Sunday, December 8, 2013

DAY 568 - Trust Your Leaders! (請按此處收聼廣東話Cantonese podcast click here)

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                               Today's Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11

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Bible Study

     This is a difficult but important passage. Because it deals with how the church should exercise discipline to some people who are out of order but at the same time not letting the whole church sink into darkness. 

Bishop N.T. Wright says ( ) :
     The person in question may perhaps be the same person Paul denounced in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, the man who had been living with his father's wife.  He had then instructed that the man should be dismissed from the Christian fellowship, put out into the dark world beyond the reach of grace…
     ...perhaps the church had initially refused to discipline the man,standing up to Paul when he made his short and painful visit, and then finally responding after the 'sorrowful letter' he referred to in the previous verses.  We do not know.  What we do know is that, in response to one of Paul's appeals, the church did indeed put someone under extremely severe discipline, so severe that Paul now sees he needs to take them on the the next stage, that of reconciliation and forgiveness…
     it may be necessary first to confront and discipline a persistent sinner, and then to deal with the sorrow that results.  Too often the church, at least in  the mainstream of modern Western Christianity, has been so anxious about ever causing sorrow to anyone that it has backed off from confrontation and discipline.  Sometimes the opposite mistake is made, of course.  But Paul's point is that the right sequence, and balance, needs to be maintained,  and he himself is an example of how it's done…
     It has to do with a larger and darker issue.  It is about the church's stand against the accuser, the satan.  We know, Paul says, the cunning plans he is working out.  We mustn't let ourselves be outwitted by him…
     There comes a point when the church either has to trust Paul that he really means this, or to collapse into endless suspicions and recriminations.  Such questions of trust remain at the heart of all the pastoral work, at whatever level, that today's church so badly needs.
N.T. Wright. Paul for Everyone:2 Corinthians. Louisville,KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p.20-22.

     Do you trust your leaders when they need to exercise discipline to someone in your church? Can forgiveness happens to both parties when this situation happens? How can you not let the Accuser, Satan to make use of that opportunity to destroy your church? 

Let's have a time to be still and give the Holy Spirit space to speak through the passage of scripture we have just read. Offer this time up to Jesus as you listen to him, while listening to "Gabriel's Oboe":

Spiritual Journal

    What I heard from Jesus today is: Trust your leaders!

    What I got from Jesus today is a first-aid kit for every church. What Paul is talking about does not usually happen in a church. But when it happens, it usually cause lots of "grief", bitterness, accusation and destruction. Which side is right, which side is wrong? Or , both sides are wrong? It can't be both side are right!

     So, what Paul suggestion to those Corinthians and us are two things:
1. Do not let the Accuser to win. Satan, one of his names is Accuser, he likes to make accusation, spreading rumours and thus destroying a church.

2. Trust the decision of your leaders. If you can't trust your leaders, be careful that your are part of the team to destroy your own church. That's why Paul says:
    so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.                                                         2 Corinthians 2: 11

     Protect your church and trust your leaders! 

Dear Lord Jesus, 
Lead us to be able to discern your will so that we won't step into the trap of the Accuser. Come Holy Spirit come, fill us that we are being anointed by you to have the gifts and strength to protect our church from the attack of the Accuser. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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