Don’t miss Jesus at the door (Luke 7:36-50)

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I will be posting a series of sermon notes on selected passages from Luke over the next few weeks.


Luke 7:36-50 ESV

36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Intro: When we have a guest of honor, we put on our very best. What if you knew a celebrity would be coming to eat at a house on your street?

Thesis: Jesus, through Luke, uses a sinful woman to show his followers what they should really be like. Luke has no shortage of irony.

Trans:  [Luk 7:35 ESV] 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” – Wisdom can be seen by its fruits. Who is wise, the pharisee or the sinner?

Seek the presence of the Lord

  1. Simon the Pharisee is a rude host
    • Some context: [Luk 7:29-30 ESV] 29 (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)
  2. Discuss Pharisees as the standard of righteousness, see Matthew 5:20.
    • [Mat 5:16, 20 ESV] 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. … 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
    • [Jhn 13:3-5, 12-15 ESV] 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. … 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
  3. The Pharisee has invited Jesus into the house, but he is not seeking the presence of the Messiah. The woman is far more prepared to hear out the Savior.

Trans:  Have you ever met someone famous and not realized it?

Always be ready for worship

  1. C.H. Spurgeon – “Not a word, I say, came from her; and, brethren, we would prefer a single speechless lover of Jesus, who acted as she did, to ten thousand noisy talkers who have no gifts, no heart, no tears.”
  2. She does not come with a towel but brings what she has – perfume, tears, and hair
  3. Worship is shown in loving action and is the manifestation of faith (even Job worshiped in his sorrow)

Trans:  Helping a pregnant wife. There’s never enough I can do to compensate for all she is doing.

Remember the debt you’ve been forgiven – be repentant

  1. Sin is debt – God is the gracious giver of all that we have and sin is pride and selfishness in essence
  2. CHS – “First trust Christ for the pardon of thy sin: when thou hast done this, thy sins are forgiven, and then love shall flash to thy heart as the result of gratitude for what the Redeemer has done for thee. Grace is the source of love, but faith is the agent by which love is brought to us. “
  3. Compare this story to Luke 18:9 – the Pharisee and the tax collector
    • [Luk 18:9-14 ESV] 9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
  4. The impact of grace – this woman before grace and after grace. The tears of repentance.
  5. “Your faith has made you whole” (2 more times after this in Luke, both physical healings)

Trans:  We see true wisdom in the heart of the sinful woman. wisdom is justified by all her children.

Conclusion:   communion – repentance, worship

Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.

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The Joy of Christ’s Advent

Capture

Here are my notes from an Advent message on Joy/Shepherd Sunday.


Intro: The Advent season is a time to remember when Jesus came to earth. It is also a season to celebrate the future coming of Jesus. When God became a man in Jesus, there was great joy in the hearts of all who knew him. The greatest joy always comes after a time of great sadness and expectation. Man’s experience waiting for a savior is one of great sadness. Yet his experience when the savior comes is one of great joy.

Reading:

Today we will be lighting the third candle. This candle is different because of its color. Long ago, and in some parts of the world today, the season of advent was a time of fasting and confession of sin. This was based on the idea of preparing ourselves for the return of Christ by eliminating sin from our lives. On the third week, to remember with joy the fact that Christmas (and Christ!) is almost here, they used a lighter candle. This was to be a more joyful week, because the time of fasting was almost over. This week we remember the joy of Jesus’ coming. We also wait with expectation for the joy we will experience when Jesus returns for his church.

Luke 2:8-12 says, And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great JOY for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Text:

[Luk 2:4-7 ESV] 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place [room] for them in the inn [room]. . . .

Title:    Joy of Christ’s Advent

Thesis: Advent reminds us of the backwards-forwards way we live our lives. We remember that our salvation has some, and our salvation will come. You have been saved. You are being saved. You will be saved.

Trans:  What in your life is a foregone conclusion? Death and taxes? What can you count on with certainty? We have faith in many things that have been reliable for us so far, even if they fail us. Your car? Your job? We know what faith is because we misplace it all the time! The faithfulness of Christ surpasses these all.

Joy reflects on the salvation Christ brought to us

[Luk 2:13-20 ESV] 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

  1. Jesus is our ultimate rescuer
    1. In the announcement by the angels, Jesus is called 4 things:
      1. Savior – rescuer, deliverer
      2. Messiah – anointed one, king
      3. Lord – master, even YHVH
      4. Baby – you need a definition?
    2. “The life of Christ is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered the world through a door marked No Entrance. And He left through a door marked No Exit. And because Jesus exited that empty tomb, the Bible says one day those of us who are related to Him by faith are going to exit going to exit the tomb as well—because Jesus is our rescuer from death.” – Dr Robert Jeffress
  2. Jesus came to do for Israel, and the Gentiles, what they could not do for themselves.
    1. When Israel could not follow the law, God came as the righteous Israelite to fulfill their end of the covenant.
    2. God would not leave his people stranded, nor will he leave you.
    3. [Gal 1:3b-4 ESV] 3 the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
  3. We’re reminded of what Simeon said of him:
    1. [Luk 2:26, 28-32 ESV] 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. … 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
    2. Jesus in Hebrew is Yehoshuʿa – The salvation of YHVH or YHVH is salvation
      1. Matthew reminds us of this meaning. It was given by Gabriel to declare Jesus’ mission, “he will save his people from their sins.”

Trans:  Just as Advent points us backwards to Christs’ first coming, it points us forward to his second. Consider the anticipation with which Israel awaited its messiah. The King from the line of David would once again deliver them from their enemies and sit on his eternal throne. They misunderstood…

Joy looks forward to Christ’s future coming

[Luk 14:16-18,22-24 ESV] 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. … 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'”

  1. There is a banquet prepared for us. You are invited! As with the weddings of Israel, there is no knowing the day nor the hour that the invitation will be enacted. When the feast is ready, the groom is ready, and the time is just right, he will come.
  2. At Jesus’ first coming, many were not ready and made excuses. There will not be such an opportunity the second time around.
    1. [Luk 18:8b ESV] 8 … when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
  3. Do we likewise make excuses away from holiness in preparation for his second coming?
    1. He has taken this long…
    2. [2Pe 3:4-7, 10 ESV] 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. … 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
    3. [Joe 2:13 ESV] 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.

Trans:  We’ve taken this same principle to apply to our children at this time of year. Santa Claus is coming to town after all. In case he’s not as omniscient as our Lord, maybe the Elf on the Shelf will advise him of our behavior. Do we forget that our omnipresent omniscient Lord sees every day and act?

Joy comes from repentance and preparation for his coming

[Col 3:4-11 ESV] 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

  1. You will appear with Christ in his coming!
  2. God knows no distinction among his people. There are those whom he will save and those who will “save” themselves. There is no other distinction
  3. How now shall we live? If eternity is legitimately at hand, what effect will it have on our lives?
    1. [2Pe 3:11-12, 14-15 ESV] 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! … 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
  4. Before we become overly-anxious remember:
    1. Those who fear the Lord have nothing to fear. It is those that do not fear Him that have every reason to be afraid.
    2. [Psa 40:12 ESV] 12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.
    3. [Mat 10:30 ESV] 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
    4. Jesus’ knowledge of the hairs on our head is not mere trivia
      1. [Psa 40:13 ESV] 13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
      2. [Mat 10:31 ESV] 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Trans:  Fear not. The angels say to the shepherds…

  • [Luk 2:10 ESV] 10 “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
  • [Luk 12:32 ESV] 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
  • [Rev 1:17 ESV] 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,

Conclusion:   Advent means arrival. Your salvation has arrived. Your salvation is arriving. Your salvation will arrive.

  • Have you accepted the salvation he already offers?
  • Are you living by faith in the grace that his salvation now brings?
  • Are you preparing your heart and life to participate in the salvation of his future coming?

Our Father, may we trust the salvation that you bring us, acknowledging the death that we have walked into. May we thank you for the salvation we now live. May we repent and prepare for the salvation that is to come. May we not fear. May we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

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Jesus On Money

A systematic study on an idea in Scripture, or in a part of Scripture, can help to develop one’s theology accurately on that idea. We make assumptions about truth on our own, often based in things we were taught while we were young. Seeing what the Bible actually says typically gives these outcomes:

  1. The Bible teaches something I didn’t realize that it taught.
  2. The Bible never says something that I thought it said.
  3. Or, the Bible says exactly what I thought it did, (this one is exceptionally rare).

With this in mind, I studies Jesus’ teachings on money and watched for themes. He says more on this one topic than almost any other one subject he speaks on. Here were my conclusions and supports.

  1. Wealth (in itself, as something to seek and hold) is unimportant.
  • [Mat 6:19-21, 24 NIV] 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. … 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
  • [Luk 12:33-34 NIV] 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Our earthly wealth will disappear and is unreliable. By contrast, there is a heavenly wealth that is only loosely defined. Eternal life, godly love, and grace are in store for us. Giving these gifts to others should be our highest priority.

Money is not good by itself (intrinsically). It is only good if we use it to serve God. The desire for money can corrupt, yet money can be used for good. When one compares this with my prior post, they will see that I am saying to attribute value to those things that are eternal. Our service to God, in which we may use wealth wisely, is what has true importance.

CaptureOur heavenly treasures will never disappear. God protects them from any harm. Our money should not be the most important thing in our lives. You can’t take anything with you when you die.

2. A focus on wealth can destroy what is important.

  • [Luk 6:24-26 NIV] 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

Earthly riches can ultimately cause harm. A focus on them can prevent us from caring for others. Do we look at our spending and see were the extra money goes when we have it. Do we spend more on ourselves or look for ways to give to others?

  • [Mat 19:21-24 NIV] 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
  • [Mark 10:21-22 NIV] 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

The rich are accustomed to getting what they want. It is difficult for them to give up on money if it is an impediment to their salvation. When money becomes more important to us than God is, then we are no longer serving God.

3. Wealth is used best when it is given away.

  • [Luk 16:9-10 NIV] 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

Capture

Use your money to serve God’s purposes. Using money to serve yourself will only bring you into eternal ruin. You put your money where you attribute value. Relationships are the only thing on this earth that are eternal. Use your income to build connections that will last.

You cannot serve both money and God. Money must serve you as you serve God.

  • [Luk 21:1-4 NIV] 1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Giving all you have is more important than giving a large quantity. How do we know if we are giving enough? C.S. Lewis – I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities [the money we give] do not at all pinch or hamper us [slow us down],… they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.


What is money?

What is money at its core? Money is wealth, and it is earned by the perceived creation of wealth.

Let that soak in. When I am paid, it is because I have done, created, organized, or developed something in such away that another person identified it as valuable.

When I teach or tutor, I am reorganizing information or presenting new information in such a way that someone else is finally able to understand it. For that, they pay my employer money. My employer then uses some funding to keep up it’s software and servers (as I tutor online) and then provides some of that income to me directly for my work. I continue to work for them, rather than merely tutoring in person for cash only, because of the stability, safety, anonymity, and flexibility that online tutoring provides. Therefore, I am willing to give up a portion of the possible wealth for the minimized risk.

Risk is worth money. Inversely, it is worth paying someone money who can minimize your risk.

Thus, my primary gig as an insurance claims representative serves to minimize risk. You pay for insurance so that you do not have to bear the financial risk of the loss or of the liability you create for yourself. Rather than waiting until I’ve saved up $300,000 and put it into savings before I drive for the first time, I can take out an insurance policy for a much smaller monthly rate, and still have $300,000 in liability protection (and whatever other 1st party coverages I select). In the end, everyone pays more than if we just sat on cash until we had an accident, because on the average, most people don’t make claims on their insurance. When you pay for insurance, you pay for your future claims and for the people that service them. (About 70-85% of auto premiums actually go to payment of claims.)

Can you imagine directly arguing with an injured person how much money they deserve for the injury you caused them? To most of us, it is worth paying a monthly fee to outsource that sort of conflict to a knowledgeable third party. (Who has two thumbs and is a knowledgeable third party? This guy!)

My wife is a bank teller. Oddly, it is the same job I have. She holds your money to keep it safe until you need it. For that, she gets some of your money (which comes from interest paid on lending).

We create wealth and we don’t even manufacture objects. We reorganize information, sit on piles of money, and provide it to customers when the rules (that the customer signs off on) dictate that they are allowed access to it. For that service, the customer pays us a fee, which allows us to feed our family and pay interest on our debt so that some other banker can also earn an income.

When I was in retail sales, customers were paying, not only for the product, but for my ability to point it out to them. They were also paying me for my availability, in other words, for the time when no customers were in the store, just so that I would be there when they wanted to shop. This is why online shopping is so much cheaper on the average, as we do not need as many humans to keep the inventory secure and to answer our questions.

When people are sad about the existence of self-checkout lines, they see the cashier as providing a service of value to them. When they like the self-checkout line, they don’t see the actions of the cashier as worth the effort of waiting in line and paying slightly more (on average) for their services. (I notice that the people who are sad about self-checkout lines did not use valet parking when they arrived at the store; nor are they using full-service gas pumps.)

Money is a perception of wealth, and we give it to those who are perceived as creating value.


Conscience, Conviction and Unity – Romans 12 and 14

https://1drv.ms/u/s!Auq7HAi24rrq_DG9asCOMe5vLooQ

The link above goes to the audio file of a sermon I delivered on July 31, 2016 on Romans 12 and 14. The unifying theme is living by our biblical convictions, even when those convictions don’t mesh well with the convictions of others. My notes are below.

 

Intro: A conviction I was raised with:

  • No TV shows involving ninjas, other martial arts – due to false religion and violence – Deut 7:25-26 25 The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the Lord your God. 26 Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.
  • No Halloween

Text:    Romans 12 and 14 (bold for my points of emphasis)

Romans 12 (ESV)

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 14

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

 

Thesis: God did not make a church of clones. He allows us to seek him in our imperfect flesh, guided and guarded by the Holy Spirit. Despite that flesh, the Spirit speaks to us and directs us. We can be confident that God’s word is always true, reliable, and to be obeyed. There are, however, matters of conscience in which one feel’s the Spirit’s conviction, but another does not.

Trans: Who is wrong? How can we be a unified body if people are convicted differently about different actions?

  • Is it ok for a “couple” to hold hands on a missions trip?

Conscience

  1. We should not do things the way the world does them.
    1. 12:1-2 present your bodies as a living sacrifice, Do not be conformed to this world. Theme for the next few chapters. Through 15.1-2. The reason we are a living sacrifice is because Christ was.
    2. 12:9 Abhor (ἀποστυγέω – from deep hatred) what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
    3. [Phl 1:10-11 ESV] 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
  2. Acting in conscience means acting in humility
    1. 12:3 – I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned
      1. What is this “measure of faith”? According to one’s spiritual gifts given by the HS. Paul will also explain in ch 14
    2. 12:12,13,16 – “be constant in prayer…seek to show hospitality…Do not be haughty [high and mighty], but associate with the lowly [near the ground]. Never be wise in your own sight.”
  3. Conscience comes from insight provided to us by the Holy Spirit
    1. These aren’t just opinions. The HS has guided our faith and we are accountable to obey
    2. 14:5-6 Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind… The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Trans: Before delving into this, we should understand the situation Paul is addressing. Observe, then interpret, then apply.

2 situations he addresses:

  • Jew/Gentile combo church – issue over food sacrificed to idols and celebration of Jewish holidays
  • Compare to a modern vegan, acting under firm conviction

Conviction

  1. Recognize that there are many areas that are not grey. God has spoken.
    1. Also recognize that often, disputes of conviction come because 1 thinks that it is a matter of personal conviction, while another regards the issue as a firm, clear teaching of Scripture.
  2. Modern examples? (that are safe to discuss)
    1. Worship song preference
    2. Movie choice, theater attendance
    3. Eating at a restaurant that has a bar
    4. Playing with dice or cards
    5. Dressing for church – either up or down
    6. Time wasters – phones, sports, tv
  3. How do we respond? Paul offers these teachings.
    1. First, as a minor, honor your father and mother
    2. If you find yourself to be the stricter one
      1. You honor the Lord by abstaining in order to worship and honor him
      2. Check your motives, have you created a rule out of your own, or a cultural, sense of honor that is not explicitly biblical?
        1. Are you trying to demonstrate moral superiority, or worse, try to cover up your own failings by finding weakness in someone else?
        2. Be fully convinced, if you are truly convicted in this area, obey the Lord’s convictions fully.
      3. Be mindful that some of your sins are a result of your own unnecessary strictness or even legalism (enforcing the man-made standard on someone else)
        1. 14:23 – “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
    3. If you find yourself to be the less strict one
      1. You honor the Lord by appreciating your freedom trusting that his “yoke is easy”
      2. Do not argue for others to drop their standards
        1. 14:1 – As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
        2. Check your motives, are you trying to “get away” with something immoral, or are you truly acting in the freedom of Christ with a clear conscience?
        3. Do not partake or participate in something that will offend someone else. This is becoming a “hindrance.” It will be difficult for the other believer to relate to you if you put this issue into the relationship. Honor them by obeying their standard when they are around.
          1. 14:13,15 – For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love.
          2. 14:20 – Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.
      3. Notice, all along, the focus is on being mindful of one’s own actions and how they affect the body

Trans: Elder Paisios – “If you want to help the Church, it is better to try to correct yourself, rather than be looking to correct others. If you manage to correct yourself, one small part of the Church is immediately corrected. Naturally, if everyone did the same, the body of the Church would be in good health. But, today, people concern themselves with anything but themselves. You see, judging others is easy, whereas working on yourself takes effort.”

Unity

  1. The purpose of this section was to bring unity in a divided church without minimizing the importance of the guidance of the HS in individual lives.
  2. If a person is legitimately seeking to honor God, He receives that honor as honor.
  3. Ultimately what honors him and brings him satisfaction is our mutual submission and respect
    1. 12:16 – “Live in harmony with one another.”
    2. 14:19 – “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
    3. 14:18 – For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
  4. Fruit of the spirit v works of the flesh Gal 5 – walk in the spirit
  5. Where is the balance? Gal 5:16,18 “16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

Trans: What must we do? Repent. Forgive. Repeat.

Conclusion: Pursue humility. Pursue sincerity. Pursue Christlike holiness.