So you decided to stop serving the Lord? Perhaps the elders made a decision you didn’t like, and your decision was to quit serving the Lord? Ma...ybe the preacher preached too harsh, too negative, a sermon that made you think “he’s preaching that sermon at me,” so in response, you decided I’ll stop serving the Lord? Or perhaps, you saw “hypocrites” in the church, and being tired of the “hypocrites” you decided I’ll stop serving the Lord. Maybe a family member, or a long time friend mistreated you and you decided, I’ll stop serving the Lord. What do all these responses have in common?
One, these responses indicate a focus on the wrong individuals.
Two, these responses indicate a fixation on “taking it out” on the wrong person—the Lord. But wait, “I still love the Lord, I just don’t like some who claim to be His people, and for that I’m justified to be absent from Bible Study and worship. I’m justified not to visit those who are struggling with sickness, sorrow, and sin.”
Three, these responses indicate a failure to recognize that “what I do only hurts me” is a bunch of nonsense because in reality it also hurts the very One who suffered for you—Christ (Hebrews 6:6). Please consider for a moment, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). Perhaps if we spent more time being focused of the Master than on the mistreatment from others our responses would be different, and our lives would be more faithful and fruitful.
Further, “consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:3). I dare say that none of us have been as mistreated by so many as Christ was. Yet, imagine if Christ would have quit on the world because of the world’s mistreatment of Him?
When we contemplate the mistreatment suffered by Christ, what mistreatment have we suffered that is such that we have the right to quit serving Him?
When we consider Him, truly consider Him, we have not be so mistreated, and especially by Him, that we are justified to stop serving Him. Thus, may we Consider Him, and faithfully serve rather than considering the 10,000 “reasons” to forsake Him.
How do I get to Heaven?
Where do we go when we die?
What Does The “Sunday Morning Only” Christian Miss?
It is an eclectic club. Some of its members have only ever come one service per week, whose perceivable spiritual progress has been hard to measure. Others, perhaps more tragically, have waned from greater faithfulness in the past to the more tepid attitude toward the assemblies at which God is always present. The Bible makes it clear that those who fail to put Christ first have put something in that place. This is an unenviable position to be in. Yet, these who neglect faithful attendance deprive themselves of so much.
- They miss information. Bible classes, sermons, table talks, and mid-week devotional talks all help increase our knowledge and strengthen our conviction in what we already know. This information is like a flashlight for the journey in a dark, dark world (Ps. 119:105). If we take heed to that word, we do well (2 Pet. 1:19). To identify the enemy, you must know all about him.
- They miss association. The people dearest to God are there. Christ, our Savior, friend, older brother, King, Shepherd, Door, and Mediator, is there. The earliest Christians were stedfast in fellowship with each other, a fellowship contextually shown to be spiritual in nature (Acts 2:42). Paul reminds us we should prefer one another, something we fail to show when we give preference to some other place and event (Rom. 12:10).
- They miss inspiration. We need our spirits lifted. Others need us to lift their spirits, too (Heb. 10:24; cf. Phil. 2:3-4). In worship we can get our spiritual batteries charged. Coming together helps us each face the world. We are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds (Eph. 4:23-24). The assemblies aid us in this.
- They miss provocation. Often, we do things we know we should not do. As such, we need to be provoked or stimulated to do what we already know is right (Heb. 10:24). At the assemblies, we lift each other up and hold each other’s hands in our common life (cf. 1 Thess. 5:14).
- They miss edification. We have a responsibility to be here and build up other Christians. Remember, love edifies (1 Cor. 8:1). You cannot do that as well from a remote location. We are to use our abilities to help perfect the saints, to work in ministry, and to build up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12). That’s a “done together” activity in which those withholding their presence cannot engage.
- They miss immunization. The world is infected with sin and it is often hard to live for Christ (cf. 1 John 5:19). We can and do “inject” ourselves with strength at every service, an injection that will help us fight off the cancer of sin (cf. Jer. 7:18). Attending all the services strengthens our spiritual health (Ps. 42:11). Who thinks he or she is better equipped to fight alone than with the collective help of the church as well as the special strength available as by God’s design when we assemble together?
- They miss jubilation. There is nothing as seemingly miserable as the Christian who feels that it is his “duty” to come to the services (look at David–Ps. 122:1). It is a shame that “S-M-O” Christians miss the excitement of baptisms and others who come forward for prayers, the encouragement of seeing new Christians participate in worship or young people demonstrating their faith, and the example of others whose words, actions, and attitudes make us glad we are Christians. Few whose hearts and minds have been fully engaged in an assembly will walk away regretting it or being more depressed than when they arrived.
- They miss obligation. We are mutually accountable (Rom. 1:14; Heb. 3:13; Col. 3:13; etc.). We are indebted to God (Rom. 8:12). We are commanded by Him to come together (Heb. 10:25). None of these obligations comes with an expiration date. We consider those who shirk their obligations to be irresponsible. What obligation outweighs the one laid upon us by the Lord?
The many, many principles of scripture lead to an unavoidable conclusion. We should want to be together with Christ and His people at every opportunity. If we do not want this enough to make it happen, maybe something is terribly wrong with our “affections” (cf. Col. 3:1-2).
There are a lot of things that we can’t do. We may look around us and see a variety of skills and abilities that we simply don’t have. But one trait that we all possess is the ability to be kind. We can change relationships and influence countless people if we simply have the rule in our way of life to be kind. Paul said in Ephesians 4:32 simply to be kind to one another. This means be kind to your spouse, children, boss, friend, whomever you meet. In Romans 12:10, Paul stresses that part of the right relationship is “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Whatever feelings we have about another person, let us never underestimate the good that kindness will do. When we are kind, we are imitating Jesus. He was kind to multitudes who were hungry. His disciples wanted to send them away, but Jesus felt kindly towards them (Mark 6:30-44). Even the woman caught in the act of adultery was dealt with in a kind way by Jesus (John 8:1-11). Even to Peter, whose actions had to be frustrating to Jesus, he was still kind. I see firmness, but a kind manner, in Paul’s dealing with Onesimus as he encouraged him to go back to Philemon after his conversion. It just seems as we look at the really great characters of the Bible, we are continually struck by the impact of kindness.
As we arise each day, let’s make it a goal to be kind to the people that we meet that day. We can’t help but bring glory to the name of Jesus when we do. - Steve Boyd
When I think of brotherly kindness I think of Jesus Christ. If the truth were known, his acts of kindness would be numberless. But the Scriptures do attempt to give us a picture of this virtue on the life of our Lord. Brotherly kindness was shown when Jesus fed the hungry multitudes; when he healed the lame and blind; when he showed compassion in raising the son of the widow of Nain from the dead; when he cried at the tomb of Lazarus. As great as these acts of kindness were, his greatest act was the sharing of his saving message to the world which he made possible by dying at Calvary. Without that one act of kindness, we would still be lost in sin. It goes without saying that we should always demonstrate this virtue in our lives. Most of us can be kind as long as things go smoothly. It’s when we’re tested that we know whether or not we have the virtue.
If you truly have brotherly kindness you:
1. Will not respond negatively to another’s offenses, but you will turn the other cheek.
2. Will not take revenge into your own hands because it belongs to God.
3. Will not spread damaging gossip about others whether it is true or not!
4. Will not hold grudges, but will forgive and forget.
5. Will give your brother the benefit of the doubt.
As Paul put it, showing brotherly kindness is “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other . . . Just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (Col. 3:13).