Your Faith is Important!
· No one, in the Lord, is unimportant! There are 27 names listed who were Paul's friends and who helped him. Many of them-nine, in fact-were women. This is a testimony to the importance of personal relationships, of cooperation (working together for a unified vision and purpose), and the value of encouragement!
· It has been said that the service we give to others is the rent we give to live on this earth!
· Paul wholeheartedly and passionately warns that divisions will destroy the church! Paul admonishes us to discern between standing for truth and causing unrighteous divisions, confusing people's faith, and their relationship to God.
· Nothing will destroy a church or ministry quicker than strife, competition, dissension, and gossip, all of which eventually lead to divisions in a church. True faith will not allow this (Rom.13: 13; Gal. 5:19-20)! Such dissension causes "offenses," that is, it becomes a snare or stumbling block to others (v.14: 13).
· Many people call Christ, "Master and Lord," but they are far from serving Him. They serve only their carnal, sensual, worldly interests. That is, a "what is in it for me" attitude and mindset! They corrupt the church by deceiving its heart and the people with misdirected and corrupted passion.
· Those who seed strife and make divisions in the Church are not doing Christ's work, but are attempting to gratify their own selves. They cause people to follow a person and not the Person of Christ! Contentious, divisive people will cause others to stumble, so they must be avoided, and disciplined, which means removing them from fellowship if they persist (1 Cor. 5:9-13; 2 Thess. 3:6; 2 Tim. 3:5; Titus 3:10)!
· Divisive people destroy the peace and unity of the church, but God, who is the source of peace, will crush this work of Satan through the wisdom and obedience of believers. (v. 8:28).
· This is so we will not be deceived. Pledge yourself, defiantly, not to be a deceiver.
· Faith will grow and prosper in times of affliction and sorrow only when we face Him and not the situation! God allows tough stuff to happen to us to grow us better, and for us to be of better use to others around us. It is to increase our trust and dependence uponim and remove the distractions that happer our growth. SuffChrist; this will fuel our need for Him and move us away from our selves.
1. How can you be better at honoring and acknowledge others?
2. How would you react to someone "chastising" as well as "encouraging" you? How you handle this will point to your faith and maturity in Christ; how much maturity and faith do you have?
3. How would you feel if the church leadership came to you and told you that what you had said or done could hurt the church?
4. How does order apply to running a church?
5. Would you feel secure and more comfortable in a church that quickly put down division? Why?
6. What happens to the people when a false teacher gets in a church or a ministry? Why was Paul so passionate about removing false teachers?
7. How can your church be more open to people of different backgrounds?
8. How does the "me first" attitude and mindset affect your faith and the church?
9. How can you and your church keep your hearts open to the Spirit with passion, and guard with all diligence that which is contrary to God's Word and plan?
10. How can you find hope and encouragement in phrases such as, approved in Christ, chosen in the Lord, the God of hope (v. 15:13) and the God of peace (v.15: 33)?