BASIC. Teaching.

During the video, Pastor Chan shared some honest memories from his early days as a new Christian:

When I started attending church gatherings, I still remember people would encourage me and say, ‘Okay, you need to read the Bible. You gotta read this thing, and you should read it every day, read it in the morning …’ I still remember trying that. I would just force myself, and discipline myself, and get up early and start reading this book. But as I would read it, I would notice that there was something different about the way they [the early church] studied the Scriptures and the way I was doing it.

Pastor Chan makes a good point. There seems to be a gulf of difference between the way we so often study the Bible and the way the early disciples approached God’s Word. Acts 2:42 tells us that the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…” (NIV). That word “devoted” means with great enthusiasm and fervent desire!

Why don’t we think of Scripture like that? Why do we not approach the Bible with the same awe and excitement as if we were Moses on the mountaintop, hearing God’s Word proclaimed from heaven? If we could only realize that Scripture is our very life-line to God! That the Bible is God’s own love letter to us. It is the key to our relationship with Him – and that relationship is life. We must come to a place where we long for God’s Word in our lives, that is, the revelation of His Presence through Scripture, with same kind of desire as for our own physical food: “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (Matthew 4:4, NIV). Peter compares our nourishment from God’s Word with newborn infants who must have their mother’s milk to survive: “And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2, NET).

And so now that we’ve talked about the paramount importance of Scripture, what’s next? What do we do with what we learn about God in our time of fellowship and communion in His Presence? We teach. We are called to “go and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20). But isn’t that what my Pastor is for? Isn’t that the Bible class teacher’s job? Nope! We are ALL given the responsibility to teach. And this idea of teaching doesn’t just mean giving Bible studies and preaching sermons. (After all, we are not all gifted equally in those areas.) But, no matter what your spiritual gifts are or aren’t, we can all teach by the way we live our lives out for Christ! Check out this last video clip, “We all have a responsibility to teach”:

(Videos and quoted materials taken from http://basicseries.com/)

BASIC. Fellowship.

How would you explain the church to someone who has absolutely no knowledge of Christianity? Would you describe a building? Or perhaps an assembly of people who meet to sing songs and listen to a sermon? Or does it go infinitely deeper than that? Click to check out a clip from this week’s video – “BASIC. Fellowship.”

As we grow and mature in God, we begin to realize that the Christian walk goes way beyond our individual relationship with God. We are a part of something much bigger. We are called to be a part of a body – the Church! And when we look at this idea of fellowship in the early New Testament, we see that the whole concept goes much, much deeper than warm, fuzzy feelings for each other:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had… And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. (Acts 4:32-33, NIV)

This is a kind of fellowship that takes action! It’s a kind of fellowship and sharing that makes the world stop and take note! Jesus even says that is this kind of communion and supernatural unity which gives legitimacy to the gospel message – it’s what makes it all believable: “that they may be one as we are one-I in them and you in me-so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23, NIV).

You know, I think that there are times when we all feel that it’s way easier to do this Christian thing on our own. But that’s not how God designed it. As Pastor Chan points out in his message, we absolutely need each other to show Christ to the world: “I can tell you, Jesus forgives you, Jesus forgives you, Jesus is forgiving. But that’s not enough. God says, ‘I want you to show Jesus to the world.’ So that means I need my brothers and sisters around me, and we offend one another, but we keep forgiving. And then suddenly the world looks on and goes, ‘I’ve never seen that before.'”

As we stop and think about the implications of this kind of radical fellowship, we realize that what Christ is calling us to do is be a family – to have each other’s backs 24/7, no matter what comes our way. It’s a hefty responsibility, but it’s not something that we have to try to force. The Holy Spirit, as we discussed last week, is the one who is going to make it happen. We choose whether we’re going to be a part of it or not.

Check out this last video – “Gangs and the Church“:

(Videos and quoted materials taken from http://basicseries.com/)