Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
June 26, 2016 AM BBC Ballincollig
I. Introduction (Matthew 7:21)
A. Some people are so fed up with Christianity
1. They’ve been hurt, disappointed, let down by people claiming to be Christian
2. They’ve gone from church to church and seen no consistency, or similar focus amongst them
3. Not everyone that claims to be Christian, really is
B. Bible believing Churches that once were growing and thriving, are drying up
C. What used to be a force in the world for morality to be reckoned with, is rare and becoming even rarer
D. What is happening to Christianity is three fold:
1. It has become DIY theology everywhere – people and entire churches are not Bible only, but base what they believe upon people’s feelings and dreams and supposed miracles, and visions – they believe what is popular at the moment
2. It promotes entertainments and fun, over Biblical worship
3. AND, amazingly, it has very little real love amongst themselves
E. This has been our focus this month… What To Do With The Brethren
1. We know we are supposed to love one another
2. But we don’t do it very well – if we would be honest
3. We don’t show up for church very often
4. And when we do, we come in late, and leave as fat as possible when it’s over
5. We don’t pray together like we should
6. We don’t care about what each other is going through
7. We are more worried about the kingdoms of this world, and about economies, and about footballs, instead of the kingdom of God, and the family of God
F. Let’s focus our attention one more time on, What We All Should Be Doing With ‘The Brethren’
A. ‘The Brethren’ is a Description of Christians (Matthew 12:46-50)
1. Jesus describes His followers (us) as Family
2. A Special Kind of Family
a. We share more than physical genes and characteristics
b. We share the same Heavenly Father
c. The same faith – in Jesus only
d. The same experience – of repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ
e. That saving faith brought into the family of God!
f. A new birth
g. A family filled with neither Jew, nor Gentile – but just sinners, forgiven by the loving grace of God
h. Disciples of Jesus
i. Who do the will of God from the heart
3. This phrase, was a very common description throughout the New Testament (Acts 11:29; 15:40; 21:17; 1Cor 16:20; 2Cor 11:9; Col 4:15)
4. Not fancy title, but a simple, and powerful way to describe Christians – ‘brethren’!
B. A Description We Take Very Seriously (Matthew 23:8)
1. Do you realise how many religions there are out there? And how many religious LEADERS to try and follow?
2. Well, Jesus offers us Himself
a. One Perfect Leader – God come down into flesh – not a man trying to reach Godhood
b. One Authority
c. One Example to Follow
d. One way to God – through Him
e. That’s who HE is
3. But what does that make us?
4. And we are all simply, BRETHREN!
a. No hierarchy, 33 degree masons, no bishops, canons, arch-bishops, gurus…
b. Jesus looked out at thousands and millions of people who would follow Him and believe on Him, and He called us ALL… brethren!
c. Just brethren!
d. That means, Peter was not higher up in God’s kingdom than Thomas – just closer to Jesus
e. As a matter of fact, the apostle JOHN was the closest!
5. Yes there are some Christians that are more mature and some NOT so mature
6. There are some who are pastors, and some teachers, and some evangelists and church starters
7. But we are ALL what? BRETHREN! We are all family.
8. We are all at the same level in the sight of God
9. And THAT keeps us humble!
III. Message - Our Responsibilities Towards The Brethren
A. What Most People Imagine, and Think About ‘the Brethren’…
1. Many religious leaders fleece the brethren – religion is usually big money for the higher ups
2. Most church-goers ignore the brethren – come only for themselves, what they can get from God
3. Others judge and find fault, and fight with each other
a. See all the warts, flaws in others
b. See the immaturity and the failures
c. It IS very important that we all take our lives and the way we live seriously
d. But is it MORE important to have grace with one another’s faults
e. The WORLD outside can slander, and mock, and persecute us – expect it!
f. But out of our same mouths SHOULD NOT come both blessing and cursing (James 3:8-12)
B. But what does GOD say are our Responsibilities towards the Brethren?
1. To Love One Another - Obviously
a. Not passive, words only! Quite actively (1Peter 1:22)!
b. We are supposed to love our families, our neighbours, and even our enemies
c. But Jesus said that we must go out of our ways to show love towards each other!
1) It is easy to show love towards someone you don’t have to sit next to all the time, someone you can be nice to briefly and then walk away!
2) Jesus told Peter to love Thomas. And told Thomas to love Peter!
3) So, Go out of your way to control your tongue (Ephesians 4:29) Use your WORDS to build up other believers, never tear down
4) To make time for each other and for church
5) To shut your mouth and just listen to someone else talk
6) To learn about people’s lives and what they think
7) And adapt yourself to the culture of Christ
a) I was preaching in a church in West Texas, years ago, and I was running their week-long Bible Club, and about 75 children were gathered, and we were singing “I’m In the Lord’s Army!”
b) The first verse goes…
i. I may never March in the infantry Ride in the cavalry Shoot the artillery
ii. I may never Zoom over the enemy
iii. But I’m in the Lord’s Army! Yes Sir!
c) But the next verse (what we called the Texan Version) said, “I may never Step on a Rattle Snake, OW! Shoot at the Indians, POW! Ride on a Jersey COW! But I’m in the Lord’s Army, YEE HAW!”
d) The problem was, half of those children and their parents were American Indians!
e) I needed a good dose of humble pie, to learn to adapt!
f) They were brethren, that had feelings and
d. Whether we like it or not. It is a command.
1) Just as important as “Be ye holy…”
2) Just as important as “Have no other gods before me…”
3) Just as important as “Thou shalt not commit adultery…”
4) Love one another
5) John 13:34,35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
6) John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
7) John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
e. The rest of these points show HOW to love one another!
2. Assemble with One Another (Hebrews 10:25)
a. Gather together, and sit together, all in one room, getting along, working together, loving being together
b. A Bible believing Church is THE ORIGINAL United nations (Col 3:11)
1) Filled with men, women, Irish, French, Nigerian, Texan, German, Peruvian, British, South African, Polish, Russian, and Filipino!
2) All gathering every Sunday, with one purpose – the worship of Jesus Christ as Lord!
3) Dropping anything that aggravates another - careful
c. In the first century, the believers, the brethren met together EVERY DAY, in homes throughout every city (Acts 5:42)
d. They couldn’t be together enough!
1) Sunday was a chance for ‘family’ reunion!
2) Sundays were ‘family’ time – every family together with the whole family of God in that area or town!
3) Ever since I got born again, I love being with other believers!
a) I miss week long meetings!
b) The greatest changes in my heart and life occur after extended times away from the world, and spent amongst God’s people, listening to preaching getting convicted by God’s word!
4) A historian named Pliny the Younger describes Christian meetings when it was illegal to be a Christian and meet during work hours, in this way: They meet way before dawn in each other’s homes, singing, reading whatever portion of Scripture they happened to own, and encourage each another to live for their living Lord! Finishing all before sunrise.
5) That’s how Christians worshipped for the first 300 years of Christianity!
6) Nothing seemed to keep them from gathering together!
e. What keeps YOU away?
3. To Know Each Other (Philp 2:19)
a. To NOTICE each other – learn about each other
1) Some are single, some have problems at home, with their health
2) Some have endured divorce, and abandonment
3) Some have been looking for jobs for years, and struggle to stay encouraged
b. So, Take time for each other
1) Listen to each other – take the time to listen!
2) Get to know each other
3) I don’t know if you notice, but TEA TIME is ME forcing everyone to be together just long enough to meet each other and maybe get to know each other a little better!
c. Love each other with the goal of (1Peter 3:8,9)
1) Being of one mind
2) Having compassion one of another
3) LOVING as brethren
4) Showing pity towards each other
5) Being courteous
6) Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing
7) But contrariwise blessing
8) Because loving each other brings about great blessing into a church!
4. To Worry About Each Other (Hebrews 13:1-3)
a. Not worry in a bad way – panicking, but being concerned about each other
b. Every mother worries about their children
c. Well, As Christians, we need to take time and worry about each other
1) Is there any in need?
3) Struggling with sin?
4) Missing from church?
5) Most of us are so busy we don’t notice!
6) Put your feet in other people’s shoes! In their life!
d. Take Care of Each Other (Acts 4:34,35)
1) That means, go out of your way to give towards each other’s needs
2) Quit expecting the government to take care of everybody!
3) Each of us needs to be carrying part of the load
4) Making sure widows are well cared for – not just by the State
5) Making sure this church pays its bills
6) Pick up and restore broken people – not dumping them (Galatians 6:1,2)
e. Am “I” the only one that worries about the people in this room? Shouldn’t be that way
f. Do you worry about ANYBODY besides yourself?
g. At least Job’s friends took time to go to his home and check on him! They worried about him after all he went through!
5. Honour and Prefer One Another (Romans 12:10)
a. Why is it so hard to get some Christians out Sunday evening and Wednesday evening?
1) Are you late for work?
2) Late for school?
3) Then, Why are you late for church?
b. Could it be some of you PREFER…
1) The Simpsons?
2) Rachel, Monica, Joey, Phoebe etc from Friends?
3) Judge Judy?
4) Uefa 2016?
5) Or some “special” movie?
6) You KNOW you have the capability to RECORD that if you are so desperate?
c. Jesus commands us to prefer each other
1) Many prefer their X-Box, or their smartphone, or they TV, or “their” select friends, or their children, or their favourite sport, or their hobby
2) As a Christian, I prefer all of ye ON PURPOSE
3) Not that I don’t have hobbies, and other things that I like to do, but I prefer your company, and your opinions and your ideas, and hearing all about what God is doing in YOUR lives!
6. Pray for Each Other (James 5:16)
a. If you care about someone, you should NATURALLY instantly pray for them about that worry
b. Keep a prayer list, with NAMES and NEEDS
1) Pray for each other’s spiritual protection – like going into a war-zone!
2) Pray for their encouragement
3) Pray for their faithfulness
4) Pray for their needs
5) Pray for their family
c. AS IF IT WERE YOU and YOUR needs and YOUR unsaved family being prayed for!
7. Minister to Each Other (Matthew 20:25-27; Hebrews 6:10)
a. Find out what needs to be done for this church to grow and thrive, and then DO IT!
b. Use your time and talents to
1) Go out Soul-winning on Saturdays
2) Help teach in Children’s Church
3) Help in Twelve Weeks to Freedom
4) Help drive the bus to pick people up
5) Help out with Bible Clubs and Target the Heart this Summer
6) Minister to each other, and to this lost world we live in
7) Helping set up before church and take down everything after church
c. That’s one of the big reasons we all GIVE at church
1) Tithing and giving enables us to
a) Meet in a nice building like this
b) Own and maintain a bus to carry people and store church things
c) Pay staff costs
d) Hold Bible Clubs and Youth Camps
e) Organise and run Men’s Camps
f) Run an amazing Children’s Church, and Teen’s Church ministry
2) Giving specifically to Missions for our 9 missionary families. WE, our small church MINISTERS to those 9 families so that THEY can MINISTER to the believers in their area all over the world!
d. What could you start doing right away that would help carry the load?
8. Lay Down Our Lives for One Another (1John 3:16)
a. I don’t know when that time will come…
b. But for the majority of history, Christians have been the focus of this world’s entertainment, by persecuting and destroying them
c. And it has been brave, selfless believers who risked their lives to protect other believers – especially women and children – during times of intense persecution
1) Corrie ten Boom and Betsy risked their lives and went to prison protecting Jews from the Nazi’s during WWII
2) Paul’s life was one time spared by the sacrifices of a couple named Aquila and Priscilla (Romans 16:3,4)
d. To say that these people around you are your friends and family that you love dearly will be tested one day. I pray that “I” am ready to lay down my life that others may go on!
9. To Do It All… Faithfully (3John 1:5)
a. Not start and stop, on and off, up and down
b. But steady as a heartbeat
c. Day in, and day out!
d. You and I have a load to work on
A. How are YOU treating other Christians? What are YOU doing to the Brethren?
1. Ignoring them? Barely acknowledging that they even exist? Isn’t that what the world is doing?
2. Judging them? Seeing only their faults and flaws?
3. Or loving them like we have been reminded all month?
B. Do YOU care to actually START loving the brethren?
1. Not passive, with words only! But quite actively (1Peter 1:22)!
2. Assembling with Christians, WHENEVER we are gathering?
3. Know Each Other
4. Worry About Each Other
5. Honour and Prefer One Another
6. Pray for Each Other
7. Minister to Each Other
8. Protect Each Other
9. Lay Down Our Lives for One Another
10. Do It All… Faithfully
C. Does your love for the brethren show? Can others tell you love and prefer to be around a bunch of hypocrites called Christians?
V. Invitation (Ephesians 2:19)
A. Will YOU start to love other believers, like Jesus loved YOU?
B. Who in this room will CHOOSE to obey Christ’s command to love a whole lot of unworthy, sinful, selfish, imperfect people? Wherever they may be meeting? Whenever they may be gathering together?
C. Some of you are NOT in the family of God.
1. Some of you are NOT born again – born from above.
2. Jesus said, You MUST be born again to be made ready for eternal life
3. It is called a new birth because
a. It saves your soul from the wrath to come
b. It washes away all sin and forgives you everything
c. It makes you a child of God, and now put into the family of God, all by your faith in Jesus the Saviour of your soul
4. Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God
5. That is, IF you have been born again like Jesus said everyone needs to be!
D. Let Him save you today!