Sunday, December 20, 2015

Consider One Another

When one considers another, there is a special kinship that occurs between them. When a congregation considers one another, there is a whole family involved in the concerns, fears, doubts, difficulties, temptations, trials, etc. of each other. Within that context, consider that we should not be selfish, only caring for ourselves. We will likely only get so far by ourselves, but “two are better than one…and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:9-12). “Strength in numbers” is a phrase we’ve likely heard throughout our lives. Here the Hebrews writer encourages brethren to be thoughtful of each other and to “provoke unto love and good works.”

~Wayne Rodgers

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Worshipping God in Prayer

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18 KJV). This is part of Paul’s ARMOR OF GOD finale in his letter to the church at Ephesus, the ever-needful reminder to be in prayer “always.” In the Thessalonian letter, Paul called on the church to “pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:17-18).

While the early church engaged in prayer in their daily lives, we also are able to see that it was a vital part of the worship assembly in the early church, as well. “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles 'doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he instructed how to “conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15, NKJV), teaching him that “men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands…” (1 Tim. 2:8). The instruction for men was given to lead those prayers and that their lives should reflect holiness “without wrath and doubting” (2:8b). As in all of our worship activities, it should be men who are leading as Paul would a few verses later give reason: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:13, 14).
With that in mind, consider that God Will Answer Our Prayers IF We:
  • Are Obedient (1 John 3:22-24)
  • Do The Will of the Father (John 9:31)
  • Are Righteous (1 Peter 3:12)
  • Abide In Christ (John 15:7)
  • Ask According to Lord’s Will (1 John 5:14)
  • Pray in Faith (Matthew 21:22)
  • Ask In Faith (James 1:5-7)
  • Have the Right Motive (James 4:3-6)
  • Pray With Understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15)
  • Pray Intensely (Matthew 7:7-11)
  • Pray With Thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6)
  • Pray in Jesus’ Name (John 14:13-14; Col. 3:17)
~Wayne Rodgers

*The above list is found in Sain Publication’s READY REFERENCE For Growing Christians. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Worshipping in the Lord's Supper

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom” (Matthew 26:26-29, KJV).
The words of the beautiful song, When We Meet In Sweet Communion, so appropriately describes the sentiment of the Lord’s Supper:
When we meet in sweet communion where the feast divine is spread
Hearts are brought in closer union while partaking of the bread
God so loved what wondrous measure! Loved and gave the best of heaven.
Bought us with that matchless treasure, Yea, for us His life was given
Feast divine, all else surpassing, precious blood for you and me
While we sup, Christ gently whispers: “Do this in my memory.”
Precious feast all else surpassing, Wondrous love for you and me.
While we feast Christ gently whispers, “Do this in my memory.”
Let us consider the Meaning of the Supper:

It is a Memorial

Paul instructs the Corinthian church of Christ that Jesus had taught: “do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:23-25). It is in the Lord’s Supper where we are to commemorate the death of Jesus upon the cross whereby He made possible salvation (Mt. 26:28; Eph. 1:7) and brought about a New Covenant (Heb. 9:16). Just as the Passover was a memorial of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, so the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of our Lord’s death, which makes possible our deliverance from the bondage of sin.

It is a Proclamation

Paul continued in 1 Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.” The Supper preaches a sermon in itself. We are saying we believe in Jesus’ death for our sins. We are also saying we believe in the Lord’s return, because we preach this sermon until He comes again. The Lord’s Supper looks forward as well as backwards, and His disciples who trust in His redemption and anticipate His return will observe it.

It is a Communion

In the previous chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul spoke of the Lord’s Supper in terms of communion or fellowship. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10:16-17). We share in the blood of Christ and in the body of Christ.
The observance of the Lord’s Supper is to be done in reverence (1 Cor. 11:27, 29). It is also to be taken with self-examination of how we partake of it (v. 28). Paul reminds the Corinthians about “discerning the Lord’s body” (v. 24, 27). Therefore, when we partake with our minds occupied or pre-occupied with something other than “remembrance” of the Lord’s death (v. 26, we become guilty of that death (v. 27) and ultimately would stand “condemned” (v. 32).
The observance of the Lord’s Supper is also to be done with other Christians. The joint participation or “communion” with Christ and with other Christians shows forth a unity whereby we can rightly be called “one body” (1 Cor. 10:17). The Corinthians had been guilty of division and factions and so it was “not possible to eat the Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor. 11:20). The observance of the Supper was to be done often. We know it was done weekly (Acts 20:7). It was done on the first day of each week as evidenced in the weekly assembly of the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 10-11; 16:1,2).
One has rightly said: “Our spiritual lives are dependent upon the value and benefits of our Lord’s death on the cross.” Therefore, a weekly observance of this great memorial helps us to live appreciatively and accordingly.
~Wayne Rodgers

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Worshipping God in Preaching

The early church of Christ “continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine” [teaching] (Acts 2:42). This was a part of the first worship service of the church that took place on the Sunday during the Pentecost feast in Jerusalem (Acts 2). This is indicated in the list of other activities that were taking place along with this teaching [i.e. “fellowship, breaking of bread, prayers”].
Preaching is defined as “publicly proclaiming or teaching; delivering a sermon or religious address to an assembled group of people, typically in church.” Preaching has its place throughout the Bible, but always finds priority among God’s people,  especially New Testament Christians, for regular instruction or teaching unto righteousness.
Numerous passages remind us of its purposes:
  • To proclaim and teach of Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Cor. 4:5)
  • To teach all nations / all the world (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16)
  • To hear and believe in the Gospel (Romans 10:13-14)
  • To grow in our faith (Romans 10:17)
  • To grow unto maturity (2 Peter 1:off)
  • To grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18)
  • To become teachers (Hebrews 5:12-14)
  • To be able to defend (1 Peter 3:15)
  • To keep our focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2)
  • To stay focused on the prize of Heaven (Philippians 3:14)

J. Winfred Clark wrote an article years ago and then republished in EXPOSITIONS OF THE EXPOSITOR entitled The Fruit of Sound Teaching from Titus 2:1 which reads: “speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.” This article included below reminds us of the place of Gospel Preaching in our worship services and in our daily lives.
The results of the preaching of the Gospel:

There Would Be a Balanced Life (v. 2-10)

If you take the time to read through these verses, you will find those things addressed to each group that would help them to live mature and complete lives of godliness. In fact, you will find the phrase, “in all things” in verse 7, 9, 10. That means one’s life is affected in all things, whether in his talk or his walk, whether in public or in private. Sound teaching will govern his life and lip in all that he does or says.
Not only is there balance in each life in each group, but there is also that balance to be maintained between each group. Note the term “likewise.” This means there is no double standard.

There Will Be a Blameless Life (v. 3-5)

The life that is affected by sound doctrine will be in accord with holiness. Such will mean their speech will be blameless, for they will tell the truth as they are not false accusers. This is in contrast with the reputation of those on the isle of Crete. There will also be temperance as they are able to control themselves.

There Will Be a Beautiful Life (v. 6-10)

In this section, one is able to show by his manner of life what the gospel will produce. His manner of life will attract people to that which produces such. Such a life is attractive and is made to be so by the teaching of Christ. Such a life will be well ordered and properly arranged by the guidelines set forth by sound teaching.
The preaching of the Gospel of Christ affects change to all those who believe (Romans 1:16). May we never take for granted the part of our worship services characterized by preaching and teaching.
~Wayne Rodgers
Clark, J. Winfred. Expositions of the "The Expositor": J. Winfred Clark. Ed. Michael McDaniel. Vol. 1. Memphis, TN: Memphis School of Preaching, 2001. Print.