We're half way through the Groove Series. Here are your study notes for this week:
v.1 Notice the key words that Paul uses in verse 1: Encouragement, comfort, fellowship, compassion... These are things that Paul believes a healthy church should be experiencing. We want Crosspoint to be a place where people are encouraged, where people can find comfort, where we grow together in fellowship (good coffee!) and where we are compassionate with one another. You can usually sense in just a couple of minutes whether or not a church is truly living this out. So how about you? Are you an encourager? Who can you encourage today? Don't just think about it, get out a sticky and decide 'who' and 'how' you will do something encouraging today. Go through the other words the same way. Remember, it's not all about me, it's about others!
v.2 You've probably heard it said, "We need to agree to disagree", insinuating that we'll never agree on everything so let's put our disagreements aside. Paul is pulling the church towards unity. He's urging them to see things through a bigger lens. Look at the big picture, God's picture. We need to think about the 'body', the vision, the mission of the church. A church like ours can grow like crazy if we all agree wholeheartedly that we will love one another and work together even if everything isn't done exactly the way we would prefer it to be. My preferences are just that, 'preferences'. Sure, Crosspoint would look different if I had everything my way, but it's not about me and what I want. It's about me working together with other believers to see the greater good accomplished. So, what does this mean to you today? Take a few moments and read this verse over a few times. What comes to mind? What is God saying to you today?
v.3, 4 Do you find yourself asking others how they are or how their day went and before they can hardly say anything you start talking about yourself, your problems and how you got the wrong coffee passed to you in the drive-thru??! We love to talk about ourselves. We want others to listen to us, to hear us and to make us feel as though what we are saying is important. We want to be validated. Hmmm. So if we're always talking about ourselves, how will anyone else be heard? This week, today, make some intentional decisions about who you are going to listen to. If you really want to apply this text, pick someone who annoys the decaf out of you. Someone who you've been avoiding... Look them in the eye, even if it hurts, and listen intently. Don't interrupt. Let them share with you whatever is going on in their lives. Read 3 and 4 over again. Is it starting to sink in?
v.6-11 I mentioned yesterday that Paul takes these verses on 'others' and he runs them straight through the Cross. Jesus died for others. We have to see every 'other' person as a soul destined for eternity needing Jesus Christ. The decrease of the Cross produced the increase. Huh? Whoever wants to be first must become last. I must decrease, Jesus must increase. Put others first. Don't be proud. Don't boast. Be a servant. Be humble.
Let's focus in on Christ's obedience. it was his obedience that led him to the cross. It was a brutal assignment, but he was willing to go and take our punishment. Now, reflect on your own obedience before God. Have you been listening to God? Would you say that your life is in line with God's direction and providence for you? Have you veered? Have you ignored God? What about temptation? Surely Jesus was tempted to bail. What changes do you need to make this week in order to walking in obedience with God? Obedience is where we find the greatest blessing!
Enjoy this text. Pray for others. Invite someone to church!