Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord. But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good. Romans 12:9-21
This section of the Bible has the heading “Christian ethics” and in it Paul gives instructions on how Christians should interact with each other. Believers are to show love in action: showing brotherly love without hypocrisy, showing affection to one another, giving selflessly, acting on our hope, patience, and steadfastness. These actions demonstrate our faith in God. Meeting a believer’s physical needs and inviting believers into our homes are tangible acts of love that Paul encourages believers to perform. How we treat our enemies is an indication of our spiritual maturity. We can overcome evil directed towards us by our love in action. (from Love God Greatly – Made for Community, YouVersion)
This weekend we took a group of students to the Hume Lake Girls Retreat and during our time there, we attended a seminar. One was on reconciliation and because this is a tough part of being a Christ-follower, I thought I’d share the notes.
Main idea: Our God is a God of unity and not of division.
Main passage: Ephesians 4:1-16
Real and legit hurt is real and legit hurt no matter whose “fault” it is.
If we call Jesus, Lord, we will want to be more like Him.
Understanding the call:
We serve the same God, in the same mission but we are unique in the ways we live it out (due to different gifts, personality, experiences, etc).
Know God and make God known…glorify Him.
How do we become agents of unity and reconciliation?
- Understand that maintaining reconciliation take effort whether we think the other person deserves it or not.
- We take steps toward the person.
- We speak the truth in love
- Not via text or even a phone call. Do it in person.
- Explain why reconciliation is worth it.
- Check your heart.
- Exercise humility.
- We assume the best in others.
- We quickly admit when we’re wrong and ask for forgiveness.
- We understand our own grace is completely unearned.
- We understand we can only control our own thoughts, actions, response.
If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
10/21 – NPCC Health Faire (serve opportunity) & Alecks Lara’s birthday!
10/25 – Scott Swobe’s birthday!
10/31 – Trunk or Treat (serve opportunity)
11/6 – Davey Jones’ birthday!
Remember to take attendance through the email you receive weekly and before the end of the night. Thank you!
Please make it a priority to be at the wherehouse by 6:30pm to go over the details of the evening and to pray together. Send a message through GroupMe or text Kevin at 217-4784 if you’ll be late or won’t be there.
Week 4: NT Overview
The first 4 books of the New Testament were written by disciples, the closest followers of Jesus during His life. The word Gospel means Good News. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John stood beside Jesus when he fed 5,000 people with a few pieces of bread and a couple fish. They watched Him put mud in a blind man’s eyes and he would see for the first time. They stood next to Jesus when a paralyzed man walked for the first time because Jesus had healed him. They were there when He claimed to be the Son of God and the ONLY way to Heaven. And they were convinced He was who He said He was. It wasn’t a hoax or some trickery, Jesus was “God with us.”
So they wrote down what they saw – each of these 4 books are strikingly similar – they start with the birth of Jesus, they document his teachings, healings and promises. They record His miracles and from a distance they record his final hours, when they watched Jesus die on the cross. They watched how this Savior, who promised to save them, died in front of their eyes. The Gospels also tell us about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, the empty tomb (which we celebrate every year at Easter) and how Jesus is in Heaven preparing a place for us even today.
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” John 14:1-7
The followers of Jesus increased by thousands and thousands soon after His resurrection. Jesus goes up to Heaven, and His message of hope and Heaven spreads throughout the world.
The Gospels are about the Life of Christ and show us the way of salvation.
So those are the first four books of the New Testament. Then we flip over the next page and you find the book of…
The full name is the “Acts of the Apostles” – basically it is the story of the very first church. Church #1. Jesus leaves to go to Heaven and leaves THEM with spreading the Gospel.
It starts in Jerusalem, and the disciples spread the story of Jesus, that He is the way the truth and the life, all over the world. In only 2-3 years, the message of Jesus covered the planet.
Churches are now spread all over the world. Even today we follow the model of Acts in our church services:
- They sang together
- They read the Bible
- They prayed together
- They met in houses (which would be like our small groups)
- They reached out to their friends (some of you are here tonight because a friend shared the message of Jesus with you)
- They served their neighbors (the church is still about serving others today, too)
Here’s a little description from the book of Acts of this early church…
… all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity – all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47
They took communion together as well.
ACTS gives us a model of how the church should be.
But no church is perfect. Our church today isn’t perfect either. The church is filled with people doing their best to follow Jesus, but we are sinful, broken and human. Churches have problems. And that’s where the next few books of the New Testament come into play. They are known as …
An early church leader by the name of Paul visited and wrote letters to the early church around the world to help encourage them in their faith or correct problems.
Romans – was written to the church in Rome, Italy to give them encouragement. Some of the most famous passages of the Bible are from Romans:
… God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28
… if God is for us, who can ever be against us? Romans 8:31
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39
Corinth – Paul founded this church – but while he was gone to help start other churches, it got ugly. It was full of conflicts, division, and wrong theology. You can read all about it in what we now know as 1 and 2 Corinthians.
The people of Galatia were trying to work their way to Heaven. Many churches still teach this false doctrine today. In the book of Galatians, we find Paul’s reminder that you can’t work your way there, it is a gift of God through Jesus Christ.
Philippi – Paul is in prison when he writes the book of Philippians, but the theme is to Rejoice in the Lord. If you are going through a tough time in your life, read this book. How ironic that sounds…being joyful from prison. Paul knows what he’s talking about.
Thessalonica – Paul writes another letter called Thessalonians. He loved these believers a ton, and like him, they were under terrible persecution. They were encouraged to remain faithful and be ready for Jesus’ return.
The Epistles are about helping believers live faithfully.
The last book of the Bible is one of the most confusing and interesting books of the Bible. It is about the end of the world.
Revelation is about Jesus’ return.
John the disciple wrote the book of Revelation from exile. He had been scalded in oil as punishment for preaching and teaching Jesus. John was suffering in exile yet God gave Him the gift of visions of a better time where He would be with God and Jesus would triumph over evil.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Revelation 21:3-7
So there’s an overview of the whole New Testament. Couple of thoughts … if you’ve felt like God was silent, if you’ve felt like your life had no purpose, if you’re looking at your life and wondering ‘what’s it all about?’ then it’s about Jesus. And you can be a part of that story.
And if you’re here and you are a Christian, what does it mean to you that Jesus is coming back? How does that change how you live?
We know that the Bible can seem super overwhelming, so many books, so many stories…practical:
Try to stick to one book at a time. (you’ll get a better picture of God’s story)
Length/time doesn’t matter, just make sure you read what you can each day.
Ask God to open your eyes to His truth when you read the Bible.