“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not (use) liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).
Everybody looks for different things in the Ten Commandments. Some look for divine guidance, some look for a code to live by, but most of us are looking for loopholes.
In 1982, ABC Evening News reported on an unusual work of modern art ¾ a chair affixed to a shotgun. It was to be viewed by sitting in the
chair and looking directly into the gun barrel. The gun was loaded and set on a timer to fire at an undetermined moment within the next 100 years. The amazing thing was that people waited in lines to sit and stare into the shell’s path! They all knew the gun could go off at point-blank range at any moment, but they were gambling that the fatal blast wouldn’t happen during their minute in the chair.
Yes, it was foolhardy, yet many people who wouldn’t dream of sitting in that chair live a lifetime gambling that they can get away with sin. They ignore the risk until the inevitable self-destruction. There are different opinions to what Gal. 5:13 means. One says “I have liberty, so I can do whatever I want to do.” People have told me “If I believed once saved always saved, I would go out and do whatever I wanted.” I tell them “If you believed like I do, you would do more than you want to.”
Another sees the wrong and begins to apply the law on everybody. Somewhere between license (can) on the one hand and legalism (must) on the other hand is true Christian liberty. Paul then issues a caution: “Don’t allow your liberty to degenerate into license!” There are false teachers who “change the grace of our God into a license for immorality.” Certain individuals whose condemnation was written about a long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people who “pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ, our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 4 NIV). Paul’s caution is a valid one. Christian liberty is not a license to sin but an opportunity to serve. This leads to a commandment: “By love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). The key word, of course, is love. The formula looks something like this: liberty + love = service to others or liberty — love = license (slavery to sin).
From Our Missionaries
Misión Creciendo en Cristo (Growing in Christ), North Little Rock: Juan Carlos Posadas writes, “We visited two mobile home parks this week to deliver some donations and making connections with the families that reside there. People received us very well. Pray that relationships will grow, and that we will have the opportunity to share the gospel with them, leading to an invitation to join us.
“Friday night, we had a prayer meeting and enjoyed spending that time of fellowship with God and the church. The Bible institute is still going strong. In three more weeks, we will finish book one — Methods of Biblical Study and Rules of Interpretation. Once book one is finished, we will start book two with this group, and we will open a new class with book one, to give the rest of the church the opportunity to have leadership training. Please pray for the institute’s students, (currently five) and the future students of the next stage.”
Ebenezer, West Little Rock: Ruben Isturiz writes, “This week has been a full schedule of activities in the different ministries I serve. Ebenezer, Baseball Chapel and Novo (novo.org) occupied much of my week. Monday through Friday, my day starts at 4:30 a.m. to exercise both spiritually and physically. My regular schedule begins as early as 8:30 a.m.
“The Berean Groups (home groups) continue to develop, only the Berean Group in Bryant needs to be activated. Pray that God will remove all obstacles and they will return to all their activities. The group in Bryant is where we, as a family, participate and support, both my wife and my children are edified there. At the moment, the host family has had some difficulties in activating it. I ask for your prayers.
“We have also been busy with all the preparations for my son, Ruben Alexander’s graduation — taking pictures and making a postcard to give to the families of the congregation. Last Saturday was his graduation ceremony from LISA West High School. It was a blessing to see him finish an important stage in his life well.
“Next Sunday, we will have our Celebration Service with prayer for the two boys who graduated, Jeremiah and Ruben. Thank you for your support of our mission. To God be the glory!”
Faith Chapel, Flippin: Johnny Shew writes, “I am writing this report from North Little Rock this week. Mom is in the hospital with pneumonia. She was admitted Wednesday night, and I came and spent the day Thursday, but had to go home and perform a wedding for one of my oldest friends’ sons. It was a wonderful time.
“We had a great worship service on Sunday morning with good attendance and some first-time and return visitors. Then at 2 p.m., we met again at the Cotter Spring on the White River to baptize our two newest members who were saved at our last baptism 2 weeks ago. That was not only an amazing and joyful experience, but it was downright fun! I do believe the White River is a lot colder than it was the whole time I was growing up, but it was worth it! Praise God, what a day!
“After the baptism, I loaded up and came back to North Little Rock to see mom at the hospital. I think she may be starting to improve a little. Please pray for her.
“Thank you for your prayers for us, my mom, Flippin and the mission. Please continue, and thank God for answering them because He truly is!”
The Table, Springdale: Clinton Morris writes, “It was so good to see our guests from last week come back this week. They are fitting into our mission and people are welcoming. We also had another guest this week and there is much interest from several others about potentially attending either the mission or one of our other events. Keep praying for these people and these relationships as they continue to form.
“Pray for DeAnna and I, as we are going into three crazy weeks with travel, meetings and evangelistic opportunities. We head to Tyler, Texas next week to celebrate the wedding of one of The Tables’ college couples. I am so excited to see this stage of their life and be there as they are planning the next stages of their life alongside of The Table.
“There are many people traveling during the month of June, and we are going to be running fewer people most of the month. It is good to see the seasons of a church family and to understand how best to keep people connected, even when they are temporarily apart.”
Faith Journey, Benton: Bryan Clay writes, “Keeping in line with true Baptist tradition, Faith Journey had their first fellowship this week. We served an amazing BBQ pulled pork with all the fixins’ prepared by Pastor Allan Eakin from Celebration Baptist Church in Haskell. The turnout for this week was great. We had 22, with 8 first-time visitors, and everyone seemed to enjoy getting to know each other better. It’s been said, ‘Feed them and they will come!’
“One of the main reasons we wanted to have this fellowship was to give the owners of the facility where Faith Journey meets weekly an opportunity to share their testimony and talk about the ministries that they are building at The Cabin 3H in Benton. Roy and Melaine Hale started 3H Ministries with God’s vision of Hope, Healing and Happiness.
“Roy and Melaine travel with a group of families every year to the country of Belize to minister to people on the island of San Pedro. They focus on sharing the gospel through helping with service projects in the community, providing encouragement to the local churches and Christian preschool and developing relationships in the hope of planting a seed to help expand the kingdom of God through sharing God’s message of salvation. Roy and Melaine have been a huge blessing to Faith Journey by helping provide the use of their building, leading our weekly worship time and even using their facility to help advertise for Faith Journey. We are very blessed that God has used them to help grow Faith Journey Mission.”
Hispanic Mission, NW Ark Area: Roberto Marcelletti writes, (5/15) “We were in the neighborhood near the church this week, doing a prayer walk and reconnoitering the land and trying to make connections with Hispanics in the area. We also made a connection with a family from the community college. They may visit us on Friday at our home, for which we ask for prayers. They are Richard and Marget, and a
man who works with Hispanics in the area (Héctor), and we continue working with the Rodríguez family who have already visited us three times in our apartment. The list of people with whom we have made connections continues to grow ¾ there are 22 people, of which 2 families are interested in learning more about the Bible and Jesus Christ. ‘My prayer is that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints’ (Eph. 1:18).
(5/22) “This week we were meditating on Psalm 119:49: ‘Remember the word given to your servant, in which you have made me wait.’
“The Lord reminds us of the goodness of knowing how to wait on His promises. This brings us hope and confidence in the midst of the struggles and circumstances that are experienced on this side of eternity. We had a pleasant visit this week with State Missions Executive Director Paul White. It was a very good time where he expressed his love and the support of the BMA of Arkansas to the mission that has been entrusted to us. We were also able to learn more about his ministerial experience. We feel very loved and encouraged to continue in the work the Lord has given us to raise work for Him in Northwest Arkansas. Thank you very much for the support and love. His visit was a blessing.
“This week, we continue to work with the family that God, in His grace, has allowed us to connect with. We pray that they will make a firm commitment to follow Jesus Christ. We were sharing the message with two of my wife’s colleagues from Community College, and we invited them to our house this week to continue talking.
“I also ask for your prayers since, on Friday, we were invited to a Hispanic event that will take place in Springdale where Hispanic leaders from the area will attend. May God fill us with grace and favor from Him to continue making connections.”