Got . . . Comfort? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 7:5-7)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed […]

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Think You Don’t Need A Church To Know Jesus? Think Again

https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/think-you-dont-need-a-church-to-know-jesus-think-again/https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/think-you-dont-need-a-church-to-know-jesus-think-again/

Heaven Is Community Restored

by Keith Haney

Cross shaped key

Heaven is a community of incredible, precious and eternal fellowship.

10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.  Revelation 21:10-13

Thirty men, red-eyed and disheveled lined up before a judge of the San Francisco police court. It was the regular morning company of “Drunks and disorderlies.” Some were old and hardened; others hung their heads in shame. Just as the momentary disorder attending the bringing-in of the prisoners quieted down, a strange thing happened. A strong, clear voice from below began singing:

“Last night I lay a sleeping

There came a dream so fair.”

Last night! It had been for them all a nightmare or a drunken stupor. The song was such a contrast to the horrible fact that no one could fail of a sudden shock at the thought the song suggested.

“I stood in old Jerusalem,

Beside the Temple there,”

The song went on. The judge had paused. He made a quiet inquiry. A former member of a famous opera company known all over the country was awaiting trial for forgery. It was he who was singing in his cell.

Meantime the song went on, and every man in the line showed emotion. One or two dropped on their knees; one boy at the end of the line, after a desperate effort at self-control, leaned against the wall, buried his face in his folded arms, and sobbed, “Oh mother, mother!”

More at: https://alightbreaksthrough.org/heaven-is-community-restored/

Colossians 2:2

Colossians 2:2:

…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ…

In the previous verse, Paul shared his pastoral longing for the Colossians and those in Laodicea. In this verse, he tells them what he desires for them, namely, their encouragement, unity, assurance, and knowledge of Christ.

All of us need encouragement. There may be times where we need it more, but there’s never a day when we don’t need it at all. May we, as God’s people, be known by continually finding ways to encourage one another. As we do so, it will help foster unity. Paul prays that their hearts will be knit together in love. Love binds us together; it knits us to one another (see 3:14). Our unity is based on the truth of the gospel, which transcends all other walls of division. We may not agree on everything, but if we are brothers and sisters in Christ, then we have the foundation for unity.

Paul desires that they would have the “full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of…Christ.” Christ is the source of all spiritual knowledge. Having biblical knowledge and an understanding of doctrine is vital to our faith. We can’t “just love Jesus” if we don’t know the truths that he has taught us in his word. We must love the Lord our God with all our minds. This is why Scripture continually warns against false teachers. Unity is important, but we can’t be unified on false doctrine.

APPLICATION QUESTIONS: https://growingingrace.blog/2020/04/21/social-distancing-devos-colossians-22/

Social Distancing Devos: Colossians 1:3-8

During this time of social distancing, use your extra time at home to dive into the word of God. I’m praying these devotions through the book of Colossians will assist as you study and apply Scripture. To listen to the podcast, click the links at the bottom of the article. God bless you all through this unique time.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing–as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit (Col. 1:3-8).

Continue: https://growingingrace.blog/2020/03/24/social-distancing-devos-colossians-13-8/

Pete Greig: Love in a time of fear

https://fullyalive.blog/2020/03/23/pete-greig-love-in-a-time-of-fear/

5 Relationships That Every Christian Needs, Especially Now

In these crazy days of the coronavirus threat, I’ve missed hanging out with other believers. In fact, I’ve grown to appreciate them in new ways–and I realize how much I need them. As I think about relationships, here are five relationships every follower of Christ needs:

  1. God – I know this one’s a given, but too often we know God in our head and not in our heart. Having a genuine relationship with God means wanting to speak to Him, hear from Him, be obedient to Him, and tell others about Him. I’m not sure many believers have that kind of relationship with our Creator.

The others are at: http://chucklawless.com/2020/03/5-relationships-that-every-christian-needs-especially-now/

Living in Unity and Hope

From Don Merrit

The third and final supporting point in this section is found in 15:1-13 and shows us that we are intended to live in unity and hope. Paul has broken this passage into three sections:

First, he shows us that selfless service brings about a unified testimony:

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:1-6

In these verses, Paul seems to be raising the bar to the highest level, the level of Christ Himself. How are we to get through this life of serving others? By having a whole new attitude, that of Jesus, who, in everything that He said and did, put others first so that God’s purpose might be accomplished. Is this too much to ask of us?

No, not at all, for remember what we’ve learned about grace− it provides not only forgiveness of sins, but everything we need to live our lives as followers of Jesus, through the working of the Holy Spirit.

Second, through Christ’s selfless service, Jew and Gentile glorify God together:

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing the praises of your name.”

Again, it says,

“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”

And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
let all the peoples extol him.”

And again, Isaiah says,

“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
in him the Gentiles will hope.

Romans 15:7-12

Read the blog: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2020/03/11/living-in-unity-and-hope-3/

Love one another

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:8-10

read Don’s blog: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2020/03/07/lesson-5-love-3/

Church Should Be Your Excuse for Missing Everything Else

I am under the unwavering conviction that unless I am genuinely ill, people are in the throes of death, my legs are rendered inoperable, or we are trapped in our house, church attendance is mandatory. I will not miss it. Even when I’ve had to miss it under those circumstances, which is quite rare indeed, I have hated it. However, for the sake of being completely transparent, this was not always the case, especially early on in my faith. There was a point in my life where I consistently worked on Sundays. I was a Christian and had been for only a couple years at that point, yet I considered myself to be a faithful Christian who was stuck in between a rock and a hard place. I had no other means of income that I was bringing into the family at that time. My wife worked, but we needed both streams of income to make ends meet and care for our newborn—and yet there was a steadily growing conviction in my heart that I should be coming to church every single Sunday.

While the argument could be made that it was necessary for me to miss due to the circumstances I found myself in, the reality was that I needed to swallow my pride, get another job that could allow me to attend church on a weekly basis, and just be found faithful to come. At some point, the conviction came to me that church was a non-negotiable. What’s more than this is that I came to believe church attendance is a non-negotiable for every Christian. The reason this is so is that I believe the New Testament teaches that our time together as believers in formal, corporate worship, is to be one of the most precious things we partake in as Christians. I believe that regular attendance is so important that it reveals our hearts and priorities. It reveals much of what we treasure, and likewise, much of what we don’t. It especially reveals what we understand about the person of Christ and His saving work upon the cross. Right then and there is where I lost several of the readers.

The rest is at: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/chorusinthechaos/church-your-excuse-for-missing-everything/