Part 1: The Direction of Peaceful Relationships
Romans 14: 1-23
A real story without the names and places.
Church fight over how the church should be run, who likes what, what wants what.
The congregation is literally divided down the middle.
One group wants the pastor moved or they will leave.The other will leave if the pastor does leave.
Issues of what foods are proper to eat.
The religious observance of special holy days.What day is the Sabbath?
What Paul is dealing with here are controversies over peripheral issues and not core issues.
John Wesley:“But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of Christianity, we think and let think. So that whatsoever they are, whether right or wrong, they are no distinguishing marks of a Methodist
“The root of Christianity” would be those things that Scripture indicate are built into creation and are consistently reinforced through the whole of the Bible, reinforced by the Church throughout its history, and consistent with the teachings of Christ. These are not up for discussion.
Key Principles of Peaceful Relationships
Do everything “to the Lord.”Each of us will be accountable to the Lord.“I am not the judge.”God alone knows the hearts of people.Refrain from playing God.
Be gracious and accepting of other’s opinions on everything except the core of the faith.(14: 1,3)
Seek to honor the Lord in everything, including the conduct of disagreements. (14: 6-8)
Do nothing, if even you think it is right, if it causes others to sin or go astray.(14: 15, 21)
Whatever others do, stay true to your own conscience.(14:23)
Which one is key in all relationships?
I think “seeking to honor the Lord in everything.”If that were our guiding principle we would often conduct ourselves well.
Where possible conduct yourself in the direction of peaceful relationships.
Waking Up to a New Direction in Life
To participate in this blog discussion listen to the audio of this message available on this web site and/or refer to this outline.
Romans 13: 8-14
This month’s series: Direction in Life
The hour has come to “wake up!”
“Sleep” implies unawareness of the demands of the time.
General reference to the second coming of Christ.
Christians are to live in constant readiness for the return of Christ.
Every day is one day closer.
If Christ were to return today what condition would your total witness be in?
Though Christians are exempt from condemnation we are still to behave in an exemplary fashion.
Is your life “Christ-honoring” is there evidence of you having a personal relationship with Christ?
This month we will look at the direction in life that honors God.
Beginning in September of this year we are changing the nature of this blog space to a sermon discussion format. Each week I will be posting a brief summary of the Sunday message. You may also listen to the message by clicking the "sermon" button on our main page. Join in the conversation! Anyone is invited to participated who has listened the the sermon.
Motel 6 has a slogan that captures a welcoming spirit. “We’ll leave the light on for you.” Anyone who has traveled at night looking for a certain location understands what it means when someone says, “I’ll keep the light on for you.” It means that at the very least they are expecting you, and often times it means they will be waiting up for you no matter the hour you finally arrive.
On the other hand we have all had the experience of coming home after dark or arriving at a darkened building where no one is home or they were not expecting you. It is never an entirely pleasant experience, and not the least bit welcoming. Fumbling for a light switch or tripping over unseen things in no way expresses a warm welcome.
This year Epiphany continues through February. Epiphany is the church season that begins on the 12th day of Christmas and continues until Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It is the season when the Church, through Scripture, shares the light that God shines on the world through the gift of Jesus Christ. It is the season in which the Church proclaims that God has “left the light on for us” - coming in the person of Jesus.
February, and the continuing season of Epiphany, teaches us two important lessons. First, we can be thankful that God has provided light for the journey we experience as life. Even in the darkest of times, the light of Christ can illumine the journey and bring us safely home. Psalm 119: 105 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and light to my path.”
Secondly, Epiphany is a reminder to those of us who are the church that our mission is “to keep the light on for others.” All around us people are journeying through life. Some have gotten far away from God’s good intent for them, often times because no one in their lives has left the light on for them. The very least we can do is to keep the light of Christ shining so they can reorient and find their way. We also need to get beyond the satisfaction we may feel in the familiar and comfortable fellowship of the church. Let us remember to turn on our “outside” light to show others that they are welcome to enter into the church and the fellowship of Christ. Better yet, we can go forth with a lantern to meet people where they are and accompany them home. Together these things show that we are evangelical, willing to share the Good News, willing to share the warmth and illumination of the Christian fellowship.
February can be a cold and dark month. During these 28 days, let us turn on the lights for each other and leave the light on for others making their way home.
“She doesn’t fear for her household when it snows, because they are all dressed in warm clothes.” – Proverbs 31:21 (CEB)
Here’s the scoop, or shovel as the case may be. We do not know for certain what our Buffalo area January will be like, but the healthy spirit will be prepared for whatever it is. We need to be like the “Competent Wife” of Proverbs 31:21.
“The Old Farmer’s Almanac” by Almanac Publishing, editors Geiger and Duncan, seems to suggest a pretty typical January with a mix of snow and rain. Using my pastoral prognostication, not to be confused with prophecy, I am going to suggest more snow than rain. Chances are I’ll be as accurate as the almanac and even the meteorologists with all their instruments.
So let’s consider snow for a moment specifically in terms of spiritual preparation. This is important because I’ve known parishioners over the years to become testy and sometimes depressed due to light deprivation. I would like to avoid this if at all possible. Most people, when we talk snow, think of large groups of flakes such as blizzards and snow mounds created by plows pushing up billions of flakes. It may help to consider the individual flake which is a thing of beauty. When conditions are just right, the geometric bonds of water take on a hexagonal shape. This occurs when water vapor in the air falls below the freezing point.
I remember the first time as a child I was witness to this reality. I was outside playing with my brother. Snow was drifting down in a picture perfect fashion. When I looked at my snowsuit sleeve, there it was. It was a wondrous work of art sitting on the dark green of the cloth! Later my mother shared that no two snowflakes were alike. That still seems unbelievable, but possible. Later still I learned in science class that a single snowflake can be made up of over 200 separate crystals.
So here may be a clue to appreciating whatever comes our way in weather this month. Jesus was pretty clear that the child-like spirit best receives the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 18:3) Remember that first time you saw an individual snow flake and you had a “God moment?” And should these flakes soon become windswept and piled high, just remember it’s a snow serendipity of highest order. Let it snow!