WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY?
As we continue looking at what was happening in the early church, we see that a debate arose. While the Jewish Christians were excited to hear the Gentiles had received the gospel, they believed there were some things the Gentiles needed to do. Paul and Barnabas had been led by the Holy Spirit to realize God had created a different plan for his church. What God had required the Jews to do had not truly saved anyone. It always depended on faith in God combined with frequent sacrifices to be made right with God in the past. Even then you had to do this over and over again to stay right with God.
Paul and Barnabas knew God had created a new plan when Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for everyone’s sins. The old requirements were no longer part of God’s plan. They, led by the Holy Spirit, talked to the leaders in Jerusalem and explained what God had revealed to them. The church leaders in Jerusalem agreed, as the Holy Spirit confirmed everything Paul and Barnabas said. They sent Paul and Barnabas on their way to different places of the Gentiles as stated in verses 22 and 23. They even sent Judas and Silas with them so there would be no question they were in agreement with what Paul and Barnabas had been saying. As I read of this dispute that had started in the early church, I could not help but think of some disagreements that occur in the church today. One of the biggest disagreements is over baptism. The Church of the Brethren believes immersion is what should be used. Other denominations sprinkle or at least something short of full immersion. Is one way more right than another? Some denominations that believe in baptism will not accept anyone’s baptism but their own seen by their own eyes. Does God believe this is something the church should be divided over?
My question is why do we cause disputes at times, that create unnecessary obstacles to receive God’s word with fellow believers? The church at times will question the clothes we wear, the way we look, the things we say and do. While I believe God has clearly stated certain things should not be a part of a believer’s life, it is the Holy Spirit’s leading that helps us understand these things. Yes, we as a church should out of love, encourage one another. At times, even as God’s word says, “Speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
I have grown to appreciate the attitude of this congregation that allows us to reach out to God with a degree of personal freedom. While I believe there are certain areas there should be no compromise on, there are many other areas where there should be space given for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct. The church in Jerusalem listened to the Holy Spirit and gave the new Christians, who were Gentiles, space. May we in the church at Cerro Gordo always give the same respect to the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us. There continues to be turmoil and controversy in our nation and world. I believe God is calling the church to be healers to the broken and to those who feel helpless or forgotten. Those feeling this way are feeling this way for many different reasons. We should show God’s love and compassion for all who feel left out. There are those in this community that need to know God loves them and cares about what is going on in their lives. When we see a need for love and compassion, God is calling you and me to be available to bring hope, not condemnation. As we continue to seek God and his direction for our lives and our church, may we be like the church in Jerusalem. May we embrace one another out of love. May the message we send be like the one sent to the believers in Antioch.
May all who know God, recognize God’s hand on our lives as his representatives here in Cerro Gordo and beyond. That should be our passion and our goal, to encourage all to receive everything God has for us, leaving no one behind and never making things harder than they must be. May we capture the spirit of the early church having as our main desire to serve God to the best of our ability, to bring hope to the hopeless and God’s love and compassion to all who will be open and receive.
Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study—beginning a study of Acts with Larry Solomon
leading. All are invited to attend.
Sept 9 Board Meeting: 6:15 executive committee; 7:00 commissions; 7:30 board meets together
A monthly newsletter will start in September. Please give Carol any news or articles you would like to have in it by Sept 1.
No Women’s Fellowship in September.
New Upper Room and Daily Bread issues are available.
Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary or mail in to PO Box 45, Cerro Gordo.
Thank you for wearing masks and helping contain the spread of the virus. Extra masks are at the back of the sanctuary if you don’t have one. Remember: the cloth masks are washable.
Donation Box: AC bills
--Don’t forget to check mailboxes.
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link)
Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook
Keep in Your Prayers
Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Junior and Evelyn Traxler; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 180,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.