CHRISTIAN LIFE and WORSHIP
Celibacy, Chaos, Charitable giving, Children, Childrens behaviour, Christian conduct, Christian fellowship, Christian leaders, Church discipline, Cliques, Commercialising the Church, Conceit, Contentment, Creation ...........
Matthew 8:14 - .... on coming into (the married apostle) Peter's house Jesus saw that Peter's mother-in-law had been put to bed with a high fever.
Matthew 19:11-12 - "It is not everybody who can live up to this," replied Jesus (after his teaching on marriage and divorce), "- only those who have a special gift. For some (that is eunuchs) are incapable of marriage from birth, some are made incapable by the action of men, and some have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let the man who can accept what I have said accept it."
Luke 1:5-6 - The story (of Jesus) begins .... with a (married) priest called Zacharias (who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood), whose wife Elizabeth was, like him, a descendant of Aaron. They were both truly religious people, blamelessly observing all God's commandments and requirements.
1 Corinthians 9:5 - May we (Paul and Barnabas) not travel with a Christian wife like the other messengers, like other (married) Christian brothers, and like Cephas (the apostle Peter)?
1 Timothy 4:3a - These men (false teachers) forbid marriage ....
- Priestly celibacy remains a tradition in some parts of the Christian Church, but it does not appear to have been an issue in the early Church as some of the following verses show. However, Paul does point to the advantages of celibacy in his First Letter to the Corinthians (see Marriage)
1 Corinthians 14:33a - .... God is not a God of disorder but of harmony
Matthew 6:2-4 - "... when you do good to other people, don't hire a trumpeter to go in front of you - like those play-actors in the synagogues and streets who make sure that men admire them. Believe me, they have had all the reward they are going to get! No, when you give to charity, don't even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be secret. Your Father who knows all secrets will reward you."
Matthew 25:34-40 - Excerpts from the parable of the sheep and the goats:
"... the king will say .... I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was lonely and you made me welcome. I was naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you came and looked after me. I was in prison and you came to see me there."
"Then the true men will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you lonely and make you welcome, or see you naked and clothe you, or see you ill or in prison and go to see you?' "And the king will reply, 'I assure you that whatever you did for the humblest of my brothers you did for me.'
Mark 12:41-44 - .... Jesus sat down opposite the Temple almsbox and watched the people putting their money into it. A great many rich people put in large sums. Then a poor widow came up and dropped in two little coins, worth together about a halfpenny. Jesus called his disciples to his side and said to them, "Believe me, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. For they have all put in what they can easily afford, but she in her poverty who needs so much, has given away everything, her whole living!"
Luke 3:11b - "The man who has two shirts must share with the man who has none, and the man who has food must do the same" (... John the Baptist answering the crowds as he baptised and preached).
Luke 14:12b-14 - "When you give a luncheon or a dinner party, don't invite your friends or your brothers or relations or wealthy neighbours, for the chances are they will invite you back, and you will be fully repaid. No, when you give a party, invite the poor, the lame, the crippled and the blind. That way lies real happiness for you. They have no means of repaying you, but you will be repaid when good men are rewarded - at the resurrection."
Romans 12:13 - Give freely to fellow-Christians in want, never grudging a meal or a bed to those who need them.
2 Corinthians 8:2-5 - Somehow, (the Macedonian churches) in most difficult circumstances, their joy and the fact of being down to their last penny themselves, produced a magnificent concern for other people. I can guarantee that they were willing to give to the limit of their means, yes and beyond their means, without the slightest urging from me or anyone else. In fact they simply begged us to accept their gifts and so let them share the honours of supporting their brothers in Christ. Nor was their gift, as I must confess I had expected, a mere cash payment. Instead they made a complete dedication of themselves first to the Lord and then to us, as God's appointed ministers.
1 Timothy 6:18-19 - Tell them (the rich) to do good, to be rich in kindly actions, to be ready to give to others and to sympathise with those in distress. Their security should be invested in the life to come so that they may be sure of holding a share in the life which is permanent.
- Giving money to charity in the full light of modern media publicity can be financially beneficial on the one day or week in the year it takes place, and at the same time, enjoyable to those taking part. There is no harm in this. But unless it is accompanied by regular, generous (sometimes to the point of "hurting") and non-publicised giving and service, such charity is more concerned with man's applause rather than God's reward:
Matthew 18:1-6,10 - ... the disciples came to Jesus with the question, "Who is really greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?" Jesus called a little child to his side and set him on his feet in the middle of them all. "Believe me," he said, "unless you change your whole outlook and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is the man who can be as humble as this little child who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.
"Anyone who welcomes one child like this for my sake is welcoming me. But if anyone leads astray one of these little children who believe in me he would be better off thrown into the depths of the sea with a mill-stone hung round his neck! .... (Verse 10) ..... Be careful that you never despise a single one of these little ones - for I tell you that they have angels who see my Father's face continually in Heaven."
Matthew 19:13-15 - .... some little children were brought to him, so that he could put his hands on them and pray for them. The disciples frowned on the parents' action but Jesus said, "You must let little children come to me, and you must never stop them. The kingdom of Heaven belongs to little children like these!" Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
Matthew 21:15-16 - But when (after Jesus had made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem) the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things he had done, and that children were shouting in the Temple the words, "God save the Son of David", they were highly indignant. "Can't you hear what these children are saying?" they asked Jesus. "Yes," he replied, "and haven't you ever read the words, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise'?"
- At a time when children were little more than slaves, Jesus treated them with unequalled love and compassion. He also used children, not "childishness" as an example of how adult men and women should live the Christian life:
Ephesians 6:1-3 - Children, the right thing for you to do is to obey your parents as those whom God has set over you. The first commandment to contain a promise was: 'Honour your father and your mother, that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth'.
Colossians 3:20 - .... children, your duty is to obey your parents, for at your age this is one of the best things you can do to show your love for God.
- The New Testament has frequent general references to Christian conduct, some of which follow:
Matthew 5:17-20 - "You must not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets (the commandments and teaching of the Old Testament); I have not come to abolish them but to complete them. Indeed, I assure you that, while Heaven and earth last, the Law will not lose a single dot or comma until its purpose is complete. This means that whoever now relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men to do the same will himself be called least in Heaven. But whoever teaches and practises them will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you that your goodness must be a far better thing then the goodness of the scribes and Pharisees before you can set foot in the kingdom of Heaven at all!"
Romans 12:9b - Let us have a genuine break with evil and a real devotion to good.
Romans 12:21 - Don't allow yourself to be overpowered with evil. Take the offensive - overpower evil by good.
Romans 13:11-14 - Why all this stress on behaviour? Because, as I think you have realised, the present time is of the highest importance - it is time to wake up to reality. Every day brings God's salvation nearer. The night is nearly over, the day has almost dawned. Let us therefore fling away the things that men do in the dark, let us arm ourselves for the fight of the day! Let us live cleanly, as in the daylight, not in the "delights" of getting drunk or playing with sex, nor yet in quarrelling or jealousies. Let us be Christ's men from head to foot, and give no chances to the flesh to have its fling.
Romans 16:19 - Your loyalty to the principles of the Gospel is known everywhere, and that gives me great joy. I want to see you experts in good, and not even beginners in evil.
2 Corinthians 6:14-15 - Don't link up with unbelievers and try to work with them. What common interest can there be between goodness and evil? How can light and darkness share life together? How can there be harmony between Christ and the devil? What business can a believer have with an unbeliever?
Christian conduct - continued
2 Corinthians 7:1 - With these promises ringing in our ears, dear friends, let us keep clear of anything that smirches body or soul. Let us prove reverence for God by consecrating ourselves to him completely.
2 Corinthians 13:11a - Set your hearts on this maturity I have spoken of, consider my advice, live in harmony, be at peace with one another.
Galatians 5:13a - It is to freedom that you have been called, my brothers. Only be careful that freedom does not become mere opportunity for your lower nature.
Galatians 5:22-25 - The Spirit however (compared with our lower nature), produces in human life fruits such as these: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control - and no law exists against any of them. Those who belong to Christ have crucified their old nature with all that it loved and lusted for. If our lives are centred in the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit.
Galatians 6:9 - Let us not grow tired of doing good, for, unless we throw in our hand, the ultimate harvest is assured.
Ephesians 4:1b-3 - I beg you to live lives worthy of your high calling. Accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another.
Ephesians 4:29 - Let there be no more foul language, but good words instead - words suitable for the occasion, which God can use to help other people.
Ephesians 4:31-32 - Let there be no more resentment, no more anger or temper, no more violent self-assertiveness, no more slander and no more malicious remarks, Be kind to each other, be understanding. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.
Christian conduct - continued
Ephesians 5:3-21 - .... as for sexual immorality in all its forms, and the itch to get your hands on what belongs to other people - don't even talk about such things; they are not fit subjects for Christians to talk about. The key-note of your conversation should not be nastiness or silliness or flippancy, but a sense of all that we owe to God.
Evil is as utterly different from good as light from darkness
For of this much you can be certain: that neither the immoral nor the dirty-minded nor the covetous man (which latter is, in effect, worshipping a false god) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Don't let anyone fool you on this point, however plausible his argument. It is these very things which bring down the wrath of God upon the disobedient. Have nothing to do with men like that - once you were "darkness" but now you are "light". Live then as children of the light. The light produces in men quite the opposite of sins like these - everything that is wholesome and good and true. Let your lives be living proofs of the things which please God. Steer clear of the activities of darkness; let your lives show by contrast how dreary and futile these things are. (You know the sort of things I mean - to detail their secret doings is really too shameful). For light is capable of "showing up" everything for what it really is. It is even possible (after all, it happened to you!) for light to turn the thing it shines upon into light also. Thus God speaks through the scriptures: "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."
You know the truth - let your life show it!
Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning and purpose of life but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. Don't be vague but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of God. Don't get your stimulus from wine (for there is always the danger of excessive drinking), but let the Spirit stimulate your souls. Express your joy in singing among yourselves psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making music in your hearts for the ears of God! Thank God at all times for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And "fit in with" each other, because of your common reverence for Christ.
Philippians 2:14-16a - Do all you have to do without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be God's children, blameless, sincere and wholesome, living in a warped and diseased world, and shining there like lights in a dark place. For you hold in your hands the very word of life.
Philippians 4:4-5 - Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord.
Christian conduct - continued
Philippians 4:8-9 - Here is a last piece of advice (from Paul). If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. Model your conduct on what you have learned from me (Paul), on what I have told you and shown you, and you will find the God of peace will be with you.
Colossians 2:6-7 - Just as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so go on living in him - in simple faith. Grow out of him as a plant grows out of the soil it is planted in, becoming more and more sure of the faith as you were taught it, and your lives will overflow with joy and thankfulness.
Colossians 3:12-17 - As .... God's picked representatives of the new humanity, purified and beloved of God himself, be merciful in action, kindly in heart, humble in mind. Accept life, and be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone. Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you. And, above everything else, be truly loving, for love is the golden chain of all the virtues. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, remembering that as members of the same body you are called to live in harmony, and never forget to be thankful for what God has done for you. Let Christ's teaching live in your hearts, making you rich in the true wisdom. Teach and help one another along the right road with your psalms and hymns and Christian songs, singing God's praises with joyful hearts. And whatever you may have to do, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, thanking God the Father through him.
1 Thessalonians 5:13b-22 - Live together in peace, and our instruction to this end is to reprimand the unruly, encourage the timid, help the weak and be very patient with all men. Be sure that no one repays a bad turn by a bad turn; good should be your objective always, among yourselves and in the world at large. Be happy in your faith at all times. Never stop praying. Be thankful, whatever the circumstances may be. If you follow this advice you will be working out the will of God expressed to you in Jesus Christ. Never damp the fire of the Spirit, and never despise what is spoken in the name of the Lord. By all means use your judgement, and hold on to whatever is really good, Steer clear of evil in any form.
1 Timothy 6:11-12 - ... you (Timothy the minister), the man of God, keep clear of such things (the pursuit of wealth). Set your heart not on riches, but on goodness, Christ-likeness, faith, love, patience and humility. Fight the worthwhile battle of the faith, keep your grip on that life eternal to which you have been called, and to which you boldly professed your loyalty before many witnesses.
Christian conduct - continued
2 Timothy 2:19-23 - God's solid foundation still stands, however, with this double inscription: 'the Lord knows those who belong to him', and Let every true Christian have no dealing with evil. In any big household there are naturally not only gold and silver vessels but wooden and earthenware ones as well. Some are used for the highest purposes and some for the lowest. If a man keeps himself clean from the contaminations of evil he will be a vessel used for honourable purposes, clean and serviceable for the use of the master of the household, all ready, in fact, for any good purpose.
Be positively good - and patient
Turn your back on the turbulent desires of youth and give your positive attention to goodness, faith, love and peace in company with all those who approach God in sincerity. But have nothing to do with silly and ill-informed controversies which lead inevitably, as you know, to strife.
Titus 2:1-8 - ... you (Titus the minister) must tell them the sort of character which should spring from sound teaching. The old men should be temperate, serious, wise - spiritually healthy through their faith and love and patience. Similarly the old women should be reverent in their behaviour, should not make unfounded complaints and should not be over-fond of wine. They should be examples of the good life, so that the younger women may learn to love their husbands and their children, to be sensible and chaste, home-lovers, kind-hearted and willing to adapt themselves to their husbands - a good advertisement for the Christian faith. The young men, too, you should urge to take life seriously, letting your own life stand as a pattern of good living. In all your teaching show the strictest regard for truth, and show that you appreciate the seriousness of the matters you are dealing with. Your speech should be unaffected and logical, so that your opponent may feel ashamed at finding nothing in which to pick holes.
Titus 2:11-14 - ... the grace of God, which can save every man, has now become known, and it teaches us to have no more to do with godlessness or the desires of this world but to live, here and now, responsible, honourable and God-fearing lives. And while we live this life we hope and wait for the glorious denouement (the outcome) of the Great God and of Jesus Christ our saviour. For he gave himself for us all, that he might rescue us from all our evil ways and make for himself a people of his own, clean and pure, with our hearts set upon living a life that is good.
Titus 3:2 - They (Titus' people) are not to speak evil of any man, they must not be argumentative but gentle, showing themselves agreeable to everybody.
Christian conduct - continued
Hebrews 12:14 - Let it be your ambition to live at peace with all men and to achieve holiness "without which no man shall see the Lord".
1 Peter 2:1 - Have done, then, with all evil and deceit, all pretence and jealousy and slander.
1 Peter 3:8-12 - To sum up, you should all be of one mind living like brothers with true love and sympathy for each other, generous and courteous at all times. Never pay back a bad turn with a bad turn or an insult with another insult, but on the contrary pay back with good. For this is your calling - to do good and one day to inherit all the goodness of God. For: 'He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile: let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil'.
2 Peter 1:5-9 - For this very reason (that Christ has given us everything we need "for living the truly good life") you must do your utmost from your side, and see that your faith carries with it real goodness of life. Your goodness must be accompanied by knowledge, your knowledge by self-control, your self-control by the ability to endure. Your endurance too must always be accompanied by devotion to God; that in turn must have in it the quality of brotherliness, and your brotherliness must lead on to Christian love. If you have these qualities existing and growing in you then it means that knowing our Lord Jesus Christ has not made your lives either complacent or unproductive. The man whose life fails to exhibit these qualities is short-sighted - he can no longer see the reason why he was cleansed from his former sins.
3 John 11 - Never let evil be your example, dear friend of mine, but always good. The man who does good is God's man, but the man who does evil does not know God at all.
Matthew 12:47-50 - Somebody said to him, "Look, you mother and your brothers are outside wanting to speak to you." But Jesus replied to the one who told him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?"; then with a gesture of his hand towards his disciples he went on, "There are my mother and brothers! For whoever does the will of my Heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to me."
Matthew 18:19-20 - "And I tell you once more that if two of you on earth agree in asking for anything it will be granted to you by my Heavenly Father. For wherever two or three people come together in my name, I am there, right among you!"
Romans 12:10 - Let us have real warm affection for one another as between brothers, and a willingness to let the other man have the credit.
Romans 12:16a - Live in harmony with each other.
Romans 15:1-3,5-7 - We who have strong faith ought to shoulder the burden of the doubts and qualms of others and not just to go our own sweet way. Our actions should mean the good of others - should help them to build up their characters. For even Christ did not choose his own pleasure, but as it is written: "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." (Verse 5) ..... May the God who inspires men to endure, and gives them a Father's care, give you a mind united towards one another because of your common loyalty to Jesus Christ. And then, as one man, you will sing from the heart the praises of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So open your hearts to one another as Christ has opened his heart to you, and God will be glorified.
Philippians 2:2b - Live together in harmony, live together in love, as though you had only one mind and one spirit between you.
James 5:16a - You should get into the habit of admitting your sins to each other, and praying for each other, so that if sickness comes to you may be healed.
1 Peter 5:9 - Resist him (the devil), standing firm in your faith and remember that the strain is the same for all your fellow-Christians in other parts of the world.
- These verses include guidance on the qualifications and background needed for leadership; the responsibilities and conduct expected of ministers, bishops, elders, deacons and other church leaders; guidelines for dealing with specific problems; and how leaders should be supported by the people they serve:
Galatians 6:6 - The man under Christian instruction should be willing to contribute towards the livelihood of his teacher.
1 Thessalonians 2:7 - Our attitude among you (Paul bringing the Gospel to the Thessalonians) was one of tenderness, rather like that of a devoted nurse among her babies.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13a - We ask you too, my brothers, to get to know those who work so hard among you. They are your spiritual leaders to keep you on the right path. Because of this high task of theirs, hold them in highest honour.
1 Timothy 1:5-7 - The ultimate aim of the Christian minister (such as Timothy) .... is to produce the love which springs from a pure heart, a good conscience and a genuine faith. Some seem to have forgotten this and to have lost themselves in endless words. They want a reputation as teachers of the Law (or scribes), yet they fail to realise the meaning of their own words, still less of the subject they are so dogmatic about.
1 Timothy 3:1-13 - It is quiet true to say that a man who sets his heart on holding office has laudable ambition. Well, for the office of a bishop (or Overseer or Leader) a man must be of blameless reputation, he must be married to one wife only, and be a man of self-control and discretion. He must be a man of disciplined life; he must be hospitable and have the gift of teaching. He must be neither intemperate nor violent, but gentle. He must not be a controversialist nor must he be fond of money-grabbing. He must have proper authority in his own household, and be able to control and command the respect of his children. (For if a man cannot rule in his own house how can he look after the Church of God?). He must not be a beginner in the faith, for fear of his becoming conceited and sharing Satan's downfall. He should, in addition to the above qualifications, have a good reputation with the outside world, in case his good name is attacked and he is caught by the devil that way.
Deacons, similarly, should be men of serious outlook and sincere conviction. They too should be temperate and not greedy for money. They should hold the faith as a sacred trust, with complete sincerity. Let them serve a period of probation first, and only serve as deacons if they prove satisfactory. Their wives should share their serious outlook, and must be women of discretion and self-control - women who can be trusted. Deacons should be men with only one wife, able to control their children and manage their own households properly. Those who do well as deacons earn for themselves a certain legitimate standing, as well as gaining confidence and freedom in the Christian faith.
1 Timothy 4:6-7 - You will be doing your duty as Christ's minister if you remind your church members of these things (false teaching), and you will show yourself as one who owes his strength to the truth of the faith he has absorbed and the sound teaching he has followed. But steer clear of all these stupid Godless fictions. Take time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.
1 Timothy 4:12-16 - (Paul speaking to the younger Timothy) ..... Don't let people look down on you because you are young; see that they look up to you because you are an example to them in your speech and behaviour, in your love and faith and sincerity. Concentrate until my arrival on your reading and on your preaching and teaching. Never forget that you received the gift of proclaiming God's Word when the assembled elders laid their hands on you. Give your whole attention, all your energies, to these things, so that your progress is plain for all to see. Keep a critical eye both upon your own life and on the teaching you give, and if you continue to follow the line I have indicated you will not only save your own soul but the souls of many of your hearers as well.
Christian leaders - continued
1 Timothy 5:1-2 - Don't reprimand a senior member of your church, appeal to him as a father. Treat the young men as brothers, and the older women as mothers. Treat the younger women as sisters, and no more.
1 Timothy 5:17-20 - Elders with a gift of leadership should be considered worthy of respect, and of adequate salary, particularly if they work hard at their preaching and teaching. Remember the scriptural principle: 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads the grain', and 'The labourer is worthy of his wages'. Take no notice of charges brought against an elder unless they can be substantiated by proper witnesses. If sin is actually proved, then the offenders should be publicly rebuked as a salutary warning to others.
1 Timothy 5:22,24-25 - Never be in a hurry to ordain a man (the laying on of hands), or you may be making yourself responsible for his sins. Be careful that your own life (as a minister) is pure. (Verse 24) ..... Remember that some men's sins are obvious, and are equally obviously bringing them to judgement. The sins of other men are not apparent, but are dogging them, nevertheless, under the surface. Similarly some virtues are plain to see, while other, though not at all conspicuous, will eventually make themselves felt.
2 Timothy 2:3-7 - Put up with your share of hardship as a loyal soldier in Christ's army. Remember: 1) That no soldier on active service gets himself entangled in business, or he will not please his commanding officer. 2) A man who enters an athletic contest wins no prize unless he keeps the rules laid down. 3) Only the man who works on the land has the right to the first share of its produce. Consider these three illustrations of mine and the Lord will help you to understand all that I mean.
2 Timothy 2:15 - .... concentrate on winning God's approval, on being a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, and who knows how to use the word of truth to the best advantage.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 - ... the Lord's servant (such as a minister) must not be a man of strife: he must be kind to all, ready and able to teach: he must have patience and the ability gently to correct those who oppose his message. He must always bear in mind the possibility that God will give them a different outlook, and that they may come to know the truth. They may come to their senses and be rescued from the power of the devil by the servant of the Lord and set to work for God's purposes.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 - I urge you, Timothy, as we live in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus (whose coming in power will judge the living and the dead), to preach the Word of God. Never lose your sense of urgency, in season or out of season. Prove, correct, and encourage, using the utmost patience in your teaching. For the time is coming when men will not tolerate wholesome teaching. They will want something to tickle their own fancies, and they will collect teachers who will pander to their own desires. They will no longer listen to the truth, but will wander off after man-made fictions. For yourself, stand fast in all that you are doing, meeting whatever suffering this may involve. Go on steadily preaching the Gospel and carry out to the full the commission that God gave you.
Christian leaders - continued
Titus 1:5-9 - I (Paul) left you (Titus as a minister) in Crete to set right matters which needed attention, and gave you instructions to appoint elders in every city. They were to be men of unquestioned integrity with only one wife, and with children brought up as Christians and not likely to be accused of loose living or law-breaking. To exercise spiritual oversight a man must be of unimpeachable virtue, for he is God's agent in the affairs of his household. He must not be aggressive or hot-tempered or over-fond of wine; nor must he be violent or greedy for financial gain. On the contrary, he must be hospitable, a genuine lover of what is good, a man who is discreet, fair-minded, holy and self-controlled: a man who takes his stand on the orthodox faith, so that he can by sound teaching both stimulate faith and confute opposition.
Titus 2:7 - (Titus ....) your own life (should) stand as a pattern of good living. In all your teaching show the strictest regard for truth, and show that you appreciate the seriousness of the matters you are dealing with.
Titus 2:15 - Tell men of these things (the Christian way of living), Titus. Urge them to action, using a reprimand where necessary with all the authority of God's minister - and as such let no one treat you with contempt.
Hebrews 13:7,17 - Never forget your leaders, who first spoke to you the Word of God. Remember how they lived, and imitate their faith. (Verse 17) ..... Obey your rulers (in the Church) and recognise their authority. They are like men standing guard over your spiritual good, and they have great responsibility. Try to make their work a pleasure and not a burden - by so doing you will help not only them but yourselves.
James 5:14 - If anyone is ill he should send for the Church elders. They should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord's name.
1 Peter 5:1-4 - Now may I (the apostle Peter) who am myself an elder say a word to you my fellow-elders? I speak as one who actually saw Christ suffer, and as one who will share with you the glories that are to be unfolded to us. I urge you then to see that your "flock of God" is properly fed and cared for. Accept the responsibility of looking after them willingly and not because you feel you can't get out of it, doing your work not for what you can make, but because you are really concerned for their well-being. You should aim not at being "little tin gods" but as examples of Christian living in the eyes of the flock committed to your charge. And then, when the chief shepherd reveals himself, you will receive that crown of glory which cannot fade.
Matthew 18:15-17 - "... if your brother wrongs you, go and have it out with him at once - just between the two of you. If he will listen to you, you have won him back as your brother. But if he will not listen to you, take one or two others with you so that everything that is said may have the support of two or three witnesses. And if he still won't pay any attention, tell the matter to the church. And if he won't even listen to the church then he must be to you just like a pagan - or a tax-collector!"
1 Corinthians 5:1-2 - It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and immorality of a kind that even pagans condemn - a man has apparently taken his father's wife! Are you still proud of your church? Shouldn't you be overwhelmed with sorrow and shame? The man who has done such a thing should certainly be expelled from your fellowship!
1 Corinthians 5:9b-13 - .... I said, "Don't mix with the immoral." I didn't mean, of course, that you were to have no contact at all with the immoral of this world, nor with any cheats or thieves or idolaters - for that would mean going out of the world altogether! But in this letter I tell you not to associate with any professing Christian who is known to be an impure man or a swindler, an idolater, a man with a foul tongue, a drunkard or a thief. My instruction is: "Don't even eat with such a man." Those outside the church it is not my business to judge. But surely it is your business to judge those who are inside the church - God alone can judge those who are outside. It is your plain duty to expel from your church this wicked man!
1 Timothy 5:19-20 - Take no notice of charges brought against an elder unless they can be substantiated by proper witnesses. If sin is actually proved, then the offenders should be publicly rebuked as a salutary warning to others.
Titus 3:9-11 - Subjects like this (living the Christian life) are always good and useful but mind you steer clear of stupid arguments, genealogies, controversies and quarrels over the Law. They settle nothing and lead nowhere. If a man is still argumentative after the second warning you should reject him. You can be sure that he has a moral twist, and he knows it.
Matthew 5:47 - "... if you exchange greetings only with your own circle, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do that much."
1 Corinthians 11:17-19 - .... in giving you the following rules (about the Lord's Supper) I cannot commend your conduct, for it seems that your church meetings do you more harm than good! For first, when you meet for worship I hear that you split up into small groups, and I think there must be truth in what I hear. For there must be cliques among you or your favourite leaders would not be so conspicuous.
COMMERCIALISING THE CHURCH
Matthew 21:12-13 - Then (after his final entry into Jerusalem) Jesus went into the Temple and drove out all the buyers and sellers there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those who sold doves, crying - "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'. But you have turned it into a 'den of thieves!'"
Romans 12:16c - Don't become set in your own opinions (... don't become conceited).
Philippians 4:11b-12 - I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of facing either poverty or plenty.
Colossians 1:15b-17,18b - He (Jesus Christ) existed before creation began, for it was through him that every thing was made, whether spiritual or material, seen or unseen. Through him, and for him, also, were created power and dominion, ownership and authority. In fact, every single thing was created through, and for him. He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation. .... (Verse 18b ....) Life from nothing began through him, and life from the dead began through him, and he is, therefore, justly called the Lord of all.
Hebrews 11:3 - ... it is after all only by faith that our minds accept as fact that the whole scheme of time and space was created by God's command - that the world which we can see has come into being through principles which are invisible.
to Contents List
on to DEATH or back to J B Phillips Verses
J.B.Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition, published by HarperCollins, is presented here with the kind permission of Mrs Vera Phillips and the J.B.Phillips estate