ARE YOU A STUMBLING BLOCK TO A BRETHREN?
From the Board of Elders
Dear Members in Christ,
Are you a stumbling block to a brethren?
“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” 1 John 2:10
By the grace of God, to have someone believe and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, we all rejoice and thank God. A soul has been added into God’s kingdom. When the question is asked: “Are you stumbling another person’s faith in Christ?” is posed to believers, all would respond with an immediate resounding “NO”. Why would we want to stumble a believer? After all it is not easy to win over a lost soul. Nevertheless, to stumble a believer, whether he is young or “old” in faith, is real. We have seen this happening in churches. People leave because they felt hurt by the unbecoming behaviour and/or unkind words spoken by fellow believers.
As Christians, though we have the Holy Spirit in-dwelling us, the sinful and depraved nature remains while we are still on earth. We are still striving towards perfectness. This is the sanctification process (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23). There is always a Christian struggle while on earth, in doing what is right and wrong (cf. Romans 7:14-20). The “ruler of this world” wants Christians to fall into sin in order to ruin the godly testimony of Christians. By so doing, many weak Christians will be stumbled and will have their faith weakened. Hence, it is very important for us to have self-control over our behaviour and words. How do we do that?
Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil: Christians must submit to God, draw nigh unto God and resist the Devil (cf. James 4:7-8). Christians must fight the good fight of faith (cf. 1 Timothy 6:11-12) so as not to stumble fellow Christians who are new and/or weak in faith.
Thus, Christians take note and be forewarned. Satan “… as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 b. Christians are to be vigilant, alert and take precautions against falling into sins where Satan and his demons lay waiting and ever ready to pounce 24/7 on their victims.
Maturity in Christ: As a Christian lives a faithful life according to the divine teachings of the Bible, he should sin less and less as he grows in maturity. In doing so, others may be less stumbled. Understanding this, we who are mature MUST strive harder each day not to sin and therefore stumble young and immature Christians. We must manifest Christ and bear the fruit of the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22-23). So Christians, watch our behaviour, thoughts, words and deeds every moment of the day and not on the Lord’s day only. By this “newness” and “life in Christ”, we give glory to God. Our respective testimony in public and private spaces should indeed testify to a victorious Christian life! In this manner, if we are to evangelize to unbelievers, by the Grace of God, our Christian walk will also help us to win them over to Christ.
Guidance from God’s Word on how to grow spiritually
1) A Christian is a new creature in Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore, mortify (put to death) the old self, that is “… Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
2) “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
3) “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:24 (cf. Colossians 3:10-14)
4) Manifest “… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
5) “… but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12b
Put into practice what we’ve learnt and be a shining testimony for God:
1) Fear God, keep and obey His commandments 2) Attend Church services 3) Read the Bible, pray and grow in maturity 4) Know your Bible and be able to share God’s Word to edify and encourage one another 5) Be modest in dressings 6) Watch and guard your conversations that they may edify one another and glorify God 7) Be punctual to Church Worship services and activities 8) Participate in Church fellowships and activities 9) Be a godly example to fellow brethren 10) No murmurings or disputing as you serve 11) If you stumble others please apologize and ask for forgiveness. Do not justify 12) Not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything to cause your brother to stumble. 13) Greet and manifest hospitality to one another and visitors who come to Church for worship and activities. Do not ignore nor neglect one another. Do NOT stumble one another!
Remember: Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil. Pray for God’s mercy and grace to help us live and walk worthily of our profession in Christ. “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” 1 John 2:10 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Conclusion: We must be mindful that living and walking in Christ is spiritual warfare. Christians must be deliberate in their behaviour, thoughts, words and deeds so that Satan would not have the occasion to stumble our witness for Christ in winning and encouraging a brother in Christ. To God be the glory.
Eld. Choe Tong Seng