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Thursday, February 28, 2013

No One Man Armies

A Christian that forsakes the fellowship of the believers (gathering for prayer, the taught Word, sharing the Word and worship) is like a soldier who lays down his weapon and body armor and wanders off from his company or platoon unconcerned he/she has crossed enemy lines and unaware there is even a war. 

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Ephesians 6:11-13) 

The most significant phrase in this passage is "our struggle"!  Together Christians are in a struggle and the only way to win is to stand together, pray together, love together, live together, learn the Word together.  There are no "One Man Armies" in the Kingdom of God. 

"It is the Church that overcomes.  Spiritual warfare is the task of the Church, not the individual.  We take Ephesians 6 for ourselves individually--and I do not say there is no individual application of the armour--but the individual by himself cannot 'put on the whole armour of God' any more than he can comprehend alone the measure of the love of Christ.  Seen in the light of the rest of Ephesians, it is, I feel sure, armour for the Body--a special piece for each member.  For to try and fight this warfare alone is to invite trouble from an enemy who has no fear of the individual, but who dreads the one Body."—Watchman Nee

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekly E-Note: February 1, 2013

Dear Eastridge Family,

One of the books I was able to read this past week was written by the Methodist Bishop here in Kansas and Nebraska, Scott Jones, the book is entitled, The Evangelistic Love of God and Neighbor: A Theology of Witness and Discipleship.  A number of years ago when I first bought the book I skim read it and marked a couple pages.  Well finally this past week I was able to finish reading it.  He writes about evangelism and discipleship from a Wesleyan perspective and I certainly enjoyed it.
Since I was working on my sermon for this week on a Godly Attitude Towards Fellowship I was intrigued by the following three paragraphs:
However the life of the community is defined, active participation in its life is required of all Christians.  Part of the problem facing genuine evangelism in the United States and other countries with a long history of Christian witness is that the meaning of entry into the Christian life has been debased.  Too many people believe they can be good Christians and never attend worship or participate in the life of a congregation.  Part of genuine evangelism is explaining that while some persons may indeed be saved without attending worship regularly, they are not Christian disciples.  Discipleship means incorporation into a visible congregation and full participation in its corporate life.
The practice of hospitality is rooted in specific commandments in Scripture.   It is one of the ways in which Christians are called to love persons.  This is made clear in Hebrews 13:1-2, which reads, “Let mutual love continue.  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”   In Romans 12: 9-13, the command to show hospitality to strangers comes in a list of commandments, which begins with “let love be genuine.”
Marjorie Thompson counts hospitality as one of the spiritual disciplines Christians are called to practice.  She says, “Hospitality means receiving the other, from the heart, into my own dwelling place.  It entails providing for the need, comfort, and delight of the other with all the openness, respect, freedom, tenderness, and joy that love itself embodies.”