be supported; no wind too strong to be resisted”(Pratt 4). If leaders do not place a high view on building their faith on the sure foundation of the Bible, they are building their house on a bad foundation. Jesus was very adamant when he was illustrating the destruction of a bad foundation. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and slammed against that house; and it fell- and great was its fall” (New American Standard Bible, Matt. 7.26-27). For leaders to have a high view of God and His word it must start with a disciplined life committed to obeying the Bible at all costs.

The leader’s view of God and the authority of His word is found in the content that the leaders teach or allow from the pulpit. As a Church of the living God, the sermons taught should only point to Him. The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God, and the Church is famishing (Tozer 51). When the shift of content leads from the Bible, to popular music, or celebrities views on topics; a great blasphemy has taken place. The “Christian preacher must proclaim only the Word of God, and he must declare the whole Word of God” (Stonehouse 217). Neglecting the harsh reality of God’s wrath is becoming a popular trend in our church sanctuaries and pulpits. As awesome and pure as the blessings of God or the rewards of God are, only teaching on the “feel good” subjects in the bible is not the Lord’s will for the church. Francis Chan wrote this view in Erasing Hell, “Don’t believe something just because you want to, and don’t embrace an idea just because you’ve always believed it. Believe what is biblical. Test all your assumptions against the precious words God gave us in the Bible” (Chan 15). You will find that teaching on things that is comfortable is an eternal error, with eternal consequences. Ignoring the teachings on God’s wrath will lead people to directly encounter punishment they were never taught. It is important to have a high view on Scripture so the leadership can teach the full non-biased Word of God.

When church leadership fails to obey God and His Word, it is obvious they have a low view of both. That in itself is a heart breaking tragedy; an even bigger tragedy is the people they lead astray by not teaching sound doctrine. Take note of the perception the general public has on the Christian church, it’s embarrassing and it starts with the church leaders. Our churches in America are littered with leaders bored with Jesus and their attitudes infect and directly influence the congregation.

The basic task of the people of the church is to be filled with Spirit and as they learn the sound doctrine preached from the pulpit, they apply it to their lives (MacArthur 97). Bored leaders breed bored followers. If the church leadership holds a disrespectful view on God, for the most part the congregation will too. The leadership of the church determines the direction of the church, so it is very possible that a member of a church could be deceived by the leaders. This is why it is important to know your leaders on a personal level, not just on a pulpit level. A leader could be very energetic at the pulpit and preach a Biblical sermon and still have low view on God. A pastor shouting to the top of their lungs, “God is Awesome!” is just words. Although, it’s a true statement, it does not indicate the position of the church. This is why so much emphasis will be upon the church leadership fixing their view on God.

To see the overall view of God in a congregation is to become a candid observer and examine them in the church, work, and the home life. Asking how many people in the congregation attend regularly is a great place to start. The author of Hebrews instructs Christians not to deny fellowship with other believers (New American Standard Bible. Heb. 10.25). It is an obvious statement to make that a congregation that is inconsistent in attendance does not place a high view on God by directly disobeying His Word.

Two other realms of observation in the church when looking at the congregation would be examining their level of service and giving. It would be hard to be found guilty in a courtroom of having a high view of God if you had a five hundred member church and only fifteen to twenty volunteered out of the two hundred that actually attended on a regular basis. Having a high view of God is holding on to His Word. Serving is a fruit of salvation. If the congregation is not in a relationship with Christ, they will not see the importance of serving or giving their money to help further the Kingdom of God.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (New American Standard. Luke 12.34). A congregation that is not giving their money to the Lord is a congregation that does not treasure the Lord. A congregation that has a high view of God will be a giving church and place more emphasis on it. Churches that overlook this area of Scripture are missing out on so many blessings from the Lord. This is not prosperity preaching. It is Biblical preaching. If the church does not give its treasure to the Lord, it can not receive His treasures. The Apostle Paul writes in his second letter to the church in Corinth, “God loves a cheerful giver” (New American Standard, 2 Corinthians 9.7b). The people of a church should give from a cheerful heart. If every member of a church in America gave in accordance to God’s Word, a nationwide revival would to take place. But when a congregation holds to a low view of God and His Word it makes it difficult for a church to raise the funds to do anything of temporal or eternal value.

The congregation consists of mostly working class people. In a secular work environment it is even more crucial for the believer to hold to a Godly lifestyle. The life believers live in the workplace is the only Bible most people will read. If the congregation does not place the correct view on scripture their coworkers will see they have a low view of God and the Bible.

Observing the individual members of the congregation in their home life would be the most revealing of the heart of that person. In the book of Joshua the sad story of Achan describes the effects one person’s sin can have on a large group of people. Because of one man’s sin an entire nation lost a battle. The story ends with Achan being caught in his transgression and the execution of him and his entire family (New American Standard. Josh.7.1-26). Few stories illustrate the importance and responsibility each believer has in accordance with obeying the Lord than the story of Achan’s sin.

It would be easy to tell a churches view of God and His Word by examining the church leadership and the congregation. It is still a slim possibility, only because of our human nature, to have Godly leaders and the congregation that gives God the credit He deserve, and still have a church with a low view of God. This leads us to our final examination of the heart of the church: the focus. There are many areas that make up the focus of a church but I will look at how its view of God effects evangelism and discipleship.

In the southeast I have personally seen the church lead hundreds of people to the Lord. Unfortunately, there is no follow up and intentional discipleship many fall away from church remaining an immature believer. A good illustration can be found through my kids. I have twins that are six months in age. I spent months preparing for them to arrive, I prayed countless hours for a safe delivery, and I made sure that when they arrived all of their needs would be met. That was the easy stuff. When they arrived I had to enter survival mode. It was sleepless nights of feeding them, changing them, and making sure they were growing healthy. I’m not a special parent that had to do anything different than anyone else. It is the start of parenthood. I am responsible for a two lives. That is a big deal. Somewhere along the way either through ignorance or sheer irresponsibility many churches have lost that urgency that you only feel when a new life has entered this world. If someone receives Christ as Lord of their lives, that person does well if they get a bible and a pat on the back. A focus of the church should be on evangelism and discipleship; not just evangelism.

A Healthy biblical church should have leaders that preach sound doctrine and obey scripture. The congregation should be able to follow the leader’s example and sound teaching and be applying it their lives. The church should be focused on evangelism and ensuring that the believers are growing in the Lord. The common ingredient in all these areas of the healthy church is a high view of God and the authority of scripture.

Unfortunately, the church in America as it is now is not healthy. In fact, it is very sick because it has such a low view of God and that is being nice. There needs to be a change. The church in America is sick. A call to action must take place starting with the leadership of the church and then the people of the church. For the American church to become healthy, change must take place. “Tragically, in most churches, the pain of change is greater than the pain of ineffectiveness” (Rainer 229). There is no special secret to being an effective church. The remedy is repenting and clinging to a high view of God and His authority on Scripture. I have listed the apostasy that indicates when a church lacks a high view of God and His Word, but the most important reason why the church should have a High view of God is because it pleases the Lord and brings Him glory!

 

 

Works Cited

 

 

Chan, Francis, and Preston M. Sprinkle. Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity and the Things We Made up. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2011. Print.

 

MacArthur, John. The Master’s Plan for the Church. Chicago: Moody, 1991. Print

 

New American Standard Bible. Ed.Lockman Foundation. Anaheim, CA: Foundation Publications, Inc. 1997. Print.

 

Peace, Martha. The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective. Bemidji, MN: Focus Publishing Incorporated, 1999. Print

 

Pratt, Richard L. Every Thought Captive: A Study Manual for the Defense of Christian Truth. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub., 1979. Print.

 

Rainer, Thom S. Simple Church. Nashville, TN.:B&H Group, 2006. Print.

 

Stonehouse, Ned Bernard, and Paul Woolley. The Infallible Word: A Symposium. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1980. Print.

 

Tozer, A.W. The Pursuit of God: A 31-day Experience. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1995. Print