Sacrificial Community

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Friends and Family Give Strength

Two people are better than one.
    They get more done by working together.
10 If one person falls,
    the other can help him up.
But it is bad for the person who is alone when he falls.
    No one is there to help him.
11 If two lie down together, they will be warm.
    But a person alone will not be warm.
12 An enemy might defeat one person,
    but two people together can defend themselves.
A rope that has three parts wrapped together
    is hard to break.

side huge and love

I’m going through a video series with a small group currently that has both reinforced and challenged our way of Christian living. I am only on video number two and it has completely wrecked me! The speaker, Lisa Harper, made sharp statements that spoke directly to my soul. [Side note] Lisa is a powerful warrior and anointed by the Holy Spirit; I encourage you to look her up.

Lisa reinforced the need for community. I speak about this as much as I speak about spiritual warfare. Honestly, they go hand-in-hand! She said, “We need community. We need to surround ourselves with Jesus loving friends. Those watching the video with you will be the first ones to dive in front of you and take a bullet the next time the enemy fires a round of temptation your way. It would be a good idea to give them a hug.”

This struck me to tears. I know this deeply, but it also reinforced a common theme – sacrificial community. As believers, we have heard this topic of “doing life together” plenty of times. Yet, have you truly thought about your sacrificial responsibility? What a beautiful reminder from Lisa Harper this morning. True community makes an effort, a point and a sacrifice for an intentional relationship. You cannot “take a bullet” for someone if you aren’t sacrificing for others.

We know Satan is out there seeking someone to devour. This is where Ecclesiastes 4:12 hits home for me! 12 An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves. The only way you can defend together is if you are actually together. I truly believe we’ve missed the point as the body of Christ. I’m not interested in Sunday morning hellos, masked smiles, and overly used excuses – no! True community means sacrifice.

I’m here to challenge your current way of thinking. Actually, I’m here to sharpen you. May the Holy Spirit melt your heart into seeking sacrificial relationships. Earnestly seek the guidance from the Holy Spirit this week and put on sacrificial, relational glasses. If you spend a lot of time saying “I/We” then I challenge you to lay these thoughts at the Father’s altar of forgiveness. Sometimes we confuse many things of this world with the largest root of pride. However, pride sprouts the tiniest buds that are meant to deceive and destroy everything around you.

Question: What do you need to sacrifice in order to pour life into those around you?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta 

Goals

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

saying goodbye

I was reminded today that my goals are not your goals but they all must match God’s goals! You see, in a matter of three weeks, I will lose another spiritual sharpener. I almost can’t even type without the sound of tear-soaked keys. People come and go, but you are never prepared to let those very dear to you leave the close perimeter of your life especially when you have witnessed such spiritual metamorphosis in such a soul.

~My goals are not your goals but they all must match God’s goals.

Sure, it’s not about me but there are always lessons to learn! Just this year alone, I have watched three precious families and courageous hearts dear to me leave the familiar and venture out into new lands. Now, in just a blink of an eye, we will raise palms to the sky and release another warrior into her promised land. Stunned, shocked, yet rejoicing.

~My goals are not your goals but they all must match God’s goals.

As I listened to her speak, I heard the same words uttered from my mouth twelve years ago when God called my family back to Louisiana from Plano, Texas. You cannot deny open doors; God doesn’t miss an opportunity to outline the doorframe with tissue I know! I’ve been there before.

~My goals are not your goals but they all must match God’s goals.

So, I raise a hallelujah for surprise blessings! Yes, it’s not about me but one thing for sure…I’ve grown through her salvation, encouragement, praise, worship, and prayer. May we all learn that no matter where we go the mission remains the same: to love one another and to make disciples. I cannot wait for my dear friend and strong colleague to see God’s footprint as she settles into her new promised land.

~My goals are not your goals but they all must match God’s goals.

This is what I want to be known for truly. Your mission is where you are! It does not matter if you are working at a hospital, in a school, in a church, or at home…your mission is God’s mission and that never changes. This is also why every church should follow God’s mission and goals. Church goals should always reflect that of discipleship and brotherly love. Goals that fail to include God’s clear command will always end in destruction.

~My goals are not your goals but they all must match God’s goals.

Inward self-seeking service is rooted in pride. My encouragement and challenge for you this week is to study God’s commands and expectations for the body of believers. Always remember that the life of Jesus was remarkably people-minded because souls were hanging in the balance. I honestly want you to examine your mission field. Have you lost your focus for people? Is your calendar inwardly focused? Have you become just too busy in the world of distraction? It’s not too late to refocus on God, His mission, and His heart for people. It’s why He came and provided the ultimate sacrifice for us. So, it’s time that we all re-examine ourselves, our groups, and our culture. Let’s all agree that Satan no longer can distract us from our mission…to be light and salt in a dark world…making disciples.

~My goals are not your goals but they all must match God’s goals.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

The Love of Hate

1 John 3:7-10

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

warfare

This is how we know! John doesn’t beat around the bush when he talks about demonstrating love for one another in this chapter, and I’m smiling from ear-to-ear because I love a clear picture!

You see, The Bible makes it very clear that true Christians do not remain in sin because as John stated in verse 9, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

Let’s not miss the next verse, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother or sister.”

Let’s get the obvious statement out of the way: Yes, even Christians sin because we are human and still waging war in fleshly bodies. This is where God’s grace comes into play. However, true Christians should not remain in sin or even promote various sins (e.g., socially acceptable, culturally acceptable) because true Christians have God’s seed planted in them.

We must look at the entire chapter of Romans 6 for great clarity [read below]

Romans 6 (NIV)

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.


To be completely transparent, it pains me to see brothers and sisters professing the love of Christ on one hand but spewing hate, gossip and lies as fast as they can turn around [ie., hypocrite]; this is deceitful, dishonest, and the work of the devil. It is not for me to judge who is a child of God or not. However, true Christians should be bearing fruit and dying to self daily.

Some of us are planting “bitter kisses” on the cheeks of our friends, relatives, fellow believers and strangers just as Judas did to our Savior long ago. There is no difference. This might sound harsh, but I do not apologize for God’s truths. John states is very clearly when he said in verse 8, “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”

I do want to encourage you! God is the ultimate deliverer! You do not have to remain in bitterness, anger, addiction, ______________[fill-in-the blank]. Remember, sin doesn’t have to be “your master.” Allow God to fully transform you! This requires fully surrendering your life.

Jesus doesn’t care if you’re ten, sixty, or ninety. Heaven rejoices anytime someone comes to the Savior! Do not let pride prevent you from receiving this freedom. I know what you’re thinking, “I’ve been in church my whole life. I can’t tell anyone that I really didn’t know Christ!” I’m here to tell you that you must rebuke Satan from telling you those lies. I strongly encourage you to evaluate where your heart is today and this Easter weekend. Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and me. This sacrifice means living our best life for Him!

Challenge:

(A) If you find yourself living in sin, I strongly encourage you to go speak to a strong Christian mentor; this could be your pastor, minister, or a really good Christian friend whom you trust completely. Pray together and begin an accountability relationship where God can protect and fight for you.

(B) If you find yourself being a stumbling block to those around you because of your own personal sin, I encourage you to seek God’s forgiveness and lay those burdens down at the cross. Again, I encourage you to develop strong accountability relationships with Christian friends that will help you on your walk.

(C) If you find yourself lost, seek the assistance of a pastor, minister, or good Christian friend. Even if you are the person who has been “in the church” for decades but realize you are the Pharisee and not the disciple. Don’t let pride get in your way of your eternity.

(D) If you find yourself the hypocrite – the person who claims to be a Christian but your fruits are that of the world, I strongly encourage you to ask God to cleanse your soul. Seek assistance from strong Christian friends or even a minister who can encourage you daily and help you in your Christian walk.

The point – 1 John 3:10, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother or sister.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta