Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fruitful Living - Faith/ Faithfulness

Listen to audio for illustrations, discussion & additional insights....

Tonight.. we are going to investigate another characteristic of the fruit -  Faithfulness but first let’s talk about Faith.

Faith – many of us struggle to have more of it. We think at times: If only I had enough faith my prayers would be answered.
Have you ever considered the relationship between faith and faithfulness? Faith is not an action; it is a response. If we strive to have faith, we may be miserably disappointed. But if we learn to trust HIS faithfulness, we will take leaps of faith. 

So let’s dig in to what faithfulness means:

1. Adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal.
3. Having or being full of faith.
4. Worthy of trust or belief; reliable.
5. Consistent with truth: a faithful reproduction of the portrait.

The faithful: 2. The steadfast adherents of a faith or cause


faithful·ly adv. faithful·ness n.
Synonyms: faithful, loyal, true, constant, fast1, steadfast, staunch1
 Faithful and loyal both suggest undeviating attachment,
 loyalty that is not easily deflected
Steadfast strongly implies fixed, unswerving loyalty: a steadfast ally.
Staunch even more strongly suggests unshakable attachment or allegiance

WOW – consider these words and definitions as it relates to God’s faithfulness toward us… look over them again… God is ____________ toward us!!!

Ps 145:13b says  “ The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.[a]
The Greek word for faithfulness means ‘firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, reality’. It carries the idea of giving someone credit. Think about it: you focus your deepest faithfulness on those things that are most ‘real’ to you. Make sense? So in a nutshell, faithfulness is believing the reality of a sovereign God. It goes beyond believing ‘in’ Him to believing ‘on’ Him.. what’s the difference? Believing Him the day-to-day stuff of life – in our work, in our homes, relationships, finances, in the crisis – Do we believe who He is and what He says?

There is a very important truth to be discovered: The degree of our faithfulness is the direct result of our regard for God’s faithfulness. 
To quote Beth Moore in Living Beyond Yourself: Faithfulness is resting in His certainty, being persuaded by His honesty, trusting in His reality, being won over by His veracity (Conformity to fact or truth; accuracy)..being sure that He is sure and believing He is worth believing. 

Ex 34:6  “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
What does it mean that He is abounding in love and faithfulness?

Hebrew word translated as abounding means abundant, exceedingly full, great. It refers to both quantity and quality! So… the faithfulness we are discovering in God is not applied to His children in modest portions…it is exceedingly abundant above all we ask or think (Eph 3:20).

As we spend time in our groups tonight… we will consider God’s faithfulness being played out in the word as we read through Ps 33:4, Ps 111:7-8, Ps 145:13

God tells us He is faithful based on three major characteristics: 1) He is certain, 2) His Word is truth, 3) He & the Word are enduring…  His Word exists, it is truth, it will last forever.  God could not be faithful without certainty..He must be dependable. He could not be faithful without truth…because He must be trustworthy. God could not be faithful without endurance… for He must persist.

We find the culmination of God’s faithfulness in Jesus Christ – God’s guarantee for each of us.  2 Cor 1:18-22 “ 18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas[a] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Now… let’s move into the faithfulness of God’s people/ us. Heb 11:1-39 gives us an amazing list of some of the historically faithful of God’s people – heroes of the faith. – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Rahab, Gideon, David, Samson, Samuel, the women, prophets and others…. Each were honored by God for having believed what they could not see… Let’s read Heb 11:1-6 1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
 4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
 5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
What is the definition of faith here? And what are the promises?

And without faith.. it is impossible to ‘please’ God.  God created us to bring Him pleasure.. ever read the book “Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever”? – excellent read that speaks to this topic very well. Are you still searching about how to please God? Searching for your calling? Bottom line is: our calling is to please and glorify God!  Period! Wake up every morning and say ‘yes, Lord’.. and then live through the day discovering each thing He asks of us to bring Him pleasure and glory.

Why does it take faith to walk with God (Enoch)? Do you ever grow weary of riding the roller coaster of faith?  Every one of us has and maybe does currently determine our faith by one of two things: 1) we base our faith on what God does or… 2) we base our faith on who God is!  Which are you doing currently?

The first lives by the unspoken motto – I believe God as longs as He does what I ask. My faith is building on how often and how well God answers prayers – totally dependent upon results that are fueled by sight. Hmmm.. doesn’t quite sound like faith at all does it?   The second is a steadfast walk with God for the relationship – the pleasure of His company and understanding the pleasure we bring to Him. Prioritizing who God is will help us more accurately interpret what He does – we can trust His heart.

One final important part of faithfulness is ‘faith in action’. One of the definitions helps us discover that from the Hebrew word we find the basic meaning of ‘believing God’. However, true faith always takes action. It is all about appropriating what God in Christ has for us which always results in transformation of character and way of life. In other words, our faith always shows outwardly.

Often we look at the word faith and use the word trust interchangeably…  I think we can have faith and not trust.  How?  We can believe/ have faith.. even in many things… (EXAMPLES)       and of course, we have faith in God.  The difference is: trust makes it personal. We have faith that gets personalized.. that’s trust.
The other evidence is not only in the change in character that happens when we appropriate that faith (trust) but also shows outwardly in our deeds/ works…

James 2:18 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
John 14:12
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Finally.. let’s consider the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18….
What part is faith in the armor?  The shield talked about in Biblical times was a plank of wood – 4 ft x 2-1.5 ft ..picture that then picture it being overlaid with linen and leather which were usually treated with a substance that extinguishes flaming arrows.
In reality, the shield was the part that covered all the other pieces of equipment in battle.
God designed our faith to be that same kind of protector. When we are convinced that God is believable and we respond to Him in faith practically nothing can get through to us. But when our faith diminishes, our shield begins to drop and we are vulnerable to the enemy.
Satan will stop at nothing to get us to lower our shield. He works very hard at stacking up tangible evidence in opposition to God’s assurances. He delights in getting us to doubt and believe lies (note re: next class). He studies our weaknesses and then aims where we’re vulnerable. One of his priorities is to keep us from really believing God… for salvation (ever doubt that?), and also for completion.
Two tactics he will use is 1) fear – we are not talking about appropriate types of fear here but fear that is destructive. Where great faith lives, destructive fear cannot survive. Satan will take advantage of every human fear we have – fear of disappointment, humiliation, fear of rejection and the list goes on and on…  We must cling to Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” KJV..  NIV says timidity, self-discipline…

So how do we win the battle?  The pitiful powers of the world and Satan have nothing compared to the armies in heaven fighting on our behalf! Fear cripples faith.. BUT..just as quickly, our faith cripples fear!  YES!  Whether fear or faith prevail depends solely upon the commander we are saluting.  Who are you saluting?
God is faithful whether or not we believe Him.. He will do what He promised… we can trust Him – trust His faithfulness and allow Him to cultivate faithfulness in us through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.



GROUP WORK
FRUITFUL LIVING – FRUIT: FAITHFULNESS

1.    How does God want you to respond to what you heard this evening?
2.    Consider God’s faithfulness being played out in these verses – Discuss.  
   Ps 33:4 For the word of the LORD is right and true;
   he is faithful in all he does.
– In what areas is God’s faithfulness?
   Ps 111:7-8 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
   all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
   enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
: In what area of your life do you most need God’s trustworthiness right now?
   Ps 145:13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
   and your dominion endures through all generations.

   The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises
   and faithful in all he does.[a]
: Which phrase in this verse means the most to you at this time in your life?
3.    Are you appropriating faith making it personal (trusting)?  How? 
4.    Discuss steps you can take to increase this character of the fruit faithfulness in your life based upon this lesson.

Fruitful Living - Goodness - taught by Robbie Sedgeman


Goodness


A few weeks ago, we looked at kindness as one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit.  Kindness is all about our heart.  It is not simply a considerate or caring action, it is the intention of our heart to feel and be nurturing towards others.  A kind person has a nurturing spirit and a loving heart, wanting only the best for others, as a parent desires for their child.

Goodness is distinct and separate from kindness.  (See ‘For Further Study’ below for a comparison of kindness, goodness and gentleness.)  In its essence, goodness is righteousness, the goodness of God.  It means moral excellence and spiritual excellence.  It means desiring all that God desires for our world and for people and acting upon that desire. 

The technical Greek meaning of goodness is “benevolence” and it has the implication of action – an “active good.”   When I first approached this study, my assumption was that kindness was more active and goodness was more a state of the heart.  But the opposite is true.  Kindness emphasizes the tender, soft heart of wanting good for others, whereas goodness more actively carries out those good intentions. Beth Moore states, “We have not only been called to the attitude or disposition of kindness, but also to energize that character into acts of good.”  God intended our righteousness to express itself in good works.  2 Thessalonians 1:11 says it best:  “That God would fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness in us.”

Goodness – everything excellent & profitable  - even unpleasant things
Using God’s Word to define and explain God’s Word is the surest way to get to the truth of a matter.  In Titus, God defines goodness as those things that are “excellent and profitable for everyone.”   Titus 3:8 states:  “Those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.  These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”   God’s goodness will take whatever action is needed to bring about good in others and to bring about good for others – whether that action is subtle and kind or a sharp rebuke. 

Doing good is not always fun or easy or pleasant, nor is it based on what is most popular or what will be accepted by others.  God does not ‘water down’ his goodness for individual tastes.  The following are a few examples of times when doing good was not pleasant.
·         Paul has a thorn in his side to keep him humble.  (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
·         The persecution of the church in Jerusalem which led to believers being scattered and preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth.  (Acts 8:1-4)
·         Paul persecuted by the Jews in Macedonia which led him to preach to the Gentiles.  (Acts 18:5-6)
·         Jesus died on the cross and the curtain to the Holy of Holies split in two, that we might enter into God’s presence.  (Matthew 27:50-51).
·         Jesus overturning the money and trade tables in the temple to cleanse it of greed and hypocrisy. (Matthew 21:12-13)

The last example, of Jesus overturning tables in the temple, is a great example of goodness expressed in a harsh rebuke.   But, like Jesus, we must be careful to temper that rebuke with the kindness of the Spirit.  Satan can most easily hinder a good work when we allow our tempers or attitudes to harden our hearts.  The result then ends up being harsh criticism instead of constructive correction.  Beth Moore says it this way:  “without kindness, goodness becomes harsh and self-righteous.  Without goodness, kindness becomes indulgent tolerance.  Only the Holy Spirit can balance and grow these essential qualities in our lives.  Remember, love, joy, peace, patience and kindness precede goodness!  God has a very good reason for so often coupling kindness and goodness in His Word.  Kindness provides the safeguard for misguided goodness.  In this concept (of kindness and goodness) we see a major reason why God only entrusts the fruit of the Spirit to those filled with the Spirit.  You must be yielded to God to be a proper vessel of confrontational goodness.” 


Trained to do Good Works
Titus 3:16-17 states, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

God’s goodness involves not only correcting or rebuking others for their good, but also receiving rebuke or correction for our own good.  Learning, being corrected and changing as a result of the correction equips us for good works.  We must stay in the Word and the will of God to carry out his good work in our lives.  Whether we are doing good onto others or be training into righteous, it is not always pleasant, but as Beth Moore says, “God’s Word prioritizes goodness over gladness because God knows that goodness ultimately brings gladness.


Appointed to do Good Works
Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.   God has a plan and a purpose for our lives that includes the mission (the good works) he planned for each of us to do.  That could be a multitude of things, such as parenting, teaching, going on missions trips, being a light in your workplace, or standing up against abortion or some other cause.  We each have a purpose, whether it’s changing the course of the nation or the course of one life.

God also has ‘everyday good works’ for us to do.  God is interested in our daily lives.  Many people are prone to think of daily life as mundane, but God has purpose in each day!  We impact others positively or negatively each and every day – whether we purpose to or not.  Perhaps your day includes having that difficult drug discussion with your teenager.  Or lovingly confronting a co-worker about their negative attitude.  Or standing up for someone being bullied.   Or smiling at a stranger.  Or slowing down on the way to the checkout counter at the grocery store to let someone else get in line ahead of you! 

Everyday we have an opportunity to let the Holy Spirit work through us to bring God’s goodness into the world.  Our part is to submit to his promptings.  We can ensure we are thoroughly trained and ready for those opportunities by staying in his Word and making a conscience decision to set aside our will for His.  Here is another nugget of wisdom from Beth Moore:  “Goodness is never a personal issue, nor a personal platform, nor for personal gain.  It is never the means by which we take up for ourselves or pamper our opinions.  Remember, good works are always appointed, never assumed!”


Equipped to do Good Works
God not only prepares and appointments us for good works, he also equips us for them.  When we are saved, we don’t go immediately to heaven.  God leaves us here on earth to work out his purposes.  We each have a specific mission and he has given each of us the ability to carry out that mission.  1 Corinthians 12:4 & 7 tells us that there are “different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit and that each person receives the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  The gifts of the Spirit, as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous power, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues and interpreting tongues.  Verse 28 lists these parts of the body of Christ:  apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, gifts of healing, helping others, administration, and speaking in tongues.  Romans 12:6-8 lists these gifts:  prophesy, serving, teaching, encouraging, contributing to the needs of others, leadership, and mercy.  Do you know your gifts and talents?  If not, start exploring by taking a class on talents and gifts.  Or study God’s Word on the topic.  You could also start sampling different ways to serve God and notice which areas of service energize you. 


Shrewd as Snakes
It may already be apparent, but I think it warrants pointing out that doing good and being kind does not mean being walked over.  Many people have an unspoken conviction that being a good Christian involves being na├»ve to the ways of this world.  But in Matthew 10:15, Jesus told his disciples, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.  Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.   Jesus calls us to the essence of kindness by commanding us to be as innocent as doves – to have a tender, gentle, nurturing heart.  But he also calls us to be as shrewd as snakes.  We can keep tenderness in our hearts while at the same time being mindful that there is evil in this world, and that there are definite ‘rights and wrongs’ and there are those who want to harm us. 

But God never leaves us on our own.  He has also given us this promise in 1 John 5:4:  everyone born of God overcomes the world.”  Through the precious Holy Spirit we can increasingly become filled with the righteousness of God and spread that goodness throughout the world, starting with our families and friends and expanding into our neighborhoods and places of work and beyond.  Everywhere we go and every person we encounter presents an opportunity to be God’s goodness in the flesh.



For Further Study - Comparison of Kindness, Goodness & Gentleness
The similarities and differences between kindness, goodness and gentleness can be hard to sort out.  My favorite way of differentiating the three is to think of ….
·         kindness as having the heart of a loving parent toward everyone
·         goodness as righteousness
·         gentleness as the meekness described in Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”  God’s meekness is strength under control. 

The following is a brief listing of different translations and definitions to help you find your favorite way to differentiate between the three.

Different translations of kindness, goodness, and gentleness
Kindness….some translations use ‘gentleness’…commentaries discuss a good heart attitude

Goodness…. always translated goodness...commentaries refer to love in action & sowing goodness instead of evil

Gentleness…some translations use ‘meekness’…commentaries refer to the right use of power & authority; power under control

The Message
Kindness       a sense of compassion in the heart
Goodness      a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things & people
Gentleness    not needing to force our way in life

Greek translations:
Kindness       benevolence; kindness
Goodness      generosity; uprightness of heart and life
Gentleness    humility; mildness of disposition

Commentary:
Kindness       benevolence in action, as God treats us kindly, we do so to others
Goodness      an uprightness of soul and an action reaching out to do good even when it is not deserved
Gentleness    submissive to God’s Word and considerate of others when discipline is needed

Commentary:                
Kindness       affable; courteous; easy to be entreated when any have wronged us
Goodness      readiness to do good to all as we have opportunity
Gentleness    govern our passions & resentments; not to be easily provoked



Questions
  1. Discuss the difference between kindness, goodness & gentleness.
  2. Come up with a list of actions that are ‘excellent and profitable for everyone’.  Be sure to include some examples of tender, subtle actions and some examples of actions that may be considered harsh.
  3. Do you have a hard time doing good for someone through the harsher actions, such as confrontation and rebuke?  Do you have a hard time receiving that kind of goodness?  Provide an example.
  4. Do you consider yourself balanced between being as “innocent as a dove” and as “shrewd as a snake?”  Explain why or why not.
  5. Which gifts, talents and abilities do you believe you have?  Share ways that you have used those gifts to bring good to others.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fruitful Living - the opposite of patience is judgment

Listen to audio...........
How's it going?  Are you cultivating the fruit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control?

We are going to investigate one of the issues I brought up while teaching on patience a couple of weeks ago.  To review: there are 2 types of patience

Greek word hupomone is endurance – putting up with things or circumstances & makrothumia which means long suffering; self-restraint before proceeding to action. It is the quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so. It is patience in respect to persons and hupomone is about situations. Both are crucial to living God’s way but both describe different qualities.

The opposite of patience toward others then would be ‘judgment’ - defined as ‘to condemn, take vengeance on, it means to try someone as if they stand accused before you in a court of law..  so.. patience is the delaying of judgment.

Eleven Reasons we must not judge others

(Ro 2:1-5)  1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
 5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

 Reasons from these passages include:
1. When we judge others, we cause God to be harder on us.  Romans 2:1 We invite the discipline of God on our lives.

2. We do many of the same things we condemn in others. Vs 1 again.. “  For example .. we are all so quick to judge others for sexual transgressions and yet not one of us has not fallen in this area in some way… if not physically, we have done so mentally.

3. We do not know the whole truth.  V 2 – God’s judgment is always based upon truth – the whole truth. We may ‘think’ we have the whole truth but we are incapable of reading minds and judging hearts ---  discuss motives... I believe we point out behaviors that are based on fact & what we see/ know, but we cannot and should not judge or determine someone else's motives or the intention of their heart - that crosses the line.

4. We are mere humans.  Vs 3 'so when you a mear man, etc…'  Isaiah 29:16  expounds upon the temptation to switch roles with God: “you turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be life the clay!” We must not assume God’s position!!

5. When we judge others, we are judging God. Our judgment actually reveals contempt for God’s patience with people.  (vs 4)  God’s long suffering with us.. brought us our salvation.. who are we to say anything about others? God truly gives people every opportunity to say ‘yes’ to Him. Dr. Adrian Rogers says “time is not nearly as important to God as timing”.

6. God’s judgment is always righteous. Ours is tainted by the flesh.  Vs 5 Our attitudes, our pasts, our experiences, personalities and even our positions influence us. Only God is the perfectly righteous judge.

Additional reasons are found in:
Matt 7:1-5   1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
   3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 

7. We risk application of the same type of judgment to ourselves (vs 1-2).

8. We cannot judge the speck of sawdust in another’s eye because of the planks in our own. (vs 3-4)  Our sight is hindered by our own sin (mirror).. have you ever taken the time to consider the things you dislike most in others could potentially be your own weaknesses/ sins?... I have found in my recovery journey, that the blind spots I/ we have are oftentimes the things we see in others.. take some time to reflect and pray on that... what are some examples you have?

James 4:11-12  11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[a] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

9. There is only one lawgiver and judge – vs 12.

10. Only God has noble purposes in His judgment.  It is never about His ego.. It is practical and with purpose. What could some of our purposes be? - we feel better about ourselves, feel superior, what else?

Add'l reasons found in:
John 8:14-18   4 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

11. Our judgment would have to be completely consistent with God’s. He must agree with us for our judgment to be valid.   Tough call but… when could this ever be possible?  Is it possible?

We need to make sure we understand judgment from practicing church discipline.. some situations demand discipline!  Any ideas?

Matthew 18:15-17  Dealing With Sin in the Church
    15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Apostle Paul – expel the brother… don’t eat with them..  explain…

1 Corinthians 5

Dealing With a Case of Incest
 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a][b] so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
 9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”[d]



Bottom line on judgment… it is far better to be the clay than the potter…  Let’s let God – the potter – our creator, be the judge..  He is the only wise judge. And remember what the definition of judgment is vs. the act of loving confrontation of those who are in sin - hurting themselves and hurting others.


 Note:  portions of the above were taken from Beth Moore's study "Living Beyond Yourself"


GROUP WORK

How does God want you to respond to what you learned tonight?

Have any of you every served in a jury?  What was that experience like?   If not, how do you feel about serving in that capacity?

Discuss the differences between judgment and accountability/ church discipline to bring clarity. Have you even seen this done well?  What were the outcomes?  If not, what needs to change in the Body of Christ and how can we be instruments of change?

To review:  why is it important to delay judgment?  What is the opposite?