Conviction #6: WE CAN/ SHOULD BE BOTH/AND IN AREAS THE BIBLE DOESN’T MAKE US EITHER/OR… AND WE SHOULD CELEBRATE OUR CULTURAL DIFFERENCES OUT OF LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.
Romans 14: Do not pass judgment on one another… one observes certain days, one does not… one eats certain things, one does not… be convinced in your own mind and do it to honor the Lord
Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
The Bible is VERY clear on certain issues where obedience is a matter of choosing an either/or position. Biblical leadership, Biblical manhood and womanhood issues, evangelism, missions, prayer… but the Bible also provides freedom in Christ to follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting of our conscience and to celebrate our differences in culture and custom.
Our desire is the see diversity (in age, ethnicity, background) flourish at OPBC UNDER the banner of Christ as we celebrate our differences and lay aside our preferences for the joy and celebration of others in Christ.
Admittedly, this can get messy… but it is worth it.
Conviction #7: PATIENCE IS A PRIMARY WAY WE MUST RELATE TO ONE ANOTHER
Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Colossians 3:12-15 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
God is completing a work in each of us… making us more and more like Christ. And this should make us patient with one another. The more we become like Christ, the more alike we will become in our passions, desires, and convictions. This takes time… and the timeline belongs to God.
The Holy Spirit changes people, not programs…
Holy Spirit changed people change programs… and the changes last.
Conviction #8: THE PROGRAMMING OF THE CHURCH SHOULD NEVER TAKE THE PLACE OF ACTUALLY LIVING AS FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST IN THE WORLD… WE LIVE SENT
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Gathering with the family at OPBC is one of my favorite things. No follower of Jesus can claim to love Jesus without loving His Bride, the Church.
But, church activities are no replacement for living out our faith in Christ in the world, making disciples. Pastors (myself included) can be guilty of “over-churching” our people with activities and programs. Bible studies are good for knowledge and growth… but without the opportunity to practice what we learn, we cannot be salt and light in the world. Pray for us as a church that we will balance growing and going into the world.