DEFINITION: Compulsiveness is the irresistible impulse to do irrational, repetitive, sinful, or unnecessary actions.
FACTS ABOUT COMPULSIVENESS:
Examples of compulsiveness include compulsive gambling, addictions, sex, eating, talking, hording, drinking and working. These are examples of uncontrolled works of the flesh. An activity may be harmless in itself, but may become compulsive behavior when it is done excessively and repeatedly.
Compulsiveness is a lack of self-discipline. As a follower of Christ, self-control should be one of the spiritual attributes apparent in your life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
An anxiety disorder called obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessive thoughts that lead to compulsive and repetitive behavior.
The root cause of compulsiveness is anxiety. People often eat because they are stressed. They talk excessively when they are upset. They gamble and drink to find relief from their anxieties. Such behaviors reflect a lack of trust in God and His promises of care and provision. This leads to compulsive behaviors such as sex, overeating, alcoholism, etc., to attempt to deal with the complexities of life.
Compulsiveness is sin. You are commanded to refrain from worry, so therefore compulsive anxiety over the circumstances of life is actually sin (Matthew 6:31-34; Philippians 4:6). You are also commanded to show self-control, and when you are acting compulsively and out of control, you are not doing so
DEALING WITH COMPULSIVENESS:
Repent of compulsive behavior. Compulsiveness is a lack of self-control. Confess it to God as sin and ask forgiveness.
Ask God to give you strength to deal with compulsive behavior. Whether your problem is compulsive anxiety, gambling, sex, eating, talking, hording, drinking–God will give you strength to conquer these.
Pray about your concerns instead of worrying about them. Philippians 4:6-7 commands you to pray about everything instead of worrying.
Flee temptation. Do not put yourself in a place where you will be tempted. For example, if you are a compulsive gambler, do not go to a gambling casino. If you have problems with compulsive eating, a restaurant with a buffet is probably not the best choice for you.
Put off the works of the flesh and put on the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. See Galatians (6:19-25). Learn to live in the Spirit instead of according to the dictates of your flesh that lead to compulsive behavior.
Do not allow yourself to be brought under the power of anything other than God. Paul said that everything was permissible, but that he would not permit himself to be overpowered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12). For example, eating is good because it maintains life, but gluttony means your eating is out of control.
Renew your mind in the Word of God. As with most issues of spiritual life, the battle begins and is fought and won in your mind. Transform your mind by studying the Word of God. (Romans 12:1-2). When obsessive thoughts try to return, rebuke them in the name of Jesus using the Word of God. Take control of your thought life. Cast down vain worries and anxieties (1 Corinthians 10:4-5)
When you find yourself engaging in compulsive behavior again, stop immediately! Ask God for forgiveness and stop doing what you are doing. Use your spiritual weapons to defeat Satan right then and there!
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT COMPULSIVENESS:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:14)
Everything is permissible for me-but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me-but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (1 Corinthians 10:4-5)
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6)
(See also “Anxiety And Worry”, “Addictions”, and “Habits” in this database.)
DEFINITION: Communication is the act of giving or exchanging information through speech, writing, various forms of media and the arts, or through a common system of signs or behavior.
FACTS ABOUT COMMUNICATION:
The most important communication is that between God and man. God communicates through His Word and the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as prophecy and teaching.
The Holy Spirit communicates to convict us of sin (John 16:7-11) and to guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
Our primary mode of communication with God is prayer. In prayer, we speak with God and He speaks to us.
God has given you the ability to communicate. He has also declared that you will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word you have spoken (Matthew 12:36).
Your tongue is powerful. The Bible says it has the power of life and death in it (Proverbs 18:21). Your own words can be a snare to your soul (Proverbs 18:7).
Your mouth, speaking God’s Word, expedites the work of angels. The angels of God are released or hindered to work in your behalf by the words that come out of your mouth. Hebrews 1:14 reveals that angels are “ministering spirits” sent from God to minister in behalf of the heirs of salvation. They are released by God to minister when you speak God’s Word instead of murmuring and complaining (Psalm 103:20).
The tongues is difficult to control. James 3:1-3 explains that the tongue is impossible to tame, apart from the Holy Spirit. The Bible compares the tongue to a fire (James 3:5); a world of iniquity (James 3:6); a beast that needs taming (James 3:7-8); a fountain of either fresh or bitter water (James 3:11); a tree bearing either good or evil fruit (James 3:12); an unruly evil (James 3:8); deadly poison (James 3:8); a sharp razor (Psalms 52:2); a sharp sword (Psalms 57:4; 59:7); a poisonous serpent (Psalms 140:3); and a deep pit (Proverbs 22:14).
What you speak comes out of your heart. If your heart is filled with negative thoughts–hatred, anger, jealousy, pride, bitterness, and strife–that is what will come out of your mouth. If your heart and mind are filled with carnal thoughts and lusts of the flesh, this will be manifested in your words. If your heart and mind are filled with positive thoughts–thoughts of faith, love, joy, peace–what you say will reflect this.
Controlling your tongues is mandatory because:
–You can be snared with your own words: “You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth” (Proverbs 6:2,NKJV).
-Your words can separate you from God: “Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” (Psalms 12:4, KJV).
-Your words can create a breach–an opening–in your spirit: “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4, KJV).
-Satan uses your lips to affect your soul: “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Proverbs 18:7, KJV).
-You tongue can cause calamity: “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity” (Proverbs 21:23).
-Your tongue affects your whole body: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (James 3:6, NKJV).
-Your tongue affects your whole life: “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction” (Proverbs 13:3, NKJV).
DEALING WITH COMMUNICATION:
Ask God to forgive you. Evil communication is sin, and as all sin, must be dealt with by confession, repentance, and seeking forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Get your heart right with God. The first step in gaining victory over the tongue is to get your heart right with God because…”the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:18-20). Your mouth speaks what is in your heart. If your heart is not right, your tongue will reveal it.
Recognize that you are responsible for the words that come out of your mouth, so take control! “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).
Keep your words few and simple. The more you talk, the greater the opportunity to sin with your words.”When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).” Jesus said:” Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).
Set a good example by your communications. Your conversation reflects on the Lord, so you should set a good example by what you say: “… set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1Timothy 4:12).
Think before you speak. Take time to think about what you are going to say. The Bible warns:
Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear; slow to speak, slow to wrath. (James 1:19, KJV)
If you have played the fool and exalted yourself, or if you have planned evil, clap your hand over your mouth! (Proverbs 30:32)
The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.(Proverbs 15:28)
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.(Proverbs 17:28)
Think on these verses before you speak.
The wise in heart are called prudent, understanding, and knowing, and winsome speech increases learning [in both speaker and listener]. (Proverbs 16:21, AMP)
The mind of the wise instructs his mouth, and adds learning and persuasiveness to his lips.(Proverbs 16:23, AMP)
A man has joy in making an apt answer, and a word spoken at the right moment–how good it is!
(Proverbs 15:23, AMP)
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Proverbs 25:11, KJV)
He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. (Proverbs 21:23)
He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3)
Ask yourself these questions before you speak.
-Will what I am about to say bring glory to God?
-Is it the truth?
-Is it fair to all concerned?
-Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
-Will it edify others?
-Have I talked to the person I am talking about?
-Is what I am saying a fact that needs to be shared or is what I am saying based on rumors and does not need to be said?
-Is it absolutely necessary that I share this?
Separate yourself from those who cannot control their tongues. The Bible warns: “Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips” (Proverbs 14:7). Do not hang out with them and allow them to pour their filthy, godless conversations into your spirit.
Learn the power of peaceful words. “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone” (Proverbs 25:15).
Recognize your tongue is a weapon. Your tongue is a weapon you can use to overcome the enemy instead of being defeated by him: “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” (Revelation 12:11, KJV).
Avoid these communication errors which the Bible warns against.
-Murmuring and complaining: Complaining is actually a form of rebellion against God. When the nation of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, God said they were actually complaining against Him. When you complain, you are rebelling against the way He is doing things and the circumstances He is allowing in your life. Rebellion is compared to the sin of witchcraft in the Bible (1 Samuel 15:23). As He did with Israel, God will execute judgment against those who murmur and complain (June 15-16).
-Profanity: Profanity is language or behavior that shows disrespect for God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit including misuse of their names. It is vulgar and irreverent language or behavior, including jokes or innuendos that mock that which is holy.
-Covetous words: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…” (Hebrews 13:5). See also “covetousness” in this database.
-Idol words: “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36, KJV).
-Foolish words: “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly” (Proverbs 15:14).
-Unprofitable words: “Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen” (2 Timothy 2:14)
-Fables and commandments of men: “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth” (Titus 1:14, KJV).
-Evil about things you do not know: “But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption” (2 Peter 2:12, NKJV).
-Flattering words: “You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed–God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else” (1 Thessalonians 2:5-6).
-Vain words: “They speak vanity every one with his neighbor” (Psalms 12:2, KJV) .
-Proud words: “…with their mouth they speak proudly” (Psalms 17:10, KJV). See also “Pride” in this database.
-Enticing words: “And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words” (Colossians 2:4, KJV). Enticing words are words that sound wise and plausible, but are not.
-Boastful words: “How long shall they utter and speak hard things? And all the workers of iniquity boast themselves” (Psalms 94:4, KJV) .
-Words that misuse God’s name: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20:7).
-Cursing and bitter words: “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (Romans 3:14, KJV).
-Lies: “Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous” (Psalms 31:18, KJV).
-Malicious words against others: “So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us” (3 John 10).
-Backbiting words: “…and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman” (Psalms 15:3).
-Words of discord: “…one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:19, NKJV).
-Contentious words: “A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows” (Proverbs 18:6, NKJV).
-Words of strife: “You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues” (Psalms 31:20, NKJV).
-Devouring and deceitful words: “You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue!” (Psalms 52:4).
-Froward and perverse words: “Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips” (Proverbs 4:24).
-Mischievous words: “They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things and imagine deceits all the day long” (Psalms 38:12, KJV).
-Tale-bearing words: “A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter” (Proverbs 11:13, NKJV).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT COMMUNICATION:
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Exodus 20:7, NIV)
You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. (Psalms 17:3,NKJV)
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalms 19:14, KJV)
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. (Psalms 34:13)
I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. (Psalms 39:1, KJV)
“Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.” (Psalms 50:23, NKJV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10, KJV)
You love every harmful word, Oh you deceitful tongue! (Psalm 52:4)
Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.(Psalm 103:20)
Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3)
Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (Proverbs 4:24)
Hear; For I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. (Proverbs 8:6-8, KJV)
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. (Proverbs 10:11)
When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)
The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment. (Proverbs 10:21)
The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them. (Proverbs 12:6)
From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him. (Proverbs 12:14)
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. (Proverbs 15:2)
A man finds joy in giving an apt reply–and how good is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23)
The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. (Proverbs 15:28)
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. (Proverbs 17:14)
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (Proverbs 17:27-28)
A fool’s mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul. (Proverbs 18:7)
He who answers before listening–that is his folly and his shame. (Proverbs 18:13)
From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:20-21)
He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. (Proverbs 21:23)
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. (Proverbs 25:15)
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Proverbs 29:11)
Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 29:20)
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
Do not let your mouth lead you into sin…(Ecclesiastes 5:6)
The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. (Ecclesiastes 12:11, KJV)
Do not pay attention to every word people say. (Ecclesiastes 7:21)
The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. (Ecclesiastes 9:17)
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11, NKJV)
Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:37)
Men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37)
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:1-6)
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Ephesians 4:22-25)
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29, KJV)
Let all…evil speaking be put away from you…(Ephesians 4:31, KJV)
But now also put off…filthy communication out of your mouth. (Colossians 3:8, NKJV)
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. (Philemon 6, KJV)
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. (James 1:19-21)
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3:6-12)
…be holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, be holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16)
For, Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. (1 Peter 3:10)
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. (1 Peter 4:11)
(See also “Profanity” and “Gossip” in this database.)
DEFINITION: The New Testament defines the Church as the physical manifestation of Christ, also called His Body and the Bride of Christ. The word actually means “the called out ones” or “dedicated to the Lord.” The church is the spiritual body through which Christ works in the world.
FACTS ABOUT CHURCH MEMBERSHIP:
Becoming a church member does not save you. Salvation only comes through confessing, repenting, and accepting Jesus Christ as Savior (John 3:16; Romans 10:9).
There are two dimensions of the Church. The universal Church and the local Church.
-The universal Church is composed of all true believers in Christ–those now living and those who have preceded us in death.
-The local Church is composed of a local congregation living in a specific area and meeting together regularly, whether it be in a church sanctuary, a home, or even outside under a tree!
All born-again believers are automatically members of the universal Church. Believers become part of a local church through meeting together with them and/or a formal process of joining the local congregation. Various groups of churches have organized into what is called “denominations”. Although this was not done in New Testament times, modern churches have opted to do this for purposes of administration and organization.
The Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ are other names used in the Bible for true believers who are part of the universal Church.
Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:22-23). Jesus loved the church and gave His life for it (Ephesians 5:25).
The Church fulfills Christ’s mission to the world. The book of Acts and the epistles record how God worked through members of the first Church to extend the Gospel around the world.
Christians are directed to assemble with other members of the Body of Christ. The Bible warns: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
Which local congregation one should be a part of is between you and God. The question is where does He want you–both for your spiritual benefit and for the benefit of others? This may change from time to time. You may fulfill your purpose in one church and move on. When you leave one congregation for another, however, it should be because of the direction of God and for accomplishing His purposes in and through you. Always leave a church right–that is with a good reputation and without making accusatory statement regarding the congregation from which you are departing.
There is no perfect church. If you are looking for a perfect church, you will not find one. The church is composed of men and women just like you–people who are imperfect. The “perfect” church is one where believers are following the mandates of God’s Word, seeking to mature spiritually, and fulfilling the Great Commission to the world.
Responsibilities of church membership include faithful attendance, service for God, and financial support. Each member of the Church has a specific purpose to fulfill (1 Corinthians 12).
God sets the leadership in the church. Apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, teachers, and those with various other spiritual gifts are set in the church by God (1 Corinthians 12:27-28).
God’s purpose for the church is that “…through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11).
The church of God is the pillar and ground of the truth. That is why it is so important to be part of a Bible-believing church (1 Timothy 3:15).
DEALING WITH CHURCH MEMBERSHIP:
Do not remain in a church where scripture is being violated. If the teaching or leadership of a local congregation do not line up with the truth of God’s Word, find a new church.
Recognize the importance of attending church. Hebrews 10:25 warns about abandoning meeting together, especially in the end-times. The church is important to your spiritual growth and development and provides a place where you can serve God with your talents and gifts. It is also the foundation of truth which will keep you from deception (1 Timothy 3:15).
Find a church. Become part of a Bible believing, Spirit-filled, proof-producing church.
Pray and ask God to guide your decision. Your choice of a local church is not about your preferences. Rather, it is about the best church for you to attend where you can grow spiritually and your gifts and abilities can be effectively used to bless others.
If you believe God is calling you to start a new church, do so without causing disruption in the church you are presently attending. God is not pleased with those who cause division among His people.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT CHURCH MEMBERSHIP:
Read through the book of Acts and mark each time the word “church” is used. You will note that the church was the agency through which the Great Commission to reach the world is fulfilled. The epistles are letters written to the church under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and provide guidelines for it in faith and practice.
And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47)
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:4-5)
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.(1 Corinthians 12:13)
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:27-28)
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
His (God’s) intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 3:10-11)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:16-20)
… you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)
CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE
DEFINITION: Chastening means to discipline in order to correct errors or faults.
FACTS ABOUT CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE:
Reasons for chastening and discipline. It is the nature of sin to rebel against authority. This is what caused the original sin of Lucifer (Satan) and of man (Adam and Eve). Because of this basic sin nature, we all rebel and need correction at times.
Pastors or spiritual leaders have the authority for discipline within a church or ministry because they have the responsibility for the spiritual welfare of followers (Hebrews 13:7). You are to respond positively to your spiritual leaders so it will be a joy for them to lead you.
God expects parents to discipline their children. The Bible says that a person without discipline will die without instruction–spiritual death for sure, and maybe even physical death (Proverbs 5:23). Proverbs 23:13 says “do not withhold discipline from a child.” Moses commanded Israel to teach their children to observe all of God’s words (Deuteronomy 32:46). The Bible says: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, NASU).
God disciplines believers through His Word, trials of faith, and adverse circumstances.
The purposes of chastening and discipline. It leads you to repentance and corrects sin (1 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Corinthians 7:9). It keeps you humble (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). It teaches you spiritual discernment (1 Corinthians 11:31-32) and to obey God’s Word (Psalm 119:67). It encourages you to be faithful (1 Corinthians 5:6-7); protects the testimony of the church (1 Timothy 3:7); and is restorative (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 6:14-15).
Chastening and discipline confirm God’s love for you. It confirms that you are a child of God and that He cares about you (Hebrews 12:8, Psalms 94:12; Proverbs 3:11-12).
DEALING WITH CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE:
Consider chastening a reason to examine your life. As the Apostle Paul admonished, “…let a man examine himself…” (1 Corinthians 11:28). Examine your life for sins of commission (things you should not do) and sins of omission (things you should have done but didn’t).
Confess any known sin. Chastening sometimes occurs because of sin, so confess any known sin. When you do, God will cleanse you from all unrighteousness, meaning even sins of which you are not aware (1 John 1:8-9). Pray the prayer of David: “Cleanse me from secret faults” (Psalm 19:12).
Do not be discouraged by discipline. Know that through chastening, God confirms His love for you (Hebrews 12:7-11). You are actually blessed when you are disciplined by God (Psalm 94:12)
Remember what has been called the “golden rule” if you deal with situations that require discipline: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” (Matthew 7:12, RSV). Always ask yourself:
-What does God’s Word say about this?
-How would Jesus handle this?
-How would I want to be treated in this situation if our positions were reversed and I was him and he was me?”
Use these biblical guidelines for discipline:
-Go first to the erring brother and solve the matter individually and personally if possible. If the erring believer will not listen to you and repent, go again with witnesses. If he still refuses to hear you, take the matter before the entire Church (Matthew 18:15-17).
-Discipline should be with a proper spirit. Spiritually mature believers are to first judge themselves and then deal with offenders in a spirit of meekness, love, and helpfulness (Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 15:1-2; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8, and Galatians 6:1-4).
-Correction should be done with the purpose of restoring the offender who has been taken captive by Satan (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
-Opportunity should be given for the erring brother to respond. If he repents, the leader can restore him to fellowship and ministry. If the offense is serious, the offender may need to be removed from active ministry until he sets his own life and home in order. If he is rebellious and does not repent, he must be removed from leadership and possibly, the church fellowship.
-Private problems and public sins should be handled differently (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; Galatians 2:1-14; 1 Timothy 5:20). In the passage from Matthew it seems the problem was between two individuals. It was to be dealt with by enlisting the aid of other believers and, if the offender would not listen, by excluding him from fellowship. In the other passages, the problems were matters of public record so they were dealt with publicly.
-Exercise discipline only on the basis of factual knowledge. “Hearsay” evidence is not sufficient, and there must also be two or three witnesses to an offense (Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5:1 and 1 Timothy 5:1,9).
-If correction is totally refused, discipline may include exclusion from the fellowship. One of the greatest gifts God has given believers is fellowship with others believers. One of the most severe punishments is withholding such fellowship (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 2 John 7-11; and 3 John 9-11).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE:
Blessed is the man you discipline, Oh Lord, the man you teach from your law. (Psalms 94:12)
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. (Psalm 119:67)
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.(1 Corinthians 11:31-32)
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7-11)
(Domestic, Child, Sexual)
DEFINITION: Abuse is mistreatment of another person. It includes child abuse, spousal abuse, physical, emotional, mental, and sexual abuse. The term also applies to the misuse of legitimate authority, for example a government official or religious leader who abuses their power.
FACTS ABOUT ABUSE:
Abuse takes many forms. It may be domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, or physical, emotional, and mental abuse.
Abuse is not tolerated in God’s Kingdom. Certain types of abuse–such as domestic abuse–is permitted in some countries, but we are not citizens of the nation in which we live. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God, and we are governed by God’s laws that prohibit any kind of abuse.
Abuse is against the law in the US and many other nations. See God’s mandates regarding believers abiding by the law in Romans 13:1-3; 1 Peter 2:13-14; and Luke 17:2.
Abuse is against God’s law. One of the two greatest commandments is to love others (Matthew 22:37-39). Abuse is not love.
Abuse can be learned behavior–for example, a person sees their Dad abuse their Mom and models similar abuse in their own relationships.
Causes of abuse. The root cause behind abuse is often uncontrolled anger. It also stems from a low self-image which makes a person abuse others to try to elevate their own status.
Abusers tend to justify their behavior. They blame others for making them so angry that they are forced to respond in this manner.
DEALING WITH ABUSE:
If you are being abused, remove yourself from the situation. Remaining in an abusive situation may cost your life or that of your child. In many nations, you are legally responsible for removing a child from an abusive environment. Move in with a relative or friend or seek help from a Christian shelter. If you are being abused by an employer, seek a new job. If you are experiencing abuse by a spiritual leader, find a new church.
If you are the abuser, admit your problem. As long as you are in denial, you cannot change.
Ask God for forgiveness if you have abused someone. Abuse in any form is a sin and violates God’s law of loving others (Matthew 22:37-39).
Ask forgiveness of those you have abused. God requires it. Your own gifts, prayers, and worship won’t be accepted until you do this: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
If you tend to be abusive, ask God to develop the Fruit of the Spirit in your life. Love, patience, and self control will replace your abusive behavior.
If you have suffered abuse, the first step towards healing is to acknowledge that the abuse happened. Maybe your abuser warned you not to tell anyone, or maybe your family didn’t believe you when you told them what happened. Healing starts when you admit the truth about the abuse, whether or not others believe you. As you admit the abuse, you may experience feelings of confusion, hurt, blame, and shame. You might be tempted to drown those feelings with alcohol, drugs, food, anger or sexual addictions. Instead, replace these negative thoughts with the truth of God’s Word. God made you in His image (Genesis 1:27). He loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you (John 3:16). He has a plan to give you a future and a hope. Admit that what was done to you was wrong, sinful acts committed by sinful people, Whether or not you are able to confront your abuser, you must forgive them. When anger or shameful thoughts over past abuse try to return to your mind, reject these immediately. You will never have a future as long as you are living in the past.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ABUSE:
Abuse in general.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself .'” (Matthew 22:37-39)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a)
No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. (Leviticus 18:6)
Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you. (Leviticus 18:10)
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)
Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. (Luke 17:1-2)
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church–for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the chWives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:18-20)urch. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-32)
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:18-20)