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.
Christianity is not about serving ourselves but it’s about serving others. It’s about putting other people’s needs before us, it also means that we shouldn’t always insist on our rights. We have reached a passage where Paul begins to challenge believers to sacrifice those things that are unnecessarily offensive to other believers and this can even be extended to unbelievers as well. He wants Christians to make every effort to win people to Christ.