Men's Workout #16 - August 26th

We started off our time together by sharing things that were weighing on our hearts so that we could pray for them together.

  • One topic that we discussed was Jesus' address to the Pharisees, where He discussed the outside vs. the inside of the cup (Matthew 23:25).
    • The Pharisees clean the outside of the cup, which is what people can see and observe. But they don't clean the inside of their cup. The result is that whatever is on the outside of the cup is actually an overflow of what's inside.
    • Another example of how the outer appearances may not be what they seem: if you had a cup with brown liquid inside of it, people would probably assume that you were drinking coffee. However, in reality, you could actually be drinking mud water and fool everyone into thinking you were drinking coffee all along.
    • We shouldn't merely focus on our outer appearances, but more importantly, we should be focusing on the makeup of our minds, hearts, and character. In doing so, we can live consistently, internally and externally.

After this short discussion, Pastor Dan prayed for the group and then led us through the singing of hymn #307, "Christ Arose."
We then read through the book of Jude together. Some propositions that we discussed were:

  • We must build ourselves up on the most holy faith. (verse 20)
    • We must walk in a holy manner, and not be deceived by false teachers that take the grace of the Lord as an opportunity for the flesh.
      • Extending this point, this is also a severe warning against false teachers.
  • Those who are in the church but revile God are doubly dead (v.12)
    • This is describing what they are in the church now, because they are talking about the present. These people are not yet in hell at the time of this writing.
    • However, people who are like this are not a just cause for anyone to be a "hunter of heretics." We ought not to go around the church looking to draw out a heretic. But, we should be active in confronting others when they say things that are contrary to sound doctrine.

We took the time to sign up to lead the children during homegroup. Here's an example of a high-level outline that we can use as we lead them:

  • Go through one of the children's memory verses with hand/body motions.
  • Consider opportunities to explain the verse in further detail, foster discussion, and encourage interaction from the kids.
  • Sing songs together. "Seeds Family Worship" style songs could be a good format for this.
  • Play games with them.

We then took time to review Matthew 7:1-6 together.

  • Question: Is verse 1 talking about the judgment of God or of men?
    • There is no sense in which God's judgment is wavering or dependent on our own standards. One might argue that if someone had really low standards, God would judge that person by their own low standards. However, we can clearly see that God establishes His own high standard for us and explains what that is throughout the sermon on the mount.
    • At a high level, this passage is talking about the principle of reciprocation.
      • To reiterate, this is not saying that we should have low standards for ourselves or others. Rather, the point here addresses criticism of others and dealing with unfair judgment.
        • We should be reasonable people. Do not hold people to a standard that you're not willing to live by yourself. Don't put something on people that we ourselves aren't willing to do or work on ourselves.
          • This is the folly of the Pharisees - don't be like them!
          • Would you expect other people to read the bible everyday if you don't read the bible everyday for yourself? Do you expect others to worship the Lord day after day if you don't do it yourself?
  • Verses 3-5 brings up the principle of hypocrisy.
    • In the Greek, there is a conjunction that begins verse 3. However, most translations don't translate it. This ties verse 3 to verses 1-2.
    • Do not be a hypocrite when confronting someone of a committed wrong.
    • There is a priority and a chronology in dealing with hypocrisy.
      • First, take the log out of your own eye, then take the speck out of the other brother's eye.
      • Some might be tempted to leave the logs and specks where they are, but Christians should work through these issues with each other.
  • Verse 6 brings up the principle of prudence.
    • Some commentators say that verse 6 has no connection with the statements before or after, and say that this is about evangelism. However, you will most likely come across a situation like this when you're pointing out the fault in any other person.
    • Be careful to observe how the other person reacts to you.
      • Ask yourself, "do I answer a fool according to their folly or not?" (Proverbs 26)
      • As Christians, we have to be sensitive to assess the circumstances and the person's reaction.
      • Will the other person react to you harshly instead of receiving your instruction/confrontation?
    • When taking verse 6 to be a continuation of verses 1-5, there's a sweet reasonableness in coming alongside another person and beckoning them to join you. But you must take the lead yourself, and then you're encouraging them to proactively come alongside you
    • We need to be sensitive and forsake all "holier than thou," condescending, and critical attitudes if we want to be a help to others.
  • Question: If someone comes to you and confronts you about something that they also have an issue with, how do you react? 
    • Don't point it out to them right at that moment, but instead, choose the way of humility and focus on your own sanctification.
    • Entrust everything to God. If you feel that there is still an issue with the other brother down the road, then you should bring it up and work it out with that brother.
  • Question: In verses 1-2, there is no mention of anything related to "brotherhood," nor is there mention of it when discussing the "dog & swine". It is only mentioned in the context of the "log & speck" example. Is this an important significance?
    • These are principles to govern our thoughts and how we deal with judgmental and hypocritical attitudes. The principle described in verse 6 applies all across the board - believers and unbelievers alike.
    • Because of inherent differences in personality (or other deeper issues), sometimes there can be irreconcilable differences between certain people.
      • If someone doesn't respect you, they will condemn you no matter what you try to tell them. At that moment, it is important to recognize that you may not be the right tool needed to sanctify that specific person at that time. In these cases, we should pray that somebody will be the right tool used by God to sanctify that person.
      • If someone confronts you after prayerful consideration, and your response is to point out sin in their life, you're being reactionary and retributive, not humble and penitent.
      • When we confront others, we shouldn't always automatically assume a "Matthew 18 mode." The principles in Matthew 18 are prescribed for specific circumstances, not necessarily for general situations.
        • This passage doesn't trump all other passages in the bible regarding loving confrontation. Or, to put it another way, the method laid out in Matthew 18 is not the only one we can employ to sanctify each other.