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Believer’s Court

Judging by what’s on TV, court cases are very entertaining.  Each side tries to prove its claims.  Who’s doing the best job at convincing the judge or jury?  You never know until the final verdict.

But how does this play out when a believer takes another believer to court?  In Paul’s day, society found it just as entertaining as we do.  In Corinth, there was an epidemic of Christians suing Christians.  The Apostle had some things to say about it.

Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!  I say this to shame you.  Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?  But instead, one brother goes to law against another — and this in front of unbelievers!
1 Corinthians 6:4-6

The problem is that many view the church as an organization rather than an organism.  We are a body.  We’re to function as a unit.

There have been times when I’ve accidentally stuck my own finger into my eye.  In that instance, should my eye take my hand to court to sue for damages?  It may sound foolish to even ask that question.  Taking a fellow believer to court is just as foolish in God’s eyes.

According to Paul, even the least esteemed person in the church is probably qualified to act as an arbitrator between two parties.  In that way, internal differences can stay within the church.

But I believe that there’s a deeper issue here.  It’s about taking into account the fact that the world is watching us.  They’re always looking for a reason to accuse the church of hypocrisy.  We shouldn’t be giving ammunition to the enemy.

I have a deep problem when I feel the need to publically and decisively prove that I’m right.  I need to check my motives.  Is it stemming from bitterness, revenge, low self-esteem, or any of a hundred other faults in my sin nature?

Paul clearly gets to the heart of the matter.

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already.  Why not rather be wronged?  Why not rather be cheated?  Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
1 Corinthians 6:7-8

Paul says that a public lawsuit between believers is proof that you’ve been defeated by the enemy.  The actual word he used implies that you’re acting like a failure in your Christian walk.

He tells us that it’s better to be wronged or cheated rather than to bring public shame upon the body of Christ.  But if the hurt was great enough, he suggests private, Christian arbitration.

The problem is that we don’t want a Christian to arbitrate between us.  There’s too great a chance that they might use Biblical principles to judge the case.  In our greed, we want to exact revenge for the hurt we suffered.

Instead, we should always look for the restoration and healing of relationships.  I know that might sound idealistic, but in Christ, the Holy Spirit can do great things through those who submit to Him.  As far as it depends on us – whenever possible – we should take the high road of forgiveness and unity.

Question: When have you chosen to forgive instead of seeking retribution?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2019 in Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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An Invitation to the Wedding

DinnerI’ve been posting about the Bride of Christ. Not all believers will be a part of the Bride. Understanding this truth is foundational to receiving all that Christ has for us.

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
Revelation 19:9

Listen carefully to the true words of God. There’s a blessing upon those who are invited to the wedding supper. Think about it. The Bride is not invited as a guest.

The Bride and the groom are the reason for the supper. My question is; who are these people that are not the Bride, yet are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb?

This thought should overshadow all others in our walk with the Lord. Am I a friend, or a part of the Bride? Am I overcoming, and producing the fruit of the Kingdom? Or am I content to watch others?

Please realize – this is the job of the wedding attendants – to watch, enjoy, and comment on what’s happening between the Bride and the Groom.

“Look at how they love one another.”

“They look great together.”

Or we could put it this way, “Look at how sold out to God they are.”

“Look at what they’re doing for the Kingdom. I couldn’t live like that. I’ve got too many other things to do.”

Are we watching the commitment of others and enjoying what they do for the Lord? That’s fine if it spurs us on to deepen our walk with Him. But if I decide that my goals and plans are more important, it shows that I just want to show up at the wedding.

So often we think that we don’t have to do anything for God. After all, we attend church most weekends. We give into the offering to support the work they’re doing. Actually, we’re merely giving a wedding gift to the Bride to help her get ready – more proof that we’re only attending.

I apologize if I sound harsh, but there’s a world full of people in desperate need to hear the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” It’s time for the sleeping church to rise to its feet and declare the Gospel of Christ. For too long we’ve believed the watered down message telling us that all believers get rewards, are a part of the Bride, and live in the New Jerusalem.

I want you to receive the full benefits of what Christ paid for you on the cross. That will only happen if God’s people take the Word of God seriously. We need to prepare ourselves the way the Spirit directs us and not through our own desires.

In spite of all this, being an attendant is not a bad thing. The Scripture above says that they’re blessed – supremely happy. They’ve made it, by the grace of the Lord, into His presence. They’re saved, joyful, and have received their resurrected bodies.

But the Scripture is clear that we’re to set our affections on things that are above. If your goals are high, you’ll have a higher walk. If your mind is on the earth, you won’t progress very far in the Kingdom of God.

Make it your goal to be a part of the Bride – to be an overcomer by the power of the Holy Spirit. Enter in to all God has for you.

Question: How focused are you on the God’s calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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