Friday, October 3, 2014

Screeching Moms and Mike Too (on a more serious note)

We stood at the edge of a soccer field yesterday, cheering, crazy banshees as our children chased the ball up and down. And it was inevitable, being who we all are, that we got into a meaty conversation, us screeching Moms and one eavesdropping Dad as they played.

I got home, my head full and sifted through all the words tossed into the middle; a word ball rolled amongst us as we kicked the issues around.

We went through the whole gamut of topics related to church, community, sin, sickness, bad leaders and other ones too and mostly the books and movies that we're consuming and we threw our thoughts into the arena.

We talked about cancer versus alcoholism and how one is a sickness and one is a sin. And sometimes the line blurs because if you inherited it (either one) it can sure feel like a sickness, but if you indulge the other it becomes a sin, because God said don't do it. For our good and His glory, in His love, He told us not to sin.

We stood on the rim of homosexuality and looked in and we talked about what it means to judge another. And Jesus said we shouldn't do it because it would come right back on us but that we should lovingly correct a brother or sister who is sinning.

We talked a lot about books and the Book. We all agreed that we should sparingly read the ones and pay all our attention to the Word of God where all the Truth is tucked in for us to find.

I used to stand in judgement, a lot, my great finger pointing out from my white washed tomb. I could spout scripture and turn a sinner away from me, and probably God very effectively.

But life took some turns and I got intimate with Him who gave me breath and found an unexpected gentleness. I found the One who leads me beside still waters and makes me lie down in green pastures (Ps 23). I met the one who lead Ruth out of Moab with her mother in law and inserted her straight into the lineage of Jesus.

Ruth who came from the Moabites, descended from the spawn of Lot and his daughters (yes, I mean incest). Ruth who married the son of Naomi and Elimilech. They who in fear for their lives disobeyed God and fled to Moab. Yet, she followed her mother in law back to Israel, pledging to stay with her forever, and ran straight into the redeemer. She was married to Boaz and their child was the grandfather of King David, ancestor of Messiah.

Jesus (who showed us the Father) is our Redeemer. He paid the whole price on the cross and has given His Word, all of creation, each other, the community of believers and marriage to reveal Himself to us. Ours is to choose Him, or not.

We are so many parts in this body we are joined to. Some are meant to bring a strong word and others helpful service and yet another teaching. All parts must be connected to the Head who is Christ and every outflow of us must be in love. Sometimes love is a rebuke, but it's still done in gentleness or the Spirit who is behind it is misrepresented. 

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Eph 4:2).
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching" (2 Tim 4:2). 
"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness" (Gal. 6:1).

The world is in a state of confusion, in every way. Upheaval wracks all segments of life. And this is manifest in the church as well. There is an enemy seeking to deceive. We must be so careful to check every wind of doctrine and line it up with the Word. If it doesn't line up, it's out, done, finished. As we all agreed, "truish" doesn't cut it. At all. Ever. 

But as we notice the lies seeping in, let us seek to stop up the holes with Truth, not attack the ones on whom they are spilling. We must speak in love then, bringing correction, being careful that pride is not going to be the foot that we fall over. 

Now this morning my quiet time with God is in 1 John 4:1-3 and Matthew 7:15-23. I could not have orchestrated this. These were just the next pages in my book. 

1 John 4:1-3 (ESV) "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already."

Matthew 7:15-23 (NIV)“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “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!’

The highlighted verses grab me and refer me back to 1 John 3:23 where it says "And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us."
None of His commands have been abolished but fulfilled in Christ. When we love God we keep His commands and love each other.
God's gracious mercy is demonstrated in the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 5 when he addresses the sexually immoral one within the church. Please read it all but God's heart is revealed when it says in verse 5 "...deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
 God's will is that we be saved, but He has not compromised His Word ever and never will.
Let us hold fast to the truth, yes! And deliver it with such love that no one will be in doubt of the source.