SUBMISSION & THE KISS OF LOVE

How Following Leadership Fuels the Kiss of Love

File'-Saint_Paul_Writing_His_Epistles'_by_Valentin_de_Boulogne

When you blog as a pastor you never know. Does anyone read what you write?

I was both blessed and bothered recently by a report. Someone told me they were glad I have been writing lately on the New Testament exhortation to greet one another with a holy kiss (2 Cor. 13:12).

Great. Score one for this pastor/blogger. Somebody actually reads these posts. My elation was soon tempered.

“We think your church has become unloving.” Ouch. So much for self-congratulation.

Guess I need to keep hammering away at this subject.

In the first post I explained how the gospel shapes our community with oneness when we engage one another intentionally by greeting with the holy kiss of love.

In the second post I emphasized how rejoicing in the Lord is the first of four things Paul proposes for motivating the practice of greeting one another with a holy kiss.

In the third post, I unpacked how aiming for restoration–setting high goals compels doing the holy kiss thing in church.

In this post we turn to the next imperative in Paul’s arsenal from 2 Cor. 13:11 to promote his unity purposes at Corinth: submitting to the leadership.

The ESV offers an alternative in the margin to the next command, comfort one another.

For reasons I won’t elaborate on, I prefer the footnote. Listen to my appeal.

Throughout this letter Paul has brought apostolic correction in the way of inspired teaching designed to cure what ails them as a church.

It is imperative that they heed his counsel and follow his instruction if they have any hope of righting the ship, mending their ways, and going on to maturity.

In this he directs them yet another time away from the destructive influence of the false teachers plaguing the fellowship and draws them back into the safety of his pastoral and apostolic leadership.

In a community, some have to lead and others have to follow. Elders don’t possess apostolic authority, but God has entrusted them with ecclesiastical authority for which they will give an account (Heb. 13:17).

Without order in leading and following you have little likelihood of a church of peace where love can be readily expressed including things like the holy kiss.

Thus Peter says in 1 Pet. 5:5: Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

John MacArthur put it this way:

There must be a character of submission in the church in that it submits itself willingly to the authority of God, to heed all the appeals based on truth, all the calls to righteousness. Paul is saying to the Corinthians, “Look, if you’re going to be the kind of church you ought to be and enjoy the perfection that I desire for you . . . there needs to be a pervasive submission to that which is authoritative from the mind of God to you.”

Nobody likes the “S” word. I get that. But rightly understood, it matters greatly for preserving the gift of unity in the church.

Submissive types hug; rebels self-protect. Which are you?

Nothing for Which Jesus Cares So Much (Part 2)

Today’s message from John 14:8-14 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here. Our apologies for the lesser quality of the audio. We had to resort to a back up recording source due to a glitch with our primary one. Thank you.

Here’s how I summarized the sermon:

So what have we seen as we move further into Jesus’ farewell discourse in this two-part message? Jesus’ loving care in thoroughly preparing His own for their mission points yet again to His identity as Messiah that we might believe in Him. There is nothing for which He cares so much as our faith. For bolstering that faith we look to His continual witness of words and His ongoing witness of works, both the ones He did in the flesh while on earth and the beyond-all-we-can-ask-or-think (Eph. 3:20) works He continues to do through we who believe as we faithfully pray in His name, claiming His authority and reflecting His identity.

So, dear ones, let us ask. There are exceptions, but more than not we do not put God sufficiently to the test. We fail to pray. Let us have praying homes, let us having praying leaders, let us have a praying church, especially when it comes to our mission near and far to engage peoples for pursuing ultimate satisfaction in Jesus. And let us allow the thought that to pray in Jesus’ name means that He is not just the savior of our sins but also the savior of our prayers through His death on the cross too compel us to come boldly especially in praying for the salvation of specific people, the spiritual growth of one another, and whatsoever else may promote the fame of the name of Jesus.

Praise God for the advantages that have come with Jesus at the Father’s right hand including the mighty means of access that is intercessory prayer!

6 Reasons to Be a Faithful Member of a Local Church

A friend of mine in ministry posted a link on Facebook to an article about church membership.

I am so grateful for over twenty-five folks in this fall’s edition of Discover OGC! I am looking forward tomorrow to sharing with them about the doctrines of grace.

Here is #3 of the reasons in this post:

You become a more committed part of a spiritual family. Joining a local church demonstrates a certain level of commitment. It shows that you want to be more than a bystander, that you want to be involved in ministry in a more significant way. Joining a local church is like entering into a covenant relationship with other believers in order to love them as an active part of a spiritual family (1 Jn 4:7). We also need the spiritual oversight and soul care of faithful shepherds (Heb 13:17).

I couldn’t agree more. You can read the entire piece here.

On Fry Pans & the Fire

In my message on Genesis 16 yesterday, I failed to mention this quote by Donald Grey Barnhouse:

If we seek to change our circumstances, we will jump from the frying pan into the fire. We must be triumphant exactly where we are. It is not a change of climate we need, but a change of heart. The flesh wants to run away, but God wants to demonstrate His power exactly where we have known our greatest chagrin. Life’s disappointments are frequently His appointments.

I meant to read that during point three, God’s prescription for us, that often involves our pressing into a difficult situation rather than running from it, particularly in some divinely appointed authority structure.

Oh for grace to be triumphant right where we are.