Thursday, September 1, 2011

Coming soon to this Web Site

Dear Reader.  Thank you for coming to our web site. 

I know that there are lots of different places you could go but you come to us and return to our site time and time again.

We really am thankful for your visits.  We would like to know who you are.  Sometime, when you have the time, leave a short message letting us know what you like about the ICCS site or what you would like to see change.  One thing we want to change real soon is to have an updated information page.  (Some of the things you find here are not happening at ICCS and have not been happening for a long time.)  Forgive us.  We do not have a large staff putting this together.  In fact, we don't have a staff at all--just volunteers who love the Lord and want to serve Him.

This week I will post the new sermon that will cover Galatians 6:2-5. ガラテヤ人への手紙 6:2-5.   The title is: "What to do with the Family?"  「家族に対してどのように行動するのか」I hope that you will enjoy the sermon and that it will help you as you seek ways to better understand your place before a Mighty God and King.

It is my pleasure to serve you.  Hope to see many of you at ICCS this Sunday.  We will be celebrating the Lord's Table.  Join us if you can!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Practical Side of the Teaching. 善を行う:教えの実践面

Galatians 6
Doing Good to All

 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

The Practical Side of the Teaching. 善を行う:教えの実践面
A couple who have been through Marital counseling breaks the silence with: "So where do we go from here? What practical steps can we take to resolve this crisis?" The couple asking these questions had taken a long time just to understand the calamity they were facing in their marriage. But now they had gained some insights into the reasons for their conflicts. They are now ready to work to put things right and get into the practical side of their healing.

So far Paul has led the Galatian believers to understand the historical background and theological background for the crisis in their fellowships. He then gave them general principles about life in the Spirit. Now he spells out specific responsibilities for those who are led by the Spirit so that they can rebuild their broken relationships and find God’s JOY in their Walk of Faith.

Here are some of the corporate responsibilities and individual accountabilities that are woven together in this section.

1. corporate: restore him gently: communal. 共同体:柔和な心をもって、その人を正しなさい
2. individual: watch yourself:   care for your own being. 個人:自分自身を反省しなさい
3. corporate: carry each other's burdens. 共同体:互に重荷を負い合いなさい。
4. individual: each one should test his own actions . . . each one should carry his own load. 個人:ひとりびとり、 自分の行いを検討してみるがよい・・・人はそれぞれ、自分自身の重荷を負うべきである。
5. corporate: share all good things with his instructor. 共同体:教える人と、すべて良いものを分け合いなさい。
6. individual: do not be deceived . . . a man reaps what he sows. 個人:神は侮られるようなかたではない。人は自分のまいたものを、刈り取ることになる。
7. corporate: do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. 共同体:だれに対しても、とくに信仰の仲間に対して、善を行おうではないか。

We will not have time today to look at each of these sections. We will put flesh on two of them so that we could reflect them in our own Walk of Faith.

The problem might be: once we see these in action and alive in our lives, we might then look upon them as too high or too deep to really live under them.  We may even feel we could not really do enough for the Lord to really bless us.  After all, I am a sinner who deserves much, much less than what the Lord has promised to give me.  Facing the truth might be harder so we might be tempted to give up living a growing Christ-centered life. Living outside His ideal for us might seem to be the easy road to take.  PLEASE don’t take that easy road.  He will help us.

We tend to cut ourselves off from really living in the blessing. We have a knack at hurting ourselves.  We need to relax.  We need to believe what the Lord is teaching us and not look for ways to undermine or sabotage our own Spiritual Life.

Let’s get started then. Ready to scrap away at some deep hurts and find relief?  I hope so, because I am going for the jugular vein! 

The person who feels they are spiritual, they need to act in a mature way when sin is found in the Church. Paul talks about a situation where some Believers are behaving very poorly, indeed. They are “biting and devouring each other” (5:15 and in 5:26) “Provoking and envying each other.”  Some were forcing Believers to return to a system of belief that did not work to begin with: follow the Law and ALL it’s practices.  Some were zealous but they were zealously in the wrong.  That can happen, you know.  Being 100% convinced that you are 100% right but are 100% in the wrong!

We have a whole lot of freedom in our responsibilities of being a Follower of Christ. This interplay deals with a corporate and an individual response.  That is where we get this list of seven actions or responsibilities.

  1. corporate: restore him gently: a communal action of the Body!
It is a high probability that someone here today is in sin.  I will not try and weed you out but take it from one who has been in churches all his life: the possibility of sinners sitting next to you is very high. It is not a hypothetical possibility, it is a reality. What do we do with that?  Have a witch hunt?  Burn them out?  No!  Paul is concerned with how the Church deals with the sinner and not so much what the sin is.  There are people in the Church today that are feeling trapped by sin.  It could be any one of the "acts of the sinful nature” (5:19-21). But how to help them, that is Paul’s aim—and it should be for us as well.

When people in the church fall into sin, it should not be taken that the WHOLE system is at fault.  I have heard it said many times: “The church is filled with hypocrites,  I don’t want to go there.” 教会は偽善者で満ちている。 Friends, show me any group where there are not some who are hypocrites!  So when sin is found here among us, what is our proper response? Harsh condemnation? That kind of response would crush the fallen one and it could then divide the Church.  The one being a Zealot for the Things of God might show little or no mercy.  What Paul is looking for is a Spirit-filled person, who would demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit in order to convey healing to the sinner and unity and agreement to the Body of Christ.

We must be compassionate to the one who has fallen.  A while ago, there was a song that said : “Don’t shoot the wounded!” 痛んだ者を打ってはならない。 We tend to hurt the ones who are hurting. Not a Biblical way: not a healing way. It doesn’t matter what your cultural background is, being harsh with the one who is hurting is not Christ-like. And, we can’t wait for “them to grow up!” We need to be active in their return to the Fellowship.

Jesus speaks of the fact that “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34) ヨハネ834 罪の奴隷 Paul suggests that the sinner is trapped by sin.  We do not want to nor should we excuse them of personal responsibility for their sin. They had been overtaken, ensnared and apprehended by sin’s grip. Our response needs to reflect Jesus’ and that would be to have compassion toward them.  

Those who are spiritual are not an elite leadership group of professional Believers.  All believers have received the Holy Spirit so we all have the role of being Spiritual.  In other words, Paul is including all of us as we are Children of God and therefore agents of restoration.  It is another way to “keep in step with the Spirit” (5:25) as we all restore whose who have been trapped in sin.

The term ‘restore’ is as active as the mending of a broken bone or sewing a torn net.  The restoring is in line with spiritual maturity and of the equipping for service of the individual. 

 私たち皆が備える (2 Cor 13:11 Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace.; Eph 4:12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ may be built up; Heb 13:21 equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ... and 1 Thess 3:10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.).   

Here in Chapter 6, Paul is concerned for the well being of the entire Church Body. Remember that there were divisions. A united Church means a united Message. And Christ is the One who reconciled the World to Himself on the Cross.  He was the One who died for them. His Blood was shed to free us all from the entanglements of sin.  It is the ability of Christ’s Spirit to empower the fallen Believer to once again work properly and perform their vital tasks for the benefit of the whole Body. This has been His goal from eternity past!

The whole Body of Christ suffers when ANY member of that Body is broken. (Your pain should affect me.) When there is an amputation or a loss, all of us should feel it.  Such was the case with a family in our Fellowship who lost a son. So many of you have expressed your personal pain on their behalf.  There was not sin here but the illustration of one’s pain felt by others is worthy of noting.  Keep that kind of caring going. You are doing well. In the case of sin, the task is one of restoration.  The goal is to restore the fallen into a place of health and being productive once again. 

Eph 4:28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

How the restoration is done is not the topic of interest here.  Each circumstance is different.  The key is to “restore him gently.” 柔和に彼を正しなさい “In the spirit of gentleness” as one of the Fruit of the Spirit. Gentleness is not weakness as some would hold. It requires GREAT strength under deep control! Even when the sin is outrageous, control is necessary for the fallen one to be brought all the way to total recovery.  The Holy Spirit of Christ is the only one who can do that in us.  We must allow that to rule in our thinking.

2. individual: watch yourself:   care for your own being. 個人自分自身を反省しなさい。
  So now we move from seeking recovery for others to looking into one’s own heart, as “you may be tempted” yourself.  Watch out. Take care. “But watch yourself” less you become a victim. 

As Believers, we all need to understand our needs before our Heavenly Father. We need to be aware of our own vulnerability to moral failure and to allow our hearts to be gentle with those who are caught in it. I did not say permit.  Watch out because everyone is vulnerable to temptation. The sin spoken of here in this text might be dealing with the response of conceit 5:26 and their ‘fits of rage’ 5:20 and are looked upon as serious as any other sin. 

We who are being led by the Spirit of God realize, don’t we, that we are only sinners saved by Grace.  We all need to live our lives with personal insight of our own weakness and our full dependence on the redemptive Work of God in our hearts.