Friday, August 16, 2013

For My Brother

Just because God allows me to do something and my conscience is clear, does not mean that I should do it. The Apostle Paul tells the church in Corinth that when we do something that causes our brother to fall into sin, it results in us actually sinning against Christ.

This is true even when the thing that I did was allowable and my conscience was clear to do it. For instance, I may have a clear conscience before the Lord that it is ok for me to have a drink of alcohol from time to time. But if my drinking alcohol causes my brother to be tempted to use alcohol in a sinful way, then I have in fact caused my brother to stumble and thus have sinned against Christ.

I cannot live in a vacuum as if I am the center of the universe, because what I do affects others. What I do can either build others up or tear them down. It can benefit my brother or it can break him. Therefore, I must not only live for God and myself, but also for my brother. Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is to love God. Then he told us that the second is like the first – love your brother.

Lord, show me those things that I should lay down for my brother and give me the grace to do it.

9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.– 1 Corinthians 8:9-13
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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a Spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Obedience is a Joy

In my study through 1 Corinthians this morning, I stopped and contemplated this passage:
19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. - 1 Corinthians 7:19
So, the Apostle Paul is telling the church that keeping God's commands counts. However, I find a common belief among Christians to be that obedience is optional. Some would propose that while obedience to God is better than disobedience, in the end it isn't a major factor. But, this is not what God's Word presents. I am reminded of Jesus has said:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. - John 14:15
"Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” - John 14:21
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have keptmy Father's commandments and abide in his love. - John 15:10
Obedience is an act of true love and it gets to the core of our relationship with Jesus. Obedience isn't bad. It's not works-based religion. Rather, it is the evidence of real love. And so, while outward religious acts like circumcision are optional, the circumcision of our heart is not optional and it is made evident in obedience.

Often we look at obedience as a bad thing, as something we have to do. I propose we need new thinking about obedience. We need to look at it from God's perspective and see obedience as a joy. It is a joy to love Jesus and so it is a joy to obey Him. This little change of perspective can make a world of difference. 

Lord, instruct me and guide me in obedience. Help me grow in it. Let obedience be evident in my life for it is my joy to obey. Thank you for your grace that teaches me obedience and empowers me to walk in it. 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Talk is Cheap. Show Me the Power:

The Apostle Paul was intense and in this scripture he is calling out a group of big talkers who were lacking the ability to back up their talk.
19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. - 1 Corinthians 4:19-20
What we believe is important and what we profess is important. However, if we don’t live it out and display the power of our beliefs, then we are missing the kingdom of God.

As the church, we can talk all we want about the love of God and His power. But, if we don’t also demonstrate God’s love and power, we are just full of hot air. It’s one thing to talk a big talk, it’s another thing to walk it out. And it is in walking it out that we actually bring God’s kingdom for all to see.

I propose that the world has heard plenty of talk from the church in America. They are ready to see the power, the evidence, the love, the miracles, and the real deal.
“You can talk all you want, but can you back it up? I want to see this kingdom of God, not just hear about it.”
And so, the Apostle Paul is reminding us that talk is cheap as he declares that it is time to rumble. It’s time for the church to stop simply talking; it’s time to show the power of God’s kingdom on this earth.

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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a Spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.