One Another

 

September 15, 2013   Galatians 6: 1 -10  One Another  

     One pastor writes we have a large Sunday school class that recently had a high percentage of African Americans in it (30 percent or so which is high for Presbyterians). I was told that while in that class, a white man weighed in with a very conservative take on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict.   There was disagreement.  He writes my first thought was, “Uh oh. Can we handle this?” I was worried about the potential fallout.  Could we handle that kind of issue and stick together even with differing opinions?

     He said I see it all.   Two weeks ago, I saw a man who doesn’t believe women should hold positions of authority in the church sitting a few feet away from a woman who believes very strongly in gay marriage.    In that same service, I saw a congressman sitting a few feet away from a person who would never vote for him in a million years.    I saw a tattoo artist sitting next to a 90-year-old matriarch of the church.   I saw a family sitting next to a felon.   There are people who can’t afford to go to the doctor sitting feet away from those who have elected to undergo cosmetic surgery.   His church has folks with dirty blue jeans, sitting with folks who wear Armani suits, and people who hitch rides, next to people who leave multiple cars at their second homes.   What happens when the family knows it’s sitting next to a felon?   What happens when the grandmother realizes that the nice girl that has been sitting in front of her for the last few weeks is an addict?   What happens when folks discover the stuff that’s just below the surface—that we fundamentally disagree about Trayvon Martin or gay marriage or our president?   

      Do we respond to people differently when we really get to know them?   Real people are messy.   I enjoy Mark Lawry Who was with the Gaithers for awhile and I happened to listen to one of his DVD’s this week for awhile and he said many years ago that divorce was a big deal.   If someone got a divorce then folks would leave the church because it was looked down upon.  And as a joke he said now there are so many divorced people that if we did not allow them in the church no one would be there.   He goes on to say that God got divorced.   God divorced Israel and then he said God could not even pastor our Baptist churches today because he has been divorced.  He was trying to encourage his audience and he said so your kids did not turn out well.   Neither have all of God’s children.   Not all Christian’s turn out well. 

    If we are going to follow our Lord Jesus Christ with all of our hearts and minds and soul and strength then that calling and devotion is greater than all this other stuff.   The gospel is greater than this stuff.  The body of Christ does go above these things.  The body of Christ can break through racial, economic, and other barriers.  I just read an article this week from a gal who said everything she learned about prejudice she learned from the church.  Ouch.  We can esteem others better than ourselves.  We can walk humbly with our God.   We can love one another and learn from one another.  I am not preaching this message because we have issues here but as an encouragement for us to draw closer together.   I suspect that every pastor would desire that his church was more knit together.    Our whole society is fragmented and broken in my mind.   The church needs to be together and supporting one another and building up one another through the blood of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit we can love one another and serve one another. 

   Let’s consider some verses on one another.   I Peter 4 the end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.  Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble.   Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.   Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.    Hebrews 3 but encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.   Hebrews 10  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.   

       Ephesians 5 submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.   I Peter 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders.   All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.   I Peter 5 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other love one another deeply, from the heart.     Jesus said in John 13: 34 & 35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.   By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Ephesians 4 therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.   Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Colossians 3bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.   Forgive as the Lord forgave you.    Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.   I Thessalonians 5 therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

     God calls us into the body of faith into His body.  We are the body of Christ.   Because we are the body there is a certain way we should behave.  God tells us how to behave and God has expectations how we treat each other.   Love and building and helping one another should be the rule.    We resist being involved with one another at times.  Some feel that they do not have time to do that.   Some do not want to be transparent before others.   We like to be private.   Since Adam and Eve man has been hiding but when we come to the light we can walk finally in peace and freedom.  Sometimes when people confess their sins others will look down on them.  God is pretty plain in this passage how we minister to one another.   Pride opens the door for the person who walks in it to be tempted.   We can say well I would never do what he or she does.  I am not like her or him.  That is a dangerous path.   We seek to restore one another gently in humility and meekness.   Sometimes we find it easier to be critical than to build.  Sadly it can easy to cut some one down.  Spouses that are not getting along find it easy to cut each other up than to build into each other’s life.  For those that want to be one up on others they cannot bear their burdens.    If a brother or sister is caught in a sin Paul writes restore them.  Help them get back to walking with the Lord.   Help them walk away from the sin.   Be part of the healing process. 

    Instead of cutting others we need to build.  Love covers a multitude of sins.   We need to pray for each other.   We hold each other before the throne in prayer.   We go before the Lord in behalf of others.   Verse 2 says carry each other’s burdens.   Be involved with lifting and encouraging.  Pray for others and lift them before the throne.  Life today is a burden and we can help lift others burdens by serving.  For some it may be giving money to help with a need.   It can be a kind word or doing something to help someone else.  In verse 10 Paul writes do good to all people especially to those who belong to the family of believers.   Think about how different the world would be if everyone lived up to that verse.  

     Paul says bear one another’s burdens.   In this book of Galatians he wrote to help this church break out of the legalism that some of the Jews put on Christians.   As a former strict Pharisee Paul found freedom in Jesus and was set free from the rules that he lived by and was bound by for years.   He talked about freedom in Jesus.  The legalist would add to the burdens of others.  In Matthew 23 Jesus said “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”   That speaks of bondage and control to me.    They were not into bearing others burdens.    I see a tendency for most folks to be harder on others than they are themselves.  

    In the New Testament they ate together and met together every day.    They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.   Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.   All the believers were together and had everything in common.    They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.    Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. 

     Do you feel that you live in community like they did?   I think we can see the value of living in community like that.   Are we connected in this church?    I have struggled with this for some time.   I think we all struggle with being biblical and that is good.   I could believe that Paul planted some churches and never got back to see them.   Jesus touched a lot of people and never saw them again.   We need to be in community.   We need to know each other’s needs and we need to minister to each other as this passage says bear one another’s burdens.   The men in this church work about 50 to 70 hours a week and they have families and time runs out.    I know some families are so busy.  I know this is not the first century.  Our culture is different today whether it is good or bad it is certainly different.

      I suspect that this is an area that we all could improve upon.  Maybe there is one small area that each of us could improve upon.   Small group’s help people connect in churches. There is time to learn of others needs and to connect and to share our individual needs.   I think that in time we will be moving back to more community.  We see the folks in Colorado pulling together.   It is neat to see people helping others.  You cannot be community with everybody because of time constraints.  Paul and Jesus could not do it.   Jesus had the 3 and the 12 and the 70 and we see a comment of the 120 and 500 people.   Jesus spent a lot more time with the 3 than many of those that were counted in the 70 or 500. 

     We certainly need one another today.   We need to worship together.  We need to be involved with the body of believers and the body of Christ.   Hebrews tells us not to forsake getting together.   The Lord can and will lead us as we walk with him.  He will guide us.   I am planning to help Larry on Tuesday load the truck that they are using to move south.   I feel like Larry and Sandy need the extra hand.   I believe that all of us are available to help another.