I don't believe it is a coincidence,
that the older and wiser faithful Christians are,
the more they talk about the importance of love and compassion for one another,
along with our obedience to Christ.
I often wonder about the fact that John, the apostle of Love, was the only apostle thought to have died a natural death in his old age.
I do not separate obedience from love.
That is a lie the devil has long propagated and will until our LORD returns.
But too often it seems we leave one or the other out,
and all too often,
possibly as a reaction from defending our position against Liberal theologians who preach
only the Love of Christ,
with little or no obedience to His word,
we often err on the side of teaching such a harsh obedience,
that some where Christ's love is washed down the drain
along with His cleansing blood.
These thoughts were part of what brought me to this last point in my study of how to stay rooted and grounded in love.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~III. I shall not be moved from my role as a compassionate, loving woman in His church
Because you are here I assume you, like me, have no desire to be lost one day. I assume it frightens you as it does me when you see once faithful friends depart from the Faith and Christian marriages falling apart. What makes folks dry up at the roots? We’ve talked about two main reasons: lack of study and a lack of focus on our hope in Christ of Heaven. I believe the third biggest reason that Christians are falling away is a lack of love, concern and compassion for one another. These are attributes that we women not only possess, but that we naturally excel at. God created us uniquely different from men. He put within us a compassionate, emotional, tender heart, created for reaching out and helping all of those in need.
Let's look at ways that we can improve our service as women standing firm in His word. We'll be discussing becoming more compassionate in thought in word and in deed. But first read with me excerpts from Proverbs chapter 31
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life…She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy…She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness…Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”
That's the epitome of femininity. What a beautiful picture this paints of a godly woman laboring lovingly within her roll. It's not that men aren’t to be compassionate and tenderhearted to others. It’s just that God clearly created us with a uniquely gentle touch. We have an uncanny ability to sense needs and sorrows in other people’s hearts that our husbands may overlook. It gives us a "hand up" if you will in fulfilling our obligation to love, edify, uplift and teach in a uniquely feminine manner, with deep love and compassion.
I am taking the liberty of assuming that this group of ladies understands the roll of women in the church. I assume that you are already rooted and grounded in that knowledge. For this reason, we will spend less time focusing on the boundaries of our roll and more on a few simple principles to facilitate our service to Christ. However, to avoid confusion, we will briefly touch on God’s defined roll for us.
In 1 Timothy 1:9-12 we are told “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection; But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” These verses, and others that time won't permit us to explore today, give us our limits within our rolls.
Women are to dress modestly. Ladies I do not mean to offend, but God's word is clear. Christian women don’t show cleavage, (not even cl, what we call the little we have in our family :) ) or a tease line from too short of shirts that show your belly or your back, or tight clothing, or panties peaking above your britches in back, or too short of skirts or shorts. If you are unsure of what modest means, if you don’t want to take my word for it from studying God’s word, then do a word study yourself. Look up the Hebrew and Greek definitions for modesty and the different articles of clothing named in the Bible. Every scholar that I have read upon this subject has come to the same conclusion. We must be clothed from shoulder to knee. That does not mean only at church. That's here, work, school, sporting events, etc. I know this is a difficult subject for some, simply because many have allowed the influence of the world, rather than the influence of the word to help pick our wardrobe. Examine your self and your standard. Which is influencing your clothing purchase more? There is nothing wrong with being beautiful both inside and out, but there will be no sexy in heaven. This is all part of growing those roots down into the word, girls. What we are to adorn ourselves with is good works, which we will shortly discuss.
These verses also limit where and when and to whom women can teach. Women are not to be in positions of authority in the church. We are not to publicly teach a man nor even privately in a manner that would usurp authority. It may sound odd to say we must stand firm on this submissive roll we have, but it’s the truth.
We can turn to other verses to see who and what we are to be teaching. In Titus2:3-5 we read “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
God tells us that there is a time for every purpose under Heaven. These scriptures tell us that there is a time when we must be learners and a time when we must be teachers. Both require a humble, loving heart, a listening ear, and a desire to fulfill the Lord's commands. So what improvements might we make in being more loving and compassionate that we might remain saved, and help others to remain saved as well?
A. First, let’s look at learning to love in thought and teach other women to do the same.
What do I mean? I mean controlling our thoughts positively and lovingly when it comes to what we are thinking of others. This is the first step and more than half the battle in showing more love to others! “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.” Proverbs 16:23
Matthew records our Lord and Savior’s words “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 12:34.
Philippians 4:8 tells us “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” God clearly tells us what we should be meditating upon. I don’t think the Holy Spirit left anything out. Do you?
We often get a little too put out, a little too easily with one another. We assume we know why sister so and so did such and such. We feel strongly a need to say something...or at least to condemn her in our hearts. But let's slow down a little. Let's turn to God and His word and look at a few things.
We know that Christ judges from within a man, not from without. 1 Samuel 16:7 says “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance,
But the LORD looketh on the heart."
Christ never judges us by the outward appearance of things because He knows all things in our heart. “And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,” Luke 9:47
It's true that saints (that's us) will judge the world according to 1 Corinthians 6:2. However, John 7:24 warns us “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” We see we are commanded to judge others at times. But, we're not Christ. We can't look into the heart of those we see. During those times when we are easily offended by words or deeds of others, we need to remember that we can only see their words and actions, but we can’t see their heart or the struggles they are enduring. We don’t know if they were just wronged by someone elses unkind word or deed. We don’t' know if they were just diagnosed with cancer, or found out that a family member was.. We don't know what suffering they have been through or are now experiencing.
We also need to take into account their spiritual maturity level. Are they a babe in Christ? Have they even come to the knowledge that what they are doing is wrong? Have a little patience. If we try to assume the best despite their actions, and reach out to them in a loving manner, they may be more willing to receive our teaching and even open up and share the burdens of their heart. This turns what could have been a bad situation into an opportunity for both them and us to grow in the Lord, and closer to each other.
I am not saying ignore sin, or turn a blind eye to sin. We must teach the truth to erring Christians and young or weak Christians. I am saying assume the best of others, think the best, and reach out with love and concern and gentle teaching, not with anger and assumptions and harsh condemnations, to our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the fulfilling of the law, according to Christ in Matthew 23:40.
1 Corinthians 13:5 says “…love thinketh no evil;” that means love does not assume the worst. Paul writes to us also in Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
And in Ephesians chapter 5:1-2 says “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.”
Peter writes to us “Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart, fervently:” in 1 Peter 1:22.
Unfeigned love is un-pretended, not false, sincere, thinking-the-best kind of love. Let’s remember that we are all different, that everybody doesn’t think just like us or have the spiritual maturity that we may have. Some of us are more passionate (remember that word ) some of us are more laid back. We all have different upbringings and experiences. It takes many unique members to make up this wonderful church of our LORD. Let’s all work on having a more compassionate and patient heart with each member's differences, maturity levels and opinions in matters of opinion.
God, as our Creator, knows how different we all are, yet He designed the church to be a vast network of Christians that work beautifully together. Let’s exhibit a more positive outlook clothed in grace and love towards our sisters and brothers in Christ.
My next post will bring the final points of this lesson.
Have a wonderful night friends!