16 Jan 2022
“We do not have to go through life alone; we have and we need brothers and sisters in Christ to come alongside us. The time of Christ’s return is fast approaching, and it is crucial for the Church to be ever ready, prepared, encouraged to serve in love and abound in good works. ”
A few background about myself. My name is Yu Fei and recently, I got married just five months ago. And interestingly, this is my fourth time preaching in the main service. The first time I was single, the second time I was attached, the third time I was engaged, and this is the fourth time I got married. So every time I come to preach the status changes. And I realized that marriage, in a marriage for the last five months, has been tough. And as Pastor Jason once said, marriage is tough but Jesus is enough. And I realized that in these five months of marriage, these two sinners coming together, working together in one union, desiring to love God and desiring to love one another. But it's two sinners coming together. And there are things that irritate me, there are things that irritate my wife. And I had for the longest time thought that I am patient, that I'm one of the most patient people in the world. I thought so until I was put in the position of marriage. I realized that there are little, little things that irritate me, I realized there are little, little things that make me frustrated. And I realized that what was happening to me, you know? Why? I thought that I'm patient, but what's happening to me in my life, in my marriage, and I realized that I need help. I need people that are older than me to come alongside in my life. I need mentors, I need the community to come and show me the way, point to me the biblical truth about marriage. I need Pastor Kay Hong and Auntie May, mentors in my life, to show me what are the blind sides of my life, to provoke me to love, to encourage me when I do well. And I realized that I need that - even as a pastor, I need the community in my life to come and support me. Interestingly, that is the sermon for today. We need people to come alongside us. We need to be coming alongside people around us in our community, in our church, as well. That's why this series on ‘one another’ is so important, because it's not about coming to church on Sunday only to learn about the Word of God but it is coming alongside one another as a body of Christ, to encourage and to love one another. You see, John Piper once said, “In other words, God means that the care that flows from Him through His Son (Jesus Christ) should come to the church not only through the elders (your CG leaders, your pastors) and not only through your family units, but also through the members of the church to each other”. That is what we want to focus on today - how we as a church can come together to serve one another, to love one another, to provoke one another unto love and good works. In fact, if you look at the Bible, there are so many verses, at least 100 verses, to encourage us to do the “one anothering”, to love one another, to greet one another, to be humble to, to live in peace with one another, to show hospitality, to forgive, to not grumble, do not complain, and so on and so forth. 100 over verses in the New Testament telling us to do the one-anothering. And that is what God desires us to do. In this morning, as we learn about the Word of God, I want to encourage you as the church, as one another, to build up the church in faith and let’s use our gifts, like what the previous preachers have talked about, to serve on one another.
The text today is taken from Hebrews chapter 10, verse 24 to 25. Let me read these verses again. “And let us consider how (as a church, a body of Community of Christ) to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” This morning, we just want to focus on these two verses. But let me give you some context of the book of Hebrew. We don't know who wrote the book of Hebrews. But one thing that we do know is that the writer of Hebrews had two primary purposes of writing this book, which is to encourage the saint to hold on to the faith and at the same time to not abandon the faith in Christ. That's the two primary purposes. And if you look at Hebrews chapter one all the way to chapter 10, before these verses, the Hebrews writer is trying to tell us that Jesus is more superior than Moses, than angels, than the OT priests and the OT sacrificial system. Then in Hebrews chapter 10, he gives us another aspect of the of Christian life, which is for us to know how we can as a church consider the one another. Hebrews chapters one to 10 tells us how we can consider Christ as the most superior being, God, far above and better than Moses, far above and more than angels and the religious system, and so on and so forth. Then in Hebrews 10, he tells us, “let us consider one another”. It is not just about our walk with God. It is not just about our devotion to God. It is not just about me loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength but it's also at the same time how we can love one another as how Christ loves the church, how we can obey the second commandment to love our neighbor as our self. And that is the focus for today.
How can we obey God?
You know, there's three things I want us to learn. First, if we want to obey God, because of what He has done on the cross, because of what Jesus has done, we want to obey Him. How do we obey Him? There are three things for us to consider this morning. First, let us learn how to stir up one another. Secondly, let's learn how to study. Thirdly, let us learn how to strengthen one another in the faith.
So number one, let us study. Let us study one another. “Let us consider” - what does “let us consider” mean? The Bible says “consider” and the original language tells us to notice, to pay attention, to look closely at. It means that when we come to church as we look at Christ, we also at the same time look at our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us pay attention to the needs of one another. Let us focus our needs so that we can learn how to bless and to serve one another in the church, in the community, in your CG, in your discipleship group, in your LOLMD group. It means to consider one another. That's why I said earlier that in Hebrews chapter three, God tells us to consider Christ and then in Hebrews chapter 10, He tells us to consider one another.
But you know what's the problem? The problem is that we love to consider ourselves. The first thing we do is always consider my own circles, my safety nets. The first thing that we always do is to consider how others can meet my needs when I come to church. But what if God called us instead of coming to church to be served, what if we come to church to serve one another? Instead of being self-absorbed, what about God calling us to consider the needs of others?
Look at this picture. This picture is taken about three years ago when we had a church camp. For some of you, a lot of you may not be in this picture, but for those of you that are in this picture, the first thing I guarantee is that you will be looking for yourself - Where am I in this picture? Interestingly, I have I look at this picture many times and I still can’t find myself. Somehow I do not know where I am. But that's how our sinful nature is, right? The first thing that we do is to look at my own needs only, but not the needs of others. Just like what Luzerne shared last week - let us not consider our own needs but the needs of others so that we can serve one another. What if considering others means that when we come to church, when we look at our brothers and sisters in Christ, we say, “What is your need in the church? What is your needs in your life?” We will begin to consider one another by asking questions “How is your day?” In our CG, instead of coming to be served, we are expected to come to CG to serve one another, to encourage one another, to pray for one another. So the first thing that we need to do is to focus our attention not on ourselves, but on other people in the body of Christ. Just think about this we are all bought by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are saved, not to be not to be soaking in ourselves, but we are saved to serve one another. And interestingly, in the book of Hebrews, the people are struggling and the people are facing a lot of persecution. And the more persecution comes, the more the writer of Hebrews is trying to tell us, you see all these things are happening in the world and as life is getting tougher and tougher, Church, let us not look our own needs only but let us consider, consider to do what? Consider to stir up one another to love and good works.
Up Recently, I just got my house. Finally, after 15 years of renting places, I finally got my own home, a beautiful home. And during the renovation, there was a lot of dust and me and my wife will be cleaning the house over and over again just to remove all the dust. But what happened was that I invited a bunch of youth over to my place after Youth service to have a meal together. And some of the CGs that I'm taking care of are the lower Secondary boys and girls, and they will come over to my house, and they will be eating, and when they're eating, somehow their mouths got hole and the food will spill over the floor. And during that time, because it's the new home, there's nothing at home and it's just plain floor with no tables and chairs and they will be eating and everything will be on the floor somehow. I do not know why. And what happened is that, because in my heart, I was like, it is a new home and I just mopped the floor like so many times already, and these youth come in and make a mess of the place. Then I saw a youth whose name is Louis. After eating together, the rest of them will still be chatting about the sermon, about life. And I will see this youth taking a step to the kitchen and asking me, “Yu Fei, where can I find tissues or towels?” And I will just point to the kitchen and he will come back and he will use the tissue to wipe the floor. He was considering my needs and he was serving me in my new home.
I mean, can you imagine when we come together as the body of Christ, where we are always thinking about others before ourselves? We will find ways, we will pay attention to the needs of one another, so that I can serve my brother or sisters in Christ. But when we are all alone, we can’t obey this command that God has given to us. So I encourage us as a church, that when we gather in the church service and in your community, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Let us provoke one another. The word “stirred up” means to provoke, to irritate, to cause an emotion that arises in your being. It means that when we come together as a church, we will find ways, we will plot in our minds. “Hey, today when I come to CG, when I come to church, there is a brother in need.” “Hey, my CG mates, one of the parents just passed away and he has emotional needs, spiritual needs, physical needs.” “Hey, I know of my brothers, across CGs in the church that are in need of something.” Hey, I will plot and I will consider and pay close attention to the needs of others so that I can stir him up to love and to good works and to encourage him. You know, sometimes we think that the word “provoke” or “irritate” sounds like a very negative word. In fact, God tells us not to provoke your child unto anger - it sounds like very negative. But this is not the kind that tells us to point fingers at one another and to be busy bodies in the lives of one another, and when we see the sin of one another, we go and poke him or irritate him so that he knows what is his mistake. The word “irritate”, “stir up”, or “provoke” in this text is trying to tell us that it is not to irritate them to anger, but to irritate them, to poke them, to holiness and to righteousness, so that they can serve God and so that they can love God more so they can grow in their sanctification and in their service towards God. It will be uncomfortable for your CG member or your church member to come and poke you all the time, isn't it? You will feel that who are you to come and tell me about this area of my life? But that's how God desires us to be as a church community. Let us look at the life of one another, to consider them, to stir them up and to poke them so that they can grow into holiness towards God. What if CGs were to come together not just to pamper and to encourage one another, but to ask some tough questions once in a while, regularly, or whatever you see fit? What if asking them, to the husbands: Are you loving your wife unconditionally, even in times of disagreement? What if, in a CG setting or in your community setting, we ask one another tough questions so that we are accountable to one another as the body of Christ? Wives, are you willingly submitting to your husband even in times of sdisagreement? How are you involved in any morally compromising activities, and so on and so forth. This is taken from LOLMD - life on life missional discipleship group material, and in the group, in this community of believers desiring to grow together, to love God more and to grow in our sanctification, we ask one another tough questions so that we can poke one another. Because sometimes we are so comfortable in our own spiritual life and we need people to come alongside us to ask tough questions so that we can walk in godliness and in holiness. We have a lot of blind spots and sometimes it's unchecked because no one asked us. What if today, when we come to church, we ask one another tough questions. What if we ask questions about our spiritual journey? What if we asked about our significance in our possession? How are we searching for significance in possession or accomplishment or relationship? Or we ask tough questions to some people that are struggling with pornography? Are you involved in any sexual activities or relationship outside of marriage? Or maybe we ask the tough question to the head of the family, to the husband, when was the last time that you prayed with your spouse or your children?
You see, God designed us to not just to be caring for one another but also at the same time, to provoke one another to love and to good works, to righteousness, to holiness, to sanctification, to a service towards Jesus Christ. Because there are some people that are neglecting to meet together as a habit of some. The author of book of the Hebrews was writing this to the people that are struggling because they are facing so much persecution during the first century of the church. People are trying to kill Christians, threaten Christians, and if you say that you are a believer, the people will come after you and they are facing a lot of trials and persecution. That's the reason why some of them are deciding to abandon their faith. It may be because of doctrinal issues but a majority of them, I believe that is because of the fear of persecution. That's the reason why they begin to neglect to meet one another. If you look at the Bible, in Acts, chapter two, they will be meeting one another every single day to fellowship, to be soaking in the Word of God, to be praying and to be serving and to be giving the needs of one another and so on so forth. But then, along the time when trials come, some of them begin to abandon their faith and some of them begin to think that it is okay, it is about my relationship with God and I do not need my brothers and sisters in Christ. And that's why the Hebrews’ writer is warning us not to neglect to meet together as a habit of some.
Today, there are many reasons why we are neglecting to meet one another, why we are not joining a CG, why we are not part of a bigger community, a smaller community that allows people to come alongside us. There are many reasons. Maybe it is a financial reason, maybe it is a distance reason, because my house is too far from church and my CG is from the east and I have to travel all the way to go to join a CG and it doesn't make sense. Maybe it's because of COVID reason or whatever reason. Maybe it is our children reason and they cannot wake up in time. Or maybe it's because our priority, our spiritual reason is already off and because our priority is no longer God and God's people, and it is all about me and myself. There are many reasons why people are neglecting to meet together as one body, as one community, as people that belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever the reason is, for today, for you and I, it is vital for believers to gather together to show one another the love of Christ, to support, to provoke to love, to great, to show hospitality to one another. I want to emphasize again, this verse is not talking about coming to church. It is not talking about coming to church for the one hour service and then we live our life unchanged and we just live with no interaction with one another. This verse is talking about coming to church, to a community, so that we can do the one anothering. It is not just about listening to the Word of God, but it is about the one anothering and how we can consider, look at our brothers and sisters beside us, look at our community in a CG or in the DG so that we can love one another when we gather as a body of Christ.
John Wesley says this, “The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.” It is not just about your relationship with God only. It is not just about loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. It is also at the same time about loving your neighbor as yourself. It is about the one anothering and you cannot obey the one another on your own. It doesn't match. It doesn't link at all. So I want to encourage us as a church. When we come to church, let us consider and pay attention to the needs of one another - check, greet, ask questions, so that we can provoke stir up one another in holiness, in sanctification, in service, because when it becomes a habit of some, we will begin to lose our faith, we will think that God is not important. And this guy, Chrysotom, says this, “As iron sharpens iron so also fellowship increases love; for if a stone rubbed against a stone sends forth fire, how much more person in contact with person!” I'm not saying that you can’t come online to worship God but I'm saying that when you come online to worship God, we still need an element where we come in contact with one another online or on site so that we can love, so that we can encourage one and another. It is easy to be coming online, in our comfortable seats. I know that because when I don't come on site, I will be on my beautiful sofa listening to Pastor Jason’s sermon and then finish already I will do my own thing. But what if coming to church means that after service, we begin to meet up with our brothers and sisters in Christ. What if coming to church for the one hour may not be sufficient for you because you may say that it is a waste of time. But what if coming to church so that after church service, after listening to the Word of God, I want to be changed by the word of God, and I want to do something about it, and I will want my brothers and sisters in Christ to come alongside with me to pray for me, to encourage me in my walk, to show me some areas in my life that I'm not doing well? What if after service we meet together in groups of five in this season and prayerfully next time is in groups of 10, in groups of eight, or prayerfully everything will be open? What if coming to church is not just attending service but desiring to meet up with one another so that we can bless and encourage one another?Coming on site helps us to do and facilitate that. It may not be on Sunday but it can be on your CG week on Saturday, or when two families come together and when the kids are playing on their own and then the parents can support and encourage one another. I pray that we will not be like this picture, that we will be working from home - not just working from home, but we will be doing church from home and everything at home and we will be so fat spiritually because we don't exercise our spiritual life anymore. We can be eating so much for the last two years, listening to the Word of God, going to different churches to listen to other churches’ sermons, going through all the sermons that PJ had preached before, and we can grow so fat spiritually. But it's time for us to exercise spiritually. Let's learn to serve one another in the church.
Martin Luther once said this, “At home in my own house, there is no warmth and vigor in me, but in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.” because when we see one another and worship God, even despite our trials and difficulty, wouldn't that warm my heart? When you see your brothers and sisters in Christ that are struggling big time but yet they praise, they leave up their hands and they praise God. Wouldn't that warm your heart to know that despite the person being in trouble, in struggles or in trials, he worships God? When you are at home, you can’t have that experience and warmth. But when we gather, when we pray for one another, something is different. Something is different because love is a community event. The Bible tells us in Ephesians, chapter three, verses 17 to 19, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints (with our brothers and sisters in Christ; it is a community event and effort to know and to grow in our knowledge) what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”. Love is the community event that we as a church must embark on. It is not just about you and yourself, your spiritual walk. It is also about your brothers and sisters in Christ.
So number one, let us study - consider the needs of one another. Let us stir up, when we come together not just to encourage but to stir up one another to love and to good works.
Thirdly, when we come together, let us strengthen one another. How do we strengthen one another? By encouragement, by praying, by other means of encouragement. The Bible tells us to encourage one another when we meet up together as the Body of Christ. The word “encouragement” means to strengthen, to comfort, to admonish, to console, to exalt, to pray, and so on and so forth. Why not as a church when we gather, we encourage one another? Why not the head of the house, when we gather as a church in your small community, family community, why don't you encourage your sons and your daughters to walk in faith? Why not as a church when we come together, we find ways and we find ways that we can meet one another's needs?
In Hebrews, chapter three, verse 13 to 14, the Bible tells us, “Take care, brothers, lest there be any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to walk away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today”, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”. Another reason why God gave us to encourage one another is because when we are all alone in our walk with God, sin can creep into our life and there is no one checking us or keeping us accountable. A story was told - PJ shared this story five years ago as well - a story was told of a Pastor meeting a church member and for a longest time, the Pastor knew everyone in the church and this new guy comes in and the Pastor was talking about a sermon of being in the Lord’s army and how we, as the Lord’s army, our desire is to pursue and to please our commander and how in the Lord’s army, we have to encourage one another and so on so forth. And then he met this church member who came to tell the Pastor (not Pastor Jason), “Eh Pastor, I am also in the Lord’s army.” but the Pastor was wondering, “But I haven't seen you for the longest time. Where were you in the last how many years?” And the guy says “Oh, sorry, Pastor. I'm in the Lord’s army but I'm a secret agent. I'm in the secret society. That's why you don't see me. That's why you don't see me because I only appear once in a while.” But in the kingdom of God, there's no such thing as a lone ranger and there's no such thing as a secret agent. Because in the Lord’s army, in God's kingdom, it is about the one-anothering. I pray that we will not be a ‘CEO’ Christian: Christmas, Easter and other events. But we will be Christians that are on fire for one another so that we can pursue one another and help one another to grow in our sanctification and in our service towards God, “lest our heart be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”. And you have no idea how we can be hardened by sins when we don't care and don't bother about ourselves or our relationship with God.
And the Hebrew author gave us a reason why. It is because, the reason why we need to stir up one another, consider one another, provoke one unto good works, strengthen one another, encourage one another, and that is because that Jesus is coming back. All the more you see that Christ is returning or all the more you see that Jesus is coming to rule and reign, or all the more you see of the Second Coming, all the persecutions or the signs of the end times, all the more when you see all these things happening in the world today, all the more we should come together as a church to encourage and to provoke one another unto good works. He is coming back. The first coming, He came to save us from our sins but He is going to come back again at a second coming and that time that when He comes is going to come to rule and rain and to judge men because of our sin. And the more He is coming back, or we know that He is coming back, that's why we have to get together to encourage one another. John MacArthur says this, “There is a eschatological urgency to the exhortation which requires an increased activity as the coming of Christ approaches.”. As He is coming, church, let's meet up together. If it is a group of five, we will meet up in groups of five. If it is a group of two, we will meet up in groups of two so that we can mutually support one another. In my marriage, I thought that I'm patient, right? But no, until there are conflicts, there are irritations that have happened to me, and I need brothers and sisters in Christ, people that have gone before me, to come alongside, me. I'll share this amazing story. It is the story of two youth that are mutually supporting and encouraging one another. Their name is Yi Tin and Megan. Megan is from another church while Yi Tin is from our church. And they are mutually supporting and encouraging one another in their school. They are desiring to serve the school. They are desiring to share the gospel to their friends in the school. And the person in the middle, her name is called Gab. She wasn't a believer last year but these two youths, as they go to school with a mission, they desire to share the gospel to their friends, and the three of them came together and asked me a favor - “Hey Yu Fei, can you conduct a Bible study with me on a weekday so that my friends can get to know the Bible and hopefully, prayerfully she will come to know the truth of the gospel?” And of course, me and my wife came together to serve them on every Tuesday or Thursday, we will serve them with the Word of God, going through books of books of the Bible, answering all their questions about God and their faith. And last year, January, just a month ago, the lady in the middle came to faith and she accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. And I asked her two weeks ago, I asked this question, “What made you come to faith? What encouraged you to come to faith?” It is because of the love of the brothers and sisters that she has seen in the life of Yi Tin and Megan and how both of them mutually encouraged and supported one another, poking one another to serve, poking one another to love God, poking one another to love one another and decided to do this outreach event to this youth.
I have no idea where you are in your spiritual life but I do know that we all have to take steps of faith. We have been so comfortable in the COVID period, isn’t it? Super duper comfortable already. But let us begin to take steps of faith as a church to consider, to come alongside someone in the church, to join a CG to be part of a community where all these activities can happen. Coming to church on Sunday is good but not enough for your spiritual walk. We need to be part of this one another community, a gospel community, a CG or whatever.
I want to end with this last word in this text, “and”. “And let us consider” and the word “and” leads us to think about what happened before these few verses. The reason why God called us to do all these things, to exhalt one another and so on so forth, is because of what Christ has done on the cross for us. And if we look at the context of Hebrews chapter 10, verse 19 all the way to 25: Hebrews chapter 19’s earlier verses tell us a summary of how Jesus is more superior, who Jesus is, what He has done, how His blood has paid the price for all of us in our for our sins and atoned for our sins. And he says this, “Therefore, brothers (because of what Christ have done), since we have confidence to enter (to access) the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he (Christ) opened for us through that curtain (that was torn from top to bottom), that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,”. And he gave us three exhaltations: first, let us draw near to God with full confidence; second exhaltation, let us hold fast to the confession of faith that we have in Christ Jesus, and then the third exhaltation, which is what we discussed this morning, is let us consider how to provoke and stir up one another to love and good works. And the reason why we can draw near to God, and the reason why we can hold fast to the confession of faith that we have, and the reason why we can encourage one another is because of what Christ has done for us on the cross 2000 years ago. He went to the cross, He tore the veil. Do you know what the veil is? The veil is the thick veil that prevents the high priests from anyhow entering into the holiest of holies, the presence of God. But because of what Christ has done, the veil was torn from top to bottom. It was a supernatural act from God to the Earth, from God to man, which symbolizes that now Christ has made a way for us to access the presence of God and for us to access the holiest of holies of God. That's why we as brothers and sisters in Christ, because of what Christ has done, we can pray in faith. That's why because of what Christ has done, we can come to draw near to God, to hold fast to the confession, and to exalt, to encourage, to provoke one another and to good works. It is really because of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings us to want to desire to be in a community, not just to hear, but to serve, to love one another. Let us draw near, and in the same text, let us hold fast. And then thirdly, let us consider.
My prayer for us as a church this morning is let’s find ways in our lives, in our family units, to consider what we can do to serve the church and to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ. If you are not in a CG yet, we strongly encourage you to be plugged into a CG. If God has called you not just to be served but to serve, maybe you want to consider to be a CG leader, you can talk to Pastor Jason or Auntie Suh Jiuan or the church ministry, and we want to encourage you and we want to come alongside you to support you, to equip you with the right skills to lead a CG, to host a CG as well. Because of what Christ has done on the cross, all the more that Jesus is coming back, all the more God calls us to do this.
I want to end with this last story. It is still a story of my marriage. Happy Ending - no, not really, not yet. 24th July, thank God I remember - on 24th July last year, I made a vow and a commitment to my wife. I will say - what is my vow? I can't remember. My wife, if you're watching, please forgive me. So I brought the vow with me here. And I remember I made a commitment. I made a covenantl commitment before God and before man, and it is something along the lines that say “to hold”. Okay, nevermind, I better read this. Okay, so the vow says this, “I promise to pursue you every day of our lives together, to think the best of you in all situations, to seek out the ways I can be sensitive to your needs and emotions and desires, to placing your needs over my own, to learn your needs to be loved so that I can communicate my love for you in a way that you will understand and appreciate - wow, very rou ma. But in summary, it means that it is a commitment. When I made the choice to marry my wife, of course, God really fully ordained and allowed all these things to happen, I want to make a choice to love my wife, to cherish my wife till death do us part, to have and to hold, for sickness or health and so on and so forth. Whatever happens, we are part of this covenantal relationship, in front of God in front of witnesses all around us. Till death do us part - it is a vow between me and God and between me and my wife. It is a covenantal relationship bought by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Till death do us part - it is a commitment. It is not suka suka where I can leave this relationship because it is a commitment.
Do you know that when we become Christians, we are part of this covenantal relationship with God and with one another? We are bought by the blood of Christ. That's why God calls us brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all bought, we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we are adopted by the Father and so on so forth, we are the chosen ones, we are part of this beautiful community bought by the blood of Christ. It is not cheap; it cost Jesus’ life. And we are in this relationship with one another in the church. Whether you like you or not, you're part of this. We are baptized in one body, one spirit, one hope, one faith, whether you like it or not. But it is a choice that we make on a regular basis. As we are part of this relationship, what do we do about this relationship that God has already given to us? My prayer is that we will find ways to encourage one another. For me, till death do us part. But biblically, it is till Jesus comes back comes back for us, to come back to rule and reign. And while we're waiting for His return, let us consider and find ways to encourage the body of Christ.
Let us bow with a word of prayer. I have spoken a lot and I repeated and emphasized some points here and there because I just want to draw us to this conclusion and application that we will indeed find ways to love, to provoke one another to love and good works, to consider and to study one another's life, to stir up one another to love and good works, and to encourage by strengthening one another in our walk with Christ. This journey will not be easy. No one can walk their spiritual life alone. Yes, we can love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength but what about our neighbors? What about our CG mates? What about serving the needs of the community and the body of Christ and your family and the people that have not come to know God? What if church is a bit different from what we desire? What if church is when we come together, we are seeing one another, greeting, showing hospitality, opening houses to meet the needs of one another, meeting with one another, till Christ comes back for us, to encourage and to love? Let's pray and commit our life, our family unit, our church, our CG unto God.
God, we want to commit our life unto your hands. Thank you that we are bought by the blood of Christ. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for being that perfect high priest that atoned for the sins of all mankind. Thank you for loving us, despite all of our failures. Thank you for forgiving us, despite that when we are rebellious against you. But thank you that you brought us together as a family unit, as a body of Christ, not to be served but to serve one another, not to look at our own interests only but look at the interests of others, how we can use our gifts to support, to encourage, to strengthen and to build up the church. So we commit our life into your hands, God. Lead and guide us. I pray that whatever is from You, You will let it grow in the hearts of Your people. But whatever is not from You, whatever is not the seed of the gospel, will fall to the ground and die. So we ask that you will help us, God, to be the church that you have desired us to be. We commit this precious morning into your hands. We thank you and we love you. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
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