09.11.2016 Grace Summit Values - God/Grace/Growth/Gospel Pt. 2 - Grace
11th September 2016
Lord, as we remember what happened 15 years ago – we know there is only one solution to evil – and that is Jesus Christ – You are the answer and the solution to the human problem.
We are going through our four foundational principles that the church is built on
Last week we looked at God and our relationship with Him.
Grace – we are bearing others’ burdens through generously giving our physical, emotional, and spiritual resources.
There are theological and practical meanings to the word grace.
Theological – unmerited favor – Ephesians 2:8 - By grace you have been saved through faith, it is the gift of God...
But it also speaks of acceptance by God.
This standard focuses on how we relate to one another with grace.
At some point – you will need to carry the burdens of someone else.
There are the burdens of sin, weakness, conscience, human failure.
“the maxim [bear one another's burdens] means that 'failure' by Christians should be regarded as part of the 'burden of life' and should be shared and borne by the Christian community." - Hans Dieter Betz
There will always be failure. There will be people who experience some form of failure – it is just human nature – 1000 times I’ve failed – still Your mercy remains.
There are many types of failure – and it is human nature.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load.
The nature of the Christian community – we will all fail – and we ALL need to bear one another’s burdens – to carry their load when they have failed themselves to do it. That is really hard. We think – they got themselves into this mess – let them get themselves out of it!
That is not what the Bible teaches – ever! It may be American thinking – but it sure is not Christian thinking!
The goal is to restore them so that they can carry their own load. So yes – each should bear his own load – but for all of us, there will be times when we just can’t do it. And in those times – there will be the need for the remainder of the community to step in until whatever is injured is fixed. Like when a football player injures his ankle – the two big guys walk him off the field – the ankle can’t bear its own weight until it is fixed. That is what the church community is supposed to be. We will all be in a situation where our ankles are gone and we can’t bear our own weight.
When he talks about bearing the burden – it is not pointing out failure and giving advice on how to change. You better be ready to take the responsibility of carrying their load. If you are not willing to do that – don’t say ANYTHING – you only do harm!
Col 3:12-13 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
As I read this – clothe your heart – think of your own life – is this what you are clothed in? People notice what you are wearing.
Is that what people think about when they think about you? Mercy, kindness, gentleness, patience? That is what they should think about – that is what they should see when you walk in the room – and that is convicting as all get out.
Bearing here – is different form Galatians. This one focuses on being tolerant with others’ faults – and longsuffering. That is a God word, because some failures take a long time to recover from. Some injuries just take longer than others to recover from. In order to bear burdens – there must be this ability to suffer long with them.
We must regularly bear with what we regard as faults with others – but remember this: Others must regularly bear with what they regard as our faults.
Some think – My faults are easy to bear. Really? Can you really think that?
Bearing the faults of others is always a difficult thing. Jesus talked about the log and the speck Has it ever crossed your mind that you have the log? You are most at danger of having the log when you are convinced the other person has the log!
Matt. 11: 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus bore our burdens on the cross – were they hard to bear? Absolutely. The weight of sin – separation – judgment of our sin on Him. But then He tells us this – because He has borne our burdens – He wants us to take his yoke – My load is not hard to carry.
If we wish to bear others’ burdens effectively – we must take Christ’s yoke on us – for us to find our rest in Him. We must learn how – in our spiritual existence – to discover His easy load. If we are continually burdened down by our relationship with God and the load He puts on us – we are never free to bear others’ loads.
The way we take His light load – is by taking up the cross. We say – that is heavy – it is counterintuitive – his load is easy to bear. We are yoked with Him. The easy load to bear is the one that is not self-oriented. When we are self-oriented, that is the most difficult load to bear! We are often self-oriented and that is when the load is heavy – when we are selfishly focused. We think being unselfish is really hard – but there is a break that has to happen that is hard to break – but when we make that break – unselfishness is the easy load to bear. Unselfishness in your relationships is the easy way. It is really difficult to make that step of unselfishness. Issues come up – trust – what will others think? But when we take that step, things are transformed.
There are three practical ways to bear others’ burdens.
First – by forgiving others’ burdens. This is key – Lord’s prayer –
Matthew 6:12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
It is impossible to bear the burdens of others if you are not experiencing forgiveness and not forgiving others. First we have to experience our own forgiveness – we are forgiven every time – and we must experience a life of freedom and forgiveness – freedom and guilt – in order to love people – you must be free of guilt. Guilt keeps you from loving people. And if you are unable to forgive – that will block everything you attempt to do – it stops up the drain – like when the kids throw a towel down the drain and you turn on the garbage disposal – and nothing can get through. That is what this inability to forgive is like. We must learn to forgive.
If you forgive… but if NOT – look at what it says – read it!
Matt. 18: 21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Just keep forgiving! Stop counting! If you are COUNTING – you haven’t forgiven anybody!
That is the NLM - New Living Marette translation!
In your family – there will never come a time when there are not things to forgive! We would like that to come – when our kids or their parents – don’t do things they need to forgive – but that just doesn’t happen – because we are human. And in the church family – the same is true.
Second way we bear burdens – accepting, receiving and including people. Accept – receive –
Romans 14: 1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Just a great verse to memorize the next time you are judging someone. What is not being said – “and you will not stand – if you are judging!”
This accepting – the New Testament talks about views and opinions and practices – the church will be a diverse place of those things – and we are to bear with great diversity what God has placed in the church. This is tricky – in the church – we do NOT bear heresies – there are some behaviors that are immoral – there are some things that are right and some things that are wrong. We have to be careful that we only call black what is black and not move things that are gray into the black or white and right or wrong. What someone eats – in their minds – was a moral decision. They were saying – you can’t eat that – it was black and white in their thinking. There are things that are black and white and many things that are shades of gray – and we need to make sure we are discerning what is black and white and not move into the shades of gray – and not into the diversity of what is right or wrong. And that diversity can go right up to the line of black or white – but it is only black or white when it is actually black or white.
Romans 15:1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.
7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
How did Christ accept us? By grace. Unmerited favor. Freely. Wholly. As we are. Now He transforms us.
Third and final practical way – generous grace – generosity –
2 Cor 8: 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
This sums up this standard. This is what it means to be godly When you ask, what is God really like – read this verse. That is what it looks like to be God. We sing – I want to be like Jesus – and here it is – right there –
Phil 2: 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What it means to be God – is that you are rich – you have every privilege and every right and are all-powerful – ever present – all things created by you and through you – that is what it means to be God – and what it means to be God is for none of that to mean anything to you – but to lay it all aside – to become a bondservant to all. That is the God we serve.
Therefore – He is exalted above all things. That is what God honors and exalts – that is what He looks like and what He is trying to create in us – people who can lay aside our privileges and rights – we have them – we have many of them – in relationships – that we could learn to lay them aside in every relationship. Picture your family – everyone lays them aside – would that be a nice family? Yes it would. That would be incredible family to live in – because it would be just like the trinity – and that is pretty good – better than we can imagine! Let’s Pray…