19 BSF Matthew Week 19, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Being a member of the body of Christ is not a life of diplomacy.  Diplomacy is all about building a coalition.  It is about operating from a position of strength.  It is about dealing with others in a way that doesn’t hurt their feelings.

We like diplomacy.  You’re OK, I’m OK.  Can’t we all just get along?  Personal freedom.  We take these words and stretch them into excuses to avoid confrontation.

When we do need to confront something, we start by building our coalition.  Recruiting others to our side to present a position of insurmountable strength.

But this is all wrong.  If a fellow member of the body of Christ is sinning seriously against another, I am called to approach them individually.  Listen to that again.  I am called to approach them individually.  Not to discuss it first with a bunch of different people to build my coalition. Not to ignore it and hope it goes away or somebody else deals with it.  Not to just accept it and avoid conflict.  I am called to approach them individually.

I don’t like that.  I don’t really want to do that – I like conflict avoidance.  But I don’t need to worry or avoid this.  First, the entire responsibility never rests on me.  If the person doesn’t listen to me, then we simply advance to step number 2.  There is no huge burden or failing on my part, it just moves to include 2 others.

Even then we still don’t need to worry.  The promise about binding and loosing isn’t just a grant of authority to us as the church.  It is also a reminder that when we are gathered prayerfully with 2 other believers to trust in God fully, then Jesus is there and God’s will is being done.  Anything we do is only what God has ordained and allowed.    I need not worry or feel burdened if I rely and trust on God whole-heartedly.

I still don’t like it, but Jesus didn’t like being tortured and put to death for my sins either.  That helps put it in perspective.

My Answers:

9.
a.
All parts form one body.  If one part is honored, all rejoice.  If one part suffers, every part suffers.

b.
1. approach individually, 2. approach with 2 others along, 3. approach with and through the church, 4. if not, remove from the congregation until they repent and change ways

10.
a.
Compassion and love

b.
To win them over, to bring them back into a state of not sinning

11.
a.
Bind as in a binding contract.  Loose as in to set free from bondage.  We can set people free from sin and bind them to an inheritance of grace through faith

b.
through Jesus Christ – wherever 2 or 3 gather in His name, He is present.

17 BSF Matthew Week 17, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

1. There used to be a commercial where the actors in it wore shirts with their credit score in bold letters on the front of their shirt.  In a way, I think that is how our faith is with God.  When God looks at us, He doesn’t see muscles and bones and skin.  He doesn’t see facial expressions, hair styles, fashion.  He doesn’t see every time I have stumbled and sinned.  I mean, yes, He knows and sees all of those things, but His focus is on His Spirit in me.  Not my good deeds, but how solidly I have accepted the gift of Himself that He offered to me.  Have I accepted it fully, as it is, or have I only partially accepted it.  Have it accepted it unadulterated, or have I tried to chip away at the corners of the gift.

The cornerstone is square and true and level.  It is not adjusted by the mason to fit in with other dis-formed stones, it is not chipped away to fit into an opening, it is the first stone set that everything else builds upon.

When Jesus looked at Peter’s faith, that is what He saw.  He didn’t see Peter as supernatural.  He didn’t see Peter as having something above and beyond all other men.  He definitely did not see perfection or infallibility!  He did, however, see pure and true, square and level, faith.  Jesus is the foundation.  Jesus is the builder.  Jesus cuts the stone and provides the living stones to build His church.  That faith, the pure acceptance of the gift of the Spirit – That is the cornerstone.

2. I am seeing the message over and over again in Matthew that our words have power.  Far more power than we give them credit.

We/I can be too casual with my words or lack thereof.  Jesus taught, It isn’t what goes into us that makes us clean or unclean, it is what comes out of us.  The words we use reflect the content of our hearts.  This week we see not only that, but they have power.  Things we bind and loose on earth, have eternal impact.

I’m praying to guard my heart, to keep it true to Him so that the words that come from my mouth carry the Love of Christ with them.

My Answers:

6.
a.
Deut: Rock, Jesus, savior, but one they deserted
Matt: stumbling block – Peter putting human concerns above concerns of God
Eph: Jesus cornerstone of the teachings/foundation of the apostles & prophets (the church)
1 Pete: Living stone, being built into a holy priesthood

b.
Peter at Pentecost beginning the sermon to launch the Christian Church on earth.  Acts 2
No Foundation but Jesus

7.
The life of the church is not bound to the life of any man, neither Jesus or Peter

8.
Peter proclaimed the good news and many were saved (3000 +) both Jews and gentiles

b.
jews and gentiles

9.
a.
all disciples

b.
Words have power – blessing and curse are not mere words but carry weight.  Souls converted on Earth will have eternal life in Heaven.