Sunday, May 1, 2016

The "Each Other" Teachings of Jesus - Part 4 - Have Each Other's Backs


The Bible says a lot about trusting in the Lord.  That phrase alone appears 19 times in Scripture.  We are also told to NOT trust in ourselves, material things, unbelievers, or anything we manage to accumulate in the way of works.

Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.             
Psalms 37:3(NLT)

He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.  
Psalms 40:3(NLT)

But as for me, how good it is to be near God!    I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.  Psalms 73:28(NLT)

Why, then should we trust one another?  The Bible makes a clear distinction between trusting in others for our salvation, and trusting others with our love and friendship.  This we are supposed to do!

Let's notice from several texts the reasons we should be trusting one another:

Reason #1 -- The Jesus Model

And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.  Matthew 24:10(NLT)

Jesus was betrayed more unjustly than anyone else ever has or could be.  Yet, Jesus entrusted His friendship, His love, and ministry to Judas.  Some say Jesus didn't know Judas would be the one to betray him.  He knew!

Jesus entrusted the Gospel to Paul (1 Tim 1.11).  Paul committed these things to other good and faithful (but human) men (2 Tim 2.2).  On top of all that, the Lord's ministry of reconciliation has been entrusted to us all (2 Cor 5.19).  God is prone to trusting His children – we ought to trust each other.

Reason #2 -- We Are Brothers

And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.  And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And having chosen them, he called them to come to him.  And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself.  And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.  What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?  If God is for us, who can ever be against us?    Romans 8:27-31(NLT)

Indeed, who should be against any of the Lord's children?  We are all fond of Romans 8:28, a great assurance that the Lord is working out all kinds of good, even in the worst circumstances.  However, we need to go on and note how Jesus was the firstborn (favored) among many brothers and sisters! 

The word is adelphos which means from the same womb.  Beloved, there isn't (in God's economy) a "them and us" mentality.  We are related, and ought to behave as if we were one body.  What right hand ever cut off its' left brother?

Brothers sometimes have a special way of relating to each other.  A man told of his two sons.  The older one had a date for the high school dance.  "Since he would be working past the florist's closing time, he wrote explicit instructions for his younger brother: 'Take this money and go to the florist at 5:15.  Ask for the corsage in my name.  It should have two red roses with a white rose in the center.  Bring it and the change home and put the flowers in the refrigerator.  Screw up and you die.  Have a nice day.'"[2] 

We should trust one another because Jesus does, and because we are brothers in Jesus, and...

Reason #3 -- Satan Is the Real Enemy

Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God,
    and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters
    has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
    before our God day and night.    Revelation 12:10(NLT)

Accusing and confusing the brethren has been Satan's main task since the Garden of Eden.  There have been more problems caused by Satan in the sanctuary because he spends more time here than in the brothels and Mafia meetings.  After all, he's got them – his job is to get us!

Too many Christians exercise distrust, doubt, impugning each other, treating each other as suspect.  We are skeptical of each other when we should be conducting warfare against the devil.  We are too defensive. 

In 1952 the Dallas Texans conducted their NFL football camp in rural Kerrville, Texas.  They were a ragtag team that only lasted one year, going 1-11.  During training camp, the first time a ball bounced off the field into the tall grass, none of the players wanted to go get it. 

The equipment manager, Willie Garcia – who had a wooden leg – hobbled off to retrieve the ball.  He called back to the macho football types, What the heck.  I've got a 50-50 chance the snake will go for the wrong leg.[3]

Well, perhaps the body of Christ is failing to see that if we just joined hands and stomped through the tall grass of this age, that old slew foot serpent would leave us alone. 

Instead of treating each other like Saddam Hussein incarnate, we need to recognize Satan as the real enemy.

Reason #4 – Since we are all brothers,

and Satan is the real enemy,
we can trust God to know
and take care of the difference!

He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
    nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
left his case in the hands of God,
    who always judges fairly.  1 Peter 2:23(NLT)

One of the great realities about being a Christian is the fact that you do not have to know and figure out everything.  God has told us in a variety of ways to trust one another.  How He works out all the details of betrayed trust, opportunities missed, evil to be repaid -- that is all His problem. Ours is to be obedient.  Ours is to trust!

As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend, I brought my broken dreams to God because He was my friend.  But then, instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone, I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own.  At last I snatched them back and cried,

How can you be so slow?

My child, He said, What could I do?
You never did let go![4]

Beloved, remember that Jesus trusts you and expects you to trust your brethren, because Satan is the real enemy, and God can still separate the two...and He will!

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

[1] Carl Heinrich Bloch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
[2]David L. Wright in Reader's Digest, 1988
[3]The Houston Chronicle, (12/24/1992), 8c
[4]Grace Current, (June 1994)

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