Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Fresh Manna 2008 by Pastor Tim Burt
Galatians 5:13-14 (NLT) “For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
In the 5th chapter of Luke, we see a verse that uses the word “company.” Luke 5:29 (KJV) “And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.” This word “company” is a Greek word that paints the picture of a group of people that have something in common – something that creates a common bond amongst them. In this verse – the company and common bond was that they were all publican. “Company” is used a number of times throughout the New Testament.
We see it again in Luke 6:17 “And Jesus came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of His disciples…”
And again in Acts 6:7 “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
And again in Acts 4:23 “And being let go, they (Peter and John) went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.” In this verse, it is part of a story where Peter and John were being persecuted for healing a crippled man that was born crippled from birth and for preaching the gospel. They were threatened and persecuted but, Peter basically told them, they would not stop preaching the gospel or living for the Lord. Their persecutors – the religious leaders of the day – finally let them go back “to their own company.”
The disciples were a part of a “company” - a group of people that shared common beliefs and more. God had brought them together as He does many of us – to be a part of a company. Every local church is a company of believers that have a unique distinction and purpose to preach the gospel and fulfill the mission that God has assigned that Pastor and church company to fulfill. In that way, each church is unique in its “company” but has commonality with the rest of the body of Christ in the universal church or “company.”
I am sharing this with you to teach you that God puts us into companies of people that help us walk the plan of God for our life. The local church is a company. Your marriage is a company between you and your spouse. Your family is a company. You may have a company of friends, a Bible Study, a prayer group, or some other network of people that help encourage you to live your life for God and that you share other interests with. Companies that help you in God are something that Satan highly opposes. That is why Peter and John were being persecuted. He was trying to destroy their company.
In the book of Galatians, Paul is teaching that in Christ we have freedom. Freedom to think what we want, to make the decisions we want, and to own our views and perspectives. That freedom is a great blessing. It can also be a curse. It can empower people to be vocal, opinionated, cruel and snobbish. That freedom can be the source of division. That is what Satan wants. To use our freedom to do what we want, to become a divisive and destructive force with the hope that we’ll help blow up our various companies of friends and believers that bless our life. If we do, we’ll end up mad at God, disappointed and mad at people, and we’ll eventually isolating ourselves - staying away from everyone – become people without companies.
I am writing this today because I know that when times are tough – wars, expensive gas, job cutbacks, financial pressures, etc – it can create tension and anxiety. It becomes the time of true testing of our love walk and Christian character.
Paul wrote in Galatians 5:13-15 (NLT) “For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”
It is the time where “companies” that God created and led you to, to be helped by, can be destroyed through Satan’s tactics. Its people that blow up marriages, churches, friendships, and fellowships that were meant to be a blessing. Satan uses pressure to bring out the worse in us.
The Apostle Paul said, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound…” (Philippians 4:12). That meant he knew how to live and keep his love walk constant in God in the good times and the bad. He didn’t let life, circumstances, pressures, and lack control his love walk. He passed the test. He knew the devil’s devices. He valued those God put in His live and wouldn’t let hard times turn him into a monster that torn down everything good in his life. Paul taught to prefer one another. Consider others over yourself – all for the sake of the gospel and the company that God has given to bless your life. Consider this a warning and help from the Lord to correct what the enemy of your soul has been working against in your life! Shine for the Lord and don’t let life be about stuff. Appreciate who Jesus and those whom God has given you in your life. Then you also will know how to abase and abound.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved