Archive for June, 2011
Most of us are on mission to obtain a status. Just think about it. If you hope to obtain the status of fame (i.e., athletics, music, education), then your mission is to be the “best” at what you do in order to be recognized in your field.
If you hope to obtain the status of wealth, then your entire life will be driven to obtain your goal (i.e., through education, ventures, even marriage).
For some, the status is more simple-some singles just want the status of Mr. or Mrs., while others want the status of mother or father, so their life will be driven to achieve that status.
What are people willing to do to obtain status, to be affirmed by someone, by culture? All you have to do is turn on reality TV to see what some people are willing to do for 15 minutes of fame. What are you willing to do to obtain a status?
Ironically, many people approach God in the same way; they are on a mission to obtain a status with God. This is the way of religion. What are people willing to do to obtain such a status with God? What are you willing to do?
The good news of the gospel is that through Christ, we have received a status obtain for us through Christ. Our status as God’s people is the basis of our mission. In other words, our mission flows from our status, not the other way around.
Since we have come to Christ in faith, we are the people of God whose mission is to proclaim the excellencies of the God who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
A. The Way into the People of God
B. The Status we have as the People of God
C. The Mission of the People of God
Our circumstances bring out what is in us… what we truly believe. How do you respond when circumstance aren’t what you had hoped they would be (this is the context of 1 Peter)?
Our general response is unloving: malice/evil, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander (2:1). No matter how trivial the disappointment and frustration (someone cuts you off in traffic) or how severe (broken relationship, the loss of a loved one), the way we respond will reveal what we believe about who God, ourselves, our circumstances.
As those who profess faith in Christ, we should respond differently than the world. Why don’t we? We want to change, don’t we? Why is it so hard?
If we are truly to change, then we must understand the nature of change, the process of change and finally, the promise of change.
God changes us (renews our mind/thinking) both definitively and progressively, in the power of the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God. And as we experience God’s grace in our lives as we repent from our former ignorance and believe the truth of the gospel, we will grow in our love for God and Christ, desiring Him above all things.
Join us this Sunday at 10:30 a.m., as we consider the doctrine of sanctification. We all want to change. But how does that change occur?
We will consider the nature of that change, the process of that change and finally, the promise of that change.
The following is a re-post from May 22, 2010. It is taken from Mark Lauterbach’s, The Transforming Community: The Practise of the Gospel in Church Discipline (85-92).
The church must be a place where people can grow, can begin as immature, and come to maturity. No matter where we draw the line of “when to speak to a brother” we must do so in a context of the Gospel and knowing that we are all maturing in Christ. Every day believers need the Gospel.
The new community is not a place where people are perfect. It is a place where people are honest about their sin. It is not a place of perfection, but of humility and the cross.
How to wisely address concerns about sin with brothers and sisters in Christ:
1. It should be evident we are dealing with sin, not violation of church taboos or traditions [or personal preferences]. “Make sure that the sin you are seeing in the other can be addressed by reading a verse of Scripture, without commentary” (86).
2. Guard the church against an atmosphere that is always pointing out sin (Matthew 7:1-5). “The call to reprove my fellow believer for sin must be put in the context of the call to encourage them and build them up” (88).
3. Remember that the general tone of the New Testament is encouragement. “I find it helpful,” notes Lauterbach, “to assume that another believer wants to please God. Therefore, they welcome my encouragement. The attitude behind reproof is to help them grow in Christ, which they want to do” (89).
4. Remember there is sin that is the normal lapse of the believer in their state of remaining sin. “The first question to ask is simple: Is this sin I am seeing part of the ordinary stumbling of the Christian? If so, then I need not speak to it immediately. Is it hardening their hearts or are they judging it themselves? If the latter, I may forbear” (89).
5. Remember to take into account the work of the Spirit. “[The Spirit] is wisely shaping us into the likeness of Christ in his sovereign love. Rather than expose all our corruption at once, he is gentle. To see ourselves as God sees us would undo us. He points out one thing at a time. As I intend to reprove someone or speak to them of my concern for them in sin, I must be aware of this” (90).
6. Where the believer is judging his sin and admitting it, I have no reason to be harsh. “They, like me, are seeking help and encouragement to keep on fighting the holy war. It is not helpful to rub salt in a wound” (92).
7. Sometimes we must intervene quickly. “Some sins have an unusual seriousness (and danger) to them. If I see a friend flirting with someone of the opposite sex, it is not time to be patient. It is time with wise and gracious words, to intervene, see if suspicions are correct, and seek their repentance before adultery is committed” (92).
May the Lord grant us the grace to speak to one another in love about sin.