Saturday 22nd Jun 2024Lighthouse

Study Notes
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We spoke recently about the upside-down nature of the kingdom of God. The way the world expected the messiah to rule and reign was not part of Christ's plan.

 

Paul writes to the church in Rome and insists they love each other in a Christ-like manner not in the way that may have been common among the inhabitants of Rome.

 

Romans 15

 

We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. The Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. 

 

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.

 

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:1-7, 13 NLT)

 

The mark of someone strong in the power of the Spirit is that they can lift others.  Living in peace with others, accepting and forgiving others just as Christ forgave us.

 

The building of people is the building of the kingdom, the kingdom is the people who have Christ as their king and it is evident by the dwelling of the spirit. Kingdom thinking is encouraging others when they are down.  As we learn to trust in him he fills us with more joy and peace.  The overflow of the spirit the river flowing out from us giving life to others.

 

We are not strong in the spirit because of our self-effort.  We are strong because of the way God can use us to build others.

 

We are often concerned do I have enough faith.   Faith like many things is often received when we give it away.

 

Spiritual life is measured by what flows out of us.  Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  By their fruit, you will know them.  Because of your love for others, you will be known as my disciples.

 

We are talking about building strong people fit for the kingdom of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus said that “A wise man builds on a firm foundation”, and as Paul said…

 

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be built with care. (1 Corinthians 3:10 NIV)

 

A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. (Proverbs 14:1 NLT)

 

The Church is not just a large stone building but people.  We may not have the nicest-looking building in the country but we have a good news that melts hearts of stone.

 

Our vision has to be bigger than the number of people through the door, but building people who are capable of transforming this world we live in.

 

We are building a church (people) who have a large capacity 

 

We can only do this by building up each other. We are called to be People of power and authority to change things.

 

Jesus taught his guys that their leadership style would be different.  They would serve each other, putting the needs of others first.  

 

But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. “ But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:11-13 NKJV)

 

Often our words can build up and they can tear down as Paul reminds the church in Galatia.

 

My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with love. The whole law is made complete in this one command: “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” If you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful, or you will destroy each other. (Galatians 5:13-15 NCV)

 

Jesus speaks of building his church with power and authority but not as we put people in positions to lord it over one another.   

 

The authority we have is spiritual not to be the big boss man. 

 

Jesus has given us the name above every name, in his name we can build a church that all of hell will not prevail against us.

 

In the days of Nehemiah, the people of God had building tools in one hand and a sword in the other. 

 

Building and battling 

 

If it is not God who builds then to stand in battle to defend is in vain.

 

In Matthew 16 we discover the call of a disciple. 

 

Disciples are called to do two things. They are called to build and to battle.

 

When Peter made his great confession that Christ was the Son of the living God, Jesus said to him, 

 

“On this rock, I will build My church” — building — “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” — battle. 

 

Though we may not have thought of it in those terms, this is consistent with the whole Biblical theme. If we stand back and look at the larger picture, we will find that the whole story of the Bible is the story of God in human history building and battle. 

 

The Bible opens in a garden. Where does it end? In a city — the new Jerusalem. 

 

The Bible is the story of God’s process from the garden to the city. Only God can build this city, and all the way fighting is necessary, fighting against the forces that prevent or postpone the building of the city. 

 

In other words, the mission of Christ is often shown to be both constructive and destructive. 

 

He presented them in that order, and we must know that the building is the ultimate purpose of God, but the battle is necessary in the process. 

 

He came into the world for building, but it is not one that is made by human hands, and it is made of living stones and because there are forces that come against the building, he battles. 

 

The great passion of God’s heart is the building, but we often face the present necessity of the mission as the battle.

 

As disciple of Jesus Christ, we are called to build — to have a tool in our hand, and we are called to be a soldier—to have a sword in our other hand. 

 

Equipped For Building

 

“I want disciples to first build, and then I want them to battle!” We are supposed to be building things up. This is not only God’s character, He has equipped us to do so.

 

How do we build one another, by the gifts God has given us?

 

The Scriptures tell us to eagerly desire spiritual gifts. “But earnestly desire the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31), and “… earnestly desire the spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 14:1). 

 

But why are we encouraged to be eager for spiritual gifts, to seek after them, and to hunger for them? 

 

For what purpose? Is it so others will say “Look, what a cool gift they’ve got?” 

 

Are the spiritual gifts just so people will notice and think we are mature believers? 

 

No, the purpose of the spiritual gifts is to build up the body of Christ.

 

 “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel” (1 Corinthians 14:12). 

 

Often we use words in the Church that are seldom used anywhere else and therefore they have little meaning. Edification is one of these words. How many of us use this word in our daily conversations? 

 

The word translated “edification” literally means: “to construct, to build, to build up.” So what are the gifts for…to build up? 

 

We are called as disciples to zealously run after and pursue spiritual gifts, and then use them to build up the body of Christ. 

 

To be builders we must build, not just tear down. Every farmer will tell you that the ploughing is necessary. But ploughing without planting is fruitless!

 

I know I am switching metaphors here. However we know that in our own lives, there are times of ploughing, sowing reaping etc.

 

we often concentrate on the negative, what is wrong with our lives.

 

We look at the gardens of our hearts and we carefully pull out all the weeds and rejoice “Lord, there’s not one weed left. I’ve been searching my heart, and pulling out everything that is not of You.” 

 

But the Lord would inquire, “What have you been planting?” God expects us to be planters. He expects us to plant things in our hearts and the lives of others. God wants us to be planting, not just weeding.

 

The power of our tongue

 

One of the most powerful tools we have for building is our tongue.

 

Unfortunately, some of us with the ‘tool of the tongue’ are good at tearing down and destroying things, but not very good at building. 

 

God is saying “Become like me! Build, strengthen, and bless others!”

 

Your tongue is the most powerful tool you have. James speaks about this in the first ten verses of chapter three.

 

 “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check” (James 3:2). 

 

When we can guard the words we speak, we are being disciples of Jesus; reflecting the life of Christ to others. 

 

Continuing in verse three: 

 

“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue, we praise our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:3–10).

 

If we pass on gossip slander and malice towards others we give those things power, to starve things of their power, we don't talk about them.

 

We are not to employ our mouth in the service of the enemy.   Before you know it we have built a stronghold with our own words.

 

when Christ was cursed he did not curse in return.  When he was beaten he didn't open his mouth.

 

He quietly took the punishment for other people wrong wrongdoing.   In taking this he did not pass it on, or look for fault in others.  Play the blame game and look for issues in others.   He had the right to be angry, to feel accused of something he didn't do, yet he kept silent.  Gave up his rights and declared no charge to the guilty ones.

 

We struggle with our ability to control our tongues. 

 

When we decide in our ability we are not going to speak anything negative, to be positive and believe and say the best, we often fail. 

 

No one can do this perfectly — only God. God alone can control our tongues. Our tongues are to be given over to Him. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can our tongues be controlled. 

 

If we ask the Holy Spirit to, He can stop your tongue when you are about to speak something and say to your heart “Is that really what you want to say,” and give you the chance to say “no.” 

 

This doesn’t mean that you can never say anything that sounds negative. 

If we see something that needs to be addressed, and IF you can share it in a spirit of love, go ahead and share it. 

 

If you are in an accountable relationship with someone and you feel you should exhort them to change something you see, great! 

 

It is not that you can never say anything that sounds negative, but we have got to begin building up and stop tearing down if we are going to advance the kingdom of God.

 

Jeremiah the prophet was used to speak to the nation of Israel.

 

 “Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:9–10). 

 

Notice when a prophet tears down and destroys that the purpose is to rebuild and plant. It is not a tearing down for tearing down’s sake. It is a tearing down for building up.

 

Titus 1:9 says of an elder, “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” 

 

Notice that this verse first says elders should know the Scriptures to encourage others. 

 

So first is the positive, and then there is a coming against faulty doctrines and false teachings. 

 

Negative words will be spoken by elders to bring correction, but this needs to be done in a spirit of love and gentleness, not in haughtiness nor by tearing others down.

 

 

 

We are called to build a people of power and build God's kingdom. To uplift people and to build people with large capacity.  To not tear down people through gossip and slander but to empower people by our words.

 

Pastors and leaders need to be able to encourage and correct in humility. Not only leaders but we should all help others, we cannot leave all to the leadership but take responsibility for each other.  

 

If we see someone struggling we can help, if we see someone taking a wrong path redirect them.

 

Galatians 6

 

 Brothers and sisters, if someone in your group does something wrong, you who are spiritual should go to that person and gently help make him right again. But be careful, because you might be tempted to sin, too. By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is important when he is not, he is only fooling himself. Each person should judge his actions and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud of what he has done. Each person must be responsible for himself. 

 

Anyone who is learning the teachings of God should share all the good things he has with his teacher. Do not be fooled: You cannot cheat God. People harvest only what they plant. If they plant to satisfy their sinful selves, their sinful selves will bring them ruin. But if they plant to please the Spirit, they will receive eternal life from the Spirit. 

 

We must not become tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time if we do not give up. 

 

When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers. (Galatians 6:1-10 NCV)

 

The mark of someone strong in the power of the Spirit is that they can lift others.  Living in peace with others, accepting and forgiving others just as Christ forgave us.

 

The building of people is the building of the kingdom, the kingdom is the people who have Christ as their king and it is evident by the dwelling of the spirit. Kingdom thinking is encouraging others when they are down.  As we learn to trust in him he fills us with more joy and peace.  The overflow of the spirit the river flowing out from us giving life to others.

 

We are not strong in the spirit because of our self-effort.  We are strong because of the way God can use us to build others.

 

We are building a church which has a large capacity 

 

We can only do this by building up each other.

 

We are called to be People of power and authority to change things.

 

Jesus taught his guys that their leadership style would be different.  They would serve each other, putting the needs of others first.  

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