Wednesday was our monthly midweek meeting by house church. These are my notes from my lesson. A little rough around the edges, and not exactly he way I delivered it, but pretty close. I could clean it up and make it more blog-worthy, but I’m not. 🙂
I want to challenge us this evening, all of us me included. This will hit some of you, as it does me, right square in the heart. Others, it may not apply to, you’re already doing exactly this.
In fact it applies to me so well, I thought about not sharing it. Maybe it’s just me, I doubt it, but if the challenge doesn’t apply to you, please take no offense.
Thinking about our study of John, one thing that stands out is that Jesus is always with people. His ministry was outward focused.
I am not.
I’ve come to realize that my life is very inward focused. My schedule, my blog, my hobbies. I like to think of myself as a having a good ‘balance’, in reality, day in and day out, the balance is shifted toward me.
But the things that get me agitated, frustrated, angry,
Remember this passage from John 12:24-26:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Remember Sunday, we talked about finding ‘balance’? Jesus didn’t call us to balance, to make room for his goals in our lives. He called us to die. It’s a radical concept. A very hard teaching. If we embrace it, all bets are off on our lives, we will be dead and obligated to God.
I think of this quote from Soren Kierkegaard [which I’ve used here before].
The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament
All this – Jesus always with the people and dying to ourselves – got me thinking about what the ‘Christian lifestyle’, and therefore mine, ought to look like. That got me thinking about all tha passages that refer to our relationshiops – the ‘one another’ passages. Let’s look at some.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
1 Corinthians 12:25
that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
As Christians, our focus is outward, on others. But we live in a society that focuses on self.
Look at the action words in these passages. What are our action words? Buy, relax, go, work, spend. There are others, not all bad, but our ways are for us, but God’s ways are for others.
We cannot do many of these things if we do not spend time together. We must break our schedules, our priorities and get involved with other people, especially disciples.
Let’s look for ways to be together, make spending time a priority. Not just ‘D-times’ or study times, but fun times. Kid’s recitals and soccer games, dinner out or in our homes, home projects, watching the game,etc.
As I look at my own life, I have two thoughts:
- My first thought is that I long to change my way of thinking, to make time with others a priority and find ways, invent ways, of being with disciples. This is needed, desparately perhaps, in myself and in others. I want to change my mode of operation from one of “I want to get home and be alone” to “I long to spend some time with my brothers!”.
- My second thought, however, is to run from this. I frankly don’t want to change. This goes to the core of ME, I’m not sure I want to go there. As Soren Kierkegaard said, “if I do that my whole life will be ruined.” What I want is to feel good about the revelation and keep on living the same way.
I can’t stay the same, but can I really move toward such a change? Prayerfully I can.
How about you?