Hearers, Believers, and Doers

In this week’s video lesson we discuss being hearers, believers, and doers and the difference between each. How do Paul and James intersect on this subject and what does Reformer Martin Luther have to do with it all?

What passive work of Christ and what active work of Faith can be found in hearing, believing, and doing?

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vainOn the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 1 Corinthians 15:10-11

This weekend, share ways you hear, believe, and do by the Grace of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. Tag #ilovemyshepherd so we can see, share, and be encouraged together!



Commended in Christ

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Week Six = Commendable
         1) Commended in Christ
         2) Commending Ourselves
         3) Commended by God
         4) Commended to God
         5) From Generation to Generation
Heart verse:
One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
                                                               Psalm 145:4
Thank you Pat Maier for the beautiful Scripture engagement tool!

 Commendable – Scripture Engagement Tool PDF

Session 1 – Commended in Christ
Commendable, or the act of commending, is the language of Paul in the New Testament Epistles. It is pretty rare to hear the word commendation or commend in our culture. You need to do something of particular honor, again, often military related. A commendation is a military decoration of highest honor. Saving lives, acts of heroism, an exceptional achievement.
But saving lives, acts of heroism, suffering on behalf of others, that is the language of the New Testament church. Apostles giving of their lives and themselves. People opening hearts and homes to serve. Exceptional sacrifice, struggle on behalf of another, and ready spirit willing to go the length to spread the Word.
Who has gone the length for you? Who in your life gave a bit extra for you to know Christ and His grace and mercy?
These individuals are worthy of not just honor, or thanksgiving, but this very special word – commendation.
The Greek word for commendable in Philippians 4:8 is euphemos. It means to be well reported of, spoken of kindly, to be reputable, and laudable. It is only found in Philippians 4:8, but the word commendable rang in my ears and I knew it was all over the New Testament letters. Why, I wondered? What was going on that this was the particular word utilized so often to describe the acts and work of those in the early church. And the overwhelming tone is similar to our use of commendation today – sacrifice.
This should not be a surprise to us. That which is commendable is sacrificial. It is an outstanding work, well reported of by others, but more than that, contextually, it is a Kingdom work of Eternal significance.
It is of no surprise to us, because the One truly worthy of commendation is Christ, and He is above all, sacrificial.
One of my favorite Bible verses comes to mind – John 15:13:
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Spoken by Jesus, knowing exactly what he would do for us. Knowing the road He would walk, bearing sin and death and shame, but willing to do it…for you.
He is that someone. His every step for you.
This, friends, is so, so worthy of commendation. Worthy of telling and sharing and reporting with all zeal.
1 John 3:16 gives us a little insight into our response to that commendation in us:
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” 
So, as we study what is commendable this week, let’s fix our eyes on the very Commendation of God. And let Him flow out of us in the language of sacrifice.

The miracle that is a paycheck

…nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
                                                               1 Timothy 6:17b

“Daily bread” is the theme of our Bible studies this week and left me searching the catechism to understand this concept further. I was struck by Luther’s lengthy list in his explanation of the Fourth petition. The question for what is meant by daily bread is followed by quite the list, when most of the explanations are short by comparison. (This was not lost on my children doing their memory work!)

Luther’s list includes: 
   anything to support the body
   home (interestingly two different things) 😉
   a devout husband or wife
   devout children
   devout workers
   devout and faithful rulers
   good government
   good weather (rain and shine, even snow!)
   good reputation
   good friends
   faithful neighbors
   “the like” 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has nothing on Luther. The reality is that every single thing is a gift from God of provision. He causes the sun to rise and set, our heart to beat, and gives the oxygen for our lungs. Without Him, we have nothing, and Luther’s list form helps us to remember that.

This made me think of all the things I belly-ache not having, or my complaints about stretching the grocery budget, or excessive health insurance co-pays and God gently reminded me:

     we get paid for this.
So often in church work land we can lose site of the basic miracle that churches come together, by the grace of God. They pool funds, they build buildings, they create children’s programs, and they
      pay for pastors.

Do not lose the remarkable of this in the day to day of ministry, especially when you feel devalued and unloved. God has provided daily bread, not just in the form of a paycheck, but a paycheck, no matter how small, that says “We value what you do so much, we don’t want you to have to make tents. We want you to spend your time feeding us, filling us with Him.” Churches in all their struggle throughout time, exist. That alone is a beautiful testament to God’s provision. In our culture, God takes it one step further. Most of us do this full-time. Some of you are worker priests or “part-time” church workers and can testify perhaps the more so to the amazing way God provides time and again. 

Thank you Lord, for every little thing, every big thing, and every small miracle. Thank you for faithful people and your provision in Faithfulness when we are not. Thank you, Lord, for churches and paychecks, and tents to build and all of your goodness in plenty and in want. You, Lord, You are sufficient.

Join us in proclaiming God’s provision in our lives in the #dailybread challenge. For 2 weeks, add #dailybread in post of people in your lives, places you go, and things you enjoy- recognizing every single thing in our lives comes from God.