Don’t give up on the church! 4 ways to cultivate real community. – Hebrews 10:19-39

From my reading in Hebrews 10:19-39 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

 70 percent of young adults ages 23-30 stopped attending church regularly for at least a year between ages 18-22. Tweet this

Young people and many older people are giving up on the church. Why? Part of the reason is that many churches are having quality services but are not doing a good job of facilitating true community. The writer of Hebrews gives us three ways to experience of the kind of community that I believe will keep people coming back!

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Heb 10:24-25
Tweet: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together.

 1. Think about how to encourage others.

“And let us consider…”

First of all, we have to think about ways to encourage others. So often in our lives we are so worried about our lives that we don’t actually think about how the needs of others.

2.  Spur each other on to love and good works.

…how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

We are to consider how we can “spur” each other toward love and good deeds. If you have ridden a horse you know that cowboys wear spurs in order to get the horses going.

Sometimes we need a good old fasion kick in the butt from our friends. 

We all have times where we need motivation, that’s why we shouldn’t give up on the church.

 3. Don’t give up meeting together.

 “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,”

We are to meet together regularly! So many people treat church as optional.  If I get all my homework done, if my kids don’t have a soccer game that morning, and if I feel like it then I will go to church.

The problem with this philosophy is that real friendships happen with regular contact.

Think about the people you are closest with. Probably the reason you are so close is that you spent a lot of time with them.

Make meeting with other believers a priority. Investing in others takes intentionality.

4. Encourage others urgently.

“but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

We need to be intentional about encouraging each other, because we only have a limited time.  Jesus’ return is only getting closer, we are only on this earth for a short time, and we need intentionally encourage others.

Don’t give up on the church. You need the people in it to spur you on and encourage you and others need you!

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15 Qualifications Of An Elder In The Church – 1 Timothy 3

From my reading in 1 Timothy 3 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

Paul lets Timothy know that if someone wants to be an elder in the Church then that is not a bad thing. It is an honorable position to be taken seriously. Here are some of the requirements Paul gives for being an elder.

“So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.” 1 Timothy 3:2

1. Above Reproach

Being above reproach literally means “pertinent to what cannot be criticized – ‘above criticism…'” (Louw-Nida). It is important to live in a way that doesn’t make people questions your legitimacy. If possible elders should avoid the appearance of evil, and getting in questionable situations.

2. Faithful To His Wife

An elder must be a one woman man. He must be completely committed to his wife.

3. Self-Controled

The elder must be able to control himself. If he can not lead himself then how can he lead the church of God.

4. Lives Wisely

If leaders are living wisely then they will be a good example to their flock. A person who is living wisely can be trusted to make wise decisions for the people he leads.

5. Has A Good Reputation In And Out Of The Church

“Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.” 1 Timothy 3:7

Not only should an elder have a good reputation in the church but also in the community. A leader should be a person of character wherever they are.

6. Enjoys Having Guests In His Home

This person sees the value of hospitality. An elder should not be a hermit. They should be willing to open their home to people.

7. Able To Teach

The ability to teach God’s word accurately is very important for an elder. If the leaders of the church can not teach, the whole group will be weak theologically and spiritually. Paul goes on in verse 3…

“He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money.” 1 Timothy 3:3

8. Not A Heavy Drinker

He can’t be the town drunk! Someone who is addicted to alcohol should not be leading the church.

9. Not Violent

A violent person will be prone to explode under the pressures of leadership.

10. Gentle

Gentleness is the opposite of violent. An elders should be approachable and kind to the people he leads.

11. Not Quarrelsome

If a person loves to fight they should not be an elder. The elder often has the role of peacemaker and shouldn’t be the one starting conflict.

12. Not Greedy

Greedy pastors and elders have made Christianity look bad to the lost world. An elder should not be someone who loves money more than they love God or the people in their ministry. Paul goes on…

“He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?” 1 Timothy 3:4–5

13. Manages His Family Well

Paul makes a great point that if he can not manage his family well then how can he manage the church.

14. His Children Respect and Obey Him

The elder must do all in his power to parent his children well. This will serve as an example to his flock. Paul continues…

“An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.” 1 Timothy 3:6

15. Not A New Believer

Giving a new believer leadership too soon can lead him to become proud. A person may be very gifted but if his character does not grow in proportion to his giftedness then it could lead to pride and ultimately his fall.

Leading God’s church is a great privilege and we should hold our Elders to these standards.

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Lessons From The Church In Antioch – Acts 11

From my reading in Acts 11 in the One Year New Testament.

The church in Antioch was an good example in several ways.

Antioch’s members were some of the first to preach to the Non-Jewish people.

“However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus.” Acts 11:20

They understood that the good news was for everyone, Jew and non-Jew!

Antioch’s members preached with God’s power.

The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.” Acts 11:21

They were so filled with God’s Spirit and power that a large number of people were being saved. When you have God’s power in your preaching it can change lives.

Antioch was generous toward other churches.

This is perhaps the greatest difference in the Antioch Church and many churches today. Often churches are all about their own agenda and not concerned about the bigger movement of God.

When the Antioch church heard that the Jerusalem church was going into a severe famine they took a collection and gave generously.

“So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.” Acts 11:29–30

They didn’t just give, they gave as much as they could!  This type of generous giving to another church is evidence of God’s work and a kingdom minded church

How can your church follow the church in Antioch’s example? 

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