Connected to the Body

I’m a private person.  In the past, I’ve been guilty of dealing with tough issues (work, marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins) by MYSELF.

Occasionally, when issues get REALLY bad, I make strides in going to God and submitting to others for a while….But, I’ve struggled with having consistent, deep relationships with other believers in the body, especially other men. I can count on one hand the people I’ve let in.  The fact is, I’ve been hurt, betrayed rejected and abandoned by those I trusted.  But because of my pride I haven’t forgiven them completely.  Currently my wife is the main person I’ve trusted to let in.

Maybe you too have remained isolated when issues arise in your job, marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins. Maybe you too haven’t completely forgiven those in the body of Christ that have hurt or disappointed you.

The truth is: We were created to be in close relationship with God

AND

The truth is: We were created to be in close relationship with the body.

connected

Romans 12:5(NLT) “So it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts, of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

Acts 2:42(NLT)“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper) and to prayer…47 And each day the Lord added to their Fellowshipthose who were being saved.”

I see that the church has become really good at getting together with others, sharing meals, maybe listening to a teaching, maybe taking communion, and perhaps praying.  The church as a whole has become a card carrying membership and not a fellowship.  Ship: old English “scipe”; as to shape, form, adjust, adopt, evolve, develop.

Why?

Independence. Independence from God and one another. Instead of being a part of the body of Christ, we have amputated ourselves…..trying to process the issues of life alone- without God, and without each other

How do we solve the problem?

Three (3) things that we can do to stay connected and become a healthy body

  1. SEEK parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, proactively search for someone you can intimately connect with, confide in, count on, and call out on a deeper level;

Hebrews 10:25(TPT) “This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing,  In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”

  1. SUBMIT to parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, willingly surrender to someone by opening up and being vulnerable. Allow them to ask the difficult questions and provide the difficult answers surrounding your marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins.

1Peter 5:5 (NKJV) “Likewise you young people, submit yourselves to your elders.  Yes, all of you, be submissiveto one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble””.

  1. SHARE with parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, deliberately and lovingly speak life to someone, including words of praise, encouragement, and correction.

Proverbs 10:11 (NLT) “The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain…”

Ephesians 4:2“Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love”. Making every effort to keep yourselves unitedin the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Misapplied:      Matthew 7:1“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”

1Cor 5:12 (TPT)“What right do I have to pronounce judgment on unbelievers? That’s’ God’s responsibility.  But those who are inside the church family are our responsibility to discern and judge..”

Proverbs 17:10 (TPT)“One word of correction breaks open a teachable heart, but a fool can be corrected a hundred times and still not know what hit him.”

You and I were created to be connected to the body both physically and spiritually

When we seek out, submit to, and share with other parts of the body of Christ, we are built up and equipped to .be a unified and powerful body- able to fulfill the commandments and commission that Christ demands of the church.

I’m no authority on relationships in fact I’ve failed time and time again… but time and time again, the Lord has proven that He has never left me or forsaken me and neither has the church – there ARE others in the body that are also seeking, submitting to and willing to share their lives with me, so that we can edify and encourage one another.

What about you? Are you connected to the body daily or just weekly?

Are you seeking, submitting and sharing with others or are you isolated and independent of God and others? Do you have someone that you open up to and are vulnerable with or are you avoiding issues?

Is someone encouraging, challenging and correcting so that you can be the healthiest you?

Knowing God

What does it mean to know God? knowing.jpg

No greater misunderstanding for Christ followers

Is it attending church or a meeting weekly?

Is it knowing facts about Jesus or memorizing bible verses?

Is it listening to fabulous podcast sermons?

Is it praying and obeying routinely?

Is it serving the church or the community?

Is it even using our spiritual gifts?  

Jesus himself says it’s more than that to know me; more than getting a laminated membership card

Matthew 7:21–23:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

So it’s not about going to church or a meeting or knowing the bible back and forth, or occasionally praying and obeying, or serving the body or the community, or manifesting your gifts.

  • I’ve spent much of my life worshipping my distant savior on the throne and not walking with my Lord.
  • But Jesus says there’s more (relational intimacy)

Luke 5:1-11 (NLT) 

1One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God.2He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

5“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” 9For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.

Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.

3 things we can do to truly KNOW God

  1. KNOWING God by spending time with Him
  • For the disciples it meant
    • spending every day in his presence listening and talking with Jesus
  • For us it means
    • Intentionally getting alone each day in his presence listening and talking with God in prayer
  1. KNOWING God by Studying Him
  • For the disciples it meant
    • Watching his behavior
    • watching him interact with the father (get alone and pray)
    • watching him interact with people (perform miracles, love people, confront sin, rebuke)
  • For us it means
    • Learning how to become like him (holy) through the power of the Holy Spirit
    • Learning how to interact with the father (get alone and pray)
    • Learning how to interact with people (perform miracles, love people, confront sin, rebuke)
  1. KNOWING God by submitting to Him
  • For the disciples it meant
    • surrendering to his lordship
    • leaving everything behind(job, family) to follow him

Mark 8:34-35 (NLT)

34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your lifefor my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it

1 John 2:3-6 (NLT)

3And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

  • For us it means
    • Daily submitting to His will and obeying the Holy Spirit as he teaches us
    • Daily leaving everything to follow him