In The Name Of…

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Often people forget the Bible wasn’t written in modern English, and that the Bible wasn’t written with verse numbers. Chapters were added in the thirteen century, and verses in the sixteenth century!

So, when Paul wrote this he didn’t put nice, neat, and handy dandy paragraphs and subheadings in. So if your Bible reads ‘Rules for Christian householdsʼ, or something similar, thatʼs not Paul! Do you know, you can buy a ‘Readerʼs Bibleʼ, where there are no verses, no paragraphs, no chapters, just the text?!

Anyway, if you read this in the KJV, for example, it just rolls on through so this exhortation about marriage and home life comes directly after Paul instructs us that whatever we do, we are to do it in the name of Jesus, like this,

…whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

These two exhortations then become, in the name of Jesus and giving thanks to God, wives submit to your husbandsin the name of Jesus and being thankful to God, husbands love your wives.

That is so much more powerful, right?

Love your wife in the name of Jesus.

Submit to your husband in the name of Jesus.

If we keep Jesus as number 1 then our marriage, home life, relationships, and everything about us will be as God intended it to be, and is there a better life to live than the life that God intended us to live? 

Belonging

As a Christian, as a believer in Jesus, where do I belong?

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship we looked at Hebrews 13.1-6, and said that as believers in Jesus we belong to each other (vv.1-4), and ultimately this is possible because we belong to Him (vv.5-6). 

We belong to each other, to the Christian family, to those who have the same key interest and insight as you. That is possible because, by faith in His faithfulness, we belong to Jesus.

He has said that there is never any chance that He will leave or forsake us (v.5). In the original language of the New Testament, this is written in the most emphatic way possible. Our belonging is sure, our belonging is permanent as it rests in Him and not on us. It looks like this…

33.013

Simply, we belong to Him and because of that, to each other.

Listen & Obey

There is a scene in the movie Finding Nemo where his Dad is telling him to stay close and to stay with him, and Nemo neither listens nor obeys. The result is that Nemo is taken away from his Dad, his friends, his environment, everything he knows, and this could have all been avoided if he had listened and obeyed. 

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship we had an all-age service and read Hebrews 12.25-29,

25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

In the context of a family service, we talked about how the Bible teaches us that to listen and obey our parents is a good thing,

Ephesians 6.1Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.

Colossians 3.20 – Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.

Here in Hebrews, they are being taught the same lesson – listen and obey.

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking.

For the Hebrews then, previously if they didn’t listen to and obey the law, there were consequences. Now we know that Jesus is much greater than the law, don’t we. So if there were consequences for not listening to the law, how much more should we listen to and obey Jesus?

Hebrews 12 finishes with a powerful message about God – 

He has given us a kingdom which cannot be shaken, something that can never be taken away from us.

He had spoken earlier to the Israelites at the giving of the Law through Moses. Those people had refused God’s message on earth and tried to do their own thing. Those that did not listen and obey and did not escape, like Nemo. 

For us now, God is still speaking, at many times in many ways He spoke before, now it is all through the person and work of Jesus, that is what we need to listen to and that is what we need to obey.

He is so much greater than Nemo’s Dad, isn’t He, so much greater than laws and rules and regs, all of Hebrews has shown us how much greater He is than anything ever! 

Surely we must listen and obey Him.

Refreshing – Philemon 1.20

Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.

At first glance, there is nothing different or unusual about what Paul says here, is there. He has been writing to Philemon about being motivated by grace and grace in action, and begins his closure with this confident request, refresh my heart in Christ.

The funny thing is though, where we read heart, Paul actually used the word σπλάγχνον, which, most commonly, is translated as bowels or intestines. So, is Paul writing to Philemon to schedule a colonoscopy?

Literally, σπλάγχνον does mean bowels or intestines, but figuratively it carries the meaning of the place of deepest emotion in your body.

So, for us in 2020, we would say something like ‘He has a broken heart’, or, ‘My heart is just so full of love for her’, or something to that effect. Simply, when we describe the deepest emotion we could feel, we would connect it to the heart. Back in Paul’s day, the deepest emotions were thought to come from the deepest place inside you, in the same way you may hear something like ‘I feel it in the pit of my stomach’.

All this to say, Paul is talking about serious, deep rooted, from-the- inside-out refreshment, and this certainly doesn’t come from temporal or temporary sources.

In context, Paul is talking about receiving a runaway slave back as a brother, and he knows that just as Philemon came to a saving faith in Christ through Paul (v.19b), it appears that Onesimus did too (v.8-16). Paul knows we all share in one Lord, we all have one Saviour, and in Him there is no distinction.

So, the deep refreshment in Christ that Paul is looking for?

Seeing others live out the business of the Gospel.

Someone Paul has pointed to Christ is now doing the work of Christ; forgiving, restoring, fellowshipping, and encouraging. What deep refreshment this would bring to Paul.

Think on this today – Who can I refresh in the Lord by doing the work of the Gospel?

Be Bold

Our faith calls for us to be bold (Hebrews 10.19, 2 Timothy 1.7). So, what do we do with our boldness?

First, you take your boldness to church, to others. You exercise your boldness with others who are filled with the same boldness; with others, for others, to edify others, to equip others, to reach others.

We boldly look out for one another, everyone looks out for each other. You will be looked after when you are actively part of a community, and you can only look after people when you are actively involved. 

We boldly look past the past, we don’t dwell on it with rose tinted glasses. We see it for what it was, an attractive but empty promise that could never deliver. We boldly look past the past and boldly break away from it.

We boldly look to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, whose blood speaks a better word; forgiveness, reconciliation, acceptance, and salvation. We boldly live the life we were made to live, that we were redeemed to live, and that we were destined to live. 

Be bold enough to leave behind your former ways, and be bold enough to admit that, do you know what, I can’t do this alone

Be bold enough to repent and to come to Him and ask for forgiveness.

Be bold enough to submit your life to His Lordship.

Be bold enough to follow where He leads. 

Take your faith and be bold.


Taken from a message preached at Saar Fellowship through Hebrews 12.12-24. Listen to it – and all our messages – here!

Be Prepared

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship our text was Hebrews 12.1-11 and we talked about what our life of faith prepares us to do.

We said that our faith in Jesus, so well explained and exampled in chapters 1-11 prepares us for running, for endurance, and for growth in Christ. That is a big lofty goal isn’t it!

Run your race in Christ, endure life in Christ, grow in Christ. They are big lofty goals that can seem a little overwhelming.

Maybe you feel like well, I’m just little old me, how do I go about things that are so big and life-changing as that?

Friends, worry not!

Ephesians 4 tells us,

10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

God wants you to grow, God wants you to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.

God wants you to grow here, in the context of church, with others, for others, alongside others, helping others, being helped by others – makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love

So, our faith allows us to run, 

run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus

to endure, 

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

and to grow from Him, and to grow in Him, and to grow with Him,

we may share his holiness…yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Our faith allows us to run, to endure, to grow. Together.

Living In The Tension

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship our text was Hebrews 11.32-40, and we saw those who had victory over circumstance, and those who had victory in circumstance. This can leave us living in tension in between the already and the not yet, between feeling like things ought to be taken care of and done, always, in the here and now. We know we are saved by faith in Jesus, so why are things so tough?

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Despite some of their earthly circumstances being defeated, none of these people here experienced the constant and unbroken fellowship and communion with the Father, they did not receive what was promised.

None of these people here experienced the spiritual awakening and enriching and blessings that come from the finished work of Jesus. None of them. They did not receive what was promised.

But do you know what? You can. 

God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.


For us, seeing and enjoying the completed work of Jesus on the cross gives us much more reason to hold on to faith despite what may be going on in our lives.


Maybe that is what God is saying to you today – look, it doesn’t matter what is going on around you, whether things look like they ought to be fixed and changed, because you have something so much better to look to, to hold on to, to turn to, the finished work of Jesus on the cross, look what I have provided for you.

If you feel like you are caught in between the already saved and not yet sanctified, the already called but not yet delivered, that is ok, you are! But just look at what God has provided for you, look at how you can live in the here and now and in the tension between now and eternity.

So how do we live in this tension? How do we live between the already and not yet?

It is in the finished work of Jesus on the cross that you can live in the tension.

He has already triumphed over sin and death, but not yet come again.

He is already resurrected but not yet come again.

He is the great living example of the already and the not yet.

He is how we live in the tension between, because He is both already and not yet.