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Gospel of Christ Fellowship

It is our purpose here, and in all of our gatherings, that Christ Jesus be the primary consideration.

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The Law of Christ: Burden Bearing

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 5:2)

TO “BEAR” MEANS TO CARRY AS A RESULT OF UNION

Frequently the phrase “bear witness” is used concerning those who speak about another; those called upon to testify concerning another. The law says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” meaning we should not attach something to someone if it is not true. The Lord said of Paul “He is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).

 – carry with you an account of another, if that man is worthy of you joining to them
Jesus, James, Paul and some of the prophets spoke of “bearing fruit.” This is when a tree produces and yields crop or a mother has a child. In both cases the “fruit” is the product of the parent. “A bad tree cannot bear good fruit” and a fig tree cannot bear olives. The fruit is evidence of tree. 

 – carry fruit that is evidence of your Divine union; bear fruit unto God
Paul once said “Bear with me in a little folly…” (2 Cor 11:1) meaning, be patient and allow me to continue with you. This has to do with withstanding and enabling something to occur…for a time. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13). Jesus said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and bear with you” (Lk 9:41).

 – partake of, withstand, endure weakness of others, temptations for a time, sufferings for a time, foolishness for a time.
“As we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Cor 15:49). 

 – This is partaken of something without choice. We must bear the image of Adam and Christ. 
To “bear” is to carry a load because you have been joined to someone or something. As a result of who you are and who/what you are joined to, to have added weight. In view of this principle consider these words of our Lord: “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Lk 14:27). Joining ourselves to the Lord will involve bearing burdens that are a direct result of our union with Him. There will also be voluntary burdens that we bear because His likeness is in us – He is a burden-bearer. We bear one another’s burdens because we are like Him.
BURDENS

Burdens are heavy. They are loads. They have weight that is in addition to your own weight. To bear another’s burden is to add additional weight to yourself so that their load can be lightened. “Each one shall bear his own load” (Gal 6:5) and when able, bear another’s load and thereby fulfill the Law of Christ.
Jethro saw the great quantity of Moses’ work in judging Israel and advised him to appoint 70 others to judge the smaller matters. He said, “so it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you” (Exod 18:22). The prophets shared the burden of Lord in preaching. They “felt” what the Lord “felt” concerning the people and what was the Lord’s burden became their burden. This is what fellowship is about. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).
Paul sought to avoid being a burden to the brethren. He worked day and night in an effort to “not be a burden to any of [them]” (1 Th 2:9; 2 Th 3:8). The Judaizers, on the other hand, sought to bind burdens on the Gentile converts that no one could bear (Acts 15:10, 28-29). That is, laws and commandments with no help from God.
Bearing one another’s burden does not mean completely taking it from them but rather bearing it together. Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you…For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mt 11:30). In His yoke we learn from Him and take on life together with Him. He shows us how to overcome the world. It is a fellowship that is so sweet that the weight is lightened by His grace and presence alone. Furthermore, this is a yoke with many brethren under it – Jesus being the firstborn. All are carrying each other’s weight because they are joined together.

CHRIST

Jesus is the only one capable to bearing another’s sin. “He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa 53:12). He “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet 2:24). “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb 9:28).
The Law of Christ is one of bearing another’s burden. It is taking upon you additional weight that will result in greater struggle and pain and suffering – in an effort to care for others. Jesus bore our sin and as a result He was forever marred. He was smitten of God and afflicted. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. He gave His life as a ransom for many. He was bruised, crushed and pierced through so we could be healed from the penalty and power of sin. He did this so we could be with God forever. He suffered – for us.
BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS

Burdens are heavy and we must carry other’s burdens because we are united with them. This is primarily seen in us partaking “of Christ’s sufferings” (1 Pet 4:13). That is, being persecuted by forces in the heavens and in earth as a result of our union with Him. But it also involves us suffering for one another by bearing the burdens of other believers as a result of our fellowship with them. We are filling up “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church” (Col 1:24). 
LOOKING AHEAD

Jesus once said, concerning the kingdom of God, “Because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities” (Lk 19:17). Bearing the burdens of others makes us stronger as a fellow laborer in the church. It makes us prepared for greater works. It is how we lead and care for others. We do not lord it over we serve others. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mt 20:25-28)
Bearing burdens prepares us for bearing the weight of greater work, in a time when we will have greater power. This is how the kingdom of Christ works. This is the Law of Christ. Bear one another’s burdens.

– Pat Woods

Proverbs Chapter Twenty-Six and Twenty-Seven

Chapter 26

vs 4. Do not respond to a fool like a fool

vs 11. Fools don’t learn from mistakes. They continually make the same errors. Wise aren’t perfect but they do learn from their mistakes.

vs 13-16. Lazy men are fools.

vs 18-19. Deception is not of the Lord.

vs 20-22. Contentions do not lead to good but to evil. Strife is not conducive to productivity. Contentions arise from consistent arguing and self-seeking.

vs 23-26. The wicked sometimes hide their evil under a cloak of kindness. Discernment is needed.

Chapter 27

vs 1. Take one day at a time and don’t presume that tomorrow is guaranteed.

vs 2. Don’t brag about yourself. Let your works speak for themselves. You never want to be your own biggest fan.

vs 4. Jealousy can have a worse work than wrath and anger.

vs 8. We all have our role and our place. Be faithful to YOUR calling.

vs 15-16. A contentious woman is a great burden. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to restrain her. But God is able to change such a woman.

vs 19. Men are not judged by outward appearance but by their heart. And no man knows what is in another man except that man. His heart, when exposed, will reveal who he really is. God will judge the thoughts and intents of every man’s heart.

vs 23-27. Be diligent and responsible for what is under your charge.

– Nehemiah, Asher, Malachi and Pat Woods

Proverbs Chapter Twenty-Five

vs 2. God is able to conceal and reveal the truth. Men are right for searching for truth. And those who seek will find.

vs 6-7. We should not exalt ourselves. The humble are exalted by God.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver”

The tongue of the learned is a blessing. It is extremely beneficial to all that you can say the right thing at the right time.

vs 14. It is better to be a giver without boasting. And what you do in secret, is seen by the Lord.

vs 16. Don’t be greedy. More than what is necessary can be bad.

vs 19. Confidence is good. Knowing you have the ability to do something is necessary.   Confidence must be based upon the power which God supplies, not just your own abilities. Misplaced confidence can lead to destruction.

vs 21-22. Even though they are your enemy, it is good to be kind to them. God will reward you though they may not. This reminded Malachi of Elisha’s wise dealings with the Syrians

So it was, when they had come to Samaria, that Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and there they were, inside Samaria! Now when the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” But he answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” Then he prepared a great feast for them; and after they ate and drank, he sent them away and they went to their master. So the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel. (2 Kings 6:20-23)

vs 23. Use your tongue for good only. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.

vs 25. The gospel is good news; like cold water to a weary soul. Preach the gospel.

vs 28. The hardest person to control is yourself. Self-control is provision of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God. God helps us keep our selfish desires in subjection.

– Nehemiah, Anna, Asher, Gideon, Malachi, Lydia, and Pat Woods

 

Proverbs Chapter Twenty-Four

Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (vs 3-4)

vs 7. Men cannot cheat on wisdom. They either have it or they don’t. It “is too lofty for a fool” and when have a shortage of it, their mouths will betray them.

vs 10. “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Strength is to be employed when things are difficult. We grow in strength during the good times so that we can withstand the bad times.

vs 12. God will “render to each man according to his deeds”

vs 16. “A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again.” Resilience is righteous. Perseverance and persistence are the characteristics of the righteous. They do not easily quit. Their faith and devotion is not easily overthrown.

The parable and visual of the lazy man (vs 30-34):

I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction:

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.

Proverbs Chapter Twenty-Three

“Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell” (vs 13)

Parents must discipline their children even though it is not a pleasant experience. The immediate and temporary discomfort and pain will save the child from continuing to rebel. It is better to endure a little pain for a season than eternity in hell.

vs 15-16 A wise child will make for happy parents. Children ought to seek to please their parents and be a blessing to them. If you make your parents happy, you will be happy.

“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.” (vs 17-18)

Do not live for this world but for heaven. Even though ungodly people may appear to be having “fun” doing the wrong things, we should not be jealous of them. As we deny ourselves and live for heaven, we will surely be rewarded with better, eternal things.

vs 23 We must seek after truth and when we find it, cherish it and don’t let go. “Buy the truth and sell it not…also wisdom and instruction and understanding.” These are the most valuable things. People who can give us these things are valuable as well.

– Asher, Malachi, and Pat Woods

Proverbs Chapter Twenty-Two

vs 1. Guard anything you put your name on. Reputation DOES matter.

vs 3. Be observant and try to avoid the evil that may arise.

vs 6. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Training children is like establishing default settings that they can resort to for the rest of life.

The lazy man says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!” (vs 13)

Laziness always has an excuse for why it won’t do something. The fear of harm or failure is paralyzing and is the root of laziness.

vs 19. The Proverbs are written so that we may trust in the Lord

vs 22-23. God is a defender and avenger of those who cannot protect themselves. Provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. Be a helper.

vs 29. Do everything in excellence and you will not be ashamed.

Proverbs Chapter Twenty-One

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. (vs 1)

Men are presumptuous in thinking they have chosen the powers that be. Likewise, to fear a man because of his power is also shortsighted. God has the ability to change a king’s heart in a moment. He can cause Nebuchadnezzar to bless the Lord. He can cause Cyrus to make a decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Men are to trust and fear God, not men.

vs 3. “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” God does not need anything from men. Even Jesus said, “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not but a body you prepared for Me…behold, I come to do Thy will, O God.” His sacrifice was perfect and good because He was accomplishing the Father’s will. He was effectively, “God’s Sacrificial Lamb”; God’s sacrifice.

vs 9, 19. WARNING! WARNING! “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” “Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.”

vs 13. Treat others how you want to be treated.

vs 23. Guarding your mouth is very difficult but it is worth every effort.

vs 25. The lazy man wants all day long but his hands refuse to labor. This is a continually dreadful condition that is never satisfied.

vs 26. Not all sacrifices are accepted by God. Some are actually an abomination. There is a time to close the doors of the temple and STOP offering sacrifices.

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the Lord.” (vs 31)

Proverbs Chapter Twenty

“Wine is a mocker and strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” (vs 1)

Regrettably, there are countless people who can testify of the danger and destructiveness that “strong drink” can have on a person, family and culture. Certainly, Paul instructed Timothy to take a little wine with his water because he was often sick. And to be sure, the kingdom of God is not based upon what you eat and drink but on righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, it is wise not to be led astray by strong drink. Do not ask, “Is this allowed?” but “Is this helpful.”

vs 3. Anyone can start a fight, but not everyone is able to cause one to cease.

vs 4. Laziness today will result in sorrow and hunger tomorrow.

vs 12. Jesus said one time, “Blessed are your eyes for they see.” The ability to perceive spiritual truth is a blessing from the Lord and He is the one responsible for the ability. Where then is boasting? It is excluded.

vs 21. The prodigal son can testify to this “an inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end.” Be patient and wait on the Lord.

“Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.” (vs 28)

This can be said of Jesus, the King of kings.

 

Proverbs Chapter Nineteen

vs 3. Foolishness produces a crooked path and causes men to fear. Wisdom is akin to faith in God.

vs 6-7. There really is no glory in poverty.

vs 11. “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.” This will require patience, compassion and not being easily offended.

vs 14. “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” I cannot think of anything more precious in this life than a godly wife. She is to be sought after and honored. God has truly blessed the man who has found a wife that will help him.

“There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel – that will stand.” (vs 21)

God is driven by His own counsel. That is why things happen. He is working His own purpose. The plans of a man’s heart, are to be committed to the Lord. When our will matches up with God’s will – then we have something special.

vs 26. It is a shameful thing to dishonor your mother and father.

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