Offended G4624 (Skandalizo) To entrap; trip up; entice to sin, apostasy or displeasure | Hebrew H6586 (pasa) to rebel or revolt against another
Judgement G2920 kree'-sis; decision (subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension, a tribunal; by implication, justice (especially, divine law):—accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.
How we treat each other is a major component of spiritual growth. The old addage of "as long as I've got king Jesus, I don't need nobody else" is a false statement. We actually need each other. Review the file below, and see for yourself. The New Testament speaks on how we ought treat one another as a primary focus on the Church.
If you are able, please read Hebrews 8 before coming tonight.
So, last week, we talked about the idea of "Considering Jesus" at every stage of life. Knowing that God is omnipresent, it is clear that He was there at every event, every trial, trauma, good day, or bad day. So, when we consider the events in our past that have governed our lives, we can only conclude that Jesus was there -- for everything. As we stated last week, we ought to be asking questions such as: Why am I this way? Where did this issue/habit come from? Why do I feel this way? It may require that you take a journey backwards to see where certain things originated. It may also require that you revisit some traumatic and difficult events in life. Now, some may tell you that we ought to "forget the things which are behind." However, much of what we do in our attempt to forget is merely suppressing, not forgetting. Then, at a moment in time, those memories find occasion to resurface and cause you to experience the pain all over again. Healthy forgetting is when you can think of and find Jesus in the event, and at the moment. This way, when the memory resurfaces, we see Jesus. We see what He was doing in light of what the Bible speaks of His character and nature.
Whether it is sinful activity, abuse, trauma or anything that brings harm to you or through you, the nature of Jesus speaks this way: This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, And in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 10:17).
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So, if you are in Christ, your past, no matter how difficult, sinful, or traumatizing, should not have the right to govern your present or your future. So today, we will strip the past of its power to do so.
Here's some scripture to give an idea of where we are going:
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire (Luke 3:9).
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:15-17)
Two Versions of Me
Very often when our past governs us, we try to change our behavior to conform to present realities. In our hearts we do not want to be what we used to be, so we adjust our behavior. However, the scripture tells us: as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). What ends up happening is we learn how to act. We become pro-maskers when it comes to inner realities. Then every once in a while, we begin to bear fruit, despite our outward behavior.
No matter what you say, or how passionately you say it, the fruit you bear (Mt 7:17) tells the world exactly who you are...period.
When we lay the axe to the root, we bring Jesus into the equation to disempower the demonic governors of our lives. We have to cut down that entire tree. We must destroy the foundations.
On Friday May 7th, we will be gathering at the same time and same place, but it will be a "Member's Only" gathering. If you consider yourself a member of First Love Fellowship as a local church (1 Corinthians 16:19), I'd be honored if you'd come. I want to solidify the vision and mission of First Love Fellowship, and begin to establish a team so that we can do the work we are called to do. This is based on what you will find in Acts 6:1-7. I believe wholeheartedly that it is time we begin to assemble a team.
If you have been coming (or logging in) on Tuesdays for Night Watch, you will understand where I am going, here. Right now, and in response to Matthew 25, we are involved in several ministry initiatives that must be supplied with faithful volunteers, givers, and people who pray. Here are some of the ministries and activities we are involved in:
Make no mistake: We are a missions-driven church. We are not a Friday Bible study. This is real church that is here to take the great commission, seriously. I want us to reach the suffering with the love of Christ and the Father's promise of salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This will require that we allow the agenda of Jesus to interrupt our everyday lives. Still, to do this will require that certain ones among us are able to take ownership of certain ministries, and help fulfill them, as a church.
Every Friday, we have in our midst, an amazing group of people, some of whom identify as First Love Fellowship, and others who go to other churches, and visit us on Fridays. There are some visitors who show a level of dedication that rivals actual membership! For that, I am thankful. Over time though, it has become difficult to know who to call upon for certain functions because I am not aware of your level of commitment to this local church. (We will be covering what it means to be a local church, later. But in short, the Bible speaks of the Church of Jesus Christ, the local churches, and the ministries within the local churches. All of these things comprise of the Church). We are not complete if we identify as "The Church" without biblical standards set in place. More on that later. Stay tuned.
By now, you should be very aware of the book of Matthew, and also Romans 8. You should also be keenly aware of the ministry and baptism of the Holy Spirit which was so excellently taught by our dear brother Chris Foster. This is all a part of the big picture of Restorative Discipleship. Here is the reading for Friday: Hebrews 12...all of it. Read it slowly, today and we will continue our journey to freedom.
In week one of Restorative Discipleship, we established that the gospel was meant to be believed, and that this same gospel is the answer to EVERYTHING. In week two, we established that idea that you and I are just as much children of God as Jesus is to the Father. This week, instead of assigned scripture reading, I'd like you to review what has been said so far because on Friday, we are going to do open Q&A. I do not want to move forward without the assurance that we are all on the same page. So, please read the notes from the prior two weeks and BRING YOUR QUESTIONS so that we can answer them, together.
Now, here's something that is heavy on my spirit: "Woe unto them that are at ease in Zion..." Zion can be seen throughout the scriptures to represent the church. In my personal prayers, I grieve because of my fear that we are too relaxed. Let's move on from being church people to being disciples of CHRIST who can make a difference in this city. This discipleship is reflected in your prayers, worship, service, giving, witness, and lifestyle. Please, take seriously the scripture reading (as some of you currently are). Prioritize your giving so that the blessing of the Lord can fall on your household. Commit to coming to prayer on Tuesday nights. And finally, get involved in the work of the ministry. That's how you grow and develop your gifitng in Christ.
If you think you are already "there," then you only prove that you are not. None of us have "arrived." So, be humble. Be dedicated. Be generous. Be prayerful. But, please, DO NOT BE AT EASE, ZION.
By now you have read Romans 8. By the end of this lesson, It is my hope that you become spiriually minded. This is indeed, a requirement for true freedom. So in week 1, the guiding proinciple was that the gospel is the answer to everything. THis week, we will establish sonship with the Father.
For to be carnally minded is death, but to spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6).
If you live after the flesh, you shall die. But if by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Romans 8:13).
Second Principle: You are just as much a son of God as Jesus.
Goal: To commit to becoming spiritually minded
You inherited His mission, to SEEK and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
You inherited His POWER (Luke 10:19).
You inherited His sonship (Romans 8:29; Matthew 12:46-50).
Our mentality about what being the CHURCH must change. We are called to be spiritually active as sons and daughters of God, not as spectators and organizational volunteers. This is life.
Questions to discuss:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16).
Believing the Gospel
But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name (John 20:31).
First Principle: The gospel was meant to be believed!
Goal: To establish the idea that freedom is not just possible. It is promised.
By now, you should be finished with the entire book of Matthew. I asked that it be read in four days because I want it the teachings of Jesus to be fresh on your mind as we go through this lesson. Teachers teach, not to give you revelation, but to give you all the ingredients so that you can have revelation as you seek the Lord and continue studying the scriptures.
Romans 1:16 tells us: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, the just shall live by faith.
The Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. (Romans 1:17, NLT).
The Gospel is the POWER:
It is not stating that the gospel HAS the power. The gospel IS the power. This means all of us have access to the POWER through the revelation of His Word.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13)
Salvation: The original meaning behind the term includes deliverance.
Second Principle: The gospel is the answer to everything.
If a person cannot get past the doctrine of Christ part, they cannot be free. They can learn to cope with their trauma, but there is no real healing without Christ. Outside of Christ, there is only an illusion of freedom. True healing from Jesus is fellowship with the Father. His healing is not for this life only, but even for the life to come.
The goal of the gospel is not to feel better. The goal is not to change the situation. The goal is not even to reconcile. The goal is RIGHTEOUSNESS! The priority is this one thing: Righteousness through faith. The good news is that God has made a covenant that will remove the sin issue that separates mankind from Himself. He started with the Jews, but the salvation was for EVERYONE, including you. (Jeremiah 31:31).
Questions to discuss:
I am so excited about the coming weeks, that I cannot contain myself. But first, we have to conclude our teaching on the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. Tonight, we will look at the ministry gift of the Teacher: The Truth-Telling Theologian
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:10-11).
You might have the image in mind, already: the monotone, nerdy looking professor that stands in front of the classroom, endlessly rambling about some theological matter, ad nauseum. Or, maybe the cheerful old lady in the Sunday School class who knows more about the bible than the pastor of the church, but has been relegated to sharing with the children, because…women aren’t allowed to preach. Perhaps more than any other, the office of the Teacher is the most overlooked and undermined of the five-fold ministry. The church has turned this office into a classroom instructor, when it is far more than that!
Teachers were involved in the appointing and sending of Paul and Barnabas.
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away (Acts 13:1-3).
They are a part of the governance of the Church with a focus on the truth. To a teacher, the truth is what matters, period. Feelings, childhood trauma, issues of life, and even demonic torment are all subject to one primary question which a teacher will not allow to be overlooked: Is it biblically true? I have often said that wen a prophet is speaking, a teacher should be looking on, intently. In fact, teachers should make prophets shake in their boots. They are the “experts” in scripture – at least, more than others. They are the ones who laugh inside when a pastor tries to say, to say the Greek word, splagchnizomai. Still, there is an element of being a teacher that serves a greater purpose than biblical and theological accountability. They don’t just teach empty facts. They reveal God through the scriptures in order to keep the church focused on the truth. Just as the discipline of Apostles is to suffer, and the discipline of the prophet is intercession, the discipline of the teacher is to study, study, study. They do this, not only to be able to communicate facts, but to help people understand how to think and be curious about the truth; to never just accept things at face value. Teachers understand that we must not only know things, but we must also understand WHY we know things. Furthermore, teachers do not just engage the mind, but the spirit – the inner man.
Many who have this gift of teaching are called as elders/pastors of churches. They are strong in the area of giving instruction, and always have an answer when questioned. When everyone else is depending on the Holy Spirit to give them revelation, the teacher tirelessly studies – and the Holy Spirit meets them at their desk. The Spirit of God moves them to study, and they produce fruit that does not look glamorous, unless you are one who is interested in understanding the principles behind what we believe ourselves to know.
God as Teacher
Just as the gifting of Shepherd is a picture of Christ’s relationship with His Church, God reveals Himself as Teacher to His people: For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” (Isaiah 30:19-22).
Just as the fruit of the Teacher relationship with God is for one to destroy their idols, the fruit of a good teacher results in a person rejecting lies, and embracing truth – this is the way, walk in it!
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. – Mark 6:34
Teachers do their work, not only because they love the truth (which they do), but because they love people. That’s the dividing line between teachers who are true (in the sense of spiritual gifting and calling), and teachers who are not. Teachers study, not for their own academic ability, but for the sake of those who will hear. They sacrifice time, money, and even personal goals so that they can pour out their precious gift of knowledge to those who are hungry for God.
Teachers Teach with Power
“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 4:23-24
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:4-7).
You cannot separate the ministry of teachers from the demonstration of spiritual power. Those who are gifted in this area must not relegate their gifting to classroom instruction. Those who know, demonstrate.
If you do not begin to act in the role God has gifted you in, this will soon get old. It is vital that you find yourself in the study of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. Still, there are other giftings that may not look as spiritual, but are just as vital for the life of the church. We can find them in Romans 12:4-21, and 1 Corinthians 12:28, they include helps, governments, service, exhortation, giving, leadership, and mercy. Such gifts suggest an attitude in which we should function for the sake of the church. It is imperative that we discover HOW we should serve so that we can do so in a way that pleases God.
In order to do this requires a changed life through the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Next week, we will begin a conversation on Restorative Discipleship. I will be sending out notes BEFORE the gathering so that we can share together. It is vital that you attend these gatherings because more than anything else, this will include the central teaching at First Love Fellowship, and the fulfillment of our mantra to “win the church to Christ.” Not only will you find personal freedom and victory, you will also understand how to walk others into freedom and a discipleship relationship.
Remember why we’re doing this: For you to find yourself. The scripture says, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” You may not be called to the five-fold ministry, but if you are in Christ, you have SOMETHING. The time spent on these gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit ought to be seen as a journey of discovery. Whether you are a mature believer, or you are just getting started, it is vital, for the sake of the church, that you begin to operate in the spiritual gifts God has given the church.
Today, we will be looking at the ministry gift of the Pastor/Shepherd/Overseer. This ministry gifts has likely touched more individual lives than all of the other gifts, combined. It it the one most recognized by “institutional” churches. People study for years in seminaries, and Bible schools to attain the knowledge required to function in this office. Others serve in churches for years, looking to “climb the ladder” so they can be recognized in this ministry gift. Still, worldy pursuits do not grant the things which causes one to function in this ministry gift. The Father alone, gives such men and women to the church.
The Greek term for “Pastor” comes from a root word meaning, to protect. In a literal sense, it means “herdsman,” or “shepherd.” This term “Pastor” is used interchangeably with other terms in the New Testament such as “overseer” and “shepherd.” This person is one “whose care and control others have committed themselves, and whose precepts, they follow.”(Source). A pastor is a prophetic symbol of Christ (the Good Shepherd’s) relationship with His church. We can see this demonstrated in Ezekiel, when God corrects the shepherds of his day:
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
3Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
4The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them (Ezekiel 34:2-4).
Again, even in the Old Testament, the term “shepherd” spoke to the idea of guarding, caring, and ruling. It also suggests the idea of “looking upon with pleasure,” and to function as a “special friend.” (Source). According to the scripture in Ezekiel, there was correction because the shepherds were neglecting:
Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:14-15).
New Testament pastors function to help keep people in the faith, when the entire world is trying to get them to turn away. They run after the backslider. They are passionate protectors. Just as Evangelists are focused on introducing people to Christ, Pastors are laser focused on causing people to follow the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Pastors teach, but are not necessarily teachers. Their main concern is to teach people to follow Christ, and they function primarily in a discipleship role in the lives of the people in their care, with the expectation that those who are under their care will actually do the things they say. The author wrote to the church in Hebrews:
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch over your souls as those who must give an account. To this end, allow them to lead with joy and not with grief, for that would be of no advantage to you (Hebrews 13:17).
Pastors are leaders. As ministry leaders must give account as they watch over the souls of those they lead. They will have to stand before God, and speak, not only of how they treated their own selves and families, but also how they treated those God has placed in their charge. In their humanity, all are equal. In terms of authority, God has set pastors in place as a voice of spiritual accountability.
Even if you are strong, there is a need for accountability. Priscila and Aquilla are biblical examples of pastors (1 Corinthians 16:19, Acts 18:24-26). Although Apollos was ALREADY mighty in the scriptures, he needed to submit to pastors who could teach him more accurately. Timothy was also a pastor, as was (possibly) the Elect Lady of Second John. They were necessary to encourage the believers, guard against false teachers, and to teach the church to follow Christ. At times, pastors were charged to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5).
Pastors may be the most versatile of the five-fold ministry. If they are true, they love, genuinely. They care, not because it’s their job, but because they ACTUALLY care. Many give up dreams and desires to serve God in such a way. They open up their homes, set aside their time, contribute from their own resources, and they take hits so that those in their charge can be safe.
Who is an Evangelist?
Simply put, an Evangelist is an announcer of the good news that Yeshua has paid the price of redemption of man from the yoke of Satan and sin and that new, eternal life is possible in Him! Such men and women are personally consumed with the function of reconciling the lost to their heavenly Father to the degree that it becomes the primary thing they live for. They are wired to bear fruit in the form of souls coming into the kingdom of God. They also inspire people in the church to engage in telling others about the good news of the gospel, whether they are evangelists, or not.
Evangelists may not carry an apostolic burden. They are not necessarily the suffering sent ones. Neither are they necessarily prophets, who are interceding orators. They may not even have a pastoral calling or burden for the believers within a local body. Finally, evangelists may not have a masterful handle on many of the doctrines of the bible, as their message is very narrow: Jesus is alive!
Not everyone is an evangelist. Evangelists are ministers, chosen by God, Himself. Still, all believers have a calling and a charge to bring the good news of the gospel to others.
Evangelists in the Bible:
Phillip was the most prominent Evangelist in the New Testament. In this ministry, he:
PERSONAL BELIEF (But, take it seriously): If you are confirmed and appointed in the five-fold ministry (Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher), there must be some operation of the gifts of the spirit (signs and wonders) following what you do. The biblical examples of all of these ministries seem to show the operation of signs and wonders.
Question: What is the gospel?