Together in community, we find we are more than the sum of our congregations' human parts.
I have imagined it like a light panel. With one dim bulb there is illumination, but with multiple bulbs there is a bright array and fewer shadows. We are told love covers a multitude of sins. In deed we are exhorted to pray for one another, with the result being we may affect for one another God's reconciling grace; as long as the other has not committed a sin unto death. Paul says he is not saying we should pray to good result for those.
For those who follow obediently (meaning by faith, in love and knowledge of God), the adventure of abundant living awaits us. We are those servants Jesus speaks of who, while the Master is away, continue in our tasks as assigned, or in the manner which pleases Him (not the parable of the talents.
Others, upon entering into the community of faith, decide to rule it over others like the Gentiles do. Jesus told us not to do that, explicitly. By doing so, these individuals find themselves in a precarious position.
We must pray as instructed, forgiving these others but not allowing the damage to continue. We must be discerning and submissive to God in all discipline in conviction that we serve the Great God. We must not allow such folks and their dark deeds to go unaddressed.
Anyone who looses track of their submission to Jesus becomes unhealthy. No one is immune.
Remember, we are new creations with renewed minds. The things of this world are supposed to be put away... the childish egoes and everything un-Christlike.
We need to be working and praying for their reconciliation with Christ and then the rest of us.
No one can be an authority in the church unless they are recognized and empowered by God. This is not "majority-rules", nor is it power by might. We should not willingly be cooperating with their disobedience. We will be held culpable for allowing these folks to damage the children of God and others.
It matters not what a person claims, or convinces others about. There were false teachers and apostles in the first century just as there are today. In Jesus' letters to the seven churches, He is very plain about His opinion of these folks, their activities, and congregations who succumb to their wiles by lack of belief.
Being in the "know" increases our culpability in missing the mark, which is why the Spirit of God tells us that not many of us should consider ourselves teachers. Do not mistake these words as being ancient and not applicable. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
We like to divide sins into different unbiblical compartments. We also provide redefinitions of our sins so as to clear our own consciences before our eyes. Yet we cannot acquit ourselves in such fashion. Be careful what we are offended by, our own standards or God's.
So, with unveiled faces let us look to Christ. He tells us if we behold Him we see the Father. How do we see Him by faith? The picture we have of Jesus is found revealed in the Scriptures.
By tradition we have receive the bifurcated Scriptures, yet this is sorely misunderstood in several ways. By seeking revelation from God, expounded by faithful folks gifted and called especially, we can be corrected of many misperceptions.
Such is the result of active filling of the Spirit of Truth in us, in our humility and the promised renewing of our mind.
The Scripture is what we receive today in the finished canon, known as the Holy Bible. The Older Testament is not a lesser Scripture; it was the Scripture Jesus spoke of. Peter and others validate this just as Jesus does. Jesus says the whole of Scripture testifies of Him.
The challenge is to be properly discerning in our reading, hearing, and studying of the printed word of God. It is the written truth. It is one thing to misunderstand it ourselves, but to proclaim our misunderstanding as "Thus saith the Lord" is dangerous ground.
Just as our actions portray Jesus to each other and to the fallen world, our words do as well. We speak what we believe, so being careful in our thoughts and expressions is necessary. Let us believe so that we may understand.
This is counter to the patterns we find in the world. This is counter to a significant amount of what we embrace as "Modern Christian Knowledge." Often our awareness and means of processing the same is molded by our worldly culture around us, either positively or negatively. Note, all products of our worldly culture's proclamation and practive needs weighing by the discerning eye of a disciple and the Church.
There are mannerisms, habits, and styles of discourse which are acceptable in the world but should not find a home in our hearts or our gather together as the peopel of God.
May we seek the face of God and the mind of Christ in all things, in love and all humility. This is our devout duty and privilege.
Now, think about that! Selah
--your fellow suffering servant,