Romans Series #21
The Why Behind The What
We have laid out for us here some critical Characteristics for the Faithful, the Body of Christ, the Church.
What are we supposed to have that sets us apart from all the other "clubs" and "organizations"
What is it that we have or should have?
What does the world need to see when they look to the members of the Body of Christ?
James 1:4 says the "perseverance MUST finish it's work so the you may be mature and complete"
James 1:12 says "blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test he will receive a crown"
1. do you know where endurance is developed?
2. Time and Suffering
3. It is also a GIFT from God
4. It's a gift that doesn't always look good at first but we need to receive it with thanksgiving and recognize the blessedness of it.
5. it comes from the training of struggle and suffering of life that produces endurance. There is NO Shortcut to Endurance.
a. I needed endurance in every sport I've ever competed in. You can't pick-up Endurance with your uniform at the manager's desk.
b. You can't buy endurance at the Sporting Goods Store.
c. I had to EARN endurance in the weight room or on the road running, or on the practice range or course learning how to get through and keep going.
6. We don't hand out endurance at the New Life 101 class. You can't buy endurance at the Christian bookstore. You can go and look, they have an aisle for everything there. BIBLES, DISCIPLESHIP, NOVELS, TRAINING, CHILDREN, MUSIC, but there is no ENDURANCE AISLE at the Christian Bookstore. You can't even get it at the GNC store.
7. Many Christians get discouraged when they don't hang in there. Things get tough and they aren't ready to stick with it and they get discouraged
8. But I've never met an Elder Saint who has endured the struggles of Life that says "Oh, I'm not sure if I have hope for my future" "My life is going to end soon, and I don't know if I know that eternity has for me". No, every elder saint that has been through the struggles of life and has paid the price of struggle and time and has gained endurance, they have told me at countless death beds and tough times of life, "I know in whom I have believed and am CONVINCED of what eternity holds for me" I Have HOPE!
9. Hope is NOT a concept it is a REALITY in the deposit of the Holy Spirit within a believer. You have it, you just don't know what you have yet. Work hard. Uncover what God has placed within. Learn from the experience of time
B. Encouragement of Scripture
Our modern word To encourage comes with the 15th Century Word "Inspirit" - which means to "fill with spirit"
Encourage means to fill with courage or fill with hope
Jesus filled you with his Spirit when you gave your heart to Christ
Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
1. I know that endurance is developed through difficulty and longevity, but how do I know that I want to put up with all that to get to endurance? Well in sports I had a coach who teammate who informed me of the benefits of developing endurance. I had information that encouraged me to go ahead and hang in there and commit to the disciplines that develop endurance. They told me WHY I would be glad I had endurance
2. well where are you going to gain that information that will encourage you to give you hope while you are developing the endurance that gives you hope? RIGHT HERE IN THE WORD OF GOD! If you have not committed to the disciplines of endurance and hope seems to be elusive to you check your time in the Word of God
3. you see I read somewhere that that "it is God who makes both us and you stand firm, he has anointed us, placed his seal of ownership on us and placed his Holy Spirit within us as a deposit, a down-payment guaranteeing what is to come" 2 Co 1:21-22
4. I read somewhere else that the "path of the righteous is like the first gleam of the dawn shining ever brighter until the full light of the day"
We Live in a Hopeless world.
We live in a world where we don't know what tomorrow holds. But we are only Temporary Residents in this World.
This World is NOT My Home
If Tomorrow never comes then Tomorrow will NEVER COME because I'm going to be living in a world that is Always TODAY. There will not be any Night. There will be no darkness, there will be no shifting shadows.
I will never be without hope, because I do NOT hope in the Stock Market, the President, the Congress, the Supreme Court, Our Military Might and Strength. I do not even hope in good things like the goodness of the people of New Life, nor in my boys or my wonderful wife.
I do NOT hope in any THING nor any ONE in this World.
My Hope is in Jesus Christ, my hope is in his Word, my hope is in God the Father, and I have Hope in the Person of the Holy Spirit living in my life as a deposit, a down payment guaranteeing what is to Come.
If we who claim a relationship to the Lord of Heaven and earth do NOT have hope then who does?
The World wants Someone to show them Hope that does not disappoint
The Believer who has Hope brings Glory to God
What's the Second "What"
What is the natural way of man? "each man did what was right in their own eyes"
The natural way of man is to on One hand "go with the crowd" and on the other hand do "do their own thing"
Pr 21:2 - "all man's ways seem right to him"
Pr 12:15 - "the way of a fool seems right to him"
Judges 21:25 "They had no King and everyone did as he saw fit"
Judges 17:6 "in those days Israel had no King: everyone did as he saw fit"
We don't like to be told what to do
It's so funny when we were little we would say "I'm just trying to express myself, I just want to be myself" but in order to be "ourselves" we had to dress like everyone else
It was authority we were rebelling against.
If we want our kids to stop wearing baggy pants and short shorts, maybe we should start wearing them and make them mandatory, before long our kids would be wearing khakis and Button downs.
Yet Paul prays for Unity in the Body
Paul prays for them that God will give them a "spirit of unity"
Jesus Christ prayed for Unity among those who would "wear his name" in John 17
So if there is a spirit of division in the body, who sent it? Who is happy about it?
Who is grieved
God didn't send it
Satan is Happy about it
And the Holy Spirit is grieved.
When the Holy Spirit is grieved it means more than he is just "sad about it" "he is hindered by it
Paul told Timothy that "God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power and love and self-control"
When self-control in the church is cast aside, fear sets in
When love is cast aside, fear sets in
When power is absent in the body, fear sets in
When we are afraid we go into survival mode and it's everyman for himself. When that happens, there will be no Unity in the Body
Most definitely it is a Diverse Unity. We are truly many parts, or individuals yet One Body
We don't have to look alike
We don't have to know or do all the same things
But we are unified if we are operating in the Spirit that God gives that Paul prayed for here in this passage
A. One Heart
1. shared vision
2. shared mission
3. many ministries, outreaches, mission, but all sharing an overall Heart for the Vision and Mission of the Church
4. Shared Mental Models - If I say Let's build a house, YOU take the basement, YOU take the first floor kitchen, YOU build the Left wall, YOU build the right wall, YOU take the 2nd floor bedrooms, YOU build the roof, etc. and yet we all have a different picture of what the house will look like when it's built? We will NOT get to the same place. If one has a vision of a wooden 1920's house, another an ultra-modern architectural structure, another a medieval castle and another some altogether different, what's that house going to look like? Will it even stand? Will anyone like it and want to come in?
B. One Mouth
What enables the Church to have One Mouth and One Heart? The Word of God and Prayer.
Who is to take the lead there? Pastor and Leaders. It is my great responsibility to create an environment here by which we hear the heart of God, we hear the voice of God and we begin to share his heart and echo his voice.
There was a great threat to the Unity of the Body in the early church when the Apostles were becoming bogged down in doing physical ministry to the widows and orphans and they weren't devoting themselves to prayer and the study of Scripture. It was the wisdom of the leadership to say "this isn't good, we need to get some men to come and take this Load off our Apostles / Pastors so we can be challenged from the Word and Prayer."
What happened? Unity was maintained and growth followed
C. One Purpose - to Glorify God
John The Baptizer said to his disciples about Jesus, He must increase and I must decrease"
If we are to grow in the Spirit of Unity, You should hear less of my voice and more of Our Voice, Less of My Heart and More of the Heart of God.
He must increase!
He must Increase!
He must Increase!
If we can not be unified, then we are saying that "my carnality is better than your carnality"
1. v 5 - "as you follow Christ" - i.e. as the focus is off of man and on Christ, Unity will follow
2. when we steal the attention either negatively or positively, we steal his glory and it will defeat our unity
Lack of Unity cripples our walk, paralyses our ministry as our reputation cuts the legs out from under our mission
The Third "What" is
As Christ Accepted You
If we are the people of Christ and we are studying his word, yet we don't take on the Life of Christ, then we have eaten his word and it has laid like an undigested lump of coal lying hard in our stomach. The longer that undigested lump lies in your stomach the more sick it will make you if you don't allow it through your system
If we are people of Christ and people of the Word, and allowing his Holy Spirit to have reign in our lives, we WILL accept people as Christ accepted us
A. The Pattern
Jeremiah 31:3 - "I have loved you with an everlasting love"
Romans 5:8 - "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us"
Are you accepting other because they accept you or before they accept you?
1 John 4:10 "this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins"
Romans 3:22-23 "the righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference. For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God
3. To Bring You to God
Titus 2:11 - "the salvation that brings salvation has appeared to all men"
1 Peter 3:18 - "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit."
4. As a Servant
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13 "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John 15:13 - "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends"
B. The Purpose
To bring Praise to God
John 15:8 "This is my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourself to be my disciples"
Zephaniah 3:17"the Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take delight in You, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
Let Christ Lead Us Singing Praise to Us and Praises Over Us That we might join in His Song and Sing in Perfect Harmony
The Beautiful Harmony of the Church singing along with The Christ, The Son of the Loving God
The Beautiful Song of Salvation
That the World Might Sing the Same Song
The World doesn't join our singing when we are dissonantly singing our own tune in pride often only ½ notes or semi-tones apart, but because it is neither the same nor harmonious is it repugnant and terrible to the ears of a listening world
Many have closed their ears to the church and don't listen any longer
We must first learn to sing, then get their attention, invite them to listen fresh again and
when we accept them and one another like Christ accepted us and
sing in Unity and Harmony the Song of Hope with Christ as the Lead Worshipper;
Then they will sing the same song
That's the "Why" behind the "what" may we not forget the "why" while we are busy doing the "what". When we lose sight of the "why", sometimes the "what" overpowers the "why" and nothing is accomplished
Jesus is mine,
oh what a foretaste of glory divine,
heir of salvation,
purchase of God,
born of his Spirit,
washed in his blood,"
Did you know that Fanny Crosby who wrote this song was blinded by the mistake of a Doctor and spent her life in Darkness that could have stolen her song and caused her to go her own way in rebellion.
But instead she knew Christ and sang along the beautiful song of Salvation, not as one who was blindly following some religious teaching
But as one who had seen the light that was really light, who knew beauty that was truly beauty
And she was able to sing
"This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, all the day long, This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, all the day long."
That they may sing is the WHY behind the What