Sabbath – 24 September 2016
On September 24th, Sabbath afternoon, we held a Men’s Seminar at the Polistina residence with many of the men in the Sydney churches participating. The aim of the seminar was to understand the needs of the men in Sydney and to encourage the men spiritually to aspire to be what God has purposed for us as men to be.
We began with a brief introductory into the seminar and then brought up some challenges for discussion. These challenges were:
Challenges with being a Christian and the demands of work, bills, mortgages, etc.
- Some of the challenges mentioned with this was that because of the demand of society there is little time for personal devotions and worship with family.
- Although we may need to get up early for work and we may arrive late at home, the spirit or attitude we have in the midst of it all has a very important impact on our lives. The apostle Paul says, “seek those which are above”, and “set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2
- Even though we are busy, we may still be able to spend five minutes in prayer before we leave, and still may meditate and pray on Bible verses as we travel to and from work. There are many avenues we can find to nurture our souls if we will but look for them and hunger for them.
- With family, sometimes as husbands or fathers, we may not be able to be there for worship, but if possible maybe a time can be arranged where we can sit in on the worship or story time with children over the phone. With modern technology in the form of facetime and Skype, it has made it easier for us to still interact with our families while not being there in person.
- We need to find the balance between work, family and spiritual life.
Challenges of being a Christian around worldly people at school or work and their influence on you.
- It was a blessing to hear some testimonies of where men in our church were faithful to their convictions while being opposed and to see how the Lord gave them the victory in the end; or to see how they were just being honest and how God rewards this faithfulness.
- We are called upon by the apostle to “Let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” 1 Corinthians 7:24
- It is important that wherever we are, especially in our workplaces or schools, that we are exerting an influence for good, to such an extent that it may even lift other minds out of the gutter so to speak, and place them on higher ground.
- Jesus is our Example in this especially before He began His full-time ministry, and we need to draw close to Him in order not to succumb to the influence of the world, but rather, that the world around us would be influenced by us.
- “The greater part of our Saviour’s life on earth was spent in patient toil in the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. Ministering angels attended the Lord of life as He walked side by side with peasants and laborers, unrecognized and unhonored. He was as faithfully fulfilling His mission while working at His humble trade as when He healed the sick or walked upon the storm-tossed waves of Galilee. So in the humblest duties and lowliest positions of life, we may walk and work with Jesus.
“The apostle says, “Let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” 1 Corinthians 7:24. The businessman may conduct his business in a way that will glorify his Master because of his fidelity. If he is a true follower of Christ he will carry his religion into everything that is done and reveal to men the spirit of Christ. The mechanic may be a diligent and faithful representative of Him who toiled in the lowly walks of life among the hills of Galilee. Everyone who names the name of Christ should so work that others, by seeing his good works, may be led to glorify their Creator and Redeemer…
“The humblest and poorest of the disciples of Jesus can be a blessing to others. They may not realize that they are doing any special good, but by their unconscious influence they may start waves of blessing that will widen and deepen, and the blessed results they may never know until the day of final reward. They do not feel or know that they are doing anything great. They are not required to weary themselves with anxiety about success. They have only to go forward quietly, doing faithfully the work that God’s providence assigns, and their life will not be in vain. Their own souls will be growing more and more into the likeness of Christ; they are workers together with God in this life and are thus fitting for the higher work and the unshadowed joy of the life to come.” Steps to Christ, pp. 81-83.
Challenges of 1 John 2:15-17.
- With this third challenge the discussion was quite broadened when we looked at the verses found in 1 John 2:15-17 15: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17: And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. KJV
- We looked at this first from a materialistic point of view and the need to ask ourselves the question, “what is enough?”, we need to evaluate what is enough income, assets, etc. so that we don’t become consumed with this world, and that its cares don’t choke the truth in our lives. We also need to beware of the ‘deceitfulness of riches’ and work towards having a simple life rather than always working towards gaining assets that we may in fact don’t really “need” and put more focus on our own spirituality and the spirituality of our family.
- In order to not be deceived by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, we need to receive the “love of the Father”, as it was the absence of this that caused an individual to love the world. We need to read the word of God for ourselves. It is only through the Bible that we receive a knowledge of who God is and Jesus Christ whom He sent; and when we see God as a loving, compassionate Father who is self-sacrificing, it melts our hearts and love for this world diminishes. So we need to search the Word and see for ourselves who is this Mighty God we serve?
In all it was a great discussion we had, and we finished the seminar with 1 John 2:12-14, and how the apostle John encourages all men in their different ages and experiences. The most important thing is knowing Jesus Christ as a sin-pardoning Saviour, growing up into a full knowledge of Him who saves us from our sin, and having the word of God abide in us that we may overcome the wicked one.
We finished with a prayer and began at once to prepare for dinner which was a delicious burger night with great burgers and other side dishes to complement. The fellowship was great among us as men, and the whole event gave us some more direction to know how best to encourage one another and become closer as friends in the faith.
I pray that God will continue to bless the men and women and families in Sydney, that we can be encouraged in our faith in God and come closer together as a unit that we fulfil the prayer of Christ “that we all may be one” in Christ.
~ Domenic Polistina