Posted on 15th February 2016 at 16:15 by Neil Turton in Pastors’ Blog
Our first sermon series of 2016 has focused on some of the ‘one another’ commands from the Bible: we started with our verse for the year which is to ‘be devoted to one another in love and honour one another above yourselves’ (Romans 12:10) and then looked at what it means to ‘forgive one another’, ‘teach and admonish one another’, ‘be humble towards one another’ and ‘encourage and build one another up.’ What all these have in common is a willingness to consider others before ourselves.
When we see these values being lived out in others, there is something very beautiful about it. I recently attended a funeral of a retired professor who was very successful in his field of food science and yet his lasting legacy will not be what he achieved by way of scientific discoveries (which will be incomprehensible to most people!) but the kindness and humility he showed to the people he met.
These are attractive values and yet, if we are honest, we often find it hard to put them into practice because we are so turned in on ourselves that we put our own pleasure before that of others. As Christians, we are aware of this natural tendency of ours and for this reason ask God for his forgiveness. We also acknowledge our struggle to change which is why we ask the Holy Spirit for the strength he provides to help us become more like Jesus who was the only one to live out these values perfectly.
We also appreciate that God has given us one another to help us. At a recent all-age service at LCBC we looked at how the root of the word translated ‘encourage’ in our Bibles is ‘para’ which means alongside. Jesus came alongside people while he was here on earth and then sent the Holy Spirit, the ‘encourager’, to come alongside us. I would like to recommend a book I read recently called Side by Side – walking with others in wisdom and love by Ed Welch, which emphasises the fact that we are all both needy and needed people who are here to encourage one another in the strength that God provides. In short, it is about true friendship.