The Greek word Oikos translates best as “house,” but it is more than just the physical structure. It relates to the family home. In the terms of the New Testament, the family home was outlining the multi-generational family that lived in one place. As the head of the family led, the rest of the house followed. The house, or Oikos, was a place where the generations were like minded, a place for encouragement, where accountability was learned, and was a place of sharing in life. This is exactly what we are seeking for our Oikos groups, and we would love for you to be a part of a group.
We live in a world that loves to throw “don’t judge” at the church. Is that what Paul is teaching us through his letter to the Corinthians? The truth is we are not to judge, but we are not told to do nothing. Not passing judgment doesn’t mean not taking a stand or not dealing with sin. Like Christ, we are called to handle sin issues with a genuine heart without hypocritical motives, and the ultimate goal is always restoration. That means we are to first deal with the sin in our own lives in consideration of what God challenges us with corporately. We need a heart check if we are pointing out someone’s failures while our own lives are out of line with the teachings of Jesus.
As we worked through the message this Sunday, three challenges came forward, first, is there an issue in my house/family/or someone who is a part of the body of Christ that I need to get right. Read 1 John 2:9; 1 John 4:19-20 How do you read these verses? How do they apply right now to your life or this situation? Is there someone who would like to share? Secondly, is there a brother/sister in Christ that I need to help with a “splinter” issue and what are some biblical principles/verses that will help you as you do that? Talk about helping other focused verses that we can use. Thirdly, is there something that you are doing or thinking about doing or saying that is going to affect your witness in a negative manner? Write that situation down and allow this study to help you work through how to deal with that in an absolute manner of the word of God and from God. Read James 4:17, What does it mean to be a doer of the word in this particular situation? Jesus’ thoughts were that he was coming to do the work of the Father. He states that his food is to do God’s will. (Jn.4:34) Doing God’s will is what drove the passion of His life. Building upon where we have been the last few weeks, as we look at how we become salt/light, as we deal with the “sin in the camp” and as we take this next step in how we heal the relationships that are a part of our families and inside our church, Realize that our study is not just for knowledge but for application.
What did/does the title of the sermon, “It’s All About Him,” make you think of? Remember, the enemy constantly accuses us and reminds us of who we were. Praise God as we focus on Him, He will show us how we are joined to Christ as His bride in marriage, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who leads us, and we can have confidence in our witness as He works in and through the way we live out our faith. As we submit to Him, we are no longer slaves to sin and fear, but we can be bold in our responsibility to make Him known and glorify our risen and living King. To God be all honor, glory and praise!
Pastor Shawn’s new series begins this week, and he has titled it: Marriage, Hmmm…. Obviously, we’ll be talking about marriage, but we’ll also dive into the practical applications of living out our faith. It isn’t an understatement to say, “That is a challenge!” The truth is the challenge comes from the culture we live in and the focus on our differences instead of focusing on the fact that God has created us all for a divine purpose. He has created us to live by His standard even when faced with the issues and challenges of life. How we model God’s standard has an impact in the world, but it also has an enormous impact on the next generation. “We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders.”
We all know that life and relationships can take us all many directions, and there are so many things we allow to distract us from our focus on Him. Our call is to run the race with focus and discipline, and to run with the Eternal Prize in mind. Everything we do, especially including our relationships and marriages, must focus on Him first and foremost. Our purpose shouldn’t be a “just because everyone else is doing it,” but it must be for His glory first.
This week is part one of the discussion of how we run to glorify God. We should all strive to learn from the mistakes of believers that have gone before us, and we must recognize that knowledge alone doesn’t help. Every believer must remain humble, pay constant attention and stay alert. As Peter writes, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” As we examine the things in life that we allow to compete against God, we should always be mindful that He is faithful and He always provides us a way of escape from the snares our enemy uses to trap us.
God gives us many gifts. How do we treat them? We should always treat any gift He has given us as He intended it, and we should always seek His assistance and input regarding how to be pure with His provision. In 1 Peter 1:15-16, we are reminded: “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy.’” In marriage and in life, we fail to always uphold His ideal. However, because of His grace and forgiveness, we can still teach and uphold His ideals as absolute truths to the next generation and generations to come.
How do we use Spiritual knowledge? The challenge from Paul to the church in Corinth is not to be “puffed up,” but to us our knowledge in a personal way to help someone grow in their faith as we walk with them on life’s journey. We have freedom in Christ, and we should exercise that freedom with responsibility in order to prevent someone “weaker in faith” from stumbling. As Paul reminds us, “love builds up,” and our call as believers is to build each other up in love.
This week is Palm Sunday! We are just one week away from THE day that changed every single day moving forward. Resurrection Sunday, what a day! However, it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t fulfill the prophecy, it isn’t all it is supposed to be without Palm Sunday. The study this week centers around the mindset of worship. “So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’” John 12:13
Paul’s writes in 1 Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” Contrary to how these words are often misused today, this is not a license to justify any actions contrary to our calling as followers of Christ. Our one focus should always be to make sure our actions and lifestyles don’t jeopardize our witness to the Gospel. Pure thoughts and pure motives are always the goal. Just like Paul, our heart’s desire should be to “run the race” and not be disqualified. I other words, so that our choices don’t cost us our testimony.
Easter Sunday, or Resurrection Sunday, is a great time to be refreshed as we remember what He accomplished for us, and remembering empowers our witness. Jesus speaks peace into our chaos, and we should rejoice in the peace He brings. As we go out from this Sunday, as we should from every Sunday, go in His strength and enabling peace and proclaim the truth that Jesus Christ is ALIVE! It is a story worth repeating.