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Give an example when an authority in your life decided something you disagreed. Did you support that decision or work against it? How do you feel about that now?
How often do you attend church (or stream at the moment) in a one month period? Would you classify yourself as “not forsaking the gathering of the brethren”? How has attending church regularly changed your life?
Do you strive to maintain peace within the body of Faith and Victory Church? Do your Facebook posts need to be edited? Is your social activism or politics more important than the relationships in your church? (not that social activism or politics isn’t important)
Are you a member of Faith and Victory Church (rooted)? Describe a time where you had an argument, disagreement or negative experience at FVC. How were you able to move forward?
Are you “abounding” in Christ, having a general attitude of thankfulness? Name 5 things you are thankful for.
Order! Order I say!
2 For I want you to know what a great conflict[a] I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, [b]both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing [c]to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding [d]in it with thanksgiving.
Paul may never have visited Colosse but kept close tabs on it through Epaphras, one of his converts and associates, most likely the church’s founder and a leader. Paul saw a church of Christ walking together in Gospel order, steady in their faith in Christ, abiding by the doctrine of faith, and maintaining an honorable profession and warning and admonishing them to stay connected to each other and to continue to be rooted in Christ and built up in the faith.
“joying and beholding your order” or as the Greek renders it, Paul declares “I rejoice that I can see your order”
The Colossian church stood fast in one spirit, contended and strove together for the faith of the Gospel, fought the good fight of faith, no hardship moved them from their station; so that they were attached to the Gospel, and to one another; they were united to, and abode by each other; they served the Lord with one consent, and kept the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace,
Ephesians 4:1-3 I, therefore, the prisoner [a]of the Lord, [b]beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The church in Colosse was infiltrated by false teachers and they stood steadfast in the faith, opposing the false teachers and professing faith in Christ without wavering in the face of intense persecution and opposition from the surrounding society
To this outward condition Paul then subjoins the inner one, by which the former is conditioned: and the solid hold of your faith in Christ. That which has been made firm, represents the steadfastness and immoveable of faith in such a way, that their faith was protected by a strong work from injury—the outward order and unity of the Body provided a great fortress for the inner development and strengthening of the faith
Ezekiel 13:5 You have not gone up into the [a]gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the Lord. (said of the prophets who refused to speak God’s word of judgment)
How then do we maintain this same order in the church Paul spoke about?
First, to keep order, we must gather.
We see this same idea Paul told the Colossian church in the letter to the Hebrews:
Hebrews 10:23-26 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (connects to v.26)
26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
This is a symbiotic relationship- the strong unity and cohesiveness of the brethren provides the perfect atmosphere for faith to be strengthened. The connectiveness and the unity of the church, working and living in one mind and one accord is a strong fortress to keep the one from sinning willfully and falling away from the faith. EX: right now the enemy is using fear and isolation to bring division to the Body
Our faith and the Body of Christ are congruent and in direct harmony
Psalm 92:13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord, Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
You need to show up. DO not forsake the gathering. Why do you obey some scripture, but not all?
Here are some real stats from 2019:
60% of church members are inactive. A “regular” attender attends 3 times a week, making up only 18%
The other 22% attend “periodically”
I understand that some work on Sunday, and cannot get out of work; but it is interesting to me that a Muslim will not work on their holy day but a Christian will not even ask. EX: Muslim lady at Target; when I was in the work force, I would not take a job if I had to work on Sunday
Mostly I see people who are just skipping church to “go have fun”.
Our society used to be closed on Sunday to honor the Lord…..
Do you realize that breaking the Sabbath was a reason for the judgment of God upon Israel? In Isaiah, the prophet called for Israel to repent and be restored:
Isaiah 58:13-14 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Now, we are not held to the Levitical law, but keeping the Sabbath was a moral law as one of the 10 commandments:
Exodus 20:8 “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”
We do not “keep the Sabbath” as the Israelites did- but with every law, there is a spiritual application. The OT Sabbath was the seventh day of the week and to keep it holy meant to set it apart as different from other days by ceasing labor and rest; but mostly to worship God and concentrate on the things concerning eternity, spiritual life and God’s honor. The keeping of the Sabbath was a sign to the pagan nations that Israel belonged to God and a reminder of what He had done for them.
The Christian church meets on Sundays for the past almost 2000 years, as a day we set aside to worship and honor God and connect as one with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
There are ordinances of the church that only belong to the Body-
Communion– (I will not read this, just reference for time 1 Corinthians 11:17-31)
It is not just between you and the Lord, it is between you and the Body.
Baptism- this is a public display to the church that you are dying to yourself and putting on Christ. It is a sign to the church that you identify with Christ and with one another.
Tithes- this is for the church Body, not for you to do what you want
This is NOT about legalism. It is a heart issue that desires to honor the Lord and His Body. Examine your heart. Where is your heart in this? Are you selfish? Has pride entered, “I can do what I want! I am under grace!” This was the same mindset as Israel. It is individual, selfish, fleshly thinking. What if the pastor just decided to not show up? But people do this all the time, even when they have committed to serve. The pastor will answer for his part in the Body, but you will answer for yours.
The gathering of the brethren says to a lost and dying world that you honor the Almighty God that Jesus is king and Lord and HE is alive and He still saves!
Secondly, we must be decent and in order–“I rejoice that I can see your good order”
1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
The word used signifies a military order, such as is observed in armies, in battle array; suggesting, that Paul saw from a distance and heard what was spoken about them from others that these Christians were good soldiers of Christ, were enlisted under his banners, and kept in due order, in rank and file the order of their church discipline, they having regular officers, pastors, and deacons, ordained among them; who rightly performed their offices, and had respect and subjection yielded to them; the ordinances of the Gospel were duly administered, and constantly attended on; the members of the church were watched over, admonitions given, and censures laid where they were necessary, and everything was done decently and in order; which was a beautiful sight, and gave the apostle Paul an uncommon pleasure.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31 Read
Know your gift. Know your calling. Stay in your lane. Prefer others better than you. Submit to authority. Authority is of God- if you are not submitted to a pastor, you are not under authority. Submit to one another. Submit to church discipline. Stop causing division.
James 3:16 NIV “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice”
Thirdly, order must be in agreement.
Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”
The inward faith MUST be in agreement in order to strengthen the fortress. Commentary: They do not need to be agreed about everything. They must, however, wish to keep each others company, and they must be going by the same road to the same place. The application of the parable is very plain. The ‘two,’ whom the Prophet would see walking together, are God and Israel, and his question suggests not only the companionship and communion with God which are the highest form of religion and the aim of all forms and ceremonies of worship, but also the inexorable condition on which alone that height of communion can be secured and sustained. Two may walk together, though the one be God in heaven and the other be I on earth. But they have to be agreed thus far, at any rate, that both shall wish to be together, and both be going the same road.
Two weeks ago, I preached on “the faith”. There are things we must agree upon and things we can “agree to disagree” on. If we are going to walk with God and with one another, the Word of God must reign first and foremost. There can be no disagreement on God’s Word- that it is unalterable and infallible. It cannot be changed and must be adhered to.
Read and study the Scriptures. You do not know God because you do not know His Word.
Acts 17:10-11 10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more [a]fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
Here’s the breakdown of Bible reading in a 2019 study found that those who do not regularly attend church are inconsistent in their reading and thinking about Scripture:
32% read every day, 27% read a few times a week, 12% once a week, 11% a few times a month
5% once a month, 12% rarely or never read the Bible (1 in 8 Christians)
And those who attend church four times a month or more are more likely to read every day than those who attend less frequently.
Jesus prayer for His people that we would be sanctified by the truth of God’s Word.
John 17:17 17 Sanctify[a] them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Among church goers who read the Bible every day, 51% say they found themselves thinking about biblical truths during the day. The Bible and the mindfulness of God’s truths influences our thoughts, actions and speech. EX: When I see or hear something, immediately it goes through the filter of: “What does God’s Word say about this?”
Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they that love Your law: and nothing shall offend them”
You have no peace because you do not love God’s Word. You are offended because you do not love God’s Word. Fall in love with God’s Word. Stop watching TV and start reading your Bible
The more regular the Bible reading habit, the more likely one is to attend church (based on 2019 study)
It is not surprising then that those who read the Bible and attend church regularly look more like Christ and walk in agreement with His Spirit and Word.
Fourth, the orderly are rooted and built up in Him.
The same principle that Paul tells the Church in Colosse, he tells the church in Ephesus:
Ephesians 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
“Rooted” is in the past tense, implying their first conversion and vital grafting “in Him.”
“Built up in Him” is in present tense of a continual process suggesting here another of the many sides of Christ’s relation to the “building”; and leads us to explain this of the internal “building up” of the church community as new members join it and cohere with it; and also of the individual, as layers (so to speak) of experience and spiritual character accrue in his life and walk.
It is important to note the change in tense here to the perfect participle expressing an abiding result, thus presenting a continuous process of building. A building of not only our faith and submissive personal reliance on their Lord, which would “strike our root downward” to stabilize but “build up” our spiritual structure; and so it would make us continuously more stable.
Are you seeing a theme in Paul’s letters to the churches?? It is not about YOU.
Lastly, abounding in orderly faith with thanksgiving.
Abounding in the faith with thanksgiving. Abounding-A favorite word with Paul. It occurs five times in Philippians. Nothing short of spiritual wealth, and its full employment, ever satisfies him.
Therein– In your faith, regarded as “the sphere” of the sense of “abundance.” Loyal reliance on the all-sufficient Christ was to be largely, fully, exercised in abundance. Expressing overflowing thanks to God that you have been made acquainted with truths so precious and glorious.
Abounding (very plentiful, abundantly, fully sufficient, over flowing) in the faith- abound in the knowledge of truth with thanksgiving, abound in the grace of Christ with thanksgiving, abound in the gifts of the Holy Spirit with thanksgiving, abound in Christ’s work with thanksgiving, abound in His love with thanksgiving, abound in His wisdom with thanksgiving, abound in His Word WITH THANKSGIVING!
Thank You for Your unchanging Word
Thank You for the high cost of Your grace
Thank You for the precious gift of your Blood
Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit
Thank you for my brothers and sisters in Christ who surround me and help keep me firm and stable in the faith.
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