Dear SanLo Community, an update for the week of November 12, 2017…
Thank you Pastor Brian for the message from 2 John 4-11, “Family Life.” Isn’t it true that when you love somebody you want to protect them from harm and danger? It’s not difficult to live out. I think all of us would agree that a healthy “family life” would include love and protection. Our Scripture begins with a greeting to the chosen lady and her children which is understood to be the local church and its members. The local church was experiencing harmful and even dangerous teachings from teachers who denied that Jesus was fully human and fully God. Division within the church was a real possibility but John the Apostle recognized and was encouraged by how members of this church family treated each other. In the same way we treat our families, God wants His family, the church, to treat each other with love and protection. A healthy family should include and be guided by these two qualities. We can see how these characteristics work in our own families but what about in the church? How should members of the body of Christ interact with one another? How should the family of God treat each other?
1) We should LOVE each another. (vv.5-6) “ 5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.” The lady, the church is instructed to live according to God’s commandment to love one another. Members of God’s family should treat each other with love. Relationships within the body of Christ should be an example of what love is to those outside the church. Did you catch that? God is not asking His family to love one another, He is commanding it. This instruction is not new. Jesus told His disciples this new commandment around 60 years earlier. John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” We know that God desires members of His family to love each other but how do we love one another when we are disappointed, frustrated or angry with a fellow member? Look again at verse 6, “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.” To walk in love is not an option. If you are a member of God’s family, He commands us to love whether we feel like it or not. Does that mean I need to forgive someone even though I was hurt by him or her? Yes, God commands us to love one another. What about the person who is rude to me? Do I need to love that person too? Yes, God commands us to love one another. What if I just can’t get along with a person, am I supposed to love him/her? Yes, God commands us to love one another. If God is your Father, you are commanded to love each other. God desires it and we should just do it! We have discovered that love is a major attribute of God’s family but this letter gives further insight to how we should treat each other. As a member of God’s family we are required to LOVE one another.
2) We should PROTECT each another. (vv.7-11) It takes diligence to protect God’s family. Like security personnel that protect people and buildings we need to be on the lookout for teachings that are unbiblical and guard against anything that might hurt the church. We need to be watchful for activities that are not according to the truth of God’s Word. “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (v.7) Remember the tension the local church was under because of harmful and dangerous teachings? Strong words were used for these dishonest preachers. They were called deceivers and the antichrist because they denied that Jesus Christ is God. There is even a stern warning to “Watch out, don’t let them into your church! If you welcome them you are joining them in their wicked and evil works.” God desires members of His family, to PROTECT one another from harm and danger. There are many unhealthy and destructive matters we face but the most damaging activity is when Jesus Christ is denied. It is most damaging because refusing to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is God affects eternal life with God. We need to be aware of deceivers who teach distorted teachings from the Bible. We must be wise enough to discern half-truths that acknowledge Jesus as a great man, teacher or even prophet but deny that He is both fully man and fully God. We must be on guard to recognize lies about Him that could creep into our churches. It may seem unloving to ask someone to leave your church but as the truth of God’s Word in verse 11 states, “the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” This is a biblical truth but a very difficult truth. Protecting one another means we need to guard ourselves from those who refuse to submit to God’s instructions, even to the point of not welcoming them and asking them to leave. This is a very serious decision and should not be taken lightly. Jesus, Himself, addresses this matter in Matthew 18. Protecting one another can be painful and uncomfortable but it is something that should be done in order to maintain a healthy body of Christ.
By now you know of the mass murders at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. This small rural church in Texas continues to suffer in unimaginable ways the horrific killing and maiming of their congregation during worship service last Sunday. At least half of their members were killed. The shooter did not care if you were a man, woman, or child. From what I understand more children were murdered than adults. Despite the depth of their sorrow, they are learning what it means to love and protect one another. Though still grieving, they have chosen to gather to worship God this morning. As members of God’s family at the First Baptist Church are loving each other by encouraging one another to turn to God and worship Him. They are protecting each other from the lies that say God has abandoned them. They are digging deep into their souls to cling onto the promise that God has not left or forsaken them because the Bible tells them so. God expects His family to treat one another with love and protection.
Welcome to Nick and Erin Petkoff (from SCVJCC) who are raising support to serve in Japan through TEAM, with a heart and focus to reach out to those who have not heard the Gospel message and particularly to those who are at risk of suicide. They are currently at 75% of the support needed and are asking for prayer for partners to send them. For more information, please visit their website: http://www.petkoffstojapan.com...
Praises, Prayer Requests and Announcements:
Praise God for the veterans we have in our midst who have served and are currently serving to protect our country and freedom.
Sat., Dec. 9 at 10:30am will be the Christmas musical, “Arch the Angel.” A potluck finger food reception will follow.
Have a great week loving one another,
Stan, for SLZJCC