Weekly Sabbath Survey
Them and Us — 2-14-2014
This lesson seems somehow appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Before it was a day about romantic love, it was a day to honor an official Roman Church saint. According to legend, St. Valentine was martyred for doing ministry not sanctioned by the church. Later, in Old Testament fashion, the despised and murdered man was celebrated by the same church that killed him. (As in, ‘you stone the prophets and later put flowers on their graves’. I’m paraphrasing that verse here.) Anyway, Valentine’s Day started to be more about ‘love one another’ and a celebration of the love of God in our hearts, than a day for sweethearts. But to be sure, florists, jewelers, and Hallmark ALL love this day!
When I first began my Spirit-led walk with the Lord, I was quickly led by God out of my home church of origin (where I was Born Again and baptized.) But, sadly, in my zeal without wisdom, I soon developed a “Them and Us” attitude. Clearly, those of Us who read our Bibles and pray ‘real’ prayers daily were a cut above Them who didn’t have a clue. I even began to think of Them critical, stuck up phonies as my enemies. (Honey, did you ever??? — That’s Old South for “Dude, I can’t believe you did that!!”)
Two things happen when we see the Christian community as a Them and Us situation. First and foremost, Us have it all together and are doing those things that are pleasing in God’s eyes. And, Them are at best deserving of a spanking from Him, at worst Them are hypocrites headed for Hell.
In a short time and in His loving way, the Lord made me see that I am a part of Them and couldn’t deny that. Even the ones that I was positively sure were not even Born Again, were still part of Us. Them were there, in church, singing the hymns same as Us did, and maybe thinking as I was just a little while back, “Is this all there is?” Now that I know there is so much MORE, I should pray for Them to find it, to be drawn to truth by the Holy Spirit like I was. I couldn’t just mentally throw Them away!
Daniel is the Biblical example for what happened to me. [Daniel 9] He took responsibility for the sins of His brethren by blood and nationality, making himself a part of what THEM had done. By their wicked behavior Them caused the Babylonian captivity. But, this man Daniel, a very righteous man, was a true intercessor. He prayed for Them. So should Us today intercede for all Them who grew up with Us in a country where there’s a church on every corner. The Bible is readily available for all who want it. But there are many of Them/Us who just never ‘got it’ and many who made baby steps but never went any further into our Faith.
(Another phenomenon in our various congregations is that in the mish-mash of people, obviously some will be more honorable, trustworthy, etc. than others. And, oddly enough, sometimes the ones who say they are fully in God’s Kingdom (Born Again, Spirit-led) may not be the most ‘saintly’ ones in the group! So both saved and unsaved church people can cause problems. With discipleship and discipline, it is the responsibility of leadership to “police” the ranks and keep the peace. They must hold us accountable for living a Godly life (or not.) There are Scriptures that point to ways to settle disputes and bring order, but it is never a ‘given’ that this will be done. The result of failure to bring correction and mediate between the people can result in church splits and makes some people into “church hoppers.” Anyone who is to lead, must make tough decisions, and they cannot make the decisions based on who is the biggest “giver”.)
So, US must pray for that part of US that is THEM. And we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all the Jewish people over the whole earth, many of Them never seeing that Yeshua was/is their King. (Some have seen it, and it has created a worse Them and Us problem than The Church has!) Now, we pray for the Jews, all of them, because the glorious truth is US was actually a part of THEM, before US got it! And, I wonder if spiritually, Us are still a part of Them! (See the Lord’s teaching on the Tame Olive tree and Wild Olive Branch)
Dear Ones, let us love one another, for love belongs to God, and everyone that loves others is born of God and knows God. God has shown how much He loves us by sending His own Son (Jesus) into the world so we might have eternal life through the Son. This is real love: not that we love God, but that He loves us! And, He sent His Son to take the punishment for our sins. If God loves us so much, we ought also to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11
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Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Forward any WSS you feel has merit. (without changes, please) Copyright June 2014
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