J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

God Helps You Part 2

Part 1 of these notes can be found here.

7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

How do we do this?  When you read the Bible commands, it appears as if through the power of Christ, the united believers in Christ should welcome one another easily.  But when we read the narratives in the Bible, we see plenty of people at conflict:  the disciples fought about who was greater, Paul and Peter about hanging out with the Gentiles, and John Mark abandoned Paul and Barnabas on the mission field.

Simply, we should welcome others believers in the same way that Jesus welcomed us.  We demonstrate that we have interacted with the Gospel personally when we extend the Gospel to others and welcome them as Christ has welcomed us.

To do that, we need to know, how Christ welcomes us?  And that my friends is the essence of the Gospel.

Romans 5:8 – 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Christ welcomed us while we were not only sinners but while we were God’s enemies.  He saved us not only from the folly of our sin but also from the wrath of God.  That is exactly how we are to welcome each other in Christ.  We don’t wait for other Christians to be perfect or even to agree with us theologically.  What unites us is Christ and what gives us the love to bear with each other is that Christ has born our sins, weaknesses, and frailties.

The idea here is, if you have gotten over the offensive stumbling block that is Jesus then surely you can not be offended by another believer.

Remember Romans 9: 30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

You see Christ is so offensive and the Gospel is so offensive, that Jesus and the Gospel are a stumbling block to some.  You might ask, “What’s so offensive about Jesus?”  Well, Jesus tells you that your worth does not come from what you do what you don’t do.  He tells you can never be good enough.  He tells you that despite all of your talents, you cannot overcome sin.  He tells you that you are dead, you are the enemy of God, and that without His love, His life, His death, and His resurrection, you have absolutely no hope in this world.

If you hear that and it offends you to the depths and it causes you to either be passive aggressively indifferent or openly hostile, then you have stumbled over Jesus.  However, if God equips you with the gift of faith, you hear that and it is the sweetest sound ever to your ear.  You lay down the weapons of the fight and you end the struggle and you rest in the forgiveness, grace, and the love of God that Jesus has provided for you.  For those of you who find the stumbling block of Jesus as the hope of their life, why would you ever be so offended by another believer so as to either stumble on them or cause them to stumble?

Here is what I mean.  Some of you are sitting here wondering

  • I wonder if I will ever feel comfortable here at SK?
  • I wonder if I’ll ever feel as close to these folks as I did to those at my last church?
  • Some of you really want folks here to like you.
  • Some of you really want to be seen as smart.
  • Some of you are like, “I don’t care if people like me or not,” which is the passive aggressive way of really wanting to be liked.
  • Some of you wonder if you can be forgiven for things you’ve done.
  • Some of you wonder if people would still like you if they really knew the things you think sometimes.
  • Some of you may have some real differences with someone else in this crowd or even me.

How we interact with each other in light of all of those questions and feelings is a direct result and outworking of your interaction with Christ and the Gospel.  If Christ is no longer offensive but the hope of your soul, then you overcome your fears here and get to know each other and love each other.  If Christ is no longer offensive but the hope of your soul, then you will learn not to worry about what every thinks about you.

The real key is in verse 8 and what I’m going to do here is just sneak a peak into that verse by way of conclusion today and set us up for next week.  Look at vs  8.

8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs

How is that we can accept each other as Christ accepts us?  We can do those things because Jesus took on the form of a servant.  Jesus did that to serve you and bring you into fellowship with the Father.  Once you live and recognize that it was Jesus’ servanthood that established love where there was hatred and forgiveness where there was punishment, you will begin to imitate your wonderful Savior in the exact same way.

How do we live that out?  If there is someone here that you would like to get to know better, serve them in some way.  If there is someone here that you are trying to get over an offense with, serve them in some way.  If there is not the community here that you once had somewhere else, then serve these folks and help make them a community.  If you wish people could get to know you better, then serve others and they will.

Paul has prayed for us that we would be encouraged to endure and persevere with each other in harmony so as to reflect our Savior Jesus.  When we talk about Creating Community and Engaging Community here at SK, those are not just generic or catchy phrases that we are talking about.  The goal is to reflect our Savior by creating community and engaging community.  Since we are united in Jesus Christ, we seek to create a community of unity where we can be encouraged, learn, and serve right here with the people of SK.  We do this at CE Groups, Fight Club, Project Runway, etc.

But we also seek to take on the form of a servant as Jesus did and engage our community in His name so that others might come to know Christ.  We do that with our work with the police, EMS, and Hayes place.  The ways in which we might obey the commands of God have been made clear for us in Romans.  Being made clear doesn’t mean being made easy, but at least it is clear.  By the God of all endurance and encouragement and by the service of Christ, we can love one another here in this community and when we do that, we will lift up a strong voice to the world that will ring clear the name of Jesus.


March 16, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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