It has been generally observed that Christians who tithe regularly have healthier finances. Not just tithing, but Christians involved in generous giving of themselves and sharing their resources with people who are in need often end up being better stewards of money. That is probably because their investments are often directed toward areas in life that matter the most, namely, relationships. In this passage, we learn how giving changes us, and enables us to love God’s kingdom better.
Your love for God is greatly determined by your generosity to give when people around you are in desperate need of something. Giving is not just limited to financial support (although it is essential part of your service), but it also extends to your time and spiritual support. God instituted Church to be the primary avenue in which we exercise generosity not just in terms of money, but also in terms of committing our lives (time & talents) for the growth of the church. Church is a community which reveals our love for God and our understanding of His generosity in the way we conduct ourselves with people.
In the Bible, God sets aside His redeemed people primarily to fellowship with Him and to glory Him by reflecting His character through His people in this world. God is glorified when His redeemed people show certain marks that remind the world about God and His kingdom. In this passage, we learn how sincere love for others and constantly fighting sin in our lives through repentance and overcoming temptation, are the ongoing marks of a true Christian.
The church as an institution is always dependent on its mature and effective leadership committee, or a group of Elders. If there are no godly Christian men who are equipped to handle the Word of God and the saints with integrity and moral uprightness, the church would collapse immediately. In this passage, Paul not just defends his ministry, but also lays out marks of a true Christian leader called by God to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and to lead a life that brings glory to God alone.
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.
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.
We live in a culture which promotes freedom from accountability, regulations, rules etc. But in Christianity, the church cannot be sustained without certain organisational structure. The Lord has instituted His church with certain structure, operated through pastors, elders and deacons to counsel, guide, correct, rebuke and restore the congregation or an individual towards righteousness. This function is often referred to as Church Discipline. It is one of those essential marks of a healthy church. In this passage, we learn the nature of Church Discipline and why Christians need it.
Suffering is a universal experience and an inevitable part of our lives. The world suggests us to flee suffering at all costs, so we are provided with millions of solutions everyday to get rid of suffering. However, according to the Bible, God doesn’t want us to avoid or flee from suffering but to embrace it for the greater purpose. In this passage, we learn the purpose of suffering in Christian life, and how God uses it in the lives of others so that ultimately He is glorified in and through our suffering.
We start helping out each other and show acts of mercy during natural disasters, calamities and famine. This is a natural response of human beings because we are all made in the image of God; we still exhibit certain character traits that display kindness, sacrifice and generosity during difficult times. But the struggle to survive is not just against physical powers but also spiritual. There is sin in all of us that we need to fight against. So, what kind of character traits should a christian show forth in the church and in the world especially in times of spiritual adversity? Listen to the sermon to learn the marks of a healthy Christian.
For any mission to be accomplished, there needs to be peace and unity among a specific group standing for a cause. If there is no unity, the group falls apart. The disunity also weakens the individual to fulfill the mission so it is impossible to accomplish it alone. We’re hard wired to work and live in the context of community. How can such a unity be established among a group of people in the church who come from various backgrounds? This passage gives us insights into that tension.