Monday, October 3, 2011

Aug 28, 2011 - A Glimpse of the Kingdom

Aug 28, 2011
A Glimpse of the Kingdom
Rom 12

The section of Romans in our readings this morning is one of Paul’s famous passages where he turns from the spiritual side of his letter to the practical side, the out-working of all that has gone before.

He gives us a glimpse of Kingdom life. What it means to live out this faith in the world around us, day-to-day. And its interesting that, unlike most of the lists that we tend to make regarding behavior, its not really a don’t list, it’s more of a To Do List:

From the beginning of the chapter in Romans 12, Paul is clearly giving us a glimpse of Kingdom life:

l-2 Let your life be a living sacrifice, in response to His mercy, which is your reasonable response in worship. Be formed by that response, not by the pressure of the world – be transformed really, letting the way you think be changed by God and His Word, so that you know His will and His ways, what is good, acceptable and perfect.

3-8 Don’t make yourself more important than you are! Don’t forget that you are part of a larger whole – a member of the Body. Each member is important, and plays its role in the work that God intends: Some preach and teach, others serve, others give, yet others encourage or help with details. Each is in ministry by the gift of Jesus and minister to the extent of their faith.

9-21
Love genuinely, from the heart.
Run from evil – cling to all that is good.
Be kind and affectionate to each other, and let one another take first place!
Be careful not to lose heart in your work – keep the fires stoked and burning.
That fire is the Hope in your heart – even in trials and difficulties it is fanned by prayer.
Give freely as you have the means, not grudging what is given: a meal or a bed for the night.
Don’t let the ones who curse you get you down, bless them instead. Be happy with those who are happy and sad with those who cry.
Live a life of harmony with others – let them be the lead singer, while you sing “back up” - you don’t have to be “up front” to be valuable. Everyone is valuable!
Never strike back. Let God take care of your “rep”. If it depends on you, be at peace! Meet your enemies needs: food, water, whatever. These things turn into burning coals in God’s hands. Never be overwhelmed by evil, but overwhelm evil with good.

Friends,
We are called to live in this way. The way of sacrifice to God on a daily basis.
We joke about the fact that living sacrifices keep crawling off the altar, but God is quite focused and serious about the changed lives that He wants to see. And not only God, but the world too, is interested in seeing Real Christians.

I made a new friend on Friday in the long line to get a new sticker for my tags at the Department of Motor Vehicles. You all know the line! He was trying to convince me that my time was more valuable than to wait in this line – he was behind me!!

In our conversation, it came to light that he had a teenage daughter, just out of high school, who was tired of fake Christians. She was using the “hypocrites” line with him, as I was overhearing their phone conversation. He said to me later, “I have the opportunity to live out what I believe, in front of her.”

And that is the most effective witness we can be!

I’ve seen hundreds come to Jesus in the last 24 hours at Rock the Range, but the decision that was made last night, has to be lived out this morning.

Paul tells us that that decision starts new every morning, as we see God’s mercy, and respond in worship by giving Him our lives anew every day. He changes our thinking as we do what He instructs us to.

We are part of a body as well. All of us are important to the working of the Body.
None of us are indispensible, but each plays an important role as the Body does its work. This is the setting of the Kingdom of God and the way that we live life in it.

This is what people are wanting to see; watching for at every turn. People who are changed, who are real, who love them genuinely, and never give up. Those are the people we are being called to be.

Let me just re-read my paraphrase one more time so it sticks:

Love genuinely, from the heart.
Run from evil – cling to all that is good.
Be kind and affectionate to each other, and let one another take first place!
Be careful not to lose heart in your work – keep the fires stoked and burning.
That fire is the Hope in your heart – even in trials and difficulties it is fanned by prayer.
Give freely as you have the means, not grudging what is given: a meal or a bed for the night.
Don’t let the ones who curse you get you down, bless them instead. Be happy with those who are happy and sad with those who cry.
Live a life of harmony with others – let them be the lead singer, while you sing “back up” - you don’t have to be “up front” to be valuable. Everyone is valuable!
Never strike back. Let God take care of your “rep”. If it depends on you, be at peace! Meet your enemies needs: food, water, whatever. These things turn into burning coals in God’s hands. Never be overwhelmed by evil, but overwhelm evil with good.

Our purpose here is to be a people who are living out the reality of the redeemed people of God in the world. We are the Kingdom; We are the Bride, the Body of Christ!

Let the Spirit of God bring about this reality in your life. That is the goal of our salvation. And God is willing and able to work these things into and out from your life.

For the sake of Kingdom and the Fame of His Name.

Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment