Our culture is obsessed with the concept of productivity and fruitfulness, so much so that we now have apps on our phones to suggest us of what’s best next, and it is most often focused on the use of time that results in monetary benefit or up-skilling ourselves. It is a kind of “precious” commodity that is meant to satisfy us and bring a sense of joy and fulfillment. But the Bible has a very different approach to the use of time, one that produces spiritual growth, maturity, and see the need to ultimately glorify God and find our true joy in Him. In this passage, we learn what it means to live wisely for God during these times, and see what kind of fruitfulness He calls us to live.
Christian life is not devoid of suffering. It is not always filled with happiness. Christian life involves suffering because of the sin we carry with us, and also the sin and evil we see around us. Sometimes, this reality of suffering and hardship can be daunting. But this is where a great comfort lies, because it is God who enables us to persevere, assuring us that our suffering is momentary. In this passage, we learn how to endure suffering with eternity in mind.
Jesus Christ commissioned His Apostles to go around the world to preach the gospel and make disciples. It is not just for the Apostles to do this job (obviously because they’re not here), but every Christian is called to witness for Christ and be a disciple maker in some capacity. In this passage, we learn what kind of attitude and motives we are all called to have, in order to stand for Christ and serve His people.
Any church community’s institutional stability and solid spiritual growth is always dependent on its mature and effective leadership committee. If there are no godly Christian men who are equipped to handle the Word of God and the saints, the church would collapse immediately. In this passage, Paul describes what it means to be a Godly Christian leader called by God to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and to suffer for His name sake.
We’ve often heard a cliché about the necessity of leaders being ’empathetic’ and ‘humble’ towards people. But how does a leader cultivate such character qualities to serve people well? The Bible says that only the gospel of Jesus Christ enables leaders to have a heart of humility. In this passage, we learn how gospel authenticates and produces genuine humility in a leader through the path of suffering, so that he displays character qualities like Christ did.
In our first part under this topic, we learnt that the Lord has instituted His church with certain organizational structure which includes ‘Church Discipline’, operated through pastors, elders and deacons to counsel, rebuke, correct and guide us towards righteousness. In this passage, we learn how church discipline shouldn’t be practiced, and also what kind of response should we display when the elders, pastors and deacons work to restore our joy in the Lord.
Elisabeth Elliot on suffering once said ― “Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take it because I trust Him.” This needs to be the response of every Christian in times of suffering, because hardships are inevitable in this life. In this passage, we learn how suffering should enable us to trust in God, an expression of our humility and dependency on Him alone.
In our Society, the affinity towards people of similar language, social status, culture or ethnicity is very high. We’re often seen associating with people who look like us in every way. Sadly, this is a similar practice that is seen even among churches. But this does not reflect the oneness or the unity that God has designed to reflect in the society, especially when Christians fail to display love and unity among themselves. Jesus Christ died for the sins of not just one particular culture, but for the sins of every culture, tribe and tongue in this world, so that we may all be one in Christ. In this passage, we learn how we should practice Christian Fellowship in a loving and sacrificial way, especially with those who are very different from us.