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February 22, 2015 Building a Kingdom Kulture: An Attitude of Humility and Employment

February 22, 2015

Romans 12:3

Building a Kingdom Kulture:  An Attitude of Humility and Employment

 

Children’s Sermon:  (empty satchel)

Today begins a new season in the church year.  Who knows what it is?

Lent is a time of journeying to Easter. During this journey we think about all that God has done for us and prepare ourselves to get to our destination, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter.

 

What things do we need when we get ready to go on a journey? (suitcase)

What is in this travelling bag? 

Being “empty” is part of our journey to Easter.  We make ourselves empty of our sin by telling God we are sorry for it, so that he will forgive us.  When we get the sin out, there is more and more room for Jesus to spread out in our hearts.

 

Next week we’ll start to fill this bag up with things we need for our journey.  Where can we keep this bag until next week.  A sort of hiding place so that no one bothers it.

 

Let’s pray. Lord God, help us empty our hearts before you as we begin this journey through Lent. Help us to get ready to fill it with what you will provide for us. Amen.

 

 

Intro:  In the lyrics of the hymn we just sang, “Oh The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”, who is it that lifts us up to glory?  Who is it that loves us deeply?  And who is it that makes us righteous and holy?   It’s not us.  It’s not the good deeds we do or the pure thoughts we think.  It’s not the money we give.  It is all Jesus.

 

Let’s read again how we are to behave as recipients of this great deep love that God has lavished upon us, as Paul instructs the church in Rome.  I’ll be re-reading the first two verses of Romans 12, and today we will look more closely at the third.

 

READ

 

So, because of God’s mercy, we give our bodies to him as living sacrifices.  Then, because we belong to him and not to the world or ourselves, we begin to transform our minds to think God’s thoughts and priorities rather than our own or the world’s.  This is the solidarity of mind that individuals in a Kingdom Kulture are working towards.  And when there is a solidarity of the mind, we can trust that each one of us is seeking to know and do the will of God, and that brings unity.

 

And then in verse three, Paul gives another mindset the followers of Christ, the Kingdom builders are to embrace and practice.  Paul prefaces not by claiming his superiority to make rules but by his being as indebted to the grace of God as we are.  And here is the instruction:

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

 

How do we not think more highly of ourselves than we ought and instead think of ourselves with sober judgment?

 

If we forget that the only reason we are saved from sin and promised eternal life is because Jesus died on the cross for us, we can believe that we’ve earned our own salvation.  And then we can think we are superior to others who’ve not yet arrived or who are not as holy as we are.  That attitude leads one to being judgmental. 

 

Or could it be that someone who grew up in the church believes they are somehow holier than one who came to Christ after a long sojourn outside of the kingdom?  Thinking that their struggles and their hardships and their life choices make them less holy than we who have always lived inside the kingdom’s walls and have not had to deal with the drugs, alcohol, messy relationships that exist “out there”?  That attitude leads to judgment.

 

This does not mean that we go soft on sin – we need to call that ugly stuff what it is.  But rather than judge someone who has fallen, we acknowledge that we can fall too, and if not for the grace of God to pick us up and hold us up, we would be wallowing in the messes we tend to judge others about.  It is good for us to learn to say, “There, but for the grace of God, go I” and learn to pray for those we are tempted to judge.

 

Beyond that, when we overcome the desire to judge someone who is struggling, what might our next response be?  To go help them!  With whatever tools we have available for the task at hand, we go and help.  I am reminded of the time I was driving one of Kirstyn’s friend’s home and got a flat tire on Rt. 6.  Now, my momma taught me how to change a tire and I was so excited to show these young girls what I could do.  But before I could get the jack in position, a young man came to offer help.  He had strength, a lot more experience and a desire to help me out.  Using his gifts he rescued us from our struggle with courtesy, (a lot of “yes ma’am’s”) and respect. 

 

Have you passed anyone on your journey this week that you were able to come alongside and help?  Are you looking for opportunities to help out those who are struggling in their faith?  Are you ready to share the tools of faith you have so that others might be strengthened in their faith as well?

 

Here’s the next part of Paul’s thought:  we are to have a proper, sober attitude towards where we are in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

 

What faith has God distributed to each of us?

As Paul writes this to the Romans, it seems he is addressing a problem.  They are comparing themselves to one another.  One thinks he is more important because he handles the finances.  Another thinks she is less important because she sweeps the floor.  Paul is going to go on to talk about how all parts are necessary, but the point he makes here that I want to look at is the fact that God has distributed a measure of faith, and a ministry to each of you.

The strength of a Christian man’s faith determines his whole Christian character. Faith is trust, the attitude of receptivity. There are in it a consciousness of need, a yearning desire and a confidence of expectation. It is the open empty hand held up with the assurance that it will be filled; it is the empty pitcher let down into the well with the assurance that it will be drawn up filled. It is the precise opposite of the self-dependent isolation which shuts us out from God. The law of the Christian life is ever, ‘according to your faith be it unto you’; ‘believe that ye receive and ye have them.’ So then the more faith a man exercises the more of God and Christ he has. It is the measure of our capacity, hence there may be indefinite increase in the gifts which God bestows on faithful souls. Each of us will have as much as he desires and is capable of containing. The walls of the heart are elastic, and desire expands them.  ~MacLaren’s Expositions

 

Oh that we would be a church where the desire of every soul is to have more of Jesus!  That each of us would be a seeker after more of God to expand our hearts and our minds to know and do the will of God!  God would respond to those desires, God would answer those prayers!  And what would become of us?  Can you imagine it?  We would be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we could not contain our joy, and doing the will of God, building the Kingdom of God would be the primary mission and focus of each soul here.  It would impact every relationship we have, whether family or stranger.  It would involve a desire for each Christian to know and understand how to employ the measure of grace and gifts that God has given him.  There would be no “I can’t possibly do that” but only “By the grace of God, I’ll try!”  We would see people in trouble not as persons to avoid and judge but as souls who need us to encourage them and walk with them and reveal Christ to them.  And all we need to do is reach out to them and love them with what we have, which may not be all the answers.  But maybe those who struggle don’t need you to have answers, maybe they just need you to be present with them in their pain, offering the hope you’ve found in Jesus Christ.

 

 Concl.  God has called each of us to be his own.  He has given each of us a measure of grace.  That grace doesn’t look the same on all of us as we have come from different places and are designed, each for a unique purpose.  But the grace is there and we are to live out of that source, wherever God calls us to be.  Will you, today, yield to God’s call in your life?

 

Pray