Monthly Archives: February 2014

Sunday Recap: When NOT to eat the Lord’s Supper

During our Lord’s Supper service yesterday we asked,  “What happens when we eat the Lord’s Supper?”. I don’t believe the bread and grape juice “transubstantiate” into the literal body and blood of Jesus. We understand the bread and grape juice to be reminders of the body and blood and the supper to be a simple memorial of Jesus death.

That doesn’t mean the service is just a shallow ritual. God is watching and we are remembering the greatest sacrifice ever offered – one that is more precious than life to us.  We shouldn’t be “un-engaged” intellectually, spiritually, or emotionally during the communion service.

In 1 Corinthians 11 Paul warned about those who eat and drink in an unworthy manner: “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).  He says we should examine ourselves as we eat.  The lesson I believe is we should make sure our heart is right with God.

So we asked,  if we know our heart is not right, should we even participate in the Lord’s Supper? The best thing to do,  of course would be use the time as an opportunity to change our mind and get our heart right with God.

But what if we know we are not sincere and serious about obeying
God, what if we know we are persisting in disobedience (perhaps regarding some behavior or relationship)?  In such a case does 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 teach that it is best to NOT eat the Lord’s Supper?  What do you think?

Does Anything Happen When We Eat The Lord’s Supper?



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Wednesday Recap: Paul vs James

Last night we studied James 2:14-26 and talked about what on the surface looks like a conflict between Paul (in Romans, Ephesians, and Galatians) and James.

Paul says we are justified by faith, not works (Romans 4:1-5).

James says “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).

They both use Abraham for example and cite Genesis 15:6 in proving their point!

Someone said, “Paul and James do not stand face to face, fighting against each other, but they stand back to back, fighting opposite foes.” I like that. They are both defending the gospel, but addressing different issues and misunderstandings.

I believe Paul is talking about LEGALISM (as defined in Galatians 5:4) – attempting to be saved by law keeping which is practically impossible because it would require total conformity to law (Galatians 3:10, 5:3) and which would entitle one to boast (Ephesians 2:9, Romans 4:1-5) because they have done it themselves.

James is talking about….well, as the paragraph begins, “What does it profit if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:24).  The answer is of course is no.

But Paul helps us understand that its not the works that save….so we can never boast and this is also where our security comes in – our salvation isn’t dependent on having perfect works.

Anyone else like to share their thoughts on Paul vs James?

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Wednesday Recap: Another Way We Love Our Neighbor

Last night we looked at James 2:1-13. James talks about a particular situation in which we interact with people and encourages us to obey the the command “love your neighbor as yourself”.  If we do not it says we commit sin and are convicted  by the law as transgressors.  The paragraph closes by telling us to be merciful and warns, “judgment will be without mercy to the one who shows no mercy”.

Question: This is obviously very important stuff.  What specific type of situation in our lives is James talking about where all these important commands and warnings apply?

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Sunday Recap: What Do Have I To Do With Judging Outsiders?

That was the question Paul asked in 1 Corinthians 5:12.  In fact, as he talks about the need for the church to deal with a brother persisting in extreme sexual immorality, 3 times (verses 10, 12, 13) he makes the point – our responsibility is to those in the church, NOT OUTSIDE OF IT.

Sunday we reflected on how, contrary to Paul’s statement, Christians often obsess with judging and condemning “outsiders”.  Maybe it is easier to take a distant shot at unbelievers than to deal with the people close to us and risk damaging those relationships. Paul is emphatic: “what do I have to do with judging outsiders….those outside God judges”.

The “outsiders” are those who are not Christians. They have not declared allegiance to Christ and  perhaps had not even learned the will of God.  The behavior is still wrong and Paul says God will judge them. But he also makes a difference between how we treat them and how we treat a brother who persists in sin.

Questions: Doesn’t this teach us something about how we should interact with non-believers? We must teach about sin, but could the “tone” of our teaching be perceived as angry self-righteousness and just push people further from Jesus?  Jesus is our example in all things. How did he deal with outsiders?

We would love to hear your thoughts.



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Wednesday Recap: It’s What You Do, Not What You Say

Last night we continued looking at James. We talked about the idea that it is a practical book. It deals with practical topics (the tongue, materialism, trials, partiality) and not a lot of doctrine (does not mention baptism or even the cross).

Another definition of the word practical is having to do with the actual doing rather than theory and ideas. As we look closer at the book it is apparent that this what James is driving at:

Be DOERS, not just HEARERS (1:22)

Someone THINKS THEY ARE RELIGIOUS but doesn’t control their tongue. (1:26)

True, pure RELIGION is visiting the fatherless and widows and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world (1:27)

Someone has the FAITH of JESUS but is a respecter of persons. (2:1)

In fact, the best known verse in the book should probably be looked at this way: A man says he has FAITH but does not have WORKS (2:14, 26)

In chapter 3 he will talk about a man who blesses God, then curses men (3:9-10).

Altogether the message is we can HEAR the Bible, be active in a RELIGIOUS organization, and say we have FAITH in Jesus, but none of that means anything unless we are living like Jesus.

What does James conclude about the faith of the man or woman if their religion and faith is not practical? (2:26)

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Who Says I Can’t Get Stoned?

“Who Says I Can’t Get Stoned?” is the title of a catchy song by John Mayer and it is a good question to ask today.

This used to be easy. Pot smoking was illegal in all 50 states. Christians are to obey law (Romans 13:1). Case closed!

But times are changing. Recreation use of marijuana is now legal in some states, has been decriminalized in several others, and even more states are approving medical use (a good thing in my opinion and perhaps one reason why God created the plant?).

All this normalization reinforces the thinking that it is really not that big of a deal – if it is so destructive to the human body and mind, why is it being legalized? “Who says I can’t get stoned? Me in my house alone, turn off the lights and the telephone, Who Says I Can’t Get Stoned?”, the song says. In other words, no one is harmed so whats the big deal?

So, who says I can’t get stoned?

First, if its illegal where you live it is wrong for you to do it. Again see Romans 13:1-5. You may not agree with the law but submitting to government doesn’t mean ‘if we agree with the law’. We are to submit even when we disagree as long as what is commanded doesn’t force us to disobey God.

But what about when all 50 states legalize the recreational use of marijuana? At some point we need to accept that “getting stoned” would still fall under the same category as drunkenness. Who says I can’t get drunk? God does.

The ultimate solution is that Christians should find peace, joy, and satisfaction in walking with God in all they do. “Don’t get your stimulus from wine (for there is always the danger of excessive drinking), but let the Spirit stimulate your souls. Express your joy in singing among yourselves psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making music in your hearts for the ears of God!” (Ephesians 5:18-19, Phillips NT Translation). Our hearts should desire something better than feelings and experiences stimulated by drugs and alcohol. We should trust God that His commands are for our good always and His joys are the greatest joys we can know!

What do you think? We would love to hear the thoughts of others.

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