Re:Verse passage –Luke 5:33-39 (day two)And they said to Him, “The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciplesof the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink.” vs. 33
The Pharisees are in the weeds. Just a few verses prior to this passage they are complaining to Jesus about who he eats with, and here they are concerned with whether he eats. As is often the case in these exchanges these religious leaders they have missed the point entirely. This tactic is not unknown to us. If we find that we cannot argue from a strong position, we attack peripheral or petty things. We focus on shallow unimportant areas that don’t ultimately move anyone forward. The next time you feel the need to push back on someone consider your position first. Are you operating out of love, and does it ultimately matter. Otherwise you’re just in the weeds.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty, and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Luke 5:33-39 in our Winter Re:Verse Series: “LUKE – Learning from the parables of Jesus.”
Unlike Paul’s epistles, James’ doesn’t end with a final greeting or prayers of thanksgiving. Rather, it ends very abruptly. It may seem strange as we read these two verses this week that this is the end, but we should not be surprised. This is par for the course given the style we have seen from James throughout the book. He is not afraid to get in your face and tell you like it is. Which is exactly how he challenges the readers to be. When you see your friend (day six) drifting in their faith, you go after them. You bring them back.
Why end here though? Why the abrupt stop? He stops because he wants to emphasize this one final command: a call to community. James recognizes that the Christian walk is not intended to be done alone. We need one another. We are BETTER when we are TOGETHER.
There is a kind of friendship where one will go after their friend if they have wandered off the path. This kind of friendship is responsible, careful, and present. There is a gentle strength to it, that you rarely find elsewhere. It is patient, but persistent. Willful but not overbearing. Life-giving rather than draining. Never afraid to say tough things, preferring to whisper when it does; harsh and loud rarely leads anyone back to safety.
This kind of friendship is a rare find indeed, but doesn’t have to be.
Like a gem, it is forged over time, with great intentionality, and God-centering pressure.
“My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back,” Does it make you uncomfortable to fathom that you might get “off track” in your faith?Have there been moments or seasons when you/we “strayed from the truth” in either doctrine or behavior? Part of God’s design for the Christian life is to live it in community- with other believers- to be vulnerable and transparent with one another. God uses other believers to encourage, correct, and restore faith. Has He done that to you?Through you?Do you have those kinds of believers in your life?If so, will you thank them?If not, will you find them?
“If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4
Today, we are pressing the pause button on Re:Verse…our hearts are hopefully turned to Thanksgiving. In our nation’s history, the pilgrims recognized God’s hand in delivering them from starvation and death. Their hearts were turned in gratefulness to Him. We have seen God’s guiding hand of provision all through the past 450 years since. In more recent days, each of us can look back over our individual lives and see the hand of God at work. When we see all that He has done, how can we not be moved to gratitude?
As you sit down today before a feast of food, pause to reflect on the specific blessings you can see in your life…life itself, family and friends, health and happiness, food and provision, shelter and protection, joy and peace of heart, guidance and wisdom, love and security. God’s richest blessings are ours. We sometimes fail to see these blessings because we use the wrong measuring stick to measure them. Psalm 95:1-7a establishes the standard that should govern our lives! Count your Blessings!
“He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
Policing or shepherding – this is the choice facing all disciples of Jesus Christ regarding life together. Does Christ mean for the church to consist of good citizens, or people of promise? If it is the former, then we have no choice but to police one another in attitude, in behavior, and finally, in thought. If it is the latter, then we must submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, because the brother or sister in whose presence we stand will one day reign in glory. Jesus looked at Simon and saw the end from the beginning: You are Peter, a rock. Every interaction with him from that point took its cue from what Simon could become.
My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back,20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
The need to have others in our lives to help shape our faith and hold us accountable is immeasurably valuable. To be a disciple and a disciple maker is part of the ongoing working out of our faith as we navigate this mortal journey. Where are you on this spectrum? Are you being discipled? Is there someone in your life that you need to disciple? This is not an either/or proposition, this is how we do faith. Getting forward as a body of Christ contains an element of accountability. Let us all be praying for God to reveal who we can partner with today.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. vs 16a
In the middle of a passage about healing physical sickness, James tells us that if we really want to be healed, we need to confess our sins. His reasoning for the correlation is threefold. One, sin is the root of sickness. God is not punishing someone because of their sin, but sickness is a result of the brokenness created by the fall. Sin exists; therefore, sickness exists. Secondly, spiritual wellness is paramount to any physical wellness. This is why Jesus would always say after healing someone, “Your sins are forgiven.” If our soul is not well, fruits such as joy, patience, and peace that are necessary to withstand trials will not be readily available. Lastly, by confessing to other people, you enable accountability. Not only will these brothers and sisters help you eradicate the sin, but they will come along side you when the going gets tough to give you encouragement and counsel. Confession is a necessary step in healing.