Friday, September 07, 2012

“Church Life”

Insights #10 Sept. 8, 2012

Third Quarter 2012 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Church Life
For the week of Sept. 8, 2012
Church Life  (1 Thess. 5:12-28)    
The 1888 Message of the “Matchless Charms of Jesus Christ”, and the power of the Gospel to forgive and cleanse from sin has tremendous ramifications for our participation in and attitude towards the church, fellow church members, and the work of the Gospel. 

Our attitude towards our leaders, as well as towards all, is based on the truth that Jesus Christ died for all, and desires all to repent, to experience an abundant life, and unity in the body of Christ.  While we hold leaders accountable, we ought more to intercede in prayer for them, to assist them in their important work, to blend our spiritual gifts with theirs, and to learn the important lesson of learning to live under authority, as we are obviously all under the authority of God.

Leaders are to truly lead, to admonish, exhort, to discipline, to make spiritual decisions, to listen carefully to God, and to maintain the standards and integrity, as well as bear witness of the Christian Church. 

Leaders are to work carefully with people, to study them, to find effective methods, to “bathe” all that they do in the Gospel and the character of God’s “agape” love.  Leaders are to understand that their work is largely a personal work.  Leaders are to examine themselves, and to keep the goal before them of disciplining people into the fullness of the Christian experience. 

Leaders are to provide ministry to all types of people, because the Gospel is applicable to all kinds of people.  Discouraged people need mild treatment; the weak and defenseless need support and encouragement.  Leaders need to handle disagreement and criticism in such a way that it reflects that they were rightly motivated by unselfish love and a deep concern for others.

The Church should be marked by mentoring and building people up into the Body of Christ, into the fullness of character and faith that God envisions.  The Church is more than encouraging, it is developing, strengthening, equipping, and focused in a holistic way towards the development of everyone’s physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, evangelistic, social, and psychological health.

Members need to be accountable and to hold each other accountable.  We need to accept the conviction of the Holy Spirit and to be willing to invest in and become involved in the lives of others.  This is all to be done in the spirit of rejoicing, as we are called often to rejoice in the Lord always.  We thus rejoice in tribulation and discipline as well as blessings.  They are all founded in and stem from God’s love. 

We need to benefit from the prophetic gift, and from the proclamation of God’s Word.  We are to test all things to ensure they are truly accurate and Biblical.  We are obviously to obey the revelations of God through His Spirit, and to incorporate those truths into our lives, assuming of course that they are Biblical. 

Paul shares his theology of sanctification, and desires that through the indwelling of Christ, we become fully sanctified in every respect, believing most of all that Christ can do as He has promised. Paul exhorts us to prepare for the Coming of Christ and the destruction of this present world.  He reminds us that believers have not been appointed unto wrath, but unto being reunited with Christ.  The Gospel is the basis of all our experience, promises, and ultimate fulfillment. 

Paul longs for the church to have the total experience God promises, including full surrender to His love and character of mercy.  He wants our experience to flow naturally outward in love and service to others.
-Tom Cusack