Newsletter 07.06.16

Dear Church Family,

In the last newsletter, I argued, “…it is necessary for us to realize that if we are not fighting for our own holiness, we are not truly loving ourselves or one another. And if we are not fighting for one another’s holiness, we are not truly loving them or ourselves. Do you hear what I am saying? If you are a member of this church, my holiness is your business and your holiness is my business. If I am not fighting for holiness, I am hurting myself and this church. If I am not fighting for your holiness, I am hurting myself and this church.”

My aim in this episode is not to talk about the teaching behind that paragraph, but the application before us as a church. If you haven’t read it or don’t remember it, let me encourage you to read that newsletter in its entirety in order to know how I arrived at that conclusion. And, for the sake of clarity, I will be writing under the happy assumption that all of you who have read the newsletter agree with me. If you don’t, I would be eager and honored to talk with you about it.

So, what does it practically look like to fight for personal and corporate holiness? Fighting for personal holiness is probably more familiar to you and so I won’t spend any time on it here except to encourage all of you to join us for a new study through Don Whitney’s book, “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” on Sunday nights beginning July 17th, Lord willing.

But how do we fight for one another’s holiness? Here is how our church covenant explains it, “We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.” This list is not exhaustive but it is a good start. In part, we fight for one another’s holiness by knowing each other well: our beliefs and disbeliefs, our likes and dislikes, our joys and sorrows, our triumphs and temptations. Knowing one another enables us to then lovingly, truthfully, and faithfully speak into one another’s lives.

Now, you may automatically be thinking that I am talking about correcting one another through some type of confrontation. Of course those times will come, but much more common will be the times of having a conversation centered on or informed by the Word of God wherein neither of you are completely aware of the ways it has impacted you for good. In short, talk about the Bible with other church members. What are you reading? What are you learning? How is God shaping you? What do you think this passage means? Why do you think the author would say this here? How has this verse changed your thoughts on that topic? How can we best put these truths into practice?

As we grow in our own personal walks with the Lord, the more natural and important having these kinds of conversations will be to us, but in the mean time, you may need to pray for the desire to know the other members of this church for the sake of mutual godliness. It’s okay to start small and rigidly by asking a canned question about how another believer is doing—that is incomparably better than not doing it at all. Talking to other church members about the Bible and how it affects our entire lives is one of the simplest and most important ways we can fight for one another’s holiness.

If you aren’t talking about the Gospel with other church members, ask yourself why not…and then talk to someone about it. God has been so kind to speak to us through His Word in order that we might know Him. We need to be kind to one another by speaking to one another about what He has already spoken in order that we might know one another. When our knowledge of God’s Word combines with our knowledge of one another, we are enabled to lovingly fight for one another’s holiness—that is, living in light of the Bible.

Gentry