By Erin Bird
Thanks for reading this week's Riverwood Blog. I write this opening article each week with the hope it will encourage you to follow Jesus. I don't know about you, but once-a-week reminders about following Jesus (like on Sundays) just aren't enough. I need the reminders daily, sometimes hourly! So I hope this email helps you to follow our amazing Savior just a little bit more.
This week, I am going to finish up our "one another" series. We've been looking at five "one another" passages from the book of Romans. (If you've missed any of the previous "one anothers", you can catch them on the opening article on the Riverwood blog.) This week we come to #5 - Instruct One Another.
Our last "one another" comes from Romans 15:14. Take a moment to read this verse:
"I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another." (Romans 15:14 ESV)
Here are three things I take away from this verse:
#1. Urge One Another
Paul is coming to the conclusion of his letter to the church in Rome, and he mentions how the Jesus-followers in Rome encourage him. Why is he encouraged? Because he believes that through the gospel, the Romans are full of goodness and filled with everything they need to know.
Now, obviously Paul felt there were things the Jesus-followers in Rome needed to know or know better. (After all, this verse is toward the conclusion of a 16-chapter letter!) But Paul believed the Holy Spirit, whom God gives to all Jesus-followers, was able to lead his readers to what they needed to know.
Because Paul believed his readers had everything they needed, he encouraged them to instruct one another; urging each other to continue to pursue the gospel.
However, according to the Bible study tools in the Lumina Bible Study environment, the Greek word in this verse translated "instruct" really means, "to admonish, warn, urge." This means Paul isn't saying we are all to become teachers who turn everyone around us into clueless students in need of an information dump. It's more along the idea of urging each other to continue to pursue the gospel.
#2. Continue to Learn
As a former piano player, I taught each of my kids how to play the piano. One of my children in particular (who I will allow to remain anonymous) felt that once he/she had learned something one time, they knew it.
But when I would point to a note on a page and ask him/her to play it, they would take 3-5 seconds to figure it out, and then play it. In other words, my child didn't truly know the note. I tried to help him/her realize that they didn't really know the note until they could play it without even thinking. This meant he/she needed to continue to learn how to read musical notation and translate that into playing musical notes.
Likewise, just because we've heard about Jesus or read a passage of the Bible once doesn't mean we know it. We need to continue to learn. If we are to instruct one another and urge each other to follow Jesus, we have to have an internal well of spiritual wisdom we can draw from, so we have to continue to pour into that well.
This is why at Riverwood we regularly encourage you to read the Scripture daily. This is why I write these articles each week. This is why we study the Scripture together on Sundays. We want to help you continue to learn about the power of Jesus' gospel in your life so you can "instruct" others.
#3. Intentional Jesus-centered relationships
We all have relationships - at work, in our neighborhood, from high school, on Facebook. But Paul's instruction to "instruct one another" means we need to foster relationships that have the express purpose of helping one another follow Jesus.
This is why Riverwood has Growth Groups. We are committed to creating environments where you can "instruct one another" to live Jesus-centered lives.
I would urge you (instruct you!) to do anything and everything you can to get in a Growth Group. If you want to see God help you love and live like Jesus, then get into a place where you can "instruct" others as they "instruct" you.
Let me say this: In our busy modern American age, to have the time for a Growth Group means sacrifice:
Riverwood has three "official" Growth Groups starting this next week: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursday evenings. If at all possible - clear your schedule and get into one of these groups. You'll feel more connected with Riverwood than ever before while also growing spiritually.
But if Monday, Tuesday, or Thursdays just absolutely cannot work - then grab a friend to do breakfast or coffee each week (or invite another Riverwood family to hangout on Friday nights), pull out the Growth Group Discussion Guide (found in your handout each Sunday or on the Riverwood website), open your Bible, and start discussing how you need to follow Jesus.
And as your pastor, I can honestly say that when you are pursuing Jesus intentionally like this, seeking to instruct one another; be encouraged that you are full of goodness through the gospel urging one another to follow Jesus.
So let's do this. Let's instruct one another!
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