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When the Body Grows

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
July 10, 2023 2:00 pm

When the Body Grows

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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July 10, 2023 2:00 pm

In this show, Dr. Shah talks about the often-unspoken problems that accompany church growth and how the church and staff can help protect the unity of the body.

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Well, happy Monday, everybody. Today is July 10th.

My name is John Galantis. I'm here with Dr. Abbadon Shah, and you're listening to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can find us online at, or if you have a question for Dr. Shah, anything that you'd like to write in and suggest we talk about, send us a text at 252-582-5028.

You can also email us at contact at You guys can help us keep this conversation going by supporting the show. You can share it online. You can leave us a good five star review on iTunes or Spotify. We'd love to read all those encouraging comments and all the stories that you guys are telling us about how the show is impacting you and lifting your faith. Love to hear that. That encourages us so much.

We're going to leave a couple of links in the description so you can do just that. And Dr. Shah, today's verse of the day is coming to us from Ephesians chapter three, verse 11 and 12. It says, to the eternal purpose which he has accomplished in Christ Jesus, our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in him. Therefore, I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. Paul is really building up how rich we are in Christ. Some of these Christians in Ephesus may have been struggling with losing businesses, facing persecutions, and Paul is reminding them that don't just look at the earthly things that you're losing. In fact, that loss actually brings you to gains in Christ. And then he says, in whom we have boldness, it's not just an access to Christ, but we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in him. So we can come to him and ask for whatever we need.

And so to our listeners, to those who are watching us on YouTube, or listening on podcast or radio, whatever you're struggling with, come with boldness to Christ, to God, and he will answer it. That's right. That's right. Dr. Schell, happy Monday, my friend. We are like, OPA Garfield style over here. Well, no, he hates Mondays. Nevermind.

Bad example. We are OPA anti Garfield style over here. But rather than just being on a regular Monday, today is July 10th. And so it kind of marks this day in Christian history where this man, Stephen Langton, actually died. And before anybody says anything, yes, I know he died on July the 9th, but we don't do shows on Sunday. So we're talking about on the 10th. It's our show.

We can do that if we want to. I'm holding a copy of the New King James Bible right here in my hand. And when you go through this Bible, or any Bible that you have on your bookshelf, it's broken up into chapters.

It's broken up into divisions. But back in the day, in antiquity, it was actually written on like papyrus and like scrolls. Or parchment.

By this time more, more parchment. Yeah. But it wasn't broken up into chapters like it is today. Yeah.

Yeah. So it was an Archbishop of Canterbury by the name of Stephen Langton that you just mentioned who helped divide up those passages into chapters so that they were manageable so that we can quickly turn to them. And of course there are a lot of discussions regarding who was the one, was it him or was it Cardinal Carol who did it, but we don't know for sure. But more than likely it was Stephen Langton who divided the scriptures into chapters. And then in the 16th century, which is about 1551, this French linguist, printer, classical scholar by the name of Robert Stephanus or Robert Estien, who then divided the chapters into verses.

And there's kind of a funny story about it that he was traveling from Paris to Lyon on horseback. And they joke about it, that this is why you have some, some really crazy verse divisions. Like it seems like, why did, who, who did that? So maybe it was a jolt as he, as he like hit a bump in the road or something.

Yeah. The horse stumbled or whatever. And it's like, Oh, well that's a new verse. You figured you would do that like in a carriage or something, but he's like on the horse, like trying to write the word of God. Like at some point he must've understood, like, this is, I should not be doing this on horseback.

Well, his son said that it was kind of like inter-equitandum, which is on horseback, but really I think he did it probably wherever he was staying that night. I don't think he was like on the horse, on the horse, trying to ride it very difficult, like trying to read Genesis in the beginning. But more than likely it was done, but still, I think it was done kind of hastily because there are places that it doesn't make sense. Why is there a verse division here? Is that something you, you kind of go through in textual criticism?

Like you, you look at those little details and those little incongruities? Well, in textual criticism, there are no, there are no verse divisions cause it's, it's manuscripts, right? We're not, we're not looking at verses. Now there were different kinds of division, like the Eusebian, all that stuff, but that does play a role in textual criticism. But for a text critic, they're just Greek letters.

That's true. When you look at manuscripts, you're looking at pretty much the entire book. And there are no word divisions, so they just run together. Like all the words, it's just like a wall of text? Yes. That's how it is written. So having word, words being divided is, is a, is something that came kind of later.

Yeah. And that's why it's difficult. Especially when you, when you get into the first couple of hundred years where it's not the minuscule, minuscule is like the small lowercase unseals are the uppercase. So you have these big, you know letters like alpha, beta, gamma, Delta, epsilon, the bigger ones.

And they all running together. So you had to figure out which is one word, what's the next word and what's the next one. It seems, it seems crazy. Cause like I'm imagining now, like if we were to write something, if I was to write a book, but there's no spaces between the letters, it's just one big wall of text. And then wait like 2000 years where no one speaks this variant of English anymore. And then someone finds that book and it has to try to parse together. Like, yeah, it's a pretty difficult job, but it can be done. You know, that's what scholars do. That's what people like me do, who sit down and they spend their whole life.

They dedicate their whole life to studying biblical Greek and studying these manuscripts. So those word divisions after a while, you don't need those spaces. Cause you can read them. Now I still sometimes have to go, okay, wait a minute. What's the context here. Okay. Yes. Okay. This is in John. All right, I'm good.

Let's let's start. And I can do that, but still it's not easy. So David actually gifted me a Bible that has no chapter or verse division or they do, but it's kind of very bare. Is it a Greek Bible? It's an English Bible. It's like, doesn't have the chapter and verses to enable you to just enjoy the flow.

Is it here or is it at home? Yeah, I would love to see that. That's the Bible I do my devotions in every morning. Really? Yeah.

Okay. It's a great Bible. It's our listeners, viewers can buy it.

It's online. I mean, I think several different kinds are available, which do not have chapters and now they do have some chapter divisions. It's called Reader's Bible. Right. Right. So they have chapters, but verses are there too in the corner, but not all of them on purpose to make you, in case you have to find something, you can find it, but it's not so obvious.

And so in your face that you lose the flow. Wow. That's awesome.

But you leave, let's leave a link in the description of the podcast. That's awesome. Sometimes these things help, right? Chapter divisions definitely help. Can you imagine trying to say, okay, so go ahead and find that passage next to the parables and you know, that would be so difficult.

Yeah. Or find this in Isaiah, find an Isaiah where he says, and it's like what, 60 something chapters worth of. The only way that the people in time past were able to do this before all this chapter verse divisions is through lectionaries. So they had lectionary numbers. That's how they were able to find different passages in the Bible.

Wow. So up until the 13th century, there was a whole different way of finding a certain passage or a story or a narrative. And then with the coming of the chapters and the verses, things became easier to go. Turn to John chapter three, verse 16.

Prior to the 13th century, there was no John chapter three, verse 16. That's pretty incredible. That's pretty, we, we, we, we got to take a break for a second to do this ad read, but I think we should devote a whole episode to this in the future. We're going to start the show in just a couple of minutes. If you guys have any questions or suggestions for topics that we can be talking about, like this one here, text us at 252-582-5028, or you can visit us online at

We'll be right back after this. Well, good morning, afternoon, evening, Clearview Today listeners. My name is John and I'm David. And we just want to take a quick second and let you know about another way that you can keep in touch with Dr. Shah's work.

And that is his weekly podcast series, Sermons by Abaddon Shah, PhD. As a lot of you may know, or maybe some of you don't know. If you don't know, you do now. And if you don't know, then maybe just hop off the podcast. David, I'm just playing. Hop off the podcast.

I'm just playing. Keep listening. Dr. Shah is actually the lead pastor of Clearview Church in North Carolina. Every single weekend, he preaches expository messages that challenge and inspire us to live God honoring lives. One of the four core values of Clearview Church is that we're a Bible believing church. So every sermon is coming directly from scripture, which is great because that guarantees that there are timeless truths that are constantly applicable to our lives. This is a great resource because whether you're driving, whether you're cleaning the house, whether you're working out, you can always benefit from hearing the word of God spoken into your life. And God's word is always going to do something new for you every time you hear it.

Sometimes it's conviction and sometimes it's encouragement. But know that every time you listen to God's word, you're inviting the Holy Spirit to move and work in your life. You guys can check out the Sermons by Avidan Shah PhD podcast. First and foremost, check it out on our church app. That's the Clearview app. You can get that in the Google Play Store. You can get that on iTunes, but you can also find the podcast on the Apple podcast app or on our website at And listen, if you've got a little extra time on your hands, you just want to do some further reading, you can also read the transcripts of those sermons.

Those are available on Dr. Shah's website, And we're going to leave you guys a little link in the description so you can follow it. But for right now, David, let's hop back in.

All right. Welcome back to Clearview Today with Dr. Avidan Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can find us online at And if you have any questions for Dr. Shah, anything that you'd like to write in, suggest we talk about in the future, send us a text at 252-582-5028. Or you can also email us at contact at And if today's your first time ever tuning into the Clearview Today Show, welcome. We want to let you know exactly who's talking to you today. Dr. Avidan Shah is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, professor at Carolina University, author, full time pastor, and the host of today's show.

You can find all of his work on his website as And Dr. Shah, good things have been happening. Really exciting things have been happening. For those who are listening and watching, what John is referring to is the new sanctuary or the worship center that is being built next door to our existing church to give us more room.

That's right. It's one of the things where with growth, we saw this thing where we would talk about, well, the Sunday school just has no room at all. We are packed out and we would almost feel proud like, yes, that's a good problem to have. Well, yes, but a good problem is still a problem.

And so when you start to run out of space, I found myself falling into that trap of being like, yeah, that's right. That's where we want to be. Well, no, not really. Not for long anyway. That's not good because you need people to plug in and build relationships and grow in the knowledge of the word and knowledge of the Lord.

But you can't do that. We are so packed. In fact, if you ever come here on a Wednesday night, every inch of our buildings are taken up.

That's true. Yeah, we have Awana, we have sports camp, we have adult Bible study for men, adult Bible study for women. We've got the nursery and they all have to somehow work in tandem because the Awana stations rotate. So how do you get these kids from point A to B without walking through the men's, because the men meet in the cafe.

So how do you get them there? Okay, well, we're going to go outside. Well, what if it's raining? What if it's storming? You've got this and we've got a system worked out, but the church is still growing.

Very tough. And I think that's kind of what we're talking about today is what do you do when your church grows? We typically know that that's the goal. We want the church to grow, but then how do you confront those, not even, I don't want to say problems, just those obstacles that come up when you do grow. Sometimes people don't like that change.

You know, they're rather just things stay where they are, but if you're going to do things right, if you're going to glorify God, if you're going to preach the word, stand against sin, reach the lost, remind people to love one another, the church body is going to grow. And there's, there's been times, I know you've said that in the past, where you would have like maybe 15 to 20 people. That would be a really good Sunday.

That was a great Sunday. Yeah. Wow. Do you, do you look back on those days and say, man, like God has, I mean, you know that God has truly blessed us and the church body is going to keep growing, but has that kind, has that over the years come with obstacles? Oh yes.

Yeah. Many different kinds of, for one, right now we're struggling with just space. And I'm talking about physical space, but then when you have more people, you have more chances of misunderstandings, miscommunications, hurt feelings, people not feeling like they're connecting.

Our church is growing. I don't feel like I'm, these are, these are common growing pains. Don't get discouraged by them. Recognize that this is what happens. Like it happened to us with our kids. We had so many spilled milk and tea and water on our dining table.

Why? Because they have lost sight of the fact that they were, they were growing and so they will reach for something and then knock it over. Not realize how big their arms are.

Their arms have grown. Yeah. And so that's a good, that's a good analogy. So also in, in life and church life, things begin to grow. One thing I didn't, I didn't really think about as we started to grow as a church is new members coming in and then find themselves having trouble relating with people or having trouble connecting with people. Cause I typically would just think, okay, they come in, they, the music, I'm going to make sure the music is the best it can be. Dr. Shah's making sure the preaching is the best it can be and they'll just be hooked. But people want to connect.

They want to relate to other people who are in the body. That's right. And that's something I never, I didn't think of, I think until, not it was too late, but until we, I should have thought of it much earlier than we did. Well, I know different for me either because I used to think, okay, I got them. Let me work on somebody else. Oh, I got them. Let's go here. When I turn around the ones I thought, oh, I got them. They're good. They're gone.

I'm like, what just happened here? Okay. That's okay.

I think I just need to get some more. Okay. I got them. I got them. Okay. I'm going to work on them.

Wait, why are you upset? And so it took some time for me to learn that growth is not easy, but growth is not, you can't just say we're growing and then just keep on doing business as usual. Things have to change.

You have to consciously and purposefully work towards closing the back door and not just closing the back door with guilt and shame, but closing the back door with people wanting to be at home, wanting to be part of this body. And so the book of Ephesians begins with, or let's go to chapter four, verse one. It says, I, therefore the prisoner of the Lord, okay. Prisoner of the Lord beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.

And what does that look like? Verse two, all lowliness and gentleness with long suffering, bearing with one another in love. This should mark us. Lowliness means the spirit of humbleness, right? Nothing will destroy unity faster than pride. That's true. That's very true.

Because I'm going to start looking at what I've done, feeling good about it. And now that's my standard. And when you're not living up to my standard, yeah, it's worth going to not be unified.

You can never live up to my standard because I'm so much better than you. Right. Yeah. Gentleness means meekness. It is not weakness. Instead it is knowing when to be angry and when not to be.

That's true. Right. And then long suffering means patience.

I don't like to have patience with people. Yeah. But if you're going to maintain this church body, you have to have patience.

It doesn't, it means don't say what comes to your mind and your mouth. Yeah. It's part of bearing. Verse response, right? Right. Yeah, exactly.

Yeah. It's part of bearing with one another in love. And it means, you know, you learn to live with people and who they are.

You learn to like, you learn to learn who they, who those people are. The people in your congregation, you know them. You said something earlier at lunch today that really got me to thinking about it when we were talking about, you know, volunteers and getting people to plug in. You said the people who invest in the church are the ones who will seek to unify it because there's something invested in it.

That's right. They serve and there's time poured in and they've helped build it up. They don't want to see it crumble and they care when things start to go wrong.

They're protected. So when they are not vested in, whether with time or energy or even financially, then it's easy for you to knock something down. You didn't build it. Right. You didn't support it.

You didn't sustain it. So it's easy to kick it down. So Paul says, endeavoring, verse three, endeavoring. What does the word endeavoring mean to you?

Endeavor means like, um, that's a good question. Like to work at it. Yeah.

Like to work at it endeavor. Yeah. To see it through.

Yeah. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Powerful truths here, which means it's not enough to say, Hey, God's got his hand on our place, on our church and our church body. We're going to be okay. No, you have to consciously seek, seek to do the things we just talked about.

A walk worthy of the calling with which you were called with all lowliness and gentleness with long suffering, bearing with one another and in love and endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. I think that's a good point because I tend to mistake unity as the by-product when it's really the goal to be working towards. Like if I'm doing all my tasks right and everybody's doing everything right, then unity will just happen.

It doesn't work like that. Right. Right. Unity. It's like almost unity. I, in my mistaken view, unity is the, is the, just the natural consequence of doing all the right things.

I'm sorry. That's not how the Bible lays it out. We have to work at it. Now again, for anybody out there who says you're working for God, who does all that, everything through and through top to bottom, side to side, in and out is God. Amen to that. It's the Holy Spirit is the life and the power of Jesus Christ.

So let's, let's get that out of the way. Don't think that when you are called to do something as if you are doing something in your own flesh, that's a whole different way of living a life of works-based salvation. We're not talking about that folks. When we talk about your responsibility and my responsibility, it is still everything enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit. And this is something that you've taught me that goes along perfectly with that is me being nice to people and being kind to people and loving to people may help in the short term, but if it's not linked to who we are as a church, if it's not linked to our foundational core beliefs as Christians, then it's not going to last.

It's not going to last. And I think that's exactly what you just said. It's coming from God. And so our beliefs are rooted in who God is and that's why we can do this kind of stuff. And so what Paul does here in verse four onwards, he tells us, he gives us some Christian graces, which are linked to our foundational beliefs. And what are our foundational beliefs? It is a seven layered foundation. So let's look at it.

Okay. Starting in verse four, there is one body. It means there is one universal church. Paul was dealing with the issue of Jews and Gentiles coming together. So also today there are many churches and denominations, but if you are willing to receive Jesus Christ as your savior and God, then we are part of that body.

That's right. One body, one church. We can call it the invisible body.

If you want to say that, that may be a little better than universal. Invisible body means we are part of this family. The second layer is one spirit. There's one body and one spirit. This is capital S. This is not just one spirit as in like, man, we are one spirit. We are united.

We're united in mind and in heart. This is the Holy Spirit. I believe this is the Holy Spirit who indwells you and who indwells me. Okay. So the second layer is the Holy Spirit of God. And if the Holy Spirit is not there, forget about it. It's not going to work.

You're going to have problems. He should be honored. He should be exalted.

And the way to honor and exalt the Holy Spirit is to honor and exalt Jesus Christ. Amen to that. Amen. One hope. Just as you are called and one hope of your calling means there are some expectations we have that God will work his plan for us in this world and Christ will ultimately come for us. That is the blessed hope and the glorious appearance. And that blessed hope. I love how you've said this from the pulpit.

It's not, I hope things are going to work out. This is our assurance. Right. This is a rock solid assurance that our lives are not just floating in so-called spiritual air or spiritual, I don't know, something is just floating around in the big seas. We are headed towards a destination.

There is a harbor. That's right. That's right. One master, one Lord. And here we're talking about Jesus Christ, the second person, the Godhead fully God became fully man, the only way, truth and life who came, died, buried, rose again as promised in scriptures and is coming back again. This is that one master who is also seated at the right hand of the father.

Wow. That's who we worship. That's who this whole radio show was revolving around.

He's the reason we're doing this talking to you guys. That's right. Here's another layer, which is one faith. One faith here, I believe is not just faith as in belief, but one faith in the sense of this one settled body of truth. This is what we believe. These are our core doctrines. So settle this because I know there's people out there listening to this. I know it. And they're going to, they're, they may not ask it explicitly, but does doctrine matter?

Oh my goodness. Does, I mean, can you even answer that in the next like six minutes that we have left in this episode? It's like saying, do natural laws matter? Does gravity matter?

Do physics matter? Can we just do, oh, they do. Okay.

Yeah. So, so I would say definitely doctrine does matter. I've seen that firsthand come to life right in front of my face.

I think in this past maybe six months, like online, like we, and we're going to talk about that another day, but yeah, this, this is something that I'm really not even wrestling with. It's just something that God is highlighting for me in my heart, that doctrine a hundred percent matters. Not that I ever thought that it didn't, but now I'm starting to see it. We have to be intentional about our doctrine. Behaviors come from beliefs and beliefs are our doctrines. Very true. And if your doctrines are warped and misguided and misdirected, it manifests itself in our behavior.

Speaking of good doctrines, what's the next layer? Do you want to go there or not? I don't know, man. It's called this. It's called it's yeah, let's do it. Let's do it.

Let's stand strong. One baptism. Right. So I know there are people out there who are a little frustrated because I say, yes, you need to be baptized because Jesus commanded us to go into all the world, make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the father, son of the Holy Spirit. We know that Jesus also told John the Baptist or baptizer permitted to be souls in order to fulfill all righteousness.

We know that once believers got saved in the New Testament, they were baptized according to believers baptism. And they had to do that in order to be saved, right? No. Oh, they did? No. You're dead serious?

No. I'm going to start a Facebook flame war over this. Anytime, anywhere we start bringing something to add to salvation by grace through faith alone, just know you already veered off course. But the baptism here is, of course, a water baptism by immersion. Believers bought baptism, not just petro-baptism. And this is not a baptism that saves us.

This is a baptism that declares our identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That we are one with him. That we died with him. We were buried with him.

And then we have risen to walk in the newness of life with him. Okay. So in the final layer, here it is. You want to read it?

Number six. Yes. This is one God and father of all who is above all and through all and in you all.

That's right. So through Christ, we have the same God, the father, and we belong to the same family. And it's we, not just me. Our Lord's prayer does not begin with my father in heaven.

It's our father. Well, I love that you lay these foundational beliefs out. And even our core values that we have up in the lobby, we lay them out for people to see because it's the spirit of listen, this is where we stand. We are firm on this. Other disagreements we have can be worked out, but these are where we stand as a church and not just us as Clearview, the universal body of Christ.

This is what it's about. That's right. And then follows verse seven, which is our role in the body. So it says, but to each one of us, grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Verse 11, he himself gives some to be apostles who established churches along with signs and wonders. Today, we don't have this gift, but we do have missionaries. That's right.

That's right. Then we have prophets communicated the divine revelation of God. Today, we don't have this gift because we have the New Testament, but we do have revivalists. Not prophets. Not prophets. Some evangelists, these are those who preach and explain the good news of salvation, like Phillip the evangelist did with the Ethiopian eunuch. Of course, who can forget the name of Billy Graham? That's an evangelist. Then there are pastors and teachers.

I don't need to explain that much. For the equipping, equipping that word is kathartismos, which means mending or restoring or putting things right. There are people who have been gifted to put things right of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ that we should no longer be children tossed to and fro, cared about with every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. But speaking the truth, in love may grow up in all things into him who is the head Christ, from whom the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies according to the effective working by which every part does a share, causes the growth for the edifying of itself in love. It's a lot, but it's so beautiful.

It's like a spiral. The more it turns, the deeper our unity as a church grows. This is a great conversation.

We are out of time, but that doesn't mean the conversation is over. Make sure you join us tomorrow. We're going to have something brand new for you. If you enjoyed today's topic or you have suggestions for future topics, make sure you let us know. Send us that text message, 252-582-5028.

I actually got a couple while we were recording this episode. Thank you guys so much for sending those in. You can also visit us online at And don't forget, you can support us financially on that same website as well. That's Every single time you give, you're making an impact in the God's kingdom. We love you guys. Thank you so much for being with us today and we'll see you tomorrow on Clear View Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-10 16:13:41 / 2023-07-10 16:26:40 / 13

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