Message from the Elders- May 20, 2020

Five Commands of Jesus
Consider John 14:21
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Imagine what our church and our individual homes would be like if everyone took seriously the following five commands to model the same spiritual heart as that of Jesus Christ:
• Love one another
• Accept one another
• Serve one another
• Comfort one another
• Forgive one another

1. Love One Another John 15:12-13 Luke 10:25-37
John 15:12 – 13
12This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Luke 10:25-37 – The story of the good Samaritan. After asking the young lawyer – “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’£ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”£ “And who is my neighbor?”
You know the story.
The compassion and tenderness of our congregation will be the attractive, magnetic, and therefore evangelistic key to fulfillment of God’s command. May the genuineness of our love pull from a loveless, selfish world the lonely, searching, and lost.

2. Accept One Another Romans 15:7 John 4:5-42
Romans 15:7
7Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
John 4:5-42 – The Samaritan woman at the well. After the encounter his disciples – 27And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”
Jesus started at the point of the woman’s belief and taught her.
Self-righteous judgment is a poison that must be purged from a spiritually growing fellowship. Let us be firm, narrow on truth, and broad on opinion, as we enlarge our circle of acceptance.
We all have different tastes, methods, likes. Some habits and traits might be irritating to some and enjoyed by others. Make room; accept instead of criticizing – so the Lord can be glorified through that harmony.

3. Serve One Another Galatians 5:13 John 13:1-17
Galatians 5:13,
13For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
John 13:1-17 – Jesus washing the feet of the disciples
The point is found in verse 15: 15For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
The old adage, “Change your attitude and you change your life,” certainly rings true in God’s kingdom. Love will put an entirely different focus upon the response where we will ask, “What more can I do?” rather than wonder how little can I get by. Perhaps most of the emptiness in our service can trace itself clearly to our failure to change our attitude. Serve one another, “in love.”

4. Comfort One Another 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 John 11:1-45
2 Cor 1:3 – 4
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
John 11:1-45 – The raising of Lazarus from death. – Notice in verses 33 – 36 how Jesus had empathy. 33Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35Jesus wept. 36Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
Nothing speaks more eloquently in human language than tears and laughter. Shakespeare wrote, “He who jests at scars never felt a wound.” Maybe the Lord has permitted some molding scars to form so that we would be better prepared to catch the tears, or more richly appreciate the joy from others, which spills into our lives.
Your experience, which helps shapes your sympathy can go a long way. Do not be afraid.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”

5. Forgive One Another Colossians 3:12-14 Matthew 18:21-35
Col 3:12 – 14
12Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
Matthew 18:21-35 – The forgiving master and the unforgiving servant – 21Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Christ has made this generous offer to our mistake prone existence: “Forgiven. Forgotten. Forever.”
Please strive to – 1.Love one another 2.Accept one another 3.Serve one another 4.Comfort one another 5.Forgive one another

Elders Message Update

The Eldership continues to keep all of you in prayer. We are looking forward to the time when we can meet together again and we pray that day will be soon!
We are beginning to formulate plans to begin the first step of a phased approach to returning to worship that is more normal and other congregational activities. We acknowledge that we are entering a time that is going to be a trial and error stage where we do not know the best approach to take. We will not always know the quality of our plan until we see the result. We ask for your prayers and understanding that we make the best and wisest choices.
We also want to emphasize that our whole congregation needs each of your individual commitment, regardless of your personal comfort level or conviction, to graciously follow the plan and specific guidance we put in place – even though we recognize it will not be perfect.
We will soon be asking each of you again submit a short, more focused, survey regarding the upcoming initial phase of returning to normal. We request each member of the church in your family to submit a response to the survey rather than a single submittal for your family.
As we begin meeting again, it will be vital that we each follow the guidelines that are put in place. We anticipate being able to begin sharing these plans with you in the next couple of weeks or so as they are developed.
We are encouraged to hear from you that the Church is continuing to meet as individual families every Sunday to worship.
If you know of any of our members who have needs or you have those you would like added to the prayer list you can contact the church office or contact the elders. The church office phone number is 770-926-8838 and the elders email address is elders@woodstockchurchofchrist.org. In addition, if you are in a position to help those in need please let the office know.
Please remember as you study and worship the invitation of the Lord is always open. Even though we are separated, we can respond to God’s invitation to ask for prayers where we have need and we can certainly arrange for anyone to put on Christ in baptism and become a Christian. Please contact one of the Elders if you would like your response to be made public or if we can assist with a baptism.
Please remember:
• The building will remain closed and services suspended until the end of May. We will be sharing the initial phase plans soon..
• Matt continues to provide a Sunday morning lesson that is available at 10:00am each Sunday and a midweek bible study that is available each Wednesday at 5:00pm or anytime thereafter. Each of these are on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/c/woodstockchurchofchrist
• Your offering can be mailed to the church building. The building address is Woodstock Church of Christ, 219 Rope Mill Rd., Woodstock, GA 30188.
• We also have an online offering option for the congregation called “Givelify”. This can be used as an app on your phone or from the online site. Many were able to use this app over the past couple of weeks to make their offering. The link below will take you to the page. If you have questions regarding this payment method, we will be happy to answer your questions or help you set up the application. The following is a link to our page https://giv.li/6lyqwe
• If you have online bill pay with your bank, you can use that tool to make your weekly offering as well.

In Christ’s Service
The Eldership

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