Church

“You Don’t Need Me” – A Common Lie

“If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. 1And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

To conclude that you are not needed in the body of Christ is a destructive thought – to you personally and to the church corporately. It can, and often does, discourage people from serving at all. If everyone in a church bought into this lie, their gifts would atrophy, ministries would die, the church’s impact would lessen and disappear, and soon you’re selling your building and closing church bank accounts.

Paul says that a “foot” should never say that because he is not a “hand” he is not needed or that he doesn’t “belong.” Just because he has 5 toes and not 5 fingers does not mean he is to be thought of any less or should think of himself as any less.

To illustrate another way – a teacher shouldn’t think he is useless because he isn’t strong in mercy and isn’t very compassionate to those he teaches. A gifted giver should never think he is useless because he isn’t gifted in evangelism and can’t easily transition a conversation from earthly to spiritual matters. Someone gifted in administration should never think he is useless because he can’t easily minister to someone on their death bed.

We can’t all be evangelists or teachers or administrators or helpers or givers. We all have our role as separate members of the “body.” No part of the body should ever conclude they are unnecessary to the rest of the “body.”

The lie that the “church doesn’t need me” comes from a skewed view of what makes a healthy church. Some think if you have a great Sunday morning with a tremendous sermon, stirring music, and good welcoming committee, then you have enough for a church. The church is much more than that, and if that’s all God wanted, there wouldn’t be the diversity we see represented in heaven. Each of us have to realize how important they are to the life and blood of the church.

We need the toes, the ears, the arms and the feet. All of them!

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3 Thoughts About Discipleship

Discipleship is about imitation. There are 4 words in the N.T. for “disciple” or “discipleship”:

  1. Mathatays (“disciple”). It refers to one who attaches themselves to another for the purpose of learning and committing themselves to what that person says.
  2. Akoloutheo (“to follow after”). The basic understanding of this word refers to someone who has answered the call of Jesus and has redirected his or her life in obedience to Him.
  3. Opiso (“to come after”). While the previous Greek word refers to the practice of a disciple; this word is more the position. They “come after”, which means they are in subordination to their mentor. They are under his wisdom and authority. It means that they totally break from the past life and they place themselves under the leadership of the one discipling them.
  4. Mimieomai (“to imitate”). This is the same word we get out English word “mimic.” A mimic is someone who copies or imitates someone else in actions, speech, etc. A disciple mimics his earthly mentor; he is a spiritual copycat. He watches someone’s character, someone’s work ethic, someone’s ministry, someone’s attitudes and he tries to reduplicate those things in his life.

Men are imperfect templates, but they are still templates. No one – Paul included – would say, “Copy everything I do, even my sins!” No one has arrived or will ever arrive this side of heaven. However, the examples in Scripture or in church history for more than education but for instruction. We are reminded in I Corinthians 10:11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, …” The righteous fascination with character studies is that there is a sense of relatability to them as men and woman that encourage us in their victories and defeats. We are, and should be, creatures of imitation; it is examples that draw us.

The ultimate copy is still Christ. Right after the “Hall of Faith” chapter in Hebrews 11, we read, “ Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Those imperfect templates, if they are worthy of our admiration, will be pointing us to Christ. At best, they are pointers or reflectors of Jesus Himself. Paul is not calling us to do anything he hasn’t been pursuing himself.

Who disciples you? Who are you discipling?

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J.I. Packer, On the Necessity of Christian Fellowship

See the source image“We should not think of our fellowship with other Christians as a spiritual luxury, an optional addition to the exercises of private devotion. Fellowship is one of the great words of the New Testament: it denotes something that is vital to a Christian’s spiritual health, and central to the Church’s true life. The church will flourish and Christians will be strong only when there is fellowship. We should recognize rather that such fellowship is a spiritual necessity; for God has made us in such a way that our fellowship with himself is fed by our fellowship with fellow-Christians, and requires to be so fed constantly for its own deepening and enrichment.” (J.I. Packer, God’s Words)

Q/A Friday: Are Christians Obligated to Wash One Another’s Feet?

After Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in the Upper Room (John 13:1-14), he then turned to all of them and said, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (vs. 15).

Some actually elevate it to the level of the institution of the Lord’s Supper or baptism (e.g., Moravians – an early Protestant denomination in the 15th century or some Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Mennonites, Latter-Day Saints, etc.). Throughout history there have been times when the Pope would wash the feet of his cardinals or even the poor.

Are Christians obligated to wash one another’s feet (literally) on a regular basis. No, and here’s why.

  • The Greek word upodaygma. Some argue since the word means “an exact replica” that we are to do exactly what Jesus did. However, the context of the disciples arguing who is the greatest and this foot washing being demonstrative of His entire life suggests the replica isn’t the exact act of foot washing but the attitude of serving others – even in the menial tasks. Jesus is not saying, “Do exactly what I do, but DO IT LIKE I do it.” Don’t forget the context Jesus speaks from.
  • I Timothy 5:9-10. “Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.” However, this reference is not an example of universal foot washing but placed amongst a list of good deeds of hospitality. Foot-washing is not necessary, but something regarded as hospitable.
  • There is no command in the Bible to wash one another’s feet. God is never silent or ambiguous when it comes to what He desires for us to do or expects of us.
  • Jesus is not specific about foot washing as He is with baptism or communion. These other 2 institutions He clearly commanded to be observed (Matt 28:19-20; Luke 22:19).

So what is Jesus referring to? It certainly means we ought to serve one another. Galatians 5:13 says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Service is active not passive. Jesus got up (that’s an action), took off His outer clothing (that’s an action), wrapped a towel around His waist (that’s an action), poured water into a basin (that’s an action), and washed their feet (that’s an action). All of the Christian life is active; just because we have a sovereign God who already planned events in life; that never takes away human responsibility and opportunity to serve Him and others.

If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please email it to charlesheck@cox.net or post your question in the comments section.

Our Expectations for Our Teens Are Too Low

Ever since I read Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, I have been encouraged by some of the modern writing calling teenagers to set higher standards for the themselves and for the church to hold them to those standards and always be expecting more.

The youth are not the future of the church; the youth in our churches are the church now.

I encourage you to read this article – “Why Our Expectations for Teens in the Church Are Way Too Low” (by Cameron Cole) – and watch the video as well. Be exhorted and encouraged.

Overlooking Offenses vs. Confronting Sin

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).

We can’t, don’t and aren’t expected to confront every single sin we witness. We see sin every day that we do not confront (e.g., sinful behavior on TV, in school, on YouTube, in our government, etc.).

On the other hand, God gives us specific guidelines in Scripture for confronting the sin in other believers (Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-10; Titus 3:10-11).

So, how do we decide when to or not to confront a sin, especially in light of the honor that Solomon gives to those who overlook offenses?

First, if the sin is petty (e.g., rolling your eyes at someone, getting flipped off, a sin out of character for that person), forgive it quickly. Paul’s counsel for such an occasion – “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). Love is not easily angered (I Corinthians 13:5). Quick forgiveness is a form of overlooking an offense.

Second, anything else needs to be confronted – especially ongoing or patterned sins. It is simply unloving to our brother/sister to let them remain in un-confronted sin. When we see a brother/sister living in sin, hostile towards the idea of repentance, and refusing to change their sinful behavior, it is time for us to work through the stages of rebuke outlined by Christ in Matthew 18:15-20.

But before you confront, check your motives. Are you speaking the truth the sinner with a loving attitude? (Ephesians 4:15) Is your heart ready to forgive them when the confess their sin (Ephesians 4:32)? Are you willing to walk through a difficult situation to help alleviate any burdens (Galatians 6:2)?

Also, keep in mind that we “worry” about the sins of others, because it is commanded, it is loving, it helps maintain holiness (I Corinthians 5:5), it can lead to reconciliation or restoration, it serves as a warning of the danger of un-repented sin (I Timothy 5:20), and it could even save lives (I Corinthians 5:5; I Peter 5:8).