In going through Philippians, we’ve been encouraged to serve. Being a small church without our own building, it may look like there are not many places to serve. If you feel this way then we hope this 9Mark Q&A will help:
I don’t feel like there are opportunities for me to get involved in my church. What should I do?
Sometimes we get so fixated on programs and official positions in the church that it’s easy to miss opportunities right in front of our eyes. To help remedy that potential near-sightedness, here are two ways that you can always get involved in any church.
- Find needs to meet. No church, even the best-staffed and best-served, has absolutely all of its needs met. There are always children to watch, meals to cook, rooms to clean, members in times of special need, and much more. So pray that God would enable you to find others’ needs and meet them in a spirit of humble service, even if they aren’t particularly glamorous.
- Find Christians to disciple. All Christians this side of heaven are works in progress, and God wants allChristians to build up the church to maturityby speaking the truth in love (see Eph. 4:11-16, Col. 3:16-17). So find people whom you can speak the truth in love to, and who can do the same for you. Ask a couple of new members over to your home for dinner and get to know the state of their souls. Find a younger Christian and begin reading Scripture and praying together.
Serving in the church is not something we should need a special invitation to do. In every church there will be needs to meet and Christians to disciple. So take the initiative and find ways to do others spiritual good.
During Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Emilio mentioned a Christian pastor in Iran that only had a few days to live, because he is being persecuted for his faith. Here are the details on that:
TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian pastor, convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death, may have only hours or days to live, according to a US-based Christian ministry acquainted with the facts of his case.
Jason DeMars, of Present Truth Ministries, told ANS: “We have been notified that the conviction of brother Youcef Nadarkhani for apostasy, as well as the sentence of death, has been upheld and confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court…
DeMars says: “There is nothing more to be done to help his case from within Iran. The only thing that can affect his case now is international pressure.
“I ask that each of you earnestly pray and follow what God calls you to do. We know that we are called to be faithful unto death and that many are killed for their faith everyday around the world, but as Christians let’s do what we can for Youcef, pray for him and raise our voices against the Iranian regime.”
The most recent news out on this issue from Monday.
Remember the prisoners,
as though in prison with them,
and those who are ill-treated,
since you yourselves also are in the body.
As we’ve been going through Philippians we’ve been learning how to live a gospel-centered life. Justin Taylor sums it up with verses from Philippians:
- You can partner with others in the gospel (Phil. 1:5).
- You can defend the gospel (Phil. 1:7, 16).
- You can confirm the gospel (Phil. 1:7).
- You can help to advance the gospel (Phil. 1:12).
- You can live a life worthy of the gospel (Phil. 1:27).
- You can strive side by side with others for the faith of the gospel (Phil. 1:27).
- You can serve with and labor side-by-side with others in the gospel (Phil. 2:21; 4:2).
And from a previous post:
What is “Gospel-Centered”?
This past Sunday, we looked at the importance of the Bible, which is the Word of life (Phil. 2:16), which is vital for our spiritual growth. Pastor Emilio exhorted us and gave us practical ways in which we can give the Word preeminence in lives (2 minute clip below):
This should give us a high priority on the preached Word, or when we listen to the sermon. Here are some helpful ways 9Marks says we can get the most out of a sermon:
How can I make the most of the preaching I hear every week?
- Throughout the week, meditate on the passage that will be preached on Sunday. Pray for your pastor as he prepares his sermon. Take notes on the text. Ask questions of the text. Pray through the text.
- Prepare for Sunday morning. On Saturday night or Sunday morning, pray for your upcoming opportunity to hear God’s Word preached. Pray that your heart would be soft and humble before it.
- Talk and pray about the sermon with friends after church. Start conversations at lunch by asking, “How did the Scripture challenge or speak to you today?” Encourage others by sharing what you learned about God and his Word during the sermon. Talk to others about how you can specifically apply what you learned in the week ahead.
- Meditate and act on the sermon you heard throughout the week. Don’t let the Sunday sermon become a one-time event that fades from memory as soon as it is over (James 1:22-25). Review your sermon notes with friends or family. Choose one or two applications from the Scripture and prayerfully put them into practice over the coming week.
(Some of this material has been adapted from Thabiti Anyabwile’s book What is a Healthy Church Member?, 22-25)
Past post on sermon listening and Scripture memorization:
Scripture Memory Tools For You & Your Kids
How TO & How NOT to Listen to Sermons
How to Listen to a Sermon (1 of 2)
How to Listen to a Sermon (2 of 2)
Most of us are familiar with the “one another” commands of the New Testament. In the study guide for Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything, Tim Keller offers a helpful taxonomy under the categories of affirming one another, sharing with one another, and serving one another. These form, he says, “nine ‘community-building practices’—specific behaviors that build Christian community.” For a more detailed unpacking of each point, see pp. 58-71.
1. Affirm one another’s strengths, abilities, and gifts.
- Romans 12:10: “Honor one another”
- James 5:9: “Don’t grumble against each other”
- Romans 12:3-8: Confirm the gifts of one another
2. Affirm one another’s equal importance in Christ.
- Romans 15:7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you”
- 1 Corinthians 12:25: “Have equal concern for each other”
- 1 Peter 5:5: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another”
- James 2:1: “Don’t show favoritism”
3. Affirm one another through visible affection.
- Romans 16:16: “Greet one another with a holy kiss”
- James 1:19: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak”
- Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another”
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12: “[May] your love increase and overflow for each other”
4. Share one another’s space, goods, and time.
- Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love”
- 1 Peter 4:9: “Offer hospitality to one another”
- Galatians 6:10: “As we have opportunity, let us do good”
5. Share one another’s needs and problems.
- Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Encourage one another”
- Hebrews 3:13: “Encourage one another daily”
6. Share one another’s beliefs, thinking, and spirituality.
- Colossians 3:16: “Teach and admonish one another”
- Ephesians 5:19: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs”
- Romans 12:16: “Live in harmony with one another”
- 1 Corinthians 1:10: “Agree with one another”
7. Serve one another through accountability.
- James 5:16: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other”
- Romans 15:14: “Instruct one another”
- Ephesians 4:25: “Speak truthfully”
8. Serve one another through forgiveness and reconciliation.
- Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love”
- Colossians 3:13: “Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another”
- Galatians 5:25: Don’t provoke or envy one another
- James 4:11: “Do not slander one another”
- Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15: Reestablish broken relationships with one another
9. Serve one another’s interests rather than our own.
- Hebrews 10:24: “spur one another on toward love and good deeds”
- Romans 15:1-2: Don’t please yourself but please others
- Galatians 5:13: “Serve one another”
(HT: Justin Taylor)
Mark Twain once said,
“Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.”
Although there may be days when we feel like he got it right, we know God has ordained work as a stewardship of His created world (Genesis 1:28; 2:15). He has designed work for His glory and our good. But how might we glorify God at work? This list is not exhaustive, but here’s at least 12 ways —
1. Believe that all legitimate work is holy or unholy before God based on our faith, not the nature of the work itself.
But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
2. Be just and honest in all your dealings with money.
A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight (Proverbs 11:1)
3. Be prayerfully dependent upon God, pouring contempt on self-sufficiency.
Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain (Psalms 127:1).
4. Use the wages earned by your work to provide for and bless others.
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1Timothy 5:8).
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need (Ephesians 4:28).
5. Grow in your skill-set, work hard, and strive for excellence.
Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men (Proverbs 22:29).
In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty (Proverbs 14:23).
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
6. Exemplify love for your neighbor in how you interact with your colleagues.
Let all that you do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14).
7. Plan ahead and sincerely preface future tasks with “if God wills.”
Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house (Proverbs 24:27).
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15)
8. Speak the gospel to your colleagues.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).
9. Work as unto the Lord and as unto men.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).
Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust (1 Peter 2:18 ).
10. Focus on the work you’ve been given.
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty (Proverbs 28:19).
11. Speak words of grace.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29)
12. Rest in your justification by faith alone in Christ alone.
yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified (Galatians 2:16).
(HT: Josh Etter)