For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995),
As always we need to read the broader context which is Romans 12:1-8. Also read cross-reference passages such as 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 20, 27 and Ephesians 4:12, 15, 25. When one looks at the book of Romans as a whole we see how these two verses fit in the literary structure.
Discussion on Romans 12:4-5
The human body often is a metaphor used in Scripture to illustrate spiritual concepts. Even God who is a spirit being is commonly described using the human body as an illustration. In this case, we call them “anthropomorphisms.” In this case, the spiritual assembly of believers in Jesus is like a human body. Each member of that Christian meeting has different vital things to do.
In our one-on-one ministry, we must realize that the other person has a different role in the Church, the Body of Christ. Having different functions means we will not see things exactly alike. We will have various functions. (Note I said “various functions” not “different roles to play.” To me, a role is an acted part in a play not what the person is in real life.) What is highly relevant to me may seem less critical for my friend or brother. We each need to accept these differences.
For example one of us may be focused on spreading the Good News about Jesus. The other may focus on clearly understanding difficult scriptures. Another brother maybe concerned with caring for the daily physical needs of those who can not help themselves.
So when you meet with someone this week realize these differences and lovingly accept one another. Doing this is practicing Romans 12:4-5
.Luke 9:18-22 has an impressive command. Peter has correctly stated that Jesus is Messiah, the Christ, the anointed one of God. Immediately Jesus commands the disciples not to tell anyone. Why not? It is because Jesus must suffer, be rejected, and die. Then raised from the dead. If Jesus wanted this widely know at that point in his ministry, He would be bragging.
How about us? Do we seek attention for the unique things God has done for us? Maybe we should not. Who knows but what we too, like Jesus, have many things to suffer, rejection to face and even killed. When we brag about a special relationship with God, The name of God will be slandered when we suffer? People will think that either we have lied about this relationship or that God is not able to protect His own.
We should keep quiet when God shows himself to us in unusual ways. Or He uses us to do His work in some unique way. For we do not know what will happen in the future.
You just reach out to someone. Let your heart draw you. It knows who to pick. Someone with whom you click. Let the Holy Spirit within you prompt you.
Jethro to Moses– Saw a need
Paul to Timothy– Saw potential
Eli to Samuel– Get dumped on you
Plus others in the Bible and my experience.
Notice in the first three that the older man helps, the younger man.
Assignments seldom work well. Especially if you are dumb enough to say something like “Pastor Aaron Gance wants me to disciple you.” That is the opposite of friendship or brotherhood. It makes him feel like some welfare project, or that you are his parole officer.
I got picked when I was about 14.
I was in church with my mother some 20 miles from home. However, my father wanted to stay in the community instead of driving to the city. Soon after we started a man in the church introduced himself to my mother and me. That man invited me to attend a boys club meeting at the church. I loved being with that group. I would never miss a meeting. The best part was the whole-group huddle at the end. With arms around each other’s shoulders, we repeated a motto or “watchword.” That 10-second interaction signaled support and unity that was uplifting. I could not wait to get back to that group where I felt I belonged. And valued as a person. I continue in some way involved in ministry to other men. It all started about 60 years ago.
You find someone your heart draws you to and look for a way to do something together.
From 1 Samuel 30 we learn that we should appeal to the wicked and worthless as brothers.
Background of 1 Samuel 30:22-25
David and his 600 men returned from the Philistines. Their city is burned. Their wives and children are captives. All their goods are spoil in the enemy’s hand. 200 of David’s men are tired and stay to protect the baggage. The 400 others go and bring everything back and more. Some of those 400 were wicked and worthless. They did not want to share the spoil with those who stayed to protect the baggage.
Application from 1 Samuel 30:22-25
When David appeals to these wicked and worthless he calls them “brothers”. And so should we.
The wicked and worthless Appeal to as brothers
Think about it. Calling someone wicked, worthless, lazy, good for nothing, stupid, whacked, or some other negative thing is not good. It will not encourage them to improve. It may harden them. Speaking to them in a friendly way will encourage them to improve and do what is right.
These passages talk about dealing with an enemy. Are not the wicked and worthless in our groups really an enemy? If we are to treat outside enemies this way can we not call those in our own groups “brothers”?
2 Kings 6:20-23 Elisha on how to deal with an enemy
Proverbs 25:21-22 Direct command to care for an enemy
Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount
Luke 6:27-38 Sermon on the Mount in Luke
Romans 12:17-21 Part of Paul’s application statement for the book of Romans
Years ago I assisted in a popular public speaking course. One of the textbooks had a helpful slogan. “Give a dog a bad name and you might as well hang him. But give him a good name and he will strive to live up to it.”
30:23 But David said, “No! You shouldn’t do this, my brothers. Look at what the LORD has given us! He has protected us and has delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. 30:24 Who will listen to you in this matter? The portion of the one who went down into the battle will be the same as the portion of the one who remained with the equipment! Let their portions be the same!”
30:25 From that time onward it was a binding ordinance for Israel, right up to the present time.
Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005), 1 Sa 30:23–25.
As the“provider” consistently view and call the“receiver” abrother orfriend. How you label your relationship to another person controls how you think and behave toward him. You do not want to come on to the receiver as being superior. Note the passages below. Notice what Jesus starts calling the disciples in John 15:12-17(NASB).
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another”
If Jesus called his disciplesfriends, how dare I assume a prideful title!
Here are some common terms that are problematic.
Discipleship– Has a Teacher and disciple(s). That is a superior to an inferior relationship. It is not friendship or brotherhood. Yes, we are to make disciples but that is not a license to look down on those we help. To look down on someone is prideful. Pride is not a Christian virtue.
Mentoring– Has the mentor and the mentored. Again it is a superior to an inferior relationship, not a friendship.
Training– Has a trainer and trainee, Yet again it is a superior to an inferior relationship, not a brotherhood.
Pastor– In my sub-culture, that term often signals a paid superior. Which is a privileged relationship, not a friendship or brotherhood. If in another culture“pastor” means the servant of those in his charge then that term is biblical. See 1 Peter 5:1-4.
Each man in the relationship often has a different term for it. Those terms may change over time. That change will signal changes in the relationship.
Let the younger receiver call you and your relationship what he will. That is his freedom. You as the older person should consistently use“brother” or“friend” of the other person. Hopefully, your relationship will mature to the point that he will you call you friend or brother.
Both of you should ponder and apply Matthew. 23:8-12.(NASB).
“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Example of using “brother”:
An actual dialog I recently had:
Him: I am glad I have you as a mentor.
Me: I love having you as a friend and brother.
Him: I love it when you call me that.
So truly see your service(ministry) to younger men as both friendship and brotherhood. Do not view yourself as a father figure.
In Luke 15 the Pharisees despise Jesus because Jesus ate with sinners.
Jesus responds to this charge by telling three parables. (On this web site pointing to any Bible reference will give you a pop-up of the text.)
The rejoicing shepherd (Luke 15:4-7)
The rejoicing woman (Luke 15:8-10)
The rejoicing father (Luke 15:11-32)
These titles come from the “punch line” of each parable. They are in Luke 15:6, 9, 32.
Jesus also gave spiritual applications for the first two. Notice Luke 15:7, 10. He did not need to do it for the last one. It was now obvious.
The parables explain why Jesus ate with sinners.
These parables seem off topic. They talk about a lost sheep, coin and son. These are but a vehicle to carry the main point. Jesus ate with sinners to find those who are lost from the Heavenly Father. When Jesus finds them the Heavenly Father rejoices.
Those who are lost fall into three categories:
Those like the sheep who have innocently wandered away.
Those like the coin who through neglect or mishandling are now lost.
Those like the son who are in deliberate rebellion.
To find any of these requires being available to them. Out where they are not in some “holy huddle”.
Finding the innocent wanderers requires listening to their cry of distress and returning them “home”.
Finding the neglected or mishandled requires bringing light into their darkened world.
Finding the rebellious requires being ready and watching for their return from the mess they now experience.
Jesus ate with sinners shouldn’t we?
We like to eat with holy people and be seen in their company. But are we willing to eat with sinners? Do we want our Heavenly Father to rejoice? Do we look like Jesus or a Pharisee? More importantly, do we have the Pharisees’ attitude or Jesus’ attitude toward sinners?
Permanent link to this article: https://edifymin.org/jesus-ate-with-sinners/
Woe to those who work hard at sinning (rebelling against God).
They do this by telling (or you could even say commanding) God to:
Hurry up and fulfill the promises You made to our fathers!
We want to see if they are real.
Hurry up make Your purposes happen!
So we know what Your purposes really are. (Implying that they think He really does not have any.)
Isaiah 5 has a list of woes on those who cause problems in Israel. The third one is in Isaiah 5:18-19.The woe is on those who go around telling God hurry up.
They do this by making arrogant demands. These imperatives (the jussive form in Oriental languages) show that the person making the demand thinks that he is superior to God. Satan fell when he decided he would make himself like or superior to the Most High. (Isaiah 14:14)
When Satan temped Jesus in the wilderness one of the temptations was to “put God to the test”. That is see if God really will fulfill His promise that God would protect Jesus. Matthew 4:5-7
We also have a direct commandment not to put God to some test. See Deuteronomy 6:16 You can read about that incident Exodus 17:1-7.
How am I telling God hurry up?
There is an old saying that illustrates how we sometimes do that today. It goes “Lord I need patience, but hurry up!” We must be careful not to use prayer as a way to issues directives to God. Pray is not to cause our will on earth to be done in heaven but to bring us into to submission to living out heaven’s will while we are living on this earth. See Matthew 6:10
Recently I have found that too many of my prayers and the prayers that I hear are veiled attempts to get my will done in heaven. Yes we share our concerns with our Heavenly Father, but we do not command Him. It is fine to share our requests with our Father. The problem is when those request become demands. Let’s be careful to thank our Father for all the good things He does for us each day. When we do that then we will be less tempted to issue our demands that we think heaven should obey.
Permanent link to this article: https://edifymin.org/telling-god-hurry-up/
“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle” (2 Samuel 11:1) But that spring King David did not follow one of the cultural rhythms of his day. He stayed home in his palace. Bad idea. Notice the horrible chain of events that follow that one lazy indiscretion.
David’s Lustful Stare
Violating Cultural Rhythms Opens the Way for Major Sin
David stays home instead of going to war with his army like kings normally do.
At a lustful time of the day David spots a beautiful woman bathing.
He inquires about her. And learns that she is Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Uriah is one of David’s mighty men (2 Sam 23:39).
David has her brought into this house and rapes her. This is also adultery since David is already married.
She reports her pregnancy.
David brings her husband Uriah in from the war. He gets a report from Uriah about the success of Joab and army. He then encourages Uriah to go sleep with his wife. He also sent a present to their house.
Uriah refuses to sleep with his wife because the other men are in the field and at war. A sharp contrast to David at home violating Uriah’s wife.
The next morning Uriah explains his moral reason not to go home and sleep with his wife. Uriah even mentions that the Arc of the Covenant at the battle. (If the Arc, the localized presence of God, was in the battle why was King David not?)
The next day David get Uriah drunk at a banquet. Yet Uriah still refuses to sleep with his wife. (Yea Uriah!)
The next morning David writes a letter to Joab instructing him to make sure Uriah dies in the battle and suggests how to do it.
David sends Uriah’s “death warrant” to Joab in the hand of Uriah. (Uriah might not have known the contents of the message but that is still cruel.)
Joab follows David’s instructions. He puts Uriah in the hottest part of the battle and then withdraws from him.
The tactic works. Uriah and several others die in the skirmish.
Joab sends a messenger to David with a carefully planned two-part message. First that during a skirmish they got to close to the wall and the enemy archers killed several of us. The messenger is then to expect David to send a rebuke to Joab. After hearing the rebuke the messenger is to then report Uriah’s death. This does several things
It shows that Joab knew better than to get close to the wall.
It make David responsible for the all the deaths in that skirmish since David’s plan involved a group.
It makes David’s rebuke look silly. In effect David is rebuking himself.
The messenger does not follow directions. He gives both parts of the message without the break between them to allow David to respond to the first part. This defeats Joab’s intended purpose.
David sends an encouraging message to Joab. Of course he did. Joab just did David’s dirty work. David needed to thank Joab.
Bathsheba learns of Uriah’s death. She enters into mourning.
When the cultural period of mourning is over David adds her to his wives.
The out-of-wedlock pregnancy yields David a son.
(Summary) What David did displeased the Lord. (2 Samuel 11:27) It appears that David is not aware or is in denial about his transgression.
The Lord sends the prophet Nathan to David.
God has Nathan tell David about a man who was rich in flock and herds of sheep and goats.
He also details a poor man
He only has one small lamb, a female
He purchased the lamb
He carefully cared for the lamb
The lamb grew up with the poor man and his children
The lamb shares the poor man’s scant meals and drinks from the poor man’s cup
The lamb was like a daughter to the poor man
The rich man has a visitor
The rich man does not use his own wealth to serve the visitor a meal
The rich man took the poor man’s lamb and butchered it for the rich man’s visitor.
Nathan pauses and David pronounces his angry judgment. David says:
The rich man had no pity
The rich man must repay 4 time the value of the lamb (Exodus 22:1)
The rich man deserves to die
Nathan identifies the rich man as King David. “You are that rich man.” In effect, David has just pronounced judgment on himself. (Just like Joab attempted.)
Nathan relays God’s account of what He has done for David
I (God) made you king
I delivered you from Saul
I gave you Saul’s estate
I gave you Saul’s wives
I gave you rule over all the descendents of Jacob (Israel)
I planned to give you even more.
Nathan announces God’s evaluation
David’s family will always be at war
He has rejected the way of the Lord
He has taken Uriah’s wife to be his wife
Nathan announces God’s judgment on David
David’s family will do evil to David
David’s wives will be taken from him and he will see it.
They will be raped and everyone will know it
What David did in secret with be judged out it the open and in front of all Israel
David confesses his sin
Nathan assures David that the Lord removed his sin and that David will not die.
Because the Lord’s enemies now have reason to blaspheme
The child born as a result of David’s rape will die
The fulfillment begins:
The child get very sick
David demonstrates repentance
He prays to the Lord
He sleeps out on the ground
He refuses to be comforted and eat
Seven days later the child dies
David’s servants fear to tell him for fear he will harm himself
David guesses the child is dead
When this is confirmed David returns to normal life.
David questioned about his behavior
He fasted and wept in case the Lord might be gracious to David
Once the child died there was no need. The child will not come back to life
In time David will join the child in death
Another son, Solomon, is born to David through Bathsheba. Renamed “Beloved of the Lord” by Nathan
Joab captures Rabbah which he was sent to do at the beginning of this account
David goes out to claim the victory where he should have been at the beginning of this account
The rest of the judgments for David’s sin happen the following chapters. It is long and complex.
Cultural Rhythms and Us
Not all not all violations of cultural rhythms will result in this sort of mess.
All cultural rhythms are not necessarily good.
If a cultural rhythm violate love of fellow believers or is otherwise immoral then reject it.
Do not confuse culture and its rhythms with a belief that Jesus is God.
Some possible positive cultural rhythms
At the time of the year that citizens pay their taxes
At the season when extended families get together
At the time of year when men set up fish camp and set their nets for salmon
At the time of the year that housekeepers do an extra thorough job of cleaning
At the time of the year when truck farmers plant potatoes
At the time of the year when ranchers take their stock to the high country
At the time of the year when people winterize their summer cabins
Permanent link to this article: https://edifymin.org/cultural-rhythms/
Not long ago I got good tips on small group discipleship from the book Miraculous Movements by Trousdale. I love their suggestions on doing small group (house church) discipleship as a Bible study. Below is a simplified version of their suggestions that get to the core of the method.
When you go through a passage (the best thing) or a topic (second best) ask three questions.
What is God saying to us right now in light of what we have just seen in God’s Book?
What are we going to do about it? (You may need to ask “How?” to get to a practical (executable) application.)
With whom do we need to share these things?
If these questions do not seem to fit, then change how you are sharing this scripture. You may be just transferring technical facts. We need to approach God’s Book with a “life change,” or “character change” perspective.
When you meet next time start by asking
What did we see in God’s Book last time?
How did it go with doing the things we said we would do based on what we saw in God book? (answers to questions 2 and 3 asked last week)
Now let us learn new lessons from God’s Book.
Easy method. Profound results in people’s’ lives. (The method is close to the one given in the Miraculous Movements book. The book calls it Discover Bible Study.) What do you think?
Permanent link to this article: https://edifymin.org/small-group-discipleship-bible-study/
Luke 7:40-48 records Jesus’ use of situation to teach. He is at dinner with pharisee who failed to show him common courtesies. These include washing to dust off Jesus’ feet, giving a greeting kiss, and giving him oil to brighten his hair and face. These failures show he has no love for Jesus. By way of contrast, a woman of bad reputation has more than made up for these. (Be sure to read the entire passage by clicking on one of the links. That will display the passage in Biblia.com.)
A lesson from Luke 7:40-48
The self-righteous Show no love
The pharisees were known for being self-righteous. This pharisee’s failure to show common respect means he has no love for Jesus This lack of love shows his self-righteousness.Plant this truth deep in your heart. When you sense a lack of love check to see if you are being self-righteous. Sometimes saying no to a request is the best way to show love. You do not want to enable others bad habits. Being an enabler would not be loving.
Another lesson from Luke 7:40-48
The forgiven love
The one who forgave
The woman’s sins were forgive in the past. (Jesus used the perfect tense in verse 28 to show that.) Her acts of love toward Jesus reflect that forgiveness. When I am forgiven how do I respond? If I do not think I need forgiveness am I just being self-righteous?
God is the one who ultimately forgives sins. How can I express my love to Him? Maybe the best way is to show love to others people. Especially others who have also repented to God. Doing this is to fulfill the new covenant as expressed in John 13:34.
We can combine these lessons
The self-righteous show no love
The forgiven love the forgiver
Today let us not be like the pharisee in Luke 7. Let us be like the woman by showing love. Let us show love to God by loving other believers. Those who have been forgiven.
Permanent link to this article: https://edifymin.org/luke-7-self-righteousness-forgiveness-and-love/
Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. — Romans 14:20-21 (NASV)