Rock Your Role ~ Order in His Courts: Silencing Women? (1 Corinthians 14:33b-35)

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Rock Your Role is a series examining the “go to” and hot button Scriptures that relate to and help us understand our role as women in the church. Don’t forget to prayerfully consider our three key questions as you read.

Published concurrently at Satisfaction Through Christ

Silencing Women 2

As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
1 Corinthians 14:33b-35

Whew! That’s a tough passage. It stirs up a lot of thoughts and emotions just by reading it. What does it mean? How does it apply to me and to my church?  Are Christian women never to open their mouths inside the church building?

The most important thing to remember about rightly handling and understanding God’s word is that we must study it in context. Paul is writing 1 Corinthians as sort of a “user’s manual” of Christianity for the fledgling church at Corinth. Remember, this Christianity thing was brand new to them. The new Christians at Corinth were coming out of paganism or Judaism. They had no idea what they were doing when it came to church and the Christian walk, and they counldn’t run down to their local Christian book store for a copy of Christianity for Dummies. They didn’t even have the New Testament yet, for goodness sakes!

So, for the first 13 chapters Paul has dealt with a variety of things, from the centrality of the gospel to unity to church discipline, marriage, idolatry, the Lord’s Supper- a smorgasbord of things the Holy Spirit thought the church needed instruction about. And chapter 14 is just more of this type of “Christianity 101” instruction.

If you read the entire chapter – which I encourage you to take a minute to do right now – you can see that the overall topic Paul is addressing throughout is keeping order in the church meeting (worship service). He spends the first 33 verses talking about tongues and prophecy and how those should be properly expressed in the service. Whether you’re a cessationist or a continuationist, I think we can all imagine that it would be mass chaos for multiple people to simultaneously stand up and speak out in these ways in the meeting, especially when the first priority was supposed to be listening to apostolic instruction.

This theme of keeping order in the worship service carries over into last portion of the chapter, as well. (My Bible even has a heading prior to verse 26 which says “Orderly Worship”.) The key verses showing this focus on orderly worhship are 33: “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace,” and 40: ” But all things should be done decently and in order.” Those verses sort of “bookend” what Paul is saying here in the passage about women.

We saw earlier in the chapter that Paul talks about people prophesying and speaking in different languages with and without interpreters and how that can cause confusion and disorder. Likewise, in verse 26 he says, “When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.” You can probably imagine the resulting hullabaloo with all of those people trying to get a word in edgewise! My MacArthur study Bible adds the cultural note: “Apparently, certain women were out of order in disruptively asking questions publicly in the chaotic services.”

So, zooming out and taking a “big picture” look at this passage, we can see that the main issue here was not women speaking in church, per se, but rather a focus on orderliness in the service. Paul is trying to establish a structure for the worship service and a hierarchy of church leadership, and one of the main ways he can quickly and neatly cut a lot of the chaos (just as he earlier put limitations on speaking out in prophecy and other languages) is to tell the women to be quiet and hang on to their questions until they get home and can talk freely, in more depth, and at greater length, with their husbands. We can see from the rest of the passage that he doesn’t want men being disorderly either. In fact, he’s trying to create an atmosphere where apostolic teaching can take place that will both answer a lot of the women’s questions and equip their husbands to answer their wives’ questions later at home.

So, taking this passage and other passages about God’s design for worship and for men’s and women’s roles in the church hand in hand, it doesn’t seem that what Paul is saying in this particular passage is that no woman can ever say a word out loud in the church meeting simply because she has two X chromosomes. There are occasions when women can speak – in an orderly way – in church, as long as they are not doing it in a way that violates any other Scriptures (e.g. instructing men in the Bible or holding improper authority over men, as prohibited by 1 Timothy 2:12).

For example: if you go to a church (as I do) where people are prone to saying the occasional “Amen” when the pastor says something especially important in the sermon, it would not be a violation of 1 Corinthians 14:34 for women to say “amen” along with the men.

Neither would a woman be disobeying this verse if she stood up to make a general announcement if the church has a designated time of the service for that. Saying something like, “Just a reminder- we’re having a potluck on the 23rd. We could really use some guys to help move tables, and we need some volunteers to bring desserts,” would be fine. What would be disobedient to 1 Corinthians 14:34 is if she suddenly remembered this announcement during worship service and interrupted the pastor’s sermon to make the announcement. (Sounds crazy, I know, but I actually once saw a man do this in church, which means he was violating the biblical principle of orderliness in 1 Corinthians 14).

These are just two small examples. There are probably many other instances in which it would be fine for a woman to say something in church, assuming, as I mentioned, she is not being disruptive or violating any of the other Scriptures that define God’s plan for women in the church. But if there is any question about the biblical appropriateness of the situation, it’s best to have a godly man handle things (in an orderly way) instead. Because the primary focus here, as with any other situation in the church, should not be on how far we can stretch God’s word without breaking it, but on the way we can best glorify God by denying self and submitting to and obeying His word.

As we think about the roles of women and men in the church we would do well to remember how often Jesus said things like this:

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28

We, and the church may prize leadership, position, and recognition, but Jesus prizes servanthood, anonymity, and humility.

 

Additional Resources:

Do Women Have to Remain Silent in Church? at Got Questions

Does 1 Corinthians 14 Mean Women are to Keep Silent in Church? by Bryan Chapell

Throwback Thursday ~ Follow On

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Originally published July 29, 2010follow on

Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. John 1:35-39

When we speak of “following Jesus” today, we mean that we follow in His footsteps figuratively. We keep His teachings. We obey Him. We submit to His leadership.

But when Jesus was physically present on earth, people were literally able to follow Him. Around. As in, walking right behind Him. Maybe even stepping on the backs of His sandals like my children do to me sometimes.

Which got me to thinking. Why do people follow other people around? And who are these people who follow other people around? And why are my children and my dog always following me around? And why does it annoy me when my children and my dog follow me around? (Ok, I haven’t figured that one out yet, but there’s some kind of a sin issue in there somewhere, I’m sure.)

Who?
First of all, you don’t usually see an adult following another adult around unless one of them is a stalker. But there are a some occasions in which it might be appropriate and legal, for example, if the person being followed is a tour guide, or if the person being followed is a seasoned employee training a new hire. Much of the time, literal followers are children. And at my house, the dog.

Why?
Why do people follow people around? Think about it– have you ever followed somebody around? Why did you do it? Do people follow you around? Why do they do it?

People generally follow another person around because:

a.) they are interested in what that person is doing,
or
b.) they want to learn from that person,
or
c.) they have no idea where they’re going and the person they’re following does.

That’s why people followed Jesus around. They had heard that he spoke and taught as no one ever had before. They had heard about the miracles and healings. They were curious. Were the rumors true? What might they see? Would Jesus do something for them?

For some, that initial interest blossomed into a desire to sit under the tutelage of Jesus. They couldn’t get enough of His teaching, so these first century groupies followed him from speaking engagement to speaking engagement.

Certainly, none of the people who followed Jesus around had a clue as to where they were going, spiritually speaking. Jesus did. He not only knew the way to the kingdom of God, He was the Way. Who better to follow?

So why do my children and my dog follow me around?

Well, my dog follows me around because hope springs eternal in her that I will drop food on the floor, or that one miraculous day, the meal I’m cooking in the kitchen will actually be for her. She’s not interested in learning anything from me and she knows her way around the house just fine.

My children follow me around for the same basic reasons people followed Jesus around. They’re curious. They want to know what I’m doing, and they hope it will be something fun that will involve them. When they’re young, even cooking, sweeping, and folding the laundry seem interesting to them (yeah, my kids don’t get out much) and they want to learn how to do it just like Mom. When we’re in an unfamiliar place, they follow me because they don’t know how to get where we’re going, and I do.

Which makes me think.

How am I walking? Am I walking the way Jesus walked? Do I walk uprightly? Do I walk in integrity? Do I walk blamelessly?

Do I follow Jesus so closely that by following me around, my children can learn to follow Him too?

No 1 John Study Today

Hi Everybody-

I apologize, but our next lesson in the 1 John study will have to wait until next week, Lord willing. I have been sick as a dog the last couple of days, and what little strength and presence of mind I can manage to scrape together I need to steward well. That means my husband and children get my time and energy first, and, unfortunately, that’s about all I’ve got in me right now.

I invite you to click on the Bible study tab at the top of this page and find a great lesson for today, or just pick up your own Bible and start studying God’s word!

I hope to be back up and at ’em tomorrow, or, at least, soon. :0)

Blessings,

Michelle

Lesley’s Lagniappe ~ 8-25-15

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lagniappe1

 

11892005_1033739223333678_3328331647667987952_nWar Room: A Review of the Movie and the Industry Surrounding It– War Room is the latest offering from fraternal film makers Alex and Stephen Kendrick. As is the case with their previous films, War Room is marketed to a Christian audience and written from an evangelical worldview.

 

11951757_1033739206667013_6396202370178760145_nBe Careful of Nice People– It is not bad to be nice. It is not an evil trait. But it is far better to strive for the higher qualities, the Spirit-given qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law, because such Spirit-given qualities cannot be faked forever.

 

11899814_1033739160000351_3667477900408561718_nSurprised by Scripture: Love and Spirit-Inspired Insults– These are biting words, pointed words, sharp words directed at a particular person. In this case, the fruit of the Spirit is name-calling, insults, and harsh words. In this case, Spirit-prompted boldness means not mincing words about the wickedness of this magician.

 

Is There a Need for Women in Apologetics?

 

frostedribbon25 Vintage Recipes that Will Take Away Your Appetite– Seriously, do not read this if you’re eating or if you’re pregnant and struggling with morning sickness.

 

 

249These 33 Parents Have The Best Sense Of Humor EVER– Seriously, are your parents as awesome as these?!

 

 

IMG_4352-620x465Bakers Deliver a Major Surprise to 10 Gay Rights Groups– Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of Sweetcakes by Melissa, were ordered by Oregon state officials last month to pay $135,000 in damages after they declined to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Now, the bakers are sending a powerful message to gay rights groups.

Missions Monday ~ 8-24-15

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Missions Monday is designed to expose you to some awesome missions and evangelism stories, resources, and information in the shameless hope that you will be moved to get more involved in supporting and participating in missions and develop a greater burden for sharing the gospel with those around you.

blessing-missionariesSeven Ways to Bless Your Missionaries– Finally, one extra suggestion. I encourage you to simply ask your missionaries how you can bless them. Just this simple act of asking lets them know you are thinking of them and want to be part of the mission.

2014-12-23-religious5Everyone Is Religious– Fake gods fail their followers and ultimately ruin them, but Jesus will never fail you.

20150420hj-0258Deaf Use Story Crafting for Visual Bible– Deaf are oral learners, explained Valjean. They see things in pictures. So, the missionary makes words from the Bible into pictures so his friends can visualize and contextualize the stories. This approach is called “story crafting.”

Reaching the World

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4 Verses That Transformed My Evangelism– It’s no accident you know the people you do. It’s no accident they’re in your path. They need Jesus. You know him. God wants them to hear the gospel.

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Mom Finds Missional Purpose With Children- If finding missional purpose between feedings and laundry loads seems daunting to me, do other Jesus-loving, servant-hearted mothers feel the same way? How can my daily life be with Kingdom purpose? How can I be a mom on mission with my kids when errands seem overwhelming?

 

lego-hebrew-slavesPlundering the Egyptians: Should Unbelievers Fund Missions?– So, what’s the problem? Why the turmoil? Because someone had told him that God didn’t want him to use money from unbelievers to do God’s work.

 

 

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Rock Your Role: All Things Being Equal (Galatians 3:28)

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Being a church lady can be really confusing at times, am I right? There are so many questions and Scriptures to sort through and figure out. We want to serve the body of Christ in a godly way, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to go about that.

Rock Your Role is a new series I’m starting today that will examine all of the “go to” Scriptures that help us understand our role as women in the church. Some of these passages are – let’s just be honest – tough. Tough to understand. Tough to accept.

As we tackle tough passages like these, it’s important to ask ourselves a few equally tough questions, search our hearts, and answer honestly. Before reading each article in the Rock Your Role series, I’d like to ask you to prayerfully consider these questions:

1. Do I really believe God’s word has the final say when it comes to what I (and the church) should believe and do?

2. If so, am I truly willing to “put my money where my mouth is” and back up that belief with action and obedience, even if I don’t initially like or fully understand a certain biblical concept or command?

3. Is this passage a tough one for me because it challenges my preconceived notions and opinions? Am I willing to put my ideas aside and hear what God’s word has to say so I can obey it?

Ready to dive in? Let’s get started with…

equal gal 3 28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28

For those of you who have been around the blog for a while, you might be surprised that I’m kicking things off with this verse. I’m about as complementarian as they come, and Galatians 3:28 is the rallying cry for egalitarians. But this verse is foundational to our understanding of the role of women in the church because it tells us who we are in Christ.

Before we zero in on verse 28, though, let’s zoom out and look at the book of Galatians as a whole. Galatians was written by Paul to the churches at Galatia to combat the false doctrine of the Judaizers- those who taught that the Gentiles must first become Jews (be circumcised and follow the Mosaic law) before they could become Christians. The Galatians were being seduced by this teaching, allowing it into their churches, and many were being drawn away from the truth of the gospel. Paul wrote to straighten them out and remind them – and us – that we are justified (saved and made right with God) through repentance and faith in Christ, not by keeping the law.

Galatians 3 is a perfect showcase for Paul’s theme of justification by faith. Take a moment and read the whole chapter now.

Paul reminds the Galatians that they were saved by faith, not works of the law, just like Abraham was. Paul explains that the law came with a curse attached for those who disobeyed it, but that Christ redeemed us from that curse. In fact, the whole purpose of the law was to teach us we can’t keep it and push us to faith in Christ as our only hope for salvation.

Wait a second. What’s all this talk about the law and faith and salvation and stuff? Isn’t this passage about women being equal to men and that they can serve in any capacity or office in the church that men can?

Um…no. No, it’s not. And that’s where the wheels fall off of the egalitarian argument. The entirety of Galatians chapter three is about salvation by faith instead of works. It says nothing about women serving in the same roles in the church as men. Nada. Zip. Zero.

It tells us something better. Something far more precious to the women of that time – and to us – than we realize. Let’s look at verse 28 in its immediate context:

But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Do you see that? We’re no longer under the guardianship of the law. Anyone can come to Christ in repentance and faith- Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, all are welcome. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. No one is more important than anybody else. We are all equally saved, equally loved, equally forgiven of our sin, equally precious in God’s eyes. In a time when women were considered less important, less valuable, less intelligent, less everything than men, this would have been joyous news, indeed. It should be to us, as well.

But equality in salvation does not translate to equality in church roles. A king and a pauper might have worshiped side by side in the Galatian church, but when it came to the role of giving, the church would not have expected the same offering from the pauper as from the king. This didn’t make the king more important than the pauper, it just gave him a different area of responsibility because of who he was. Likewise, men and women are equally saved and forgiven in God’s eyes, but still fulfill different roles in the body of Christ because of who they are.

Let me illustrate this another way. My husband and I have 6 children. Each and every one of us are all equally Lesleys even though I married into the family and the rest of them were born into the family. No family member is more loved or important than another. However, we all have different roles, which come with different blessings and responsibilities. My 12 year old might not be able to drive the car, but he doesn’t have to work eight hours a day and pay bills, either. I no longer have to do homework (thank you, Lord!), but I do have to do housework. Our family would not operate in a healthy way if I tried to take on my son’s role or my husband tried to take on my role.

It’s the same way in the church. God loves, forgives, and saves each one of us equally. But he also loves us each individually. And it’s because of that individual love that He gives each of us unique roles to fill in the church so that it will operate in a healthy way. As we’ll see throughout this series, the role of women in the church is precious and vital to the well being of the body of Christ. So is the role of men. They are both equally important, yet God has specially gifted women to fulfill the roles He has designed for us just as He has specially gifted men to fulfill the roles He has designed for them.

Ladies, you have a Savior who loves and values you as a woman, and your role in the church is no less important than any man’s just because it’s different from his role. There are no second class citizens in God’s kingdom.

Throwback Thursday ~ Yes Sir! That’s My Baby!

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 Originally published April 17, 2013yes sir baby

*Ladies, I’m about to address one of the most volatile, polarizing issues in the church today. Everybody, it seems, has an opinion – a strong opinion—on this one. It has torn message boards apart, led to the giving and receiving of the evil eye across the pew, and caused rampant unfriending on Facebook. Dare I mention this topic that ignites such a flame within our collective bosom?

Well, after that build up, I guess I’d better.

Lemme brace myself.

And batten down the hatches.

And find something to take cover behind.

Um…it’s your baby.

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Well, maybe not yours in particular, but somebody’s. Somebody’s baby or small child is making a ruckus in church, and it’s distracting everybody within earshot, including the pastor, who is making a valiant attempt to continue his train of thought even though he’s not sure of his own name at the moment.

There. I said it, and I lived to tell the tale.  Whew.

Now before you fire off an angry e-mail, let me backtrack for just a sec.  Titus 2:3-5 says that “older women” are to “teach what is good and so train the young women.” So, as much as it Cute-Black-Babies_largepains me at the age of almost 44, I’m going to put on my “older woman” hat for just a minute, because I think there’s a teaching moment here for all of us. Yes, all of us, whether your best church dress (or capris) is freshly stained with strained peas or you’ve graduated to dry clean only.

If you’re a young mother, I’ve been where you are. I have six wonderful children in my family ranging in age from 25 all the way down to 9, and they have all been in church from day one. My husband has been a minister of music for most of our married life. We have served in churches with and without imagesnurseries, children’s church, cry rooms, and “piped in” sermons. (“With” was easier.) I know what it’s like to try to wrangle one or two or three or more infants and small children during a sermon and keep them quiet. There were years when I got nothing out of the sermon for weeks on end because I was so busy trying to keep Baby from squalling his guts out and Junior from scribbling in the hymnal. Believe me, I sympathize. I get it.

Your baby is adorable. I don’t even know what he looks like, but I know he’s adorable. If he’s within a ten foot radius of me, I will probably try to get my hands on him and cover him with kisses. I love babies and small children.

I love that you want to have your children worship with you in church. That’s where they belong! I’m excited that you’ve chosen to raise them in church, and, having done so myself, images (1)appreciate the time and work it takes just to get to church clean, in one piece, and not hating each other (or at least two out of three!). And it’s great to have them in “big church” where they can start getting their feet wet learning how to sit quietly through the service. I would never say that people shouldn’t bring their munchkins into church.

So, please don’t see me as some never-been-through-it-herself, baby-hating curmudgeon, but rather an older, wiser, been-there-done-that mommy when I say:

Sometimes your child makes noise. Too much noise.

And, as much as the people around you love your child, it bothers/annoys/irritates many of them when they’re trying to hear and participate in the worship service. And that doesn’t make them bad people.

And it’s distracting to the pastor/pray-er/speaker/musician who’s currently trying to carry out his part of the worship service. And that doesn’t make him inept or unprofessional.

And it is your job as a parent –just as it was mine—to alleviate that situation, not the job of the people around you to ignore it.

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Most people are reasonable when it comes to a little distraction. They understand that Baby is going to fuss for the few seconds it takes you to find the pacifier he just dropped, lick the dirt off of it, and cram it back into his mouth. No big whoop. And if it is, well, those folks need to get a grip and show some understanding, or the next time they cough during the sermon, you have my permission to aim Baby over your shoulder in their general direction when he’s of a mind to spit up. (Ok, ok. Not really. That’s not a very Christlike attitude. Sorry.)

What most people find unreasonable is continuous, unabated noise from your child. Five minutes. Fifteen minutes. Thirty minutes. The entire worship service. And that’s not limited to fussing and crying. Happy babbling and talking is cute, but it can be just as loud and distracting as crying. And for someone who’s trying to focus on worship or the sermon, that’s not cute.

You need to take Baby out until you can get him quiet, and then you can bring him back in.

Are you going to miss part of the service? Yes. But—and let me assure you, I say this to you in love –toughen up, Buttercup. That’s one of the things that happens when you become a parent—you miss out on things you want to do. You probably don’t get baby-meme-funnya full night’s sleep, trips to the bathroom by yourself, or uninterrupted conversations with other adults, either. Add this to the list. Yes, it can be discouraging, but cheer up! This, too, shall pass! You’re training your child, and it won’t be long before you will be able to sit through the whole service with him being quiet. Trust me, there are plenty of sermons on this side of Wailapalooza for you to enjoy with Junior coloring quietly at your side. You can make it!

One final aspect of this issue: church is not solely about you and your right to bring your children into the worship service (which, as I’ve said, no reasonable person who doesn’t want to get spit up on would dispute) and keep them there whether they distract people or not. I know the vast majority of moms don’t think this way, but for the tiny percentage that do, let me disabuse you of this idea right now.

Your role as a church member is not to demand your rights and have the rest of the congregation bend to them, whether you’re a young mother, a pastor, a deacon, the head of a committee, or just Joe Church Member. That is a narcissistic, selfish, unChristlike attitude. Jesus Himself said,

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

Your role as a church member is to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ. So is mine. That means, if you’re sitting near me, and I see you struggling with Baby or Junior during the service, I lean over and offer to help (Pleaseletmeholdyourbaby. Pleaseletmeholdyourbaby. Pleaseletmeholdyourbaby. :0) even iflittle_girl_with_Bible I end up missing part of the service. It also means that if your child is keeping the people around you from growing deeper in their walk with Christ because they can’t hear and apply the sermon, or if he’s throwing the pastor off from being able to deliver the sermon, you serve those people by taking your child out until he’s quieted down.

If we all practice what Galatians 5:13 says, and “serve one another in love,” we’ll have a phenomenal, loving, self-sacrificing church environment for Baby and Junior to grow up in. And that will benefit us all as the family of God.

*(NOTE: I want to reassure my friends at my own church who are young mothers that this article was NOT inspired by you! We baby-graphics-funny-445479hardly ever hear a peep out of the babies and children who sit in our worship service because we have some fantastic young parents who are in tune with their children’s and the rest of the congregation’s needs, and they serve us both beautifully. These parents and their children are a joy and a delight, and my hat is off to them!)

I just think this is a fun song :0)

Am I Really Saved?: A First John Check Up ~ Lesson 5: Practicing Sin

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1 John Study

Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up
Lesson 5: Practicing Sin
Please Read: 1 John 3:1-10

Previous Lessons: 1 2 3 4

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5

1 John 3:1-3

The first three verses of this chapter are such a comfort to those who know Christ. John marvels over the love of God and the fact that He chooses to call us His children.

  • How does it impact your faith in Christ to know that you are loved by God and that you are His child?

John then goes on to assure Christians of our identity in Christ and His certain return.

  • What are three ways (v. 1b, 2, 3) that John identifies us with Christ or says we are, or will be, like Him?
  •  Christians tend to long for the return of Christ. Do you? Why or why not?

1 John 3:4-10

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 9: Do I Make a Practice of Sinning or Righteousness?

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Here, John again uses polarizing words to draw a sharp contrast between the saved and the unsaved. Sin and righteousness. Children of God and children of the devil.

John also talks about the “practice” of sinning or righteousness. He has already made clear in chapter 1 (and other places) that Christians will fall into sin, but that they will confess their sin and be forgiven of it. Generally, Christians desire to practice righteousness and make an effort to do so.

Here, John focuses on those who make “a practice of sinning,” meaning a habitual lifestyle of unrepentant sin. He equates the habit of sinning with practicing lawlessness. The word “lawlessness” takes us beyond the surface “wrongness” of the particular sin that’s being committed to a deeper contempt for, and rebellion against the Law and the God who gave it.

  • Does John give any indication of how “big” the sins have to be or how often they have to be repeated to fall under the umbrella of a “practice of sinning,” or is his focus more on the attitude of the heart?
  • What do verses 6, 8, and 10 say about people who practice sinning? Are such people Christians?
  • Who is our standard for righteousness? (v.7) What are some attributes and personal habits of Christ that show us what righteousness is? Can you list some verses where Christ explained what it means to be righteous?
  • What do verses 7 and 9 say about people who practice righteousness? Is John talking only about outward, visible righteous behavior or righteousness that springs from a regenerated heart? How might 2 Corinthians 5:17 help our understanding of these verses?
  • Read Paul’s description of his battle against sin in Romans 7:15-25. Does this war between the desires of the flesh and the spirit seem familiar or foreign to you?
  • Verses 5 and 8b explain the reason Christ “appeared.” What was that reason, and what does the reason for His death have to do with whether people practice sinning or righteousness?

 

This week we’ve looked at one more checkpoint in our “Am I Really Saved?” study:

Do I make a practice of sinning or a practice of righteousness?

People who are saved look forward to the return of Christ in His glory. As they live day by day hoping in His return, God conforms them to the image of Christ so that they habitually walk in the direction of righteousness.

Unsaved people may dread or try not to think about the return of Christ and its implications on their eternities. They habitually sin – whether those sins are small or big in the eyes of the world – without repenting.

How are you doing so far as you examine your heart against the checkpoints in 1 John? If you think you might not be saved, please see lesson 3 or the “Good News” video (at the top of the left side bar) to learn how to repent of your sin and trust Christ for salvation. Need help? Please feel free to click on the “contact” tab at the top of this page and e-mail me.

Additional Resources:

1 John 3– Matthew Henry’s Commentary

1 John– by Nate Pickowicz

True or False? A Study in 1 John– at Naomi’s Table (lessons 11-12)

Lesley’s Lagniappe ~ 8-18-15

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lagniappe

 

SPO_060412_singingThe Sound of Silence– This is almost an absolute rule: if you look around your congregation and people are barely singing, there is something wrong with your worship services.

 

womenMy Sister in the Faith is Reading a Heretical Book. How Do I Tell Her?– I know that heretical materials have just enough truth to seem good but so much heresy it will soon pollute my sister’s thinking. False teaching is meant to destroy, and my sister is in its cross-hairs. This is not something we can ignore.

 

The+Giant+of+Cardiff+600Hoaxes and Hermeneutics– When it comes to discerning Biblical truth everything we hear must be tested against the Scriptures regardless of how convincing it may seem. The devil’s most cunning deceptions are lies with an element of truth in them—a modus operandi that is as old as the Garden.

 

What is the Role of Women in Ministry?– This is, to a good degree, a message to Christian men, but women will also find it helpful.

 

8708527915_903d2d4435_oThe Story Behind Little Golden Books– There’s a good chance you grew up reading the adventures of The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, or Scuffy the Tugboat in the pages of Little Golden Books. But how much do you know about the story behind these beloved tales?

 

taco-bell-senior-portraits-3This Teen Got Her Senior Photos Taken Inside a Taco Bell– Well, it’s different. I’ll give her that.

 

 

self-control-300x168Eating Disorder or Disorderly Eating?– In cases where one’s behavior is causing health deterioration, we need to enlist the help of not only physicians, but also the counsel of godly friends to assist with applying Scripture and prayer and the guidance of the Spirit to bring about gradual change and healing.

Missions Monday ~ 8-17-15

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Missions Monday is designed to expose you to some awesome missions and evangelism stories, resources, and information in the shameless hope that you will be moved to get more involved in supporting and participating in missions and develop a greater burden for sharing the gospel with those around you.

 

Tetelestai-Front-icon-300x175Bezeugen Tract Club– The Bezeugen Tract Club is a project of Bezeugen Ministries and exists to help mobilize the body of Christ to reach the world with the Gospel. This is done by providing members with 30 FREE Gospel tracts per month and the encouragement to hand one out each day.

 

11148757_10153583618011171_4028370513419198251_nAbout a Really, Really, Really Hard Week in Kuman– This had to be, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating, the most physically, emotionally, and spiritually trying week in our family’s history. Granted, we’re young and there are like, 1,000 more weeks left to challenge the 7-ish days we’ve gone through, but it’ll be hard to beat out this one.

 

medicalclinicbanner16x9__large169Place of Healing– “We want these women to know the overwhelming love of the One who died for them,” Carrie said. “We want them to know how valued they are in our Savior’s eyes.”

 

Oscar the Mormon– Want to share the gospel with a Mormon but you’re not sure how? Watch Ray Comfort do it in just five minutes.

 

wearing-masks-150x150Evangelism Tip: Two Religions– When we share the gospel we want to show Christianity as what it truly is; the only way to Heaven. We want people to walk away from the Gospel conversation understanding that there is nothing else like it.

 

6190-logo-color.125w.tn5 Signs that Someone is Open to the Gospel– Whether we realize it or not, we often profile people as to their potential for faith. Appearances, careers, affiliations, social habits – these and other factors lead us to make assumptions about people. Zaccheus stands as one of those unlikely converts whose conversion represents the amazing love and mercy of our Lord.

 

top_kindlephoto-24566884Why Most Missionaries are Liars– The truth is most missionaries are suffering. They just don’t want their supporters to know it.

 

 

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