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Man in the Mirror Bible Study
23 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
An Ache for the Harvest
This week we kick off a new 12-part series to look at the core teachings of Jesus. We’re going to explore 12 compelling problems that we all feel deeply, what Jesus teaches about how to solve them, and ways for each of us to respond. We’ll begin with a core teaching about the mission. Today’s text starts with Jesus looking at crowds of people who have come out to hear his teaching. What did He see when He saw them? And of all the things Jesus could have said, why did He say what comes next? Join Patrick Morley and let’s identify what’s going on below the surface, why it matters, what’s at stake, what holds men back, and what we can do about it. Verses referenced in this lesson: Matthew 9:36-38 --------------------- Find more information, transcripts, Bible studies near you, and more at http://mimbiblestudy.com Help us to continue this vital ministry by partnering with us: http://mimbiblestudy.com/give Learn more about Man in the Mirror at http://maninthemirror.org
31 minutes | May 27, 2021
The Secret of Paul’s Longevity
We all admire the vision, ministry, work ethic, and determination of Paul. What’s extra impressive is how he remained faithful to all that for so long. Join Patrick Morley and let’s see if we can understand how and why this man had no quit in him, his unique view of struggles, and how we too can be become that never quit kind of guy. Verses referenced in this lesson: Romans 15:23-33 DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript ROMANS 12-16: Putting Your Faith into Action The Secret to Paul’s Longevity Rough Transcript Patrick Morley Patrick Morley: Hello men. How’s everybody doing today? Good. Good to see you. If you would, turn in your bibles to Romans chapter 15, verse 23. The title of today’s message is the secret of Paul’s longevity. Who is the person that you would most like to emulate, in terms of their passion, their attitude, their impact, their resilience? We come to the close of Romans chapter 15 today. It’s really the close of the book. Chapter 16 is going to be about some personal remarks, but Paul gives us this wonderful window into his personal life in this particular chapter. And I can’t think of anybody that would be more worthy to try to emulate than this man, the apostle Paul. And the thing that makes him so extraordinary is not just what he did, but how consistently he did it, and for how long he did it. And so, we’re going to look at that this morning. Chapter 15, verse 23. Let’s read together, “But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions. And since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through, and to have you assist me on my journey there after I have enjoyed your company for a while.” Well, this is a real mouthful that he’s giving us, of information here. Here’s the situation. You’ve been hearing it repetitively over the last few weeks, but there’s been this division and the church in Rome, Paul has written to them about it. Seeking to bring unity between the ethnos. Different ethnicities, different races. The Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. And now he comes to this restitution of his personal plans, and let’s take a look at this a little closer and, because bottom line here, is what we see, is a man who has no quit in him. A man who has no quit in him. He says, “But now that there’s no more place for me to work in these regions.” We know from the book of Acts that he has, basically it says that, “Everyone in the province of Asia has now heard about Jesus Christ.” He spread the gospel through the entire known world, except in the western most portions, west of Italy. And so, he’s like the Johnny Cash. I mean, “I’ve been everywhere.” “And since I’ve been longing for many years to visit you.” It’s very interesting. We can appreciate that a little more in the COVID era. Just in the last two or three weeks my wife Patsy and I, we’ve been able to go to St. Louis to see our tow grandchildren there. And then to Alabama to see our other grandchildren there, and it’s been wonderful. Unbelievable. And we were only longing to see them for about 14 or 15 months. Can’t imagine what it would be like to be separated from people for years, and years, and years. It’s very interesting, I looked it up this morning. It’s only a two hour flight from, let’s see, Paul’s writing this from, probably Corinth. It’s a two hour flight from Rome to Athens, and then about a one hour drive over to Corinth. Today it doesn’t mean anything to us to want to visit somebody in Rome, if you lived in Corinth. But in that day it would have taken forever and ever to do it, and that’s why it’s been many years that he says he’s wanted to do this. He says, “I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you when I’m passing through and have you assist me on my journey after I have enjoyed your company for a while.” Paul has stated that he doesn’t want to build on other people’s foundations. He wants to go to new places. That’s his calling. That’s what he wants to do. Nobody’s been preaching the gospel yet over in Spain. We don’t know if he actually ever made it to Spain. We do know that at this particular point he’s actually on his way to Jerusalem. Reading on. Verse 25, “Now, however I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people.” He’s actually on his way to Jerusalem. This is a guy now, who has been at this for decades and just doesn’t have any quit in him. When he was in front of King Agrippa giving his defense after he had been arrested and brought to Rome. He said, “I was not disobedient to the vision of heaven.” And he said in second Timothy, he writes to Timothy, in second Timothy four, seven, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” THE MAN HAD NO QUIT IN HIM The characteristic of this man’s life, particularly at this point, is resilience. Just the resilience to keep coming at it. The man had no quit, and the question is, why did he have no quit? And the answer goes all the way back to his original calling. It was dramatic. You remember, those of you who know the story, he was on his way to Damascus to arrest some Christians. He was a bad dude. And Jesus appeared to him and he said, “Paul.” Or he said, “Saul.” Saul at the time, “Why are you persecuting me?” And God struck him blind in a dramatic conversion experience, and told Paul that he was going to be a witness to the Gentiles. That God was going to send him, Jesus was going to send him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. And so, the bottom line is, is that the reason that Paul is doing all this, he didn’t have any choice. He did not have any choice. JFK, when he was in the navy as a young officer assigned to a PT boat. Was it 108 or 109? All right. PTO 109. And a Japanese destroyer went right through the middle of the PT boat and he was proclaimed a hero and they asked him, “How did you become a hero?” He said, “Well, it was involuntary. They sank my boat.” And that’s what’s going on here with Paul. Paul’s passion here, it’s involuntary. He didn’t have a choice, because God had come to him so dramatically and so powerfully. There’s no quit in him, because he really didn’t have much of a choice. And that was Paul’s secret. The secret of his longevity. The secret of his longevity is that he had a conviction so strong, that he couldn’t quit, he wouldn’t shrink away from any hardship or any disaster that came on him, and he refused to play it safe. That’s just the way that Paul lived his life. He said, “I am compelled to preach the gospel. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.” His passion was related to the depth and the strength of his calling. And so, the application for you and for me, do you have the sense of a calling on your life so powerful that it can fuel your passion? And I would encourage you, if you don’t have that kind of conviction, that kind of passion, I would encourage you to pray and ask God to give it to you. And it doesn’t have to be something that you do, that you’re the entrepreneur like Paul is the spiritual entrepreneur of entrepreneurs. Right? It might be that you get impassioned by the vision of your church or some organization, and you attach yourself to them. That’s okay. But to go through like, “Oh, I just don’t know what God wants me to do.” What a waste. The reason this man had no quit, is because of the passion of his calling. His secret, and it’s the Big Idea today, Paul’s secret, never quit, never shrink, never play it safe, and we’re going to see exactly how he did that. The next thing I want us to look at starts in verse 26, “For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews spiritual blessings, then they owe it to the Jews to share with them in their material blessings. After I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. I know that when I come to you I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.” Paul is still at it. He’s still trying to give the Romans a greater vision for why there needs to be unity. We have these poor Jews down in Jerusalem, and these Gentiles are doing okay over here in Macedonia and Achaia. They’re sending a gift down there. They’re working on the unity that I’ve been talking to you about working on the unity. That didn’t make any sense, but anyway. You know what I mean. HE HAD A UNIQUE VIEW OF STRUGGLES And then the next thing I want us to see here, is that Paul had a unique view of struggles. He had a unique view of struggles. He had a unique view of the struggles of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, and he wanted to be part of that action. And when you see something around you, anything around you, it was at the Jerusalem Counsel, I think in, I can’t remember where it was in the bible. But Paul went up to Jerusalem to appear before Peter and the apostles, and he reported in and they asked him to make sure that he would take care of the poor. And he said, “It was the very thing that I was eager to do.” He was a servant. He saw the struggles of other peoples. He had a unique view of other people. He would see the struggles of other people and he would engage. He just didn’t say, “Oh, that’s terrible. Somebody needs to take care of that. Please somebody call Washington DC.” He got involved. He engaged himself in these people’s problems. And here he’s given us a great example of his view of struggles, because he actually was the person who was collecting the money from these Christians in Macedonia and Achaia to take to Jerusalem. I had an interesting encounter this week. We went to Alabama. We took our camper. We have a trailer. Many of you guys know that. And so, when we set up camp on the halfway mark back there was a guy across the way from us who had the same kind of trailer. And he came over and he said a couple things, and he said like two sentences. And then he said, “Yeah, my wife just died last year. And so, I sold everything and I’m just going to do what she and I thought that we would do. Travel together.” And I was in the middle of setting up. I was hooking up the electricity, and all the water and putting down the stabilizers, and all that. And if you’re mechanical that’s easy to do, but if you’re me, it’s just, you got one little interruption like that, the next thing you know you’re up in the middle of the might with the propane filling up. Anyway. I said, “Well, that’s great. About your wife and everything, but I really need to set up the camp here.” No, that’s not what I said. But I did cut it really short. Well, then the spirit began to work on me. Nudging me. Nudging me. Nudging me. When you see someone else’s struggle, someone else’s problem, what it means to be a servant, is to go and meet the need of anyone whose need you see, whose need you are in a position to meet. And I knew that I was in a position to meet that need. Nudge one, nudge two, nudge three, nudge four came about midnight, so the next morning I went over and we sat down and I just said, “Hey.” I said, “Richard.” I said, “Would you tell me about your wife?” And he said, “Well, she’s dead. You know?” I said, “I know, but would you just tell me about her?” And so, we just sat there for about 30, 45 minutes and had a wonderful visit. We made a real connection. I think we’ll, who knows, we might see him here some day. But we made a connection and it was exactly, apparently what he needed, because he needed to have somebody that he could talk to on that particular day. He probably needed it the day before when I was too busy. But anyway. But that’s the unique view of struggles that Paul had. We see more in verse 30. We see in verse 30, “I urge you brothers and sisters by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the spirit to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea, and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there so that I may come to you with joy by God’s will. And in your company be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen.” Paul knew what was coming. He already had been warned a number of times in Acts chapter 20, verse 22, “And now compelled by the spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. Not knowing what will happen to me there, I only know that in every city the holy spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” He knew what he was getting into, but he didn’t play it safe. That was part of his unique view of struggles, is that he didn’t try to get out of hard things, he kept going in Acts 21. On the way to Jerusalem he stopped in Caesarea and met with some of the believers there. One of the prophets came and took Paul’s belt and tied his own hands and feet with it. And the prophet said, “The holy spirit says in this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt, and will hand him over to the Gentiles.” And when they heard that, the people pleaded with Paul not to go to Jerusalem. But because of his unique view of struggles here’s what he said, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready, not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” There was no quit in this man. He had this very unique, and he had already suffered a lot. I don’t think we’ve got time to go into all of the details of that, but some of you know he was beaten, he was shipwrecked. They stoned him, they drug him outside one of the communities and left him there to die. And he was often hungry, and thirsty, and naked, and homeless. Treated notoriously bad by the people in Philippi. He just had this unique set of attitudes though, about his struggles and the result of that is, is that because of the way that he viewed these things, it didn’t dampen his passion. My question for us, and the application for you and for me, are you letting the struggles, the hardships that you have to go through, and here’s the thing. You’re going to go through these hardships. You’re going to go through these struggles whether you have Jesus or not, whether you do it his way or not you’re going to have them. But the question for us, the application for us is, will we try to play it safe? Will we shrink back from these struggles, these hardships, these sufferings? Will we quit? Will we give up? Or will we live in the view of the high calling that we have received and let the passion that comes from the conviction that we have lead us to the same kind of life that Paul is leading? The Big Idea today, Paul’s secret, never quit, never shrink, never play it safe. Never quit, never shrink, never play it safe. HOW YOU CAN BECOME A NEVER QUIT KIND OF GUY And then the last thing to look at today. How you can become a never quit kind of guy. How I can become a never quit kind of guy. Everybody wants to quit every day. Okay. Let’s get that out there. Right? If you don’t want to quit every day, that means you’re not doing anything. The first thing here on becoming a never quit kind of guy, we get from Paul, it’s know where you are going and why. Know where you’re going and why. I was out hiking at the Wekiva State Park and I came up to a trail intersection, and there were two women there and they looked a little confused. I said, “Hey, how you all doing? What’s going on? Anything I can do to help?” And they said, “Well, we don’t know which of these two trails to take.” And I said, “Well, where are you going?” She said, “Well, we don’t really know.” And I said, “Well, then either one of them will get you there.” Know where you are going and why. And in order to do that, you have to go back to this previous question that I mentioned. This application of praying and asking God to give you a calling so certain, that you have an absolute confidence that you know what God is calling you to do. Something that you could say, “I feel compelled to disciple men. I feel compelled to help Jim Long in his food ministry.” They distributed 400,000 pounds of food here in Central Florida last month. That’s our own Jim Long. One of our leaders. The food ministry. The food distribution ministry, “I feel compelled to help Jim Long distribute food. I feel compelled to help widows with their car repairs.” Whatever it is that your calling is to do, it’s that you would know exactly what you were supposed to be doing and why. And then secondly, that you would expect struggles. That you would expect struggles, if you want to be a never quit kind of guy you have to expect struggles. You can’t think that you’re going to somehow Christianize your way out of struggles. Paul, when he was in Ephesus he said, “I want to stay here for a couple more years, because there is a great door for effective work that has opened up to me. And there is much opposition.” The opportunity comes with opposition. Paul said in Acts 14:22, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of heaven.” And second Timothy chapter three, verse 12, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Have an expectation of struggles. And then, if you want to be a never quit kind of guy, know exactly where you’re going and why, expect struggles, and then have an unwavering faith that God will provide. Paul had it. Three times he asked God to take away the thorn in his flesh, and in second Corinthians chapter 12, verse nine Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul said, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power might rest on me.” He just had an absolute faith that God would provide this grace. And then, don’t play it safe. Guys, don’t play not to lose. There are so many studies that have been done over the last few years about people at the end of their lives, what they wish they would have done differently. The first such study that I became aware of that was a scholarly research study, was referenced by a man by the name of Tony Campolo. When I came out of college he was the biggest deal on the Christian speaking circuit. He sites this study of people, elderly people, “If I had it to do over again I would reflect more. If I had it to do over again I would risk more. If I had it to do over again I would do more things that would live on after I am dead.” It sounds like Paul. To become that never quit kind of guy go ahead and take the risk. Don’t play it safe. So what if you die? I mean, honestly. Life is an inch. So what if you die? Paul’s secret to longevity, he didn’t care, “I’m going to go up to Jerusalem and if I die, I die.” Paul’s secret to longevity, never quit, never shrink, never play it safe. Let’s pray. Our dearest father, as Paul, just opens his personal life up to us here, he really does show us Lord, the secret of his longevity. He’s making plans, he knows why, he knows where he’s going, what he’s supposed to do. He was expecting opposition, he had a very unique approach to anticipating, expecting struggles. And he had an absolute unwavering faith that you were going to take care of him, and because of that he was willing to take the risks that you put in front of him. God, give us that kind of longevity. Give us that kind of resilience. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.
24 minutes | May 20, 2021
Marks of a Healthy Sending Church
Up to this point, the church in Antioch has been Paul’s sending church, but now his sights are set on Spain and Rome. Paul’s whole point in writing to the Romans is to help make them his new sending church, but first, there are some real problems there. Paul gets very personal with the Roman church. Join special guest speaker Pastor Jim Davis as he explores the three things the Romans need to hear if they are to be Paul’s new sending church—and why we would do well to listen if we want to be members and leaders in churches that make an impact in our city and the world. We’re always stronger together! Verses referenced in this lesson: Romans 15:14-22 DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript ROMANS 12-16: Putting Your Faith into Action Marks of a Healthy “Sending Church” Rough Transcript Jim Davis Jim Davis: And it is a real privilege to be able to be here to step in for my friend, Pat. It is a privilege to count Pat as a friend and I think about this ministry has been going on since I was six-years-old. I’m curious, was anybody here back when this whole thing started? Okay. Yeah, we got one back there. Okay. So I was thinking this morning, I was six-years-old when y’all started this, I have a six-year-old who has this interesting love for Man in the Mirror. Every time we drive to the Geneva School, we drive right by a Man in the Mirror. And every morning he’s just, “There’s Man in the Mirror, dad. There it is.” And I don’t know where he got it or how he got interested, but he is going to be thrilled that when I go home and tell him who I got to spend time with this morning. And I will say this morning is a little bit of an experiment. My Orlando Grace brothers are used to me moving around a little more, but because we’re experimenting with filming this in a fairly tight shot, I will do my best to resist all of my nature to walk around as I talk. All right, so we’ve been, you’ve been in a Roman series. We’re in Romans 15. And I’m curious how many of y’all have been to Rome? Raise your hand. Oh, wow. Okay. It seems like half of y’all have been to Rome. So I lived, as you heard, I lived in Italy for five years and I have been to Rome more times than I could count. It is my favorite city in the world. And you walk around Rome and I don’t think you can go one block without seeing the impact that Christianity has had in that city. Every block you will see a church, you might see a cross, you might see a mural up on a wall somewhere. I mean, the impact that Christianity has had on that city is incredible. And not just the impact that Christianity has had on Rome, but the impact that Rome has had on the world. I mean, the way that Rome exported Christianity in the beginning of really the first five centuries is I don’t think it would be unreasonable to compare it to the impact of say Great Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries in the way that they exported the gospel to the world. Or the way that God has used the United States in the 19th, 20th, and now 21st centuries. So the impact of Rome over the course of Christian history, it’s hard to overstate it. And it’s really sad now honestly. If you go back to Italy and the churches or museums, and I think the last stat I saw only 2% of the country goes to any kind of church more than twice a year. But nevertheless, you can’t walk around Rome without asking the question how is it that this small little church because when Paul wrote the letter that we’re reading, he’s writing to probably no more than 100 people. So how did that small little group of about 100 people become this international global force for the faith? And that’s exactly what Paul is telling us in this passage here today. So Romans 15, Paul has officially finished his great explanation and application of the doctrine of justification. There’s more of a personal feel here. You’re going to see a different side of Paul as we walk into the next part of this letter to the Romans. And we have to remember that up until now, Paul’s sending church has been who? What church has kind of owned Paul and sent Paul all around the world? Antioch. I think I heard it over there. Antioch is his sending church. But now according to verse 24, Paul has his sights set on somewhere else. Do you remember where that is? Spain. So verse 24 so nobody thinks I’m making this up. “I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain and to be helped on my journey there by you once I have enjoyed your company for a while.” So he’s not just wanting to pass through Rome. He says, “I want to be helped in my way to the far reaches of the western known world by you. Rome, I want you to be my new sending church. You’re more uniquely positioned to be able to do that. You’re in a more strategic place than Antioch.” But there’s one major problem. Rome has some problems and you heard about these problems two weeks ago if you were listening to Jeremy Schurke. And Paul’s main point in the whole Book of Romans is to see if he can get this small church to a place where it can be a healthy church, healthy enough to be able to send him to the far western reaches of the known world. That’s the point of the whole Book of Romans. So with that in mind, let’s read these verses starting in 14. “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God. So that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” “In Christ Jesus then I have reason to be proud of my work for I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to the obedience by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders by the power of the spirit of God so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum, I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ. And thus, I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written those who have never been told of him will see. And those who have never heard will understand this is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you.” If you would, let me pause and say a brief prayer that God would bless His reading in this time we have together. God, we thank you for this time to be able to be up early in the word and we ask a very simple prayer. Would you give us eyes to see what you want us to see? Would you give us ears to hear? Would you give us a mind to comprehend? And then God, would you do the most miraculous work of all? Would you give us a will to obey? We love you and we ask this in the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen. So in this more personal part of Paul’s message, we see three marks of a healthy sending church. And I would go so far to push a little bit and say these are characteristics that we as leaders in our churches have to embody and embrace if we’re going to be a part of a healthy sending church. And when I say healthy sending church, sending in all its fashions from right down the road all the way to the other side of the world. That’s what Paul is trying to do here. So these three things, these three marks are what I want to point out from this passage. And the first is that a healthy sending church able to hear bold reminders. A HEALTHY SENDING CHURCH IS ABLE TO HEAR BOLD REMINDERS So in verse 15, Paul almost sounds apologetic for the way that he’s been talking. He says, “But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder.” And this idea of reminding people of aspects of the faith. This isn’t just here in Romans. You actually see it all over the New Testament. Jude says something similar in verse five. He says, “Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it.” Paul says to the Corinthians, “That is why I sent Timothy my beloved and faithful child in the Lord to remind you of my ways in Christ as I teach them everywhere in every church.” And then Peter wrote, “Therefore, I intend always to remind you of these qualities though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.” So this reminding that Paul and Peter are doing and Jude, he’s not reminding them of these secondary doctrines say doctrines like baptism or ecclesiology or election. What the reminding is about is the primary central core aspects of the gospel and how this applies to our lives. And so I was thinking about this this week and it made me think about a few weeks ago, I had a really neat privilege. I got to interview the great theologian, D.A. Carson it was at a conference and he was going to be speaking from the Book of Hebrews. He was going to be giving a message. And in my interview, I was thinking, “You have literally taught what you’re preaching today. You’ve taught this for over 40 years in the seminary context. So my question is did God tell you anything new this time when you were preparing this message?” And in his kind of Canadian accent, he just looked at me very stoically and said, “No, nothing new, but I don’t need anything new. I need reminders.” And so if that’s true of D.A. Carson if Paul and Peter and Jude are saying that’s true for the early church, then 100% that’s true of us as well. We need as men in the church, we need to be able to hear these kinds of reminders. And that’s not an easy thing because it takes a lot of humility to be able to say every day I need to be reminded of the most basic and foundational aspects of our faith. Pride is going to want to tell us that we’ve grown beyond the gospel and now we’re mainly interested in the deeper theology, and we want to go and talk and argue about secondary and tertiary things. Pride is going to give us a sense that we know a gospel that’s good for other people, but it doesn’t necessarily have a lot of impact in my life today. And all of these gospel writers and our own D.A. Carson are telling us that isn’t the case at all. We as believers and leaders in our churches, we have to have the humility to acknowledge that every day, every day, we need to be reminded of the basic gospel and how it applies to our life. Every day we need to be reminded that we can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ. So that’s the first thing that Paul is saying. “Church in Rome, you needed the reminder that I just gave you,” but what was that reminder? And that brings us to the second part, the second Mark of a healthy sending church. A healthy sending church is unified. A HEALTHY SENDING CHURCH IS UNIFIED How many of y’all heard Jeremy two weeks ago? Okay. So he did a really good job of explaining the context, but by way of reminder, I’ll quickly say the same thing. So the emperor Claudius when he was reigning he decreed that all Jews were banished from Rome. So this included Christian Jews as well. So imagine you have this church made up of Jews and Gentiles. And for a period of about three years, if memory serves, the Jewish Christians were gone and only the Gentile Christians were there in Rome. And so you can imagine like culturally there was a big change that went on. The church over that period of time began to feel more Gentile and less Jewish in its culture. So after Claudius died, the Jews were allowed back in. Then they come into this church, it felt very differently. And I think that the attitude of the Jews was, “Hey, Gentile brothers, thank you. Thank you for what you’ve done, but we’re back. So we’re here to lead again. Remember this whole thing started with us, the Jews. So we’re back to take our proper place in the church.” And the Gentiles of the way I read Romans we’re kind of like, “No thanks. We’re glad to have you back, brothers, but we like things the way they are.” And so the best way I know to bring this into our context, what this would be like, imagine in your church if you go to a predominantly white church, imagine that all white people had to leave for three years. And the people of color, whatever that means in your context, they continued the mission of the church, the mission of your church. So over the course, let’s say three years, that church is going to look culturally different. Probably the leadership is going to change. Maybe the preaching style changes, maybe the music changes. And then what happens if all white people are allowed back in three years later? I could imagine that in some churches, white people would come back and say, “Thank you, brothers. Thank you for what you’ve done. We’re back. We’re back to take our leadership positions. We want the music to go back, the preaching. We want everything to go back. Because after all, again, we’re thankful for you, but this church was founded by white culture, funded by white culture and led by white culture up until three years ago.” That would be a serious division in the church. I think that really is at least as serious as what the Romans are experiencing, if not more. So this is Paul is trying to address. Really all of Romans is addressing this problem. He’s applying the basic doctrine of justification, this is the core gospel, this issue of division, this unity. And so this is what he has been doing the whole time. This is what he’s saying by way of reminder. For 15 chapters, I’ve been telling you by way of reminder that the gospel should unify you in your culture. And so this is what he’s continuing to do in our passage in verses 15 and 16 when he says, “Because of the grace given me to be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God. So that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” And he hit an undercurrent. So you accept them, Jews. Then he continues in verse 18 and 19. “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience by word indeed by the power of signs and wonders by the spirit of God so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum, I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” If you read the Book of Romans every few chapters he’s saying, “Now to you, Jews. Now to you, Gentiles. Now to you, Jews. Now to you, Gentiles.” I have four little kids. I’ve had conversations like this. “Now to you. Now to you. Now to you” and trying to bring them back together. This is how the Book of Romans feel. This is the gospel reminder that they needed and it’s the gospel reminder that we need today. The same gospel reminder that we will never be a church that impacts our city in this world if we don’t have a gospel that overcomes the cultures in our church. Not a gospel that flattens the cultures, but a gospel that brings them together. This is exactly what Jesus prayed. Jesus prayed, “I do not ask for these only,” the disciples, “But also for those who will believe through the word.” And here it is. “That they may all be one.” This is what Jesus is praying for. This is what Paul is reinforcing. And there are, I think 100 ways that I could think to apply this. Now I have 20 minutes. So I’ll do one. If you kind of look around, I don’t think this is going to be a surprise. We’re experiencing a fracturing in the evangelical church that we have not seen since the 1940s. They have evangelical churches fracturing into four different pieces. And it really is sad to see people that I’ve considered to be spiritual heroes in my life all arguing with each other and throwing shots at each other online. I know a lot of pastors and I don’t know a single pastor that is not experiencing this fracturing in their context, but I do believe that those churches, there’s precious few churches who are able to find this kind of gospel-centered unity around culture. They are going to have an impact in our city, in our state, in our nation, in this world. Because a lot of the division that we’re experiencing is actually culturally-related. It’s just fueled by this political polarization that we have that we experienced today. So as leaders in churches, if you want your church to be the kind of church that Jesus prayed for and the kind of church that Paul is wanting to be his sending church to the west, then the spirit of unity, gospel-centered unity has to be in you as well. It has to be in me as well. A HEALTHY SENDING CHURCH GOES WHERE THE GOSPEL IS NOT And then thirdly, a healthy sending church goes where the gospel is not. This brings us to the end of our text in verses 20 and 21. ” And thus, I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christianity has already been named lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written.” And he’s quoting Isaiah here. “Those who have never been told of him will see and those who have never heard will understand.” Now, I don’t take this to be a missional restriction on any place. The gospel has been. Paul has this unique call, this unique context to the Gentiles is different than Peter’s call, it’s different than my call. As I said, I spent years investing in Italy where clearly the gospel has been, the gospel has thrived at one time, but the principle that Paul is communicating still holds true to all of us. Because we have to as churches have on our radar, where is the gospel not? Where has the gospel never been? And that is going to have both global and local implications in our ministries. So globally, we have to think when we send missionaries, when we send our money, where is the gospel not? That doesn’t have to define the whole of our global ministries, but that has to be a part of it because there are people who do not have any access to the gospel whatsoever and they have to be on our radar if we’re a church that is funding any kind of missions around the world. But it’s not only globally important, it’s locally important as well. I’m third generation Orlando. My grandparents moved here in the ’30s and the ’40s respectively. And when they moved here, Orlando was really nothing more than a cow town. They would talk of every lake in the city being crystal clear, undeveloped. The only way to get to the Keys back then was by rail. But if you wanted, you were allowed to drive your car on the railroad, which is crazy. And when I was growing up one of my grandmothers would remind me often, “Jim, you’re old Orlando.” You don’t forget that. You’re old Orlando, which basically means we were here before Disney and I was real proud of that when I was growing up. And then one day it hit me. “Wait, what you’re really saying is we were here before there was a good reason to be here.” I’m not sure how old Orlando is much of a compliment, but now we live in a city of millions of people. We have Walt Disney World. We have the largest undergrad university in the United States. We’re the entertainment capital of the world and the world is now coming to us. I did a little research on this. As best I can tell, every single nation is represented in the city. Now, not every ethnos, the way that Bible breaks up ethnicity, but every known nation is here. And so we have the gospel-less coming to us. And so that should, that needs to be on our radar when we think about where God has placed us in our own context. But we also need to realize we’re not just receiving the gospel-less. We are now creating the gospel-less. So 48% of Orlando is now de-churched. That means 48% of the city used to go to church and no longer does. I mean, you think about how was half of the city in our lifetime has decided, “I’m not going to go to church anymore.” This is an epidemic. It has mind-blowing unstudied implications for the fabric of our society. If you’ve been to Europe, you’ve seen a little bit of the future of that, but we are creating the unchurched because the children of the de-churched will be the unchurched, and they will be gospel-less people. And so as a church and as leaders in the church, we need to be thinking, “What are we doing about this watershed of people leaving the church and the reality that their children and grandchildren will be gospel-less people?” We need to hear Paul’s heed and pray to that end and work to that end, the gospel would go where it is not or we will become insular, shrinking, dying churches. So how can we practically grow the way Paul wants the church in Rome to grow? I would suggest that we prayerfully consider three questions. The first question is what would make us want gospel reminders in our life? It’s not fun to be reminded of things. What would make us want gospel reminders? And these are different questions, by the way, then you’re going to talk about. Well, I think we want gospel reminders when we really know that we’re sinners and we can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ. And that word nothing has gotten bigger to me over the years. I mean, when I was new to the faith, nothing meant I can do most everything apart from Jesus except for like healing and miracles. Now, I cannot even be patient with my wife and kids without Jesus Christ so that nothing grows. When you really believe you can do nothing apart from Jesus and His gospel, then you’re going to be okay with gospel reminders. Second question. What would make us want to go through all the difficulties involved in being united in our church across cultural barriers? That’s not an easy thing. And the answer is really realizing that Jesus died for all types of people. All types of people are made in God’s image and that demands that all types of people have dignity, empathy, and love directed to them. And then lastly, thirdly, what would make us want to care about going where the gospel is not? Well, because we know that we are saved because God pursued us when we did not have the gospel, when we did not care about Him and when we deserved it the least. I think what Paul is saying at the core is that as Christians and as a church called to be on mission that the gospel is our fuel, that Jesus is our only hope and that the Holy Spirit is our power. And the more that that sinks inside of us, the more impactful we will be as leaders in our churches, and the more impactful our churches will be in this city and beyond. Let me pray for us as we enter into our discussion time. God, thank you so much for your word. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for the Apostle Paul who is lovingly, yet boldly saying things that the church doesn’t naturally want to hear. And may these things be true, increasingly true in lives as leaders in our churches and in our churches as we desire to impact this city and this world. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
20 minutes | May 13, 2021
Accepting People Who Are “Different”
What kind of people do you find it difficult to accept? Is it a personality type? Those with weak faith? People from different cultures and traditions? Or, maybe you’re the one from the different culture or the one with weak faith, and you feel like people judge you and look down on you. In this lesson, Patrick Morley will show you the key to accepting people who are different than you. You don’t have to be stuck in that rut of being annoyed by others. There’s an easy way out, and Paul wants to show you how. Hope to see you there. There is strength in numbers! Verses referenced in this lesson: Romans 15:7-13 DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript ROMANS 12-16: Putting Your Faith into Action Accepting People Who Are “Different” Rough Transcript Patrick Morley Patrick Morley: Good morning men, and welcome to another episode of The Man In The Mirror Bible study. I’m Pat Morley. So we’re going to do something a little different this week. I’m standing. We just did our first live Bible study this morning, after 413 days. And so now I’m recording that for you as well. And so I just thought I’d stand up and maybe see if some of the energy that I had this morning might come through the lens to you. If you would, turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 15, verse seven. The title of today’s message is accepting people who are different. Accepting people who are different. So what are the kinds of people that rub you the wrong way? It might be the person who’s the know-it-all, it might be the person who takes one fact and makes an entire case and extrapolates out that things are going to be like this for the rest of time, because of this little piece of information that they have, or maybe it’s somebody that takes obvious facts and passes them off as mere opinion or vice versa, or maybe it’s the kind of person, no matter what you say, they always want to disagree. They always want to argue. They always want to find the flaw in what you’re saying. Or it might be the kind of person that everything you say reminds them of a story and they just have to tell it. And so they interrupt you, I have the story, I need to tell you. And it’s always a long, long one. Or maybe it’s someone who gets upset when you don’t agree with them or you don’t give them what they want, or maybe it’s someone expects you to know what’s wrong, even though they are the only person in the whole world who could tell you what’s wrong, but enough about marriage. Let’s get into the talk. Accepting people who are different. First thing we want to talk about is ministry would be so easy if people weren’t involved. And there’s a reason for that. MINISTRY WOULD BE SO EASY IF PEOPLE WEREN’T INVOLVED Christianity is the most inclusive religion of all the religions. All religions, except Christianity are based on performance. Christianity is the only religion that allows people to come in without having to pass some sort of a test. All they have to do is embrace Christ. So that means that we are a mosaic. We are the church of spiritual immigrants. Everyone in our church is an immigrant unless they’re Jewish. So there’s this great mosaic of people that we have. Jesus shed his blood so that people from every tribe, language, people and nation could be saved. So we have brown, black, white, yellow, red, green people. We have people of every possible persuasion and the net result of that is that it creates a bit of a problem. And that is, is that all these people with all these differences, all these different personalities, all these different cultures and traditions, and some even who have weak faith, or maybe who have strong faith and look down at people with weak faith, or maybe you look down on somebody or somebody looks down on you because of a tradition or a cultural difference, when in reality it has nothing to do with the gospel. Well, that’s the problem that Paul is trying to solve in today’s text. Actually, he’s been talking about this for a couple of chapters now. Actually the whole book of Romans really deals with this. So, this situation, I talked about it at the very beginning and Jeremy covered it a little bit as well when he spoke. So there were Jews in Rome who had become Christians, probably because of Pentecost, bringing it back from Jerusalem, back to Rome, that spread. Well, the Gentiles heard about it and they wanted it too. So then there became Gentile Christians. So now you have Jewish and Gentile, Christians living in Rome. Then in about 49AD, the Jewish Christian got kicked out for a few years. When they came back, they tried to reintegrate their cultures together, but there were some differences and some conflicts. Things about what kind of food people would eat, and so on. And the net result was, is that three years after the Jewish Christians came back to Rome, Paul writes the book of Romans to help them sort through all of that. And here’s what he says in Romans chapter 15, verse seven. Now, summarizing several chapters. He writes in chapter 15, verse seven, agree with one another then, just as Christ agreed with you. Well, it doesn’t say that, does it? It says, accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you. Well, why doesn’t it say agree with one another? Well, because unity does not have anything to do with agreeing with one another, but it has everything to do with accepting one another. So people can be Democrats and Republicans, people be vegans and carnivores, people can be for immigration, against immigration. People can have all kinds of different points of view on all kinds of different things. And we still though, can be brothers and sisters by accepting one another. The call to unity is not the call to be in agreement with one another. And the next thing to talk about is why this matters today. Well, it kind of fits the situation, doesn’t it? We have all of these battles that are going on in our culture. Some are about theological differences, but a lot of them are just differences in cultures. For example, I don’t know if you are plugged into this, but there’s a tremendous skirmish going on between the generations. And I’m not talking about between Christians and non-Christian, I’m talking about within the body of Christ, all these different generational differences that are being stoked as being some kind of a problem. I frankly, I would like to get the name of the first person who ever came up with all these distinctions, like boomers and Xers and millennials. And I’d like to ring their neck, is what I’d like to do. It’s not useful. It doesn’t bring about unity. And Jesus says that we should accept each other. Paul says that we should accept each other just as Christ accepted us. And so what’s at stake? Well, here’s what’s at stake. If we don’t accept each other in all of the glory of the mosaic of the church of spiritual immigrants, if we don’t embrace each other and accept each other, not necessarily agree, but accept each other, then what happens? Well, we’re the insiders, the person who’s an outsider, they look at the insiders and they see the disunity and the bickering. And they say, well, if that’s what Christianity’s all about, then I don’t want any part of it. So, this is immensely important. There’s a lot at stake here. And so what’s the solution? It’s the Big Idea for the day. And here’s the Big Idea. Jesus accepts people of all types. So who am I, to say I won’t? Jesus accepts people of all types. So who am I to say that I won’t do so, the same way? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DO? Now, next, let’s talk about what happens when we do. A few things. First, when we live in unity, God is praised. In the verse, accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. So God is praised, and how is God praised? Well, when the insiders are living in harmony, and again, drawing the distinction between acceptance, not agreement, but acceptance, then the outside world looks in on that and Christianity is attractive. It’s the idea that… And I’d say, this is the secret of all my friendships too, is that I, for whatever reason, learned this lesson early in my journey, and I’ve had at one time or another, my best friends have been African-American who have completely different political views, and then another best friend, Jim, for 17 years, Catholic and very different in theology. But we did agree on the core things, faith in Jesus, loving God, loving one another, the great commission, the cultural mandate and the essentials. So, this is the basis for what brings praise to God, is when people who are different in this beautiful mosaic that he’s put together, people from every tribe, language, people, nation, for whom Jesus has shed his blood. When all of these people are living in unity together, then it becomes a witness to the outside world. And we see this as we read on in the text, verse eight, for I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs… Now, who were the patriarchs? Well, that’s Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and so on. And God made promises to them. And so Jesus is God’s servant so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and more over that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. And then the text goes on to cite for old Testament texts that affirm that the Gentiles were always going to be included in the gospel, but it was going to come through the Jewish community. And then the text ends in verse 13 with a great paration, may the God of hope, fill you with all joy and peace as you trust him so that you may overflow with hope, by the power of the Holy spirit. So, again, the Big Idea here then, this morning is this; Jesus accepts people of all types, the Jews, the Gentiles, and everybody in between. Jesus accepts people of all types, so who am I to say that I won’t? PRACTICAL STEPS THAT LEAD TO ACCEPTING OTHERS And then lastly, here are some practical steps that lead to accepting others. I think the first thing I’d like to talk to you about is just this idea of cultivating a gospel mind, cultivating a gospel mind. We live in an era where there are so many people who are bruised reeds. Jesus read the Isaiah’s passage when he was launching his ministry, in which he said, a bruised reed, I will not break. The verse also says, a smoldering wick, I will not put out. As I have gotten older… It’s a shame I have to die. I’m just starting to get the things figured out, but as I’ve gotten older, I noticed that how my whole approach has changed. This is the book, The Young Man In The Mirror, I’m in the process of updating it for a new generation of high school boys. And I was reading the introduction and listen to what I said. I said, you are going to be a man. This is, of course is inevitable. The question is, will you be a good one or a bad one? That’s the first sentence of the introduction. I can’t. I looked at that. I said, I can’t believe that I would talk to people like that. The question is, will you be a good one or a bad one? So the way to reword that, of course, is something like, the question is, what kind of a man will you become? But the idea of just having more of a gospel mind that is sensitive to the bruised reed and the smoldering wick, or to just encourage you to think about, how do you cultivate more of a gospel mind, that’d be a practical step that would lead to accepting others? So instead of seeing the differences, seeing the similarities. I know that when I meet someone, the first thing that’s on my mind is I wonder where this person is on their spiritual journey. I would call that a gospel mind, but you might be someone who, when you first meet someone, maybe you are salesmen and they’re a potential client, or maybe you’re in counseling, and so maybe you think that, I wonder what kind of… Is this person in an E N F J? What’s their Myers-Briggs profile, or what’s their Enneagram? Are they a challenger? Are they a peacemaker? What kind of a person are they? Or I wonder if this person… If you’re a `salesman, I wonder if this would be a prospect to buy my insurance or my real estate or whatever it is. And those are certainly good things to have. But the idea that I’m proposing here is just to cultivate a gospel mind, so that really the first thing that comes to mind is the eternal thing; where is this person on their journey? And then take it from there. Another practical step that I’d like to suggest to you is just, I just don’t see how we’re going to ever be able to accept people that we don’t know, and we don’t have a feel for. So eyeball to eyeball. That’s the second practical suggestion, just to get eyeball to eyeball with people and hear their stories. It’s so difficult to be against someone, once you get to know them, once you hear this story, what they’ve been through. I think that’s why I was able to develop such a close, personal friendship with an African-American man, very early in my spiritual journey. It’s just because we spent time together. We spent time together, that prompted us to start here in Orlando, a thing called the black white fellowship in 1980. I’m going to tell you, before we started that meeting, I was convinced I am not a racist. And then we started meeting and some of the black brothers, they would say these things. I’d say it out loud, and they’d say back to me, we were pretty frank with each other. I said, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Where would you get that idea? And they would push back similarly. And what we were trying to do is learn how to accept each other, right? Love each other, accept each other. Early on to be frank with you, I come in one time and say, well, they don’t like me. And the next time I’d come in, oh yeah, well, they do. They love me, they love me not. They love me, they love me not. But eventually, because we were eyeball to eyeball, eventually what happened was, is that we learned to accept each other and love each other, not agree with each other, but actually accept each other and learn how to appreciate the differences that we had. But we did that because of the gospel of Jesus. And so just this idea of being intentional, having some intentionality, to get to know people that might rub us the wrong way, who might be different than us, taking the time to actually hear their stories and get to know them a little bit. Another story. And I think maybe I’ll close with this one from this black-white fellowship. One of the men in the group was the pastor of one of the largest black churches here in central Florida. And another guy was a white guy who had started an urban ministry in the territory of this large black church. And so there was some friction there. So one day the white guy was talking out of his heart and the black pastor challenged the white guy, George Chappie was the pastor. Sierra Smith was the man. Challenged him, and they really went at it. They really went at it. And finally, the black pastor said, I just don’t understand where you’re coming from. And I’m having a hard time taking it. I’m having a hard time liking you. I’m having a hard time accepting you, but I’m committed to this process. And so we’re going to get lunch together, you and me. And I said out loud, a whole lot of lunches. And everybody laughed, but they did. And because they went eyeball to eyeball and they were intentional about it, they learned how to accept each other and became friends, and became friends. So with all of that in mind, I want to remind you the Big Idea for the day is this. Jesus accepts people of all types. So who am I to say that I won’t? Who am I to say that I won’t do what Jesus did? I want to encourage you, men, take this to heart, help lead the way. I want to be a leader. I want to help lead the way, I know you do too. Let’s take this to heart. Let’s pray. Jesus, our dearest father, Jesus, you’ve accepted us, and so we want to be men who accept others, not necessarily to agree with them, but to live in unity so that the outsiders might be attracted to what’s going on with the insiders and that your gospel might flourish. We ask you in Jesus name. Amen. Thank you, men.
20 minutes | May 6, 2021
Why is Building So Important?
What does it mean to build? Do you think of skyscrapers or assembling a project? What if I told you that what you build depends on the way you carry yourself before others? Throughout our days, we never know who is watching us, but yet, we have a responsibility to them. Join Khayree Pender to discover why and how we are to build up individuals around us. If you’re not already in a group, invite some men to watch the video and discuss the downloadable questions together. There is strength in numbers! Verses referenced in this lesson: Romans 15:1-6 DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript ROMANS 12-16: Putting Your Faith into Action Why Is Building So Important? Rough Transcript Khayree Pender Khayree Pender: Hello men in the mirror. Welcome to another men’s Bible study. I’ll be continuing to teach it from the book of Romans chapter 15, verses one through six. So if you have your Bibles with you today, how about you open up your Bibles and just read along with me. Chapter 15, verse one says this, we who are strong out to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good to build them up for even Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. So that through the endurance taught in the scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance, encouragement, give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. Last verse says, so that with one mind and one voice, you may glorify the God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ. Today, I’ll just be simply talking from a topic. Why is building so important? Men, if I can just have a moment just to tell you this. Reading this scripture, it has really opened me up. I can be honest and say that it really stunned me a little bit. Because just reading those few verses, it really gave me an eye opener on some things that I was falling short on. And that’s one thing about the word. That’s why I love it so much. It’s able to purge you and point out some specks and spots in our lives that we may be dealing with and show us how to deal with those things. So in here it’s just talking about building. And like I said today, we’ll be talking about why is building so important? And I was looking at the basic functions of building and it said this, that the basic function of building is to provide structurally and sound environmentally controlled spaces to protect occupants and contents. Here’s a great part. It says, if this basic function is not achieved, it is because some aspect of the building has failed. Can we take that right now just for a solid moment and look at our lives and see that the way that we’re living our lives, is it able to build and provide structurally sound controlled attitudes and mindsets for people? Or are we not achieving this because some aspect in our building, aspect of our lives has failed? Listen, when I read this scripture, I’m telling you, it just really put me into a place just like, wow, opened me up because I had really check to see what tools were I building with it, and what was I doing? And how am I building this? PLEASE (NOT ME, BUT HIM) So it brings me to our first bubble, as we begin to look at the scripture and the first bubble, which is simply called PLEASE, to please. Then you’ve got certain types of pleases, you got pleased when people feel as though that they’re begging, but then we have pleases as far as to please people. So when we look at the scripture, it says this, it says we who are strong ought to bear with failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Let’s just be honest. It’s easy for us to please ourselves. Why is it? Because that accomplishment, that goal, that thing that just happened, it builds us up. It gives us the self-esteem that we need. It gives us the confidence that we need to the point is that sometimes that we begin to build ourselves up. And we have brothers and sisters close to us that are weak in an area, or maybe failing and they may need it. But we’re too busy focusing on our strengths and not looking at what our brothers may need. So therefore we are boasting in ourselves and pleasing our own selves. We getting the gratification for ourselves and not trying to reflect and show our brothers and our family members, the ones that are connected to us, how they can advance their selves. Or if we can really help them with the strengths that we may have. And it says this, each of us should please our neighbors for their good to build them up. Each of us should please our neighbors. So when we do something good, it’s not so much of us. Hey, you know what, look what I did. Let me get through this. Look at our lives or pointing at our fingers at them. And some things that may have failed in. But how about we just take time out from glorifying ourselves, bragging on ourselves, or boasting about accomplishments, or things that we didn’t do, or things that may not affect us how they affect people and help them. We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak. As we begin to look at this, can you really look at it and say, you know what? I’ve been pleasing myself. I’ve been patting my own self on the back about making it through. Or escaping the trial, or getting advanced through another level of something that I’ve probably been tampering with. Or something that’s been battling me. Or something I’ve been facing. And here it is, I’ve made it through, was able to see that I made it through. But then I have people around me that may be dealing with things. How would it help them out, if I was able to make sure I go back and let them know, listen, this is what I did to get through it. These are the steps and things that I had to handle to make sure I got through. So as we begin to look at this as just the verses about the weak that are by us and pleasing ourselves. And then it says, each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. Why is building so important? So it brings me to my first question. It says this, are there individuals that you know who could immediately benefit from your strengths? And if you do know, what’s stopping you from helping them? That’s a great question. Are there individuals that you know who could immediately benefit from your strengths? And if so, what’s stopping you? And I’m going to be honest with you. When I said, I got purged a little bit from this, I knew what was stopping me. I’m just help you on that. I just didn’t know how they would take it. Who likes rejection. I don’t want them to reject me. Or I don’t want them to seem like that I’m boasting or telling them about it, but instead I need to help them. So are they individuals that you know who could immediately benefit from your strengths? And if so, what’s stopping you? And it brings me to our Big Idea. Let’s use our tools to build and not to break. Let’s use our tools to build and not to break. Why is building so important? Building is so important because it helps. It protects, it shows, but if something is not right it’s because there was something wrong with our building aspect. So as we begin to look at our scriptures and this story, or this passage of scripture, the next thing it tells me, which brings me to our second point, and that’s the past. PAST (HELP, NOT HURT) Let’s look at the past. And it says this. It says, for even Christ did not please himself as it is written, the insults of those had fallen on me. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us so that through the endurance taught in the scriptures and encouragement, they will provide with hope. So it says for everything that was written in the past was written to teach us so that through endurance, that’s taught the in scriptures, the encouragement that they provide, they may provide hope for us. So let’s just talk about it. We could talk about the past. So there’s two different ways that we could look at it. We could look at the past from being stuck in the past and upset sitting there and reflecting on things that we did. Or we can use our past as some type of way to encourage us as we begin to move on. Here, it says this. For everything that was done, all the insults. So we look at the past. We all have made mistakes in the past. We all have been faced with some things that we used it as a, it caused us to have it as a burden. And then some of us has used it as a great lesson for us to be able to ultimately be stronger. So as we begin to look at it, it tells us right. Jesus, it took all the insults, all those things, all the slander, all those things were taken in. You know what? So we don’t even have to worry about those things. And we can even begin to be built off the scripture and give us encouragement so that we may have hope. So we have to use our past. The past sometime can haunt us. Let’s really think about it. There’s some things in the past that I know I need to let go. That may haunt me, or may even stop me from progressing to even get into that next level. So we have to be able to look at this, but it shows us here that the past, we need to use our past as like a Slingshot. So it can catapult us to the next place or the next level that we need to be at. Because as we begin to look at it, we can’t let these things begin to haunt us and hold us back. We have to look at it. Tell us that it was written in the past. It’s done. So there’s some things that already happened. It’s done. And those things can sit there and reside with the word that was given in the past. And we can use those things that give us hope. So what is it that we’re looking at? We have to take it, let it be stronger. Let it causes us to be bold. Let it cause us to be able to reflect and not be haunted by this. But let it help us so that we can begin to face those things and not focus on other things that may not mean us, any type of good. So let’s look back at this again. For everything that was written in the past, was written to teach us so that through the endurance taught in the scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope. Everything that was written in the past. So that past correlates with our past. We have to understand and know that we have to used the past just like we’ll use the scriptures that is showing us. Hey, don’t let it haunt you, but let it help you. So you can begin to get yourself built up for what’s next. We have to understand and know. And the fact that you’re not defeated by your past helps you build the person that’d be next to you or listening. Somebody may be dealing with something or may even try to advance and, oh man, I want to try this. Or I want to do that. Something that may not have worked out well for us, we can’t talk down about it. But hey, how about this? I’ve tried it before. May not have some success from it, but I encourage you to try it and do it. Let’s not knock the people that’s close to us or hurt our witness by the things that we have dealt with or even seen. Or may not been able to be able to supersede through and not give them a proper chance to do it. So it brings my questions to us today. How have you used your past to help you in your present and prepare you for your future? That’s a great question. How have you used your past to help you in your present? Our current times, right now. We could reflect back on and see those things we didn’t like the feeling from it. And to also help you prepare for your future. Hey, you know what? I know what happened before, but I’m not going to do it. And I know how things will be on the up and coming times when I’m able to face it. So as we begin to look at it, so after all, just like our Big Idea says, let’s use our tools to build and not to break. Oftentimes we are equipped with tons of tools of life and characteristics, but we allow those tools sometimes to help us build each other up, help us build ourselves. Or we can ultimately use them to start breaking and tearing things down. We have to understand that we may be coming in contact with people that may not be believers. People that may not understand or even have faced those things. It’s not for us to break them down. It’s for us to build them up. Why is building so important? It’s a basic function. It helps for us to provide a sound and environmentally control area or space for people. But if those functions are achieved, it’s because some aspect of our building has failed. So as we begin to look where we are with our scripture and as we’re going up, it brings us to our last bubble, our last point, which is perseverance. PERSEVERANCE (ENCOURAGE AND ENDURE) As we begin to look at the scripture, it says, may the God who gives us endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ had. And here it is. So that with one mind and one voice, you may glorify God and the father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Listen, may the God who gives endurance and encouragement, give you the same attitude of mind. Perseverance. And what is perseverance? It just boils down too, doing something despite the difficulty or delay in achieving success. This scripture has really, really, really encouraged me and really like shook me up and purged me. Because just looking at the things, the pleasing, the past, and here now the perseverance not to knowing. And it’s also telling me that the scripture and God has given me the endurance and the encouragement, which correlates to me, breaks down the perseverance, doing something despite the difficulty or delay in achieving success. So the thing about perseverance, what I love this scripture is, success is at the end of the sentence. But we have to do something despite of the difficulty or the delay that it may bring us. It may not be instantaneous. It may not be one minute. It may take a long time. There may be stages and phases through it, but we can’t let it get in the way of us achieving our success. So, sometimes going through these things and building up people and also building up ourselves. We have to use them tools, not just building people, but also to, hey, do some refining work on our own selves. Sometimes it won’t feel good. Sometimes we may not immediately see the fruits of our labor. We may not see the works truly in its entirety at that point in time, but we cannot let the difficulty or delay block us from achieving our success. May the God who gives you an endurance and encouragement. So here it is. Going through whatever we may be facing, the mindset, the thoughts, the people, our surrounding, we have to make sure that we are applying the encouragement and the endurance. Because we have to make sure we pulling from our perseverance. So that we won’t let it get in our way, because guess what? There are men waiting on you to take a step. There are men waiting to hear your words, or your outplay, or your outlook on things. Your very words on someone going to take a step or a leap of faith, it may be dependent on the words or the way that you live, the way that you say it. So you have to make sure that your posture is right. You have to make sure that your mind is together. You have to make sure that you’re leaning on these things. That you know that you’ve made it through and came out with victory to be able to speak to these men. And after all, here’s a great thing that I even noticed. That even going through this, our posture speaks more than sometimes our words. We have to make sure that we don’t give up on those things. So it brings me to our last question. And the question is this, in our time of reflection, can you name a few times when you knew God was glorified in your perseverance? Just in your time of reflection. Right now if you take some time. Can you name just a few times when you say, you know what? I knew God was glorified in my perseverance. Why? Because I wanted to give up. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t see the outcome. And what I was facing, I didn’t see success at the end of it anywhere. But most of the time, sometimes, here it is. Our own selves, ourselves get in the way of ourselves. Ourselves get in the way of ourselves from achieving what’s already there for us. And it’s great because it tells us that the God gives you endurance and encouragement and give you the same attitude. That’s what it boils down to. We have to make sure that our attitude is right. We have to make sure that those things are aligned. We have to make sure that we’re pleasing. The way that we’re living, what we’re saying, what we’re doing, how we carrying ourselves. We have to make sure that we focus on the past, but don’t focus on the past. What do you mean? We’re focusing on the past, because I seen what happened before, and I know what I need to do to improve on myself and I’m not getting stuck in where I was as far as what the past was there for me. But I can also reflect back on the past of the scriptures that was already set before me. And tell me that was already done, I don’t even have to worry about it. Because why? For even Christ did not please himself, but it is writen the insults of those has fallen on him. It is written that the past was written to teach us. So the past is just simply written to teach us. The past in the scriptures and our past in our own lives, the story that we’re living. It’s just simply there to teach us. And here it is. Now, we have to make sure that we hold on and cling to our perseverance. Why? It may be a difficulty. It may get difficult. We may feel like we may be denied through the process, but we have to understand and know that success is at the end. So in your time of reflection, can you name a few times when you knew God was glorified in your perseverance? Because somebody watched you not give up. Somebody watch you not throw in the towel. Somebody watch you walk with your head high, even though you should’ve been walking with your head low. Where has God been glorified in that? It’s nothing but God that pulls you through, which brings us to our last Big Idea once again. Let’s use our tools to build and not to break. We have to be mindful of the tools that we possess. And we have to be mindful that some people that may not have encountered God, that may just be a lump of clay or mold waiting to be molded. And we have to make sure that we’re using the proper tools to build a foundational structure for someone. So as we keep ourselves together, why is building so important? It is because we have to please, we have to make sure that the past is there, and we have to make sure that we persevere. And our Big Idea tells us, let’s use our tools to build and not to break. Well men, if you will, do me a favor, just bow your head and close your eyes. And let’s just close with a word of prayer. Dear heavenly father, we thank you for this day. We thank you for our men. We thank you for blessing each and every one of us all today. Father, we don’t know what we may face. We know that we have faced some things and there’s some things that we may need to go back and face. But you told us in your scripture that you giving us the encouragement and the endurance to go on. So God we ask that you help us right now, God. We may be in a state or a place that we don’t know how to apply those things. We ask that you allow us to be keen to the voice of the holy spirit, say here, that when things come up, that we can focus on the words and encouragement. And give us the proper attitude and mindset to carry those things out. God, we know that building is important and we thank you. Continue to build in us on a daily basis. We thank you God, for everything that you’ve done and everything that you’re going to do. And you remind me in your precious name, that we believe in you and trust in you, Jesus Christ. Amen.
23 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
Is it OK for Christians to Drink Alcohol?
As Christians, we all come from various traditions that dictate what behaviors are appropriate for us to participate in. So if one brother thinks having a beer is fine, and another one thinks it’s a sin, what do you do? Join Brett Clemmer as he looks at Paul’s instructions to the Romans about eating and drinking – and the surprising identity of the stronger and the weaker brother. Ultimately, it’s not about eating and drinking, says Paul. So what IS it about? This one will provoke some great discussion. Grab some brothers and listen in. We’re stronger together! Verses referenced in this lesson: Romans 14:10-23 DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript ROMANS 12-16: Putting Your Faith into Action Is it OK for Christians to Drink Alcohol? Rough Transcript Brett Clemmer Brett Clemmer: Well, hey guys. Welcome to the Man in the Mirror Bible Study. We’re in part four of our series in Romans, Putting Your Faith Into Action, which covers Romans 12 to Romans 16. Last session, Jeremy Schurke, our Director of Mirror Labs taught on the first half of Romans chapter 14. And so in this session, we’re going to finish up that chapter. So grab your Bible and turn to Romans 14. Now, before you go any farther, I just want to say, if you have not watched or listened to last week’s lesson with Jeremy, I really would encourage you to stop this one and go back on the podcast a week, or go back on the website to the previous session. You’re going to want to hear that lesson. First of all, it’s a great lead-in for what we’re going to talk about in this session. And then secondly, Jeremy just did an excellent job. We’re really happy to have him on the team at Man in the Mirror. So Romans 14, at the end of last session, Jeremy gave us this quote from Augustine and that quote is that “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity”. And this was sort of Augustine’s way of talking about how we should get along with those around us. And this section of Romans, specifically last session, the first half of Romans 14, then this session with the second half of Romans 14, and the next session with Khayree is going to teach on Romans 15, the first part of Romans 15, they’re really dealing with how do we exhibit liberty and charity as brothers in Christ. In other words, to other people in the church, how should we be treating each other in terms of liberty and charity? So we’re going to look at these three points in this session. We’ll go ahead and put the slide up. Now first, why Christians shouldn’t judge each other. Secondly, liberty and restraint, a tale of two brothers. And then finally, two types of sin we should all be careful to avoid. So let me start by saying that I am a recovering judgment addict. I’m a judge-aholic, especially when it comes to other Christians. There’ve been times when I’ve looked at other Christians and judge them by their theology or their lifestyle or their behavior. And maybe you have this issue too. Sometimes you look at a brother in Christ and have you ever looked at a brother in Christ and thought, well, they’re not a very good Christian, they don’t believe the right things or act the right way or speak the right way? Man, they’re just not a very good Christian. And there’s times when that judgment may be valid, like if somebody’s teaching or saying something that absolutely contradicts scripture, we need to have the discernment to know that those things aren’t valid and maybe even out in a situation, especially if we’re trying to protect other brothers. But I think a lot of times our judgment don’t come from scripture. Our judgements come from our own personal preference or our own tradition, our own history, our upbringing. And so we’re not really looking at what the scripture says and dividing the Word for ourselves. What we’re really doing is we’re just judging somebody as a Christian based on what we like. So let me give you an example. You might say, “Oh, those megachurch people, all they care about is fancy lights and loud music. How can anybody worship God with all that noise going on?” Or, “Those fussy fundies, all they care about is rules and appearances. That’s all those fussy fundies care about.” Or, “That guy, how can he be a Christian and driving a fancy car like that and live in a huge house? I mean, Christians shouldn’t be this extravagant.” And so we judge people based on their lifestyle or the church that they go to, or the branch of theology that they believe in. And it’s not good, guys, but still, I have this tendency to judge other Christians by their specific beliefs or by their scruples, not because they’re necessarily wrong or contradict scripture, but just because they don’t sort of meet my own preference. And so this is exactly what’s going on in the Roman Church, that Paul is trying to adjust. So let’s turn to Romans 14, verse 10, and we’ll start with why Christians shouldn’t judge each other. WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULDN’T JUDGE EACH OTHER Paul says, starting at verse 10, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we all will stand before the judgment seat of God, as it is written. ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not pass judgment on one another, any longer.” So first let’s have a quick look at the structure here, right? Paul starts out with a question, “Why do you judge each other? Why do you stand in judgment of each other? Why do you despise each other?” And then basically makes a very simple argument. And then he gives a directive at the end, sort of a conclusion. So don’t judge each other. All right? So he makes it clear to these guys that what they’re doing, that they’re judging each other and that they shouldn’t be judging each other. Why does he say that? Well, if you watched last week, there were two groups of Christians in Rome. There were Gentile Christians who came from all kinds of different backgrounds, but they weren’t Jewish. And then there were the Jewish Christians. And so each of those two groups, they had different cultural backgrounds, different religious backgrounds. Some may have lived in Rome for many generations, and some may have been new to Rome. Some may have been kicked out of Rome and then come back. And so they’re bringing all of these different experiences and backgrounds into the church under this new system, this new belief system in Jesus, as the Son of God, Jesus, as the Christ, the Messiah. And so each group then was judging the other group based on how they were living the Christian life, looking at it though through the frame of their own experience and their own preferences, their own history. And Paul points out that, you know what, it’s not at the name of a Gentile Christian, or the name of a Jewish Christian, that every knee is going to bow. It’s at the name of God that ever knee’s going to bow. The only person that we’re going to confess to, is we’re going to confess to the Lord at the end of our lives. Each one of us is going to have to give an account personally to God. And so Paul says, really, when you look at it this way, guys, there’s really only one person that is the judge. It’s God. It’s nobody else, but God. He’s the only judge. That reminds me, have you ever seen those tattoos, “Only God can judge me,” and obviously that’s not true. We’ve all been judged by other people. So maybe the tattoo more appropriately would say, “Ultimately only God’s judgment counts.” That’s kind of what Paul’s saying here. It’d make a lousy tattoo. But that’s what Paul is saying here. Ultimately, guys, you can judge each other, but I’m going to give you some reasons why you shouldn’t here in a second, but the first one is this. When you are judging somebody, you are taking God’s place. It’s not a good place to be. And so he’s cautioning them against that. LIBERTY AND RESTRAINT: A TALE OF TWO BROTHERS So Paul then goes on to give another reason that Christians shouldn’t judge each other when it comes to living out their faith and it has to do with weaker and stronger brothers. So let’s look at the idea of liberty and restraint, a tale of two brothers, liberty and restraint, a tale of two brothers picking up in Romans 14 in the second half of verse 13. “But rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know, and then persuaded in the Lord, Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it’s unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good, be spoken of as evil. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” So how would you define the stronger brother and the weaker brother in the church? The stronger brother you might say is the one who lives a holy life, right? He diligently abstains from sinning by avoiding anything that might undermine his witness. He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t smoke. He doesn’t swear. He’s in church three times a week. He doesn’t hang out with any ungodly people. And in the Roman Church, this played out in the food that you ate since there was a good chance that the meat that you could buy in the marketplace had been sacrificed to idols as part of idol worship. And then those temples to the false gods would then sell the meat in the marketplace to make money for the temple. The Jewish Christians wouldn’t eat meat. And you can kind of understand that. Their thought process was probably something like, well, we don’t want to be seen as supporting idol worship, as supporting false gods in any way. So we’re not going to buy that meat from them. And the Gentile Christians, they didn’t see it that way, that this was just the way it had always been. They bought meat in the marketplace and some of that meat came from temples to false gods and some probably didn’t and it just wasn’t an issue to them. And so here you have a group of people that it’s a huge issue to, and a group of people that it’s not an issue to, as well. So in this situation, who do you think the stronger brother is? Well, I’ll bet you that Paul blew these folks away when he said to them that those who wouldn’t eat meat that may have been sacrificed to idols, those were the weaker brothers. Those were the weaker brothers. Why would he say that? Well, Paul is just echoing the vision that Peter had in Acts when a sheet was lowered down with all the animals on it, and some of those animals had been considered unclean in Israel. And God says, “No, I made these animals. All these animals are clean. I have made them clean.” And Paul says, in verse 14, “I know. And I’m persuaded in the Lord, Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself,” just because someone else has a false belief. In other words, in this case idol worshipers that has no power to make the meat unclean. And Paul, as a disciple who had been with God, he was convinced in his heart that food was not unclean. Only God can make that distinction, not an idol worshiper. An idol worshiper can’t make meat unclean. Only God can. And so that meat Paul said is unclean. So you might think, well, there you go, case closed, right? We’re all done. Well, not so fast, Paul says, because then he goes on to say that even though there’s no food that’s unclean in God’s eyes, that if a person believes it’s unclean, it’s unclean. So while acknowledging that he knows that it’s not unclean, Paul was also sort of allowing for a person’s conscience to be their guide, at least in these non-essentials. So the stronger brother understands that the liberty that he has in Christ, he has that liberty, but he also understands that the weaker brother also has liberty to live according to his conscience. He wants to live in a way that he feels in his heart is appropriate to honor God. And so, even though you are the stronger brother, you don’t see a problem with this meat being unclean. In your eyes only God can make the meat unclean, and it’s not unclean. So to this brother, it is unclean. And so you don’t want to cause him to violate his conscience, Paul says. And why? So here’s the real point he says. In verse 15, he says that if a brother will be grieved by your behavior, eating meat in this case, then you shouldn’t do it in front of them. Do not destroy the one for who Christ died, Paul says. He’s implying here that putting the weaker brother in that position, you may even influence him to go ahead and eat that meat and thus violate his conscience and thus undermine his relationship with God. And that’s on you, Paul says. Man, that’s pretty tough, right? And then Paul further says that your liberty in Christ, stronger brother is not the highest good. In verse 17 he says, “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but a matter of righteousness and peace and joy.” So when you cause a brother to violate his conscience, you’re undermining his righteousness. When you judge others for their conscience, you’re not bringing peace and joy. You’re bringing dispute and distress in the church. And so don’t cause a brother to violate his conscience and don’t judge a brother for his conscience. And so that brings us to our Big Idea for today. I should never allow my liberty to cause a brother to violate his conscience. I should never allow my liberty to cause a brother to violate his conscience. Not only do you potentially destroy the brother, Paul says, but he goes on to say, you can even destroy the work of God. And this is the church. So our guide for action then, according to verse 19 is to pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding, it says in the ESV, or building each other up. So that’s what we should pursue. We shouldn’t pursue like being right. We shouldn’t pursue like convincing somebody that we have these liberties, that it’s okay to do this or that, that they don’t think is right. Instead, what we should do is we should pursue peace. We should pursue building each other up. So don’t cause a brother to violate his conscience. Don’t judge a brother if his conscience puts restrictions on him, that your conscience doesn’t, if it’s not specifically something that’s forbidden or allowed by scripture. TWO SINS TO AVOID So Paul ends this section then, this part of Romans with a reminder that a man’s faith and beliefs are between him and God. And as a result then, there are two sins that we must avoid. Starting in verse 20, read with me, “Do not for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.” That’s the church. “Everything is indeed clean, but it’s wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. For whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” So here are the two sins to avoid. One, for the stronger brother. One, for the weaker brother. For the stronger brother, don’t cause a brother to stumble. He says, it’s wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It’s not good to eat meat or drink wine if that causes your brother to stumble. And then he says, your faith is between you and God. Like God’s going to convict you of the things that he wants you to do and the things that he doesn’t want you to do. So just keep that between you and God. You don’t need to impose your liberty or impose your beliefs on another brother in these areas like this. And then for the weaker brother, he says equally emphatically, don’t violate your conscience just because you see other brothers doing things that you’re not comfortable with. And this is his conclusion. Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. You don’t want to be convicted in your own heart of doing something that you, according to your conscience feel is wrong, Paul says. So what does that look like today? Well, one example that really strikes me today in the church, it has to do with alcohol. And that’s kind of why we titled this session, Is it okay for a Christian to drink alcohol? And there’s brothers who don’t believe alcohol in moderation undermines their faith in any way. They don’t think it undermines their relationship with God in any way. They enjoy having a glass of wine with dinner or having a drink with some friends. They may even cite Psalm 104:15 that says that God made wine that gladdens men’s hearts, right? But then there’s other brothers who, as a matter of conscience, believe that they shouldn’t partake in alcohol. It’s not something that they should drink at all. They never want their mind to be clouded. They don’t want to be a poor example to others around them. They may even cite Proverbs 20 verse 1 that says that wine is a mocker and strong drink is a brawler. And those led astray by them are unwise. So Paul’s point here is not that one is right and the other is wrong. But what he’s saying is behave in a way that promotes peace and building each other up. So if you’re among brothers and you enjoy a glass of wine or a Guinness, and everybody in that group feels the same way, you might go ahead and follow your conscience and say, yeah, it’s okay to have a drink with my friends. But if there’s a brother there who really believes that it’s wrong, who according to his own conscience, it’s going to undermine his faith, especially think about this, especially if he decides to violate his conscience to try to fit in, well, then you need to abstain in that situation. You need to say, you know what, I’m just going to have a ginger ale or a water. I don’t need to participate in this for the sake of my brother. And then think about it this way. What if that brother has had an issue with abusing alcohol in his past, that you may know about, or you might not even know that’s why he doesn’t drink. And so when you can come alongside that brother, you are pursuing peace. You are building each other up and think about it. If you have a brother who’s had an alcohol problem in the past, and he’s among a bunch of Christian guys, and they start popping open bottles of beer, and now he feels like, well, if I don’t have one, I’m not going to fit in. Well, no, you can be the stronger brother for him. You can come alongside of him and say, “Here, you want a ginger ale? I’m going to get a ginger ale too.” Or, “You want a soda? I’m going to get a soda too.” And you can provide strength to that brother. That’s what it means to build each other up. That’s what it means to pursue peace. So remember our Big Idea. I should never allow my liberty to cause a brother to violate his conscience. So let me give you one final word to wrap this up. And that word is love. Augustine’s famous quote ends, “In all things charity,” but you could easily substitute the word love for charity. In modern language, it probably captures the meaning of what Augustine was saying a little bit better. And you remember John 13:34 and 35, Jesus has washed the disciples feet. And then a little bit later, he says this, “A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you’re my disciples, if you love one another.” Love, love, love, love four times in two verses Jesus is emphasizing this. And guys, when it comes to liberty versus conscience, versus convictions, how should you act? You should act in a way that your brother knows that you love him and that you want to take care of him, that you don’t want him to violate his conscience, that you don’t want to undermine his relationship with God. So thinking back once more to Jeremy’s lesson from last week, I remember he said, “As men, we need to be willing to die to ourselves.” And when you have a belief that you have liberty and you choose not to exercise that liberty for the sake of your brother, that’s dying to yourself a little bit. And let’s be honest, sacrificing your freedom in one situation to help your brother be true to his conscience, that’s not much of a sacrifice. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s just love. Let’s pray. Well, Father, thank you, again, for your word, for the power of Paul’s teaching, for his desire to see the church in Rome unified, for brothers to take care of each other, to allow for each other’s weaknesses, to pursue peace and mutual building each other up. Lord, would you help us to pursue those things, Father, in the church with our brothers that we would pursue love and joy and righteousness in all of our relationships, that we would never, Father, allow our liberty to cause a brother to violate his conscience. Lord, we love you. Help us to follow you closely and help us to live out your love for us as we live amongst our brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen. Thanks, guys.
28 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
The Secret To Uniting The Divided Church
In the days of the early church, Rome was a lot like America is today. It was a melting pot of different people with different experiences and traditions, trying to live together as one country. The newly formed body of Christ reflected this diversity and struggle as well. The Jewish Christians clashed with the Roman Gentile Christians because they represented two tribes under Christ: one that reflected Jewish traditionalism and one that rejected it. In this lesson, Jeremy Schurke speaks directly to this division in the body of Christ and reveals how Paul’s message to the Christians in Rome could not be more relevant to us today. Join us to find out how you can unite any group of believers no matter how diverse their opinions and experiences! Want to go deeper? Gather with some other guys in person or online to watch the video and discuss the downloadable questions. We will always be stronger together. Verses referenced in this lesson: Romans 14:1-9 DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript ROMANS 12-16: Putting Your Faith into Action The Secret To Uniting The Divided Church Rough Transcript Jeremy Schurke Jeremy Schurke: Amen. Welcome to The Man in the Mirror, Bible study. I’m a new guy. My name’s Jeremy Schurke. I recently was hired by Man in the Mirror to run Mirror Labs, which is a R&D initiative, to better understand guys in their 20s and 30s and help them move closer to God and others. Pat asked me if I would do one of his revered lessons in his Bible study. And I think this Bible study is older than me, and so I was honored to be asked, and I’m glad to be with you guys today. And hopefully you’ve been doing this for a while and you know that we’re in Romans, we’re in part four of four sections of Romans, the putting your faith into actions. And today we’re going to be going over Romans 14, one through nine, which I’ve titled, The Secret To Uniting The Divided Church. Because I’m jumping in here kind of in the middle of this thing, I want to kind of do a quick recap and context of where we are in Rome, what this letter from Paul is saying and why it’s so needed. So apparently, Claudius was hearing about this Christus guy in the synagogue who was causing a lot of havoc amongst the Jews. And some of the Jews were forming into this new sect of Christus followers, and he didn’t like that, so he banned all the Christian Jews in Rome, and then the Gentile Christians were kind of in charge of the church there. After Claudius died, the ban was lifted and all these Christian Jews come back. Whenever there’s two or more groups that have different backgrounds coming together, well, there’s bound to be conflict, right? We as humans, we feel comfortable around people that are like us and people who are different. It causes to ask questions and it causes difficult conversations. And usually if there’s two different groups, at least one feels out of place. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt out a place. I went to Cuba two years ago with some friends, we decided we’re going to go to Cuba for 24 hours. I don’t know why. I don’t know whose idea, but when you’re with friends, you just let it rip and this will happen. So, the moment we touched on the ground in Havana, we stayed 24 hours and got on a plane to leave and come back. And during this trip we were traveling, I think in west Havana, we saw this museum and one of the cool, classic cars and the taxi. And all of a sudden I had this odd feeling come over me that I was out of place because at this museum, there was a downed American plane out on the steps in front of the museum. It wasn’t even in the museum. And it was from the Bay of Pigs. It was a weird sensation, right? Like, oh, we’re not friendly nations, we’re kind of hostile to each other. And it made me think of several other things about how maybe some people come to America and see our museums and our prized victories and how that might even make them feel. And I get it. We like our traditions. We have a lot of rich traditions and people, all people, hold fast to what they know, their traditions. And in some ways this is great. There’s a lot of great traditions that we need to hold on to. Remembering and honoring the past is something that we should do more often, I think, but not all traditions are great traditions. And the question is, what if people’s traditions are at odds with each other, or even worse? What if they’re at war with each other? So, that’s what kind of makes this passage that we’re going to go over today, so relevant, because Rome is a lot like America and America is a lot like Rome. There’s a lot of different people and a lot of different traditions under one country, even in ours. We have people that celebrate black history, we have people that celebrate confederate history, we have people who have an immigrant experience, we have people who have deep American family ties and all of these people are living in this country, which is truly a giant experiment. Can we actually do it? And lately, I would have to say our differences are kind of flaring up and being more divisive than normal, but that’s not just in culture. That’s also within the church ranks. Right now, I would say, there’s two different camps. There’s one that reflects traditionalism, Christian traditionalism rather. And then there’s another one who rejects it. So the two major camps in the Christian Church today are ones that reflect Christian traditionalism and then one that rejects it. And when we look over the passage today, we’re going to see the same thing, that there’s nothing new under the sun, right? In this passage, we see two camps here. We have one that reflects Jewish traditionalism and then one who rejects it. So again, what Paul’s telling these Christians in Rome, can’t be more relevant to us today. So before we get started and I read, I’m going to pray for us, and we’ll get going. God, thank you for anybody who’s watching this. I hope that you give them ears to hear and give me words to speak, and that your truth and your wisdom and your love reigns over this video and over the conversations it produces. Thank you for giving us your word and letting us be able to reflect and dissect and apply it. It’s in your name, we pray, Jesus. Amen. All right. Romans 14 one. Where am I going to go first? Through three. We’re just going to go through it slowly and surely. Except the one whose faith is weak without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything but another whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. Ouch! Vegan burn. Are the meat lovers rejoicing in your group? Well, let’s keep reading. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt, the one who does not. And the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. All right, what’s going on here? As you know, the Jews in the old Testament, they had some rules that God laid down about clean and unclean meats. And these, once repelled, Christians who were Jewish from Rome left, came back and had their same traditions that they’ve had for thousands of years, right? And they’re getting together with these new Gentile, Christians who don’t have any rich tradition with clean and unclean foods. And these Jewish Christians, they’re in Rome. They’re looking at this idol factory of Roman gods thinking that all this food is sacrificed to the Roman gods. And I’m sure they’re looking around saying there cannot be one clean piece of meat in the city. In fact, I think it would be better for us to just eat vegetables full time, than to maybe mess up on eating clean needs and unclean meats. So I think the intent there was, we want to honor our Lord and we’ll sacrifice meat, so we don’t even care anymore. It’s important to remember that the Jews are in a period of transition. Their whole world is being turned upside down. Their Messiah came, Jesus, the ones who believe this is the Messiah, who totally gave them a mind-bending new way to look at reality and at life. And they’re in this transition of trying to figure that out. You might be thinking, how does this apply to us today? Well, I used to live in Haiti. I was a missionary in Haiti for a while. And while I was down there, there were times when voodoo priests would bless goat meat and offer it to me as food. So I ask you, if a voodoo priests blessed meat to their voodoo gods and say, hey, eat this. What would you do? I’m going to tell you something, I’m weak. Okay? Maybe it was, my stomach was weak, maybe it was my faith, maybe was just me. But I was like, that looks great. How about we give it to someone else that they’re maybe more hungry than me. Okay. It’s an interesting situation. When I initially read this section, it says, these people are weak because they don’t eat meat. I don’t know, my knee jerk wants to say, well, if they’re weak and the other side has to be strong by implication. And a lot of commentators, a lot of people who divide this section up, they call it the weak and the strong, the problem is, when you read all nine verses, I don’t see where Paul calls anybody strong. In fact, you have a side where there’s these meat lover Gentiles, who are treating the veggie lover Jews with contempt. And then you have the veggie lover Jews that were totally judging the meat lover Gents, and both were wrong, and therefore, both are actually weak in the faith. My eyes, my heart, my mind were conditioned upon first reading to see a right side and a wrong side. And not only that, guess whose side I saw myself on? I never seen myself on the wrong side. Whenever I see a wrong side, I say, oh, okay, well, I’m going to be on the right side. I’m going to do this. And when you do that, like me, it’s very easy to judge the other side. So when you’re saying, well, where are the strong guys, I’m on the right side, you guys step the game up, you’re not doing well. And I tend to live out of this assumption. I don’t know about you. That I’m right. That’s my knee jerk reaction. I am right. I’m always right. And this is a very American tradition. And therefore judging is actually, probably one of our favorite national pastimes as Americans, that we’re on the right side of history, you need to step your game up. So I’ll be the first to admit this, that I am much quicker to judge than to try to understand. So verse four is for me. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master servant stand or fall, and they will stand for the Lord is able to make them stand. WE TEND TO JUDGE AND REJECT BELIEVERS WHO ARE DIFFERENT THAN US Here’s point number one, today, we tend to judge and reject believers who are different than us. When we see people who are different, even believers of the same God, we tend to judge them and push them away and reject them because they’re different. Now, why is this a problem? I’m going to go over three reasons, very quickly. And here we go. Number one, God judges our judgments. Jesus says, judge not, that you be not judged, for with the judgment you pronounce, you will be judged, and with the measure you use it, it will be measured to you. We all need to be extremely careful about what and who we pronounce judgment on. Number two, not only does it interrupt or is a problem between us and God, it’s a problem between God’s people, because we become agents of division within God’s people. I’ve often thought about this. Why is it so hard for the church to work together? The local church. Why is it so hard for us to come together? We have this in-house territorial, sheep-snatching mentality with each other. And they’re all too common, right? We see it all the time, that we don’t actually put our own kingdoms down and kind of work together. And it’s sad and it reflects a much bigger problem within Christianity and the church. And that’s that we treat others with contempt and judge other Christians that are different and it divides us, and that’s a problem. And we see this, Paul says this in Titus, he says, for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful. He is self condemned. It’s no mystery that our culture is bitterly divided right now, amongst multiple lines, right? And the truth is, I think the American church has a lot of deep reflecting and repenting to do in actually aiding culture into divisiveness. We haven’t really modeled anything different for them. We’ve actually done the same thing and then aided them into being more divisive, which leads me to my last point, which is it’s an issue between us and God. It’s an issue with us in church, and it’s an issue with people outside of church, because we harm the testimony of Christ. The number one way we would ever trust a message that God has for us, and that God loves us, is by the actions of the messenger himself. Jesus’ prayer for all believers was this. My prayer is not for them, the apostles alone, I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, father. Just as you are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one I in them and you and me, so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that have sent me and have loved them, even as you have loved me. We need to ask ourselves some really difficult questions as a church, of why we’ve been in decline, year after year, decade after decade, of people leaving. Because today people, men in particular, they’re not only leaving the church, those outside the church are seeing less and less reasons to be a part of the church. And at the end of the day, guys, people don’t specifically care that much about our worship service. Everything is a hollow shell of the organizational church, if the center core is not built on true relationships, where people feel cared for, where they don’t feel judged, where they feel accepted, where they feel embraced, where they feel like they have time to change. And if they don’t feel that, then we need to ask ourselves, do we feel cared for? Do we feel accepted? Why can’t we relay what we feel? Maybe because we don’t feel that at all. Let’s move on. Five and six. One person considers one day more sacred than another, another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day especial, does so to the Lord, whoever eats neat, does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God, and whoever abstains, does so for the Lord and gives thanks to God. What’s the special day here? A lot of commentators think it’s referring to the Sabbath. The Sabbath is normally a day of celebrating and feasting, but the Jews and Rome actually appear in historical, records to have kept it a day of fasting, instead, to remember that both in 63 BC and 37 BC, it was on the Sabbath that Jerusalem fell to the Romans and its defenders were taken into captivity. So today, I’m mourning for them in remembrance. And it kind of be like, if a Hawaiian Christian lived in Japan and they once a year, we’re celebrating or not celebrating, but remembering at least, Pearl Harbor and remembering family and friends and the Christians were like, hey, every day is the same here guys. If this isn’t a special day in the kingdom of God, that day doesn’t matter. Well, does it? When you think through it, it’s tough, it’s complicated. We can kind of see both sides here, right? And you know what? That’s what Paul says. He says, each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Because, Paul is telling us that at the end of the day, point number two, God cares more about your more motivation than your action. GOD CARES MORE ABOUT YOUR MOTIVATION THAN YOUR ACTION He says this, whoever regards one day as special, does so to the Lord, whoever eats meat, does so to the Lord, for they give thanks and whoever abstains, does so to the Lord. Now, while Jesus wants our unity, he’s not asking for cultural conformity. Diversity in the body of God literally is one of the biggest testimonies to God’s reality and the power of the gospel. In first Corinthians, it says, if the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. Unity and diversity should co-exist in the people of God. Both then, should coexist in the people of God. Thinking about this, what the easiest solution in Rome would have been, as these Jewish Christians and these Gentile Christians are kind of clashing on just how to actually functionally live out the Christian life? They could have just split into two churches, right? That would have been literally the easiest thing, to just drop it, split into two, we got first church of the carnivores and then rooted church, plant-based experience, that they both can go do their thing. Would I have liked to visit both churches? Definitely. I would love to see what that kind of fleshed out to be, but that’s not the point. The point is, that didn’t happen. They took a harder way. It just comes down to the point, the easiest way is division, avoidance, judgment. But if you look at the motivation, if their motivation is to honor God, then we can agree to disagree, and embrace one another. And there’s a lot of questions like that, even in the church today. Like, can someone get tattoos and do so for the Lord? Can someone watch an R rated movie and do so for the Lord? Or drink alcohol, or smoke a cigar, or dye their hair purple, go out, dancing, use the Message translation, can they vote differently? Can they champion a specific set of human rights? Can they drive an expensive car? Can they do all that and do it for the Lord? The answer is yes. Does that mean that’s always the case? Absolutely not, but it is a possibility. So we have to look at their motivation, because at the end of the day, what you do matters less than why you do it. So whatever we do, we’re either doing it for the Lord or we’re doing it for ourselves. That’s basically what you can boil it down to. And if someone says, hey, I’m doing this for the Lord and it’s not a sin, well, accept them, give thanks to God for them. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourself alone. If we live, we live for the Lord. If we die, we die for the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord for this very reason, Christ died and lived so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. Paul is basically saying, stop trying to be God to one another. That’s not your role. Your role is not to be God to one another. There is one God, and you’re not it. It’s the Lord of the dead and the living. And guess what? It’s not you. So interestingly here, in seven and eight, we got, he lives, dies, live, live, die, die, live, die, but then in nine, he flips it and says died and lived, dead in the living. Why do you think Paul didn’t say, the living in the dead? Earlier in the sentence too, Christ lived and he died. He didn’t. He said death first and then life. I think is because he’s modeling something of the Christian life, which brings us to point three today, which is, strong men die to themselves, to live for God’s people. STRONG MEN DIE TO THEMSELVES TO LIVE FOR GOD’S PEOPLE We have to die to ourselves, to live for God’s people. The only difference between truly weak and strong men is that one relies on their own strength, and one relies on the strength of Christ. Christ’s strength was on full display on the cross. We all know that. Christ died and lived so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. The strongest man ever died. So strong that he conquered death and he raised, and he ascended and he is living right now, so that the dead and the living are under his Lordship, his judgment. He went first and now we are to model our life after Christ to die to ourselves, to live for the benefit of others. The Lordship of Jesus is the foundational truth for unity in a body of diverse opinions, because here’s the Big Idea, guys, God’s church is bigger than yours. Whatever you think the church is, God’s church is bigger than that. It’s bigger than yours. And God loves his church. He loves every single, unique, eclectic member in it. And God loves when we are one, as the Trinity is one. As David said in the Psalms, how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity. So here’s the secret to uniting a divided church. You need to look in the mirror. This is called Man in the Mirror. You need to look in the mirror, and you need to repent on how you are judging other Christians. That’s the first step. You need to repent about how you’re judging other Christians. And then the next step is to start examining the underlying motivations of why you’re doing what you’re doing and why other Christians are doing what they’re doing. Is it to honor the Lord, or is it to honor yourself? And finally, to move forward in life, we need to die to ourselves to truly live. And God says, when we die to ourselves, we can truly live through relationship with him and loving and serving others. The easiest and one of the most ungodly things we can do is surround ourselves with like-minded church members. We do not aspire, or some people do. I would say, please do not aspire to live in an echo chamber of similar views, experiences and perspectives. It will lead you to become opinionated, closed off, intolerable and normally, incorrect. And you will craft a life around justifying yourself to condemn others. That’s one option. The other option, the better option, the hardest, and one of the most godly things we can do, is surround ourselves with a diverse group of believers, to aspire, to live in a kingdom, not an echo chamber, with different experiences, different perspectives, different views. And this will lead us to become curious, welcoming, charitable, and normally, gracious. And we will craft our life around seeking God to love others. At the end of the day, I think this quote by St Augustine’s really good, really helpful. In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, charity, our Liberty in all things, charity. Let’s pray. God, we want to be your people, first and foremost. We want to be under your reign. We want to be under your lead as our father, as our king, and we want to honor you. We want to live holy in your sight because we know that you’ve designed life to be the best and function the best under your Lordship. And today we are cultural in the sense that we judge very quickly and we do not seek to understand others that are different than us, even within your church. And so we want to repent in the ways that we hold other believers with just a view of being contempt. And then also that we judged them secretly or openly. That is not the way that you’ve called us to be. You called us to be united. You called us to be diverse. Help us today, to realize that our actions matter less than our motivations, and you care about our hearts a lot more than what we can provide and do for you. Help us to see that in others too, and help us to die to ourselves. It’s a thing that we hear all the time, but we are called to die to ourselves. And sometimes we do that begrudgingly, but what’s the other option? To live for this world? Because, it’s not fulfilling. And so dying to ourselves is the most fulfilling thing we can do. To die into our own opinions and our own perspectives for your glory and for your kingdom, is the most fulfilling thing we can do, and help us to do that so that we can then live for others, to serve others, specifically, the people that you love and adore. Help them have fruitful conversations. Thank you for this time. In your name, we pray, Jesus. Amen. Thanks, guys.
22 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
The Top Priority of Jesus, Peter, and Paul
Do you not suffer fools easily? Do you find it hard to be forgiving when someone doesn’t meet your expectations? Are you impatient with people who are not as smart as you? You probably already know what you shouldn’t do. But how can you turn it around? In this lesson, Patrick Morley will show you God’s top priority for every situation, 5 reasons to react with more love, and several ideas to cultivate love as your first and best reaction to every situation. Join us for insights to emulate Jesus, Peter, and Paul! Want to go deeper? Grab some guys, watch the video, and then gather in person or online and discuss the downloadable questions. There is strength in numbers! Verses referenced in this lesson: Romans 13:8-14 DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript ROMANS 12-16: Putting Your Faith into Action The Top Priority of Jesus, Peter, and Paul Rough Transcript Patrick Morley Patrick Morley: Hello. Men. Welcome to another episode of The Man in the Mirror Bible Study. I’m Pat Morley. Today, we’re going to be looking at; The Top Priority of Jesus, Peter, and Paul. We’re in a series, Putting Your Faith Into Action, from Romans chapters 12 through 16. Today, we’re in Romans chapter 13, starting at verse eight, if you want to take a look at the verses with me. Let me ask you, are you the kind of person who doesn’t suffer fools easily? Are you the kind of person who finds it difficult to be forgiving when other people are not meeting your expectations? Do you become impatient with others when you feel like you’re the smartest person in the room or you’re smarter than they are, or maybe think you’re smarter than they are? Well, if you have any of those kinds of things going on, you already know what you ought to be doing. The question is, how do you turn it around? That’s what we’re going to be answering today. GOD’S TOP PRIORITY FOR EVERY SITUATION So the first circle that we are going to look at is God’s top priority for every situation. We’re going to read from Romans chapter 13, verse eight, Paul writes, “Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another. For whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” What law is that? Verse nine, the law of being referred to as this, “The commandments you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and whatever other command there may be are summed up in this one command, love your neighbor as yourself.” So the law that Paul is talking about is the 10 Commandments. What does it mean to fulfill the law? It means to, I just looked up some of the thesaurus words for fulfill, it means satisfies. It means achieves, keeps, meets, observes. All of these are ideas of what happens to the 10 Commandments when we love one another. Pretty remarkable, isn’t it? So there’s a principle here that we see, and that is really to owe no man anything but love. In fact, the new American Standard Version of the Bible says, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.” And where did this originate, this idea of love being the main thing? It originates in Jesus. Jesus said in John chapter 13, verses 34 and 35, “A new command I give you, that you love one another. All men will know you are my disciples if you,” what, “love one another.” Then Peter said in First Peter chapter five, verse eight, he says, “Above all,” that’s pretty high, “above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.” And then we see a parallel passage for Paul in Galatians, chapter five, verses 13 and 14, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law,” there it is again, fulfilled, “the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command, love your neighbor as yourself.” In fact, the message, the paraphrase says, “For everything we know about God’s word is summed up in a single sentence, love others as you’d love yourself.” That’s an act of true freedom. So there’s something here that’s pretty obvious, something we learn uniquely from this text is that the 10 Commandments can be summed up in love. Love is a proxy for the 10 Commandments. I think it’s the Living Bible says, “If you keep this one law, you will find that you are keeping all of the others.” So we learn uniquely that keeping this law of love means that all of the 10 Commandments will be fulfilled. And what’s obvious here is that if you are the kind of person who does not suffer fools readily, if you are the kind of person who finds it difficult to be forgiving when people are not meeting your expectations, if you do find that you’re impatient when you’re smarter than the other person that you’re talking to, let’s say you really are, you’re smarter than the other person, that there’s a rule that you can apply that will set things right. It’s the top priority of, we saw Jesus and then Peter, and then here in Paul, and that is the law of love. So here’s the Big Idea for the day, the Big Idea, Cultivate love as your first and best reaction to every situation. So whatever situation you find yourself in, whether it’s a temptation to pride, to anger, to disappointment, to feeling let down, if it’s something that has to do with a temptation of the flesh, the pride of life, the worries of this life, whatever it is, that whatever situation you come upon, let your first reaction and your best reaction be love. The Big Idea, Cultivate love as your first and best reaction to every situation. First reaction, yes. And best reaction, why do I say best reaction as well? Because it’s not going to be your only reaction. And why do I say cultivate? Because it’s an idea that you are going to find continued resistance from the world, the flesh, and the devil to this idea. But it is the first of the fruits of the spirit, which are love, joy, peace, and so on. And I don’t think it’s any accident that it’s the first one, because this is the top priority of God for every situation. FIVE REASONS TO REACT WITH LOVE So the second thing then we want to talk about today, five reasons to react with love. I’m going to give you five reasons to react with love. Let’s go ahead and continue to read in our text. Verse nine said that everything’s summed up this one command, love your neighbor as yourself. It goes on, love does no harm to a neighbor. Well, who is your neighbor? Well, a neighbor comes from the word near. So basically, a neighbor is somebody who is near you. It can be anyone. A neighbor is really anyone in the Bible, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Basically, your neighbor is anybody whose need you see whose need you are in a position to meet. And what does it mean to do them no harm? It means no harm in thought, word, or deed. So just don’t withhold anything from anybody when it’s in your power to act, because God’s top priority is love, and love doesn’t do any harm. Proverbs 3:27 puts it this way, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to act.” I remember one illustration of Jim Seibert, the former administrator of our Bible Study for 17 years. He approached me one day. We used to go to a movie and have lunch every week on Fridays. One day, he approached me and he was almost trembling, and then he said to me, he said, “I need to talk to you about something. Is that okay?” And I said, “Well, of course.” He said, “When you speak, you will take your shirt sleeve and wipe your nose.” Well, I had no idea I was doing that. I have a runny nose all the time. I’ve always had a runny nose all the time. That’s why I carry a Kleenex with me at all times, because I never know what my nose is going to run. But I was doing that in the middle of a talk, multiple talks. And so he had thought about this for months about whether or not he would have the courage to tell me. That an act of love. He was wanting to make sure that I did a better job. So it was an honest, it was a difficult, and a frank conversation. So if you want to do no harm to people, not only is it what you leave them alone to do, but it’s also that willingness to have those difficult frank and honest conversations with them. Not having them maybe harming that person. If Jim hadn’t told me that, who knows how many hundreds of men I went to run off with that bad habit. So the next thing then we see here is in verse 11 it deals with the brevity of life. Paul goes on to write, “And do this,” meaning make love your first reaction and best reaction in every situation, “and do this understanding the present time. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer than when you first believed. The night is nearly over. The day is almost here. So it’s to understand that life is an inch, life is an inch, and so when we don’t suffer fools easily and when we are impatient and when we are not easy to forgive, we’re not acting in light of eternity and we’re not acting in light of the brevity of life. So the first reason to react with love is because we don’t want to be doing any harm. The second reason is because of the brevity of life. Paul goes on in verse 12, “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension, and jealousy. Well, the third reason we see, of course, the first reason is we don’t want to do any harm, the second reason, to react in love is because of the brevity of life, the third reason is that we want to remember that we have all been there too. These words, “Let us behave decently, not carousing, drunkenness, sexual immorality, debauchery, dissension, jealousy, a lot of things that frankly Christians are involved in, and a lot of people, especially the generation in their 20s and 30s, there’s a lot of de-churching that’s been going on because of Christians living this way. The devil in the flesh here, they don’t mind if you become a Christian as long as you keep living like you’re not. So make a change here. Remember what you were like. I remember myself that I perhaps knew the things that I were doing, the sins that I were doing were not exactly right, but I just didn’t think they were really that big of a deal. And frankly, a lot of the things I do, I thought were cool. I remember being in a fraternity and I remember going to a fraternity party and getting drunk, getting drunk regularly, frankly, and I remember one night we had hired a band and I got drunk and I stood up and I sang with the band. I mean, I belted it out. Well, that was the debauchery, that was drunkenness, that was carousing, but I thought it was cool. Well, one reason to react with love is that people who are not in Christ don’t feel the same way about their sins as you do now, and that’s why it’s important to remember, so we have these reasons to react in love. And the fourth one is to remember that love is the most powerful force in the world. Verse 14, “Rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Love is the most powerful force in the world. I have a lot of darlings. My calling is to take God’s message of love to a broken generation. That’s my calling from God. So I have a lot of darlings that I was eager to just flood this talk with those sentences and those ideas. I wanted to give you a fresh talk, and so I’m not doing that, but I did have to come to this idea of reminding all of us that love is the most powerful force in the world, and we get that by clothing ourselves, with the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s how we don’t think about the desires of the flesh. Love is the glue that holds us together and the oil that keeps us from rubbing each other the wrong way, and of all the forces that can be resisted, the most difficult for us to resist is love, because love is, in fact, the most powerful force in the world and we get it by being clothed with Jesus Christ. And then the fifth idea. So we’ve talked about doing no harm. We’ve talked about the brevity of life. We’ve talked about remembering. We’ve talked about love being the most powerful force. The fifth reason to react with more love is because there is an endless supply of love when you have the Holy Spirit. Every time you give away love, he gives you more love in return. When we brought our second child, John, home from the hospital, our first child, Jen, our daughter, was three years old. When we brought John home, both sets of grandparents were at the house and maybe some other family members too. And everybody was just oohing and awing and cooing over little John, because he was so cute. And Jen was there. And after an hour or two of everybody making over John, and frankly, because of the circumstances, not paying much attention to Jen, Jen with a very innocent, the big smile that she had, but very innocently came in and asked me matter of fact, she says, “Daddy, now that we have John, does that mean that you don’t love me anymore?” And God you did give me the exact right words to say to her. I took her in my arms and, of course, everything in the entire room, everything stopped in its tracks when Jen asked that question, because everybody had heard it. And I picked up Jen and I held her and I looked her deeply in the eyes and I said, “Oh no, honey.” I said, “In our family, because of Jesus, we have lots and lots of love. We have lots of love for John. And we have lots of love for Grandma and Grandpa Cole. And we have lots of love for Grandma and Grandpa Morley. And we have lots and lots of love for mommy and lots of love for daddy. “And then we have lots and lots of love for you too. And then, guess what? After we’ve given all that love away, we have lots of love leftover to give away to other people too.” She said, “Oh, okay.” And then she was satisfied and she wanted to be let down, and she went about her business. The fifth reason to react with love is because there is an endless supply of love. You don’t have to hoard it. The more you give away, the more you get back in return. Isn’t that beautiful? The Big Idea today is, cultivate love as your first and best reaction to every situation. IDEAS TO CULTIVATE LOVE AS YOUR FIRST AND BEST REACTION Finally, a few ideas to cultivate love as your first and best reaction. You’ve heard that, you’ve probably tried it out, the idea of counting to 10 before you react in anger. But I think I’d like to suggest that you count to 10 and then ask yourself, what voice is it that is speaking to me right now? This is from the Four Voices Series, and now the Four Voices book that’s coming out. Is this the world, the flesh, the devil, or the Holy Spirit? Figure out which voice is speaking, and then take control of the conversation. Be intentional. Let your reaction be formed by how you answered that question. Is this the world, the flesh, the devil, or the Holy Spirit? On a real practical level, when you are getting ready to send an email and you’re talking about somebody that you’re having a problem with in that email, don’t physically do this, but picture yourself putting that person that you’re talking about on the copy list, that they’re going to receive a copy of that email. You could say tough things, but don’t say anything about that person you wouldn’t be willing to say to their face. That’s putting love into action as your reaction, your first and your best reaction. Or when you are talking about somebody, two of you getting together, it’s so easy to form triangles against the third person. But if you’re looking for a way to react in love, it’s okay to talk about a problem that you’re having with whomever, a spouse, a child, a coworker, whomever, but just picture that, that person is sitting in an empty chair next to you. Just remind yourself of all the good that love does in the world. And when you do, and when you understand that from scripture that God’s top priority is to love in every situation and that love fulfills all of God’s law then it’s easy to understand why the Big Idea today is that we should cultivate love. You should cultivate love as your first and best reaction to every situation. Let’s pray together. Our dearest father, thank you for, again, just the tremendous freedom that we get from your word, how Jesus, how Peter, how Paul had love as their top priority and telling us that we should have it as our top priority too. Lord, help us to cultivate that idea of loving as our first and our best reaction in every situation. We ask this in your name, Jesus. Amen. Thank you. Amen.
22 minutes | Jul 22, 2020
Pressures of Flesh
When the superhero is needed, that means the villain is present. We are in a constant battle with flesh where in a world that is active and loud the voice of the flesh seems to become overbearing. Join Khayree Pender to discuss how we use our spiritual filters to separate the voice of the flesh and muzzle the voice of the flesh. Scriptures used in this lesson: Matthew 4:1-4; 5-7; 8-10 DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript PASTE TRANSCRIPT HERE
21 minutes | Jul 15, 2020
The Voice of the Flesh
If you’re like most men, you feel a lot of pressure to come off as a spiritual, righteous, and good Christian. But you also know that you’re not the man that others think you are. Not really. And that may be okay for the general public. But we also need to know how to keep it real. That’s why we hope you’ll join us this week as Patrick Morley explains why we keep sinning, helps us identify what triggers our own sinful cravings, and shares ideas that can help you further crucify the flesh. Join us! Scriptures used in this lesson: Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 7:20-23, Romans 7:15-25, 1 John 2:16, Galatians 5:16 DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript The Four Voices: How to Think Like a Christian The Voice of the Flesh Rough Transcript Patrick Morley Patrick Morley: Good morning, men. Please turn in your Bibles to Jeremiah chapter 17, verse 9. We are in the series The Four Voices. The verse for the series, Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Everything you do flows from it.” It determines the entire course of your life. We have these voices in our head in addition to our own that are trying to disrupt that. It’s what we’re guarding against. The four voices in your head are the world, the flesh, the devil, and the Holy Spirit. Your job is to figure out which voice is speaking and make the adjustment. Today we’re going to talk about the voice of the flesh. Preparing this talk, I was working diligently and really pouring myself into it. I’m very intense. Being productive is one of my highest values. I was all set to go to rush up to my office and finish writing out the message. I walked past my wife, briskly. She was laying on the couch, lounging, surfing the internet. She saw me coming by. She saw that I was walking pretty fast, but she said, “Honey, could you get me another cup of coffee?” and I froze. There were about five seconds when I didn’t say anything where I was deciding whether I was going to respond in the flesh or I was going to respond in the spirit. Fortunately, this time I didn’t say some mean, snarky, rude or crude comment, but I said, “Honey, I’d be happy to get you another cup of coffee,” which I did, and then I rushed up here to do work on this talk. WHY DO WE KEEP SINNING? The first thing I want us to talk about this morning, why do we keep sinning? Essentially, it’s a heart issue. We have a diseased heart. Jeremiah chapter 17 verse 9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jesus talked about how out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. He said in Mark chapter 7, verse 20 and following, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come. Sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come inside and defile a person.” The scriptures variously refer to this as the flesh, the sinful nature, the cravings of the sinful nature, the passions and desires of the flesh, the law of sin and death, and in many other ways. Essentially, you and I, and this is the core problem, we have a dual nature. The creation has made us in the image of God. The fall has made us, as Pascal noted, like the beasts. There’s a great story that’s attributed to the 1926 Minnesota Crime Commission Report. It’s not in there. I looked it over yesterday. It’s 77 pages long and it’s not in there trust me. But wherever it came from, it really is good. It says, “Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self centered. He wants what he wants it when he wants it, his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmate’s toys, his uncle’s watch, or whatever. Deny him these and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous where he not so helpless. He’s dirty. He has no morals, no knowledge, no developed skills. This means that all children, not just certain children, but all children are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in their self centered world of infancy, given free reign to their impulsive actions to satisfy each one, every child would grow up a criminal, a thief, a killer, a rapist.” Don’t you just love that? Because of the creation, we are like the image of God. But because of the fall, we are like the beasts. Because of grace, we are new creations, but this new creation is both an event and a process. Our conversion is both an event and a process. Our sanctification takes … it’s a process that takes place over time. We see this in Paul in Romans chapter 7. If you want to take a look there with me at Romans chapter 7:15, he says … and this is interesting because it’s a moment of personal transparency and vulnerability. In other words, Paul is confessing this to us, to the whole world, both then and forever. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I not do, but what I hate I do.” Then skipping to verse 17, he says, “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me. That is in my sinful nature. For I desire to do what is good, but I can’t carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing. Now, if I do not do what I want for it … Now, if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work, although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” Then in verse 22, he explains how we have these two natures. “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law.” That’s the first nature, but the second nature, “But I see another law in me waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” Paul is really giving us here a template for how to deal with the flesh, and the way to deal with the flesh is to get it out into the open. The Big Idea today; The power of the flesh is secrecy, and the way to overcome the secrecy is to bring it out into the light as Paul has done. He’s both explained the fact that we do have these two natures, he’s explained a little bit how it works, but he’s also brought it out of the secrecy and into the light, and I’m sure that helped him deal with it. What his sins were, we don’t know. There are all kinds of sins. There are misdemeanors and there are felonies. We’re going to next deal with the things that trigger for us the majority of the things that tempt our flesh. IDENITFY WHAT TRIGGERS YOU SINFUL CRAVINGS The second circle today is identify what triggers your sinful cravings. Identify what triggers your sinful cravings. We’re going to talk about the three big areas where we get tempted. We saw this last week in our text, 1 John chapter 2, verse 16, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Let’s take them one by one. The first is the lust of the flesh. The first thing, and probably the biggest thing that comes to mind of course, is sexual temptation. Job said that he had made a covenant with his eyes that he would not look lustfully on a young woman, so I said that too. I don’t know about you, but I found it a lot easier to keep that covenant before yoga pants became casual wear. Sex sins and sex temptations are not the only things that trigger the cravings of our flesh. All sensual desires, sex, but it could also be food. It could be drink. It could be drugs. Question for you. In the lust of the flesh, what is it that triggers the cravings of your sinful nature? Next, the lust of the eyes. This would be the desire for riches, possessions, pleasures of different kinds. I don’t know about you. My big area here, I’m a car guy. I just love a nice car. But I find that when I do get a nice car and I pick a color, say I pick red, I love it for two weeks and then after two weeks goes by I see a black one and I wish I would’ve bought the black one. That’s how the lust of the eyes works. Then the pride of life. No doubt this is the biggest area for me personally. I love being productive. I’m self-reliant. I like to be in charge of things. I’m a leader. I don’t necessarily have to be in control, but I do want to be respected as a subject expert. All of these things lend themselves to a type of self righteousness. Hebrews 3 verse 13 talks about the deceitfulness of sin. Martin Luther is quoted in Philip Hughes’ commentary on Hebrews to say this. He says, “This phrase, the deceitfulness of sin, ought to be understood in a much wider sense so that the term includes even one’s own righteousness and wisdom. for more than anything else, one’s own righteousness and wisdom deceive and work against faith in Christ. Since we love the flesh, and the sensations of the flesh, and also riches and possessions, but we love nothing more ardently than our own feelings, judgment, purpose, and will, especially when they seem to be good.” We end up having this sense that the rightness of our … the correctness of us being right is something that entitles us to respect, and there’s a certain pride of life that comes with it. What is that for you? What is it for
26 minutes | Jul 8, 2020
The World vs. The Word
Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 John 2:15; John 1:1-5,14; Habakkuk 1:9-11; Matthew 13:22,16:24-26; Ecclesiastes 2:24-26, 5:10-11; Luke 12:22-34; 1 Timothy 6:17 Are you a little down right now? Frustrated with your life, or even feeling ashamed of what you have or haven’t accomplished? You may be listening to the voice of the world in your head. Wrapped in self-help language or encouraging you to “Seize the day!”, the world creates a false hope of success based on a false premise of reality. The world’s way of thinking ultimately leads to anxiety and hopelessness. But there is a better way. Join Brett Clemmer as he explores the contrast between the way of the World and the way of the Word, and find hope for a future that will allow you to be at peace no matter how turbulent the times. DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript The Four Voices: How to Think Like a Christian The World vs the Word Rough Transcript Brett Clemmer Brett Clemmer: Well, Hey guys. And welcome back to the Man in the Mirror, Bible Study. We’ve been in this series called The Four Voices. This is session three, and Pat did the introduction in the first week and this last week, and this week, we’re talking about The Voice of the World, The Voice of the World. Now, where does the idea of the four voices come from? If you read Ephesians 2:2, you see this, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which he wants walked following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that’s now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh. Carrying out the desires of the body and the mind and were by nature, children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” And so in this verse from Paul to the Ephesians, you see these three things that we actually often talk about here, is the world, the flesh and the devil. And then of course, the fourth voice that Pat introduced was the voice of the Holy spirit in your head. And so in Ephesians 2:2 and three, we see the course of this world, the Prince of the power of the air and the passions of the flesh. And so that’s where we get these four voices from along with the Holy spirit. And so today what I want to do is, Pat talked a little bit last week about the voice of the world. And the voice of the world, last week’s Big Idea was the voice… Is the world says Jesus is not enough. And of course we would say, Jesus is most definitely enough. And Pat talked about that last week. So this week I’m going to talk a little bit more about the voice of the world and what that looks like. So, first thing we want you to do is grab your handout. If you haven’t already downloaded and printed the handout, you might want to go ahead and pause the video right now, go to the website and grab that handout. You can download it and print it. I hope you’re in a group. If you’re in a group that has questions on it as well, and have some great discussion time after you watch the video. But as we look at the world this week, what I want to do is sort of contrast a compare and contrast two words that are used in the new Testament and in the original Greek that talk about the world and the word. In English, one letter difference in Greek, two completely different words. The world that the writers use in the New Testament is the word Kosmos, K-O-S-M-O-S, if you put it into a Western alphabet, kosmos. And of course we get the word cosmos with a C from a cosmological, we tend to think of cosmos as sort of the universe, right? But cosmos in the way that it’s used here in the Greek, it means a couple different things, but it has this connotation sort of the way things are supposed to work, a neat arrangement of how things are supposed to work. And so when the writers of the New Testament talk about, “Don’t be conformed to the world.” Like Paul says in Romans 12, what he’s saying is that the way that the world seems like it works is not as neat and arrangement as it may appear to be. The truths that the world is going to tell you are not necessarily true. And so the world, the cosmos the world is constantly speaking into how life is supposed to work. And that can be a voice in your head, as you’re trying to figure out how to live your life and what you want to do, who you want to be. The world is giving you messages as to what your values should be, what should be important to you. And they’re really based on a faulty worldview or truth view of how reality really is, how the world truly works under the power of our creator. And so let’s look at just how these two words are used really quick. If you go to First John chapter two, verse 15, you’ll see Paul, excuse me, John talking about the cosmos. He says, do not love the world. Do not love the cosmos or the things in the world, in the cosmos. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. So John is very clearly putting this distinction that you can’t love. The cosmos the way that the world tells you things work and love God at the same time, they are opposed to each other. And then also in John 1, in a very, very well known passage. And I’ll read verses one through five, and then verse 14, John uses the word Logos or Logos that’s translated as the word, right? So in the beginning was the word and the word was with God. And the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. And without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. And the Word, verse 14, and the Word Logos became flesh and dwelt among us. This is Jesus, right? The word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the father full of grace and truth. So the Logos is full of grace and truth. That cosmos is a darkness, it’s where the dark… it’s part of the darkness, John is saying here. And so let’s look at what that looks like in our society, and then what it looks like in scripture. So I don’t know about you. I love Robin Williams. He’s a great actor and so sad when he took his life, as he was struggling with the effects of Parkinson’s and one of the forms of dementia that comes with that. It was very sad when he took his life, but he’s a great actor, a great comedian, sort of a broken man who was very honest about his brokenness. I always appreciate guys that are willing to be open about their brokenness. And one of my favorite movies that Robin Williams was in was a movie called Dead Poet Society. Have you ever seen Dead Poet Society? If you haven’t go rent it. It’s a fascinating movie. It’s about a man who is a teacher at a boarding school, probably in the 50s and a boys boarding school. So obviously it’s well to do a young men that are at this school, and he’s a little bit of a rebel. He doesn’t really teach the boring way that many of the older professors at this school teach. He’s sort of avant garde. He’s trying to get the boys to come alive. That’s really what you can feel with him. He really wants them to come alive. And there’s the scene towards the beginning of the movie where he’s got the boys in they’re in the hallway of the school. And they come to the trophy cases. And in the trophy cases are pictures of past victorious athletic teams and the trophies that they won. And he’s showing the boys these trophy cases, and he’s going to use it for an object lesson. And here’s the object lesson that he gives them. This is what he says, as he’s showing them these trophy cases. And they’re looking at these pictures, he says, “They’re not that different from you. Are they? Same haircuts full of hormones, just like you, invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things. Just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope. Just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them with spirit whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in, listen, do you hear it? Carpe. Do you hear it? Carpe. Carpe diem, seize the day boys make your lives extraordinary.” Yeah, that sounds pretty cool. Doesn’t it? Carpe diem, seize the day. And in certain situations we do need to carpe diem, we do need to take advantage of opportunity when it presents itself, we do need to accomplish the task that’s been put in front of us. And Carpe diem in that sense is a great encouragement, but carpe diem as a worldview is empty. And this is what the world tells you. It tells you, you have to seize the day. You have to make the most of the opportunities that are given to you and it’s all up to you. And so that brings us to the Big Idea for this session is that; The world says, “This is all there is, you are all you have.” And that is a lie. The world says, this is all there is you are all you have. And guys, that is a lie. So where does this come from? What happens when you believe this? Well, the way you see this, is you see the way that our culture celebrates accomplishment and status, wealth an
0 minutes | Jul 1, 2020
The Voice of the World
Romans 1:20, Colossians 2:8, Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15-17, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Ephesians 2:1-5, Psalm 73 Every man you know is trying to move his life forward and make something of himself. But most of them also say, “It’s just hard.” The world is not your friend. The world wants you to doubt that Jesus Christ is enough to make you happy. Join Patrick Morley and explore how the world is trying to get inside your head, how to keep it out, and how to affirm that Christ is enough for you. Whether or not you change the world, you don’t have to let the world change you. DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript The Four Voices: How to Think Like a Christian The Voice of the World Rough Transcript Patrick Morley Patrick Morley: Good morning, men, please turn in your Bibles to Romans 1:20. The series is The 4 Voices. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” The subtitle for the series is how to think like a Christian, the premise for the series, the four voices in your head in addition to your own voice, in other words, we all have self-talk that we do all the time. But we’re not the only voice up there, there are four other voices up there too that are trying to influence what we think, say and do. And so, the four voices in your head are the world, the flesh, the devil, and the Holy Spirit. Your job is to figure out which one is speaking and make the adjustment. Today we want to take a look at the voice of the world. One of my favorite authors is Pascal. This is his most well known book, perhaps Pensée, which means thoughts in English. And as you can see, I kind of own this book, or maybe the book owns me I’m not sure. Thought number 148 says this, “All men seek happiness.” This is without exception. This is the motive of every action of every man even of those who go and hang themselves. He teases this out a little bit. One man goes to war, one man does not go to war, but they both do it for the same reason because they think that that’s the thing that’s going to make them happy. So, I want to go ahead and give you the Big Idea for this session. And it’s what the voice of the world is saying. The Bid Idea… The world says, “It’s going to take a lot more than Jesus to make you happy.” It’s going to take a lot more than Jesus to make you happy. HOW THE WORLD IS TRYING TO GET INSIDE YOUR HEAD And now I want to take a look at how this came about by first talking about how the world is trying to get inside of your head. Romans 1:20 tells us how it began, for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made so that people are without excuse. And then it goes on to say that, although people knew God, they didn’t glorify Him and they didn’t give him thanks. And as a result, their minds became futile and they’re thinking foolish. And they exchanged the glory of God for idols. The truth of God for lies, they worship created things instead of the creator. The cumulative effect of all that, what Francis Schaeffer calls the domino effect of the fall, all of these hundreds of millions of small decisions that have been made as we worship created things. As we believe the lie, as we make the idol, leaves us with the world that we have today. And we look around and the culture that we have today is very far from God. Just look at the racial injustice that we’re dealing with, the disease that we’re dealing with. Think about sexual violence. The institution of marriage has been virtually gutted. According to pure research, 85% of Americans today think it’s fine for a man and a woman to live together and not be married. In fact, 69% of them think it’s okay if they plan to live together and never get married. It’s a culture that’s moved very far away from God. I wrote in the book, The Christian Man, about the world in this way, the fallen world is a never sleeping juggernaut that relentlessly crushes everything in its path without pity. So, at some point, a man begins to feel the gravity of all this, the weight of all this. And he cries out to God, looking for help. He hears about the gospel of Jesus. The world fights back and the world basically speaks with this voice. The world says, “It’s going to take a lot more than Jesus Christ to make you happy. Look at how I can make you happy?” says the world. Money will solve your problems. Success will make you happy. A dynamic career will give you meaning, you’re doing this for your family. Oh, by the way, if you’re a Christian, you can have the best of both worlds. You can have your cake and eat it too. You can have the best of both worlds. And even if you’re a biblical Christian, the world will still try to convince you that whatever happiness that you do have, you need to perform in order to deserve to continue to get that grace. So, the world is basically filled with lies on the foundation of moving away from God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power, his divine nature. Next, the reason that this voice works is because often men don’t understand that this is not the problem that Jesus came to fix. Jesus did not come to change the fallen world. Jesus did not come to restore the fallen world to its pre-fallen state. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save the lost. Jesus said, “My kingdom is from another place. My kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus did not come to restore the kingdoms of men. That doesn’t mean that we should not work for the betterment of this world, Jesus certainly did. He healed the sick. He fed the poor. So by all means, let’s try to find a solution to racial injustice and bring reconciliation. By all means, let’s try to find a vaccination for COVID-19, by all means let’s build houses, settle down, marry, have children and work for the peace and the prosperity of the towns where we have been exiled. But restoring the world to its pre-fall state is not what the gospel is all about. The purpose of the gospel is to help men make sense of what’s going on in the world and then give them hope through Jesus Christ. The creation has been groaning since the very beginning, it’s been subjected to futility and the purpose of the gospel is to liberate you and me from our bondage to decay and bring us into the glorious freedom of the children of God. And so here’s the question for you, is that enough for you? Is that gospel enough for you? The world says, “It’s going to take a lot more than Jesus Christ to make you happy.” But the truth of the gospel is, is that you’re not going to find the happiness that you’re looking for in this world. Anyway, most of us are familiar with a famous serenity prayer that’s used in alcoholics anonymous. It’s from Reinhold Niebuhr, he is a professor at Unions College, Union Theological Seminary, rather. He died in the last one third of the last century, in 1950 they finally published his prayer. I’m going to give you the first verses of it, which you will recognize. God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference. But then the rest of his poem goes on and says this, living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as the pathway to peace, taking as He (meaning Jesus), taking as He did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that he will make all things right if I surrender to his will, that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with him forever in the next. The world says though, “It’s going to take a lot more than Jesus Christ to make you happy.” HOW TO KEEP THE WORLD OUT OF YOUR HEAD Next, I want us to talk about how to keep the world out of your head. The verse that we overviewed last time for the world was Colossians 2:8 which says, “See to it that no one take you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than in Christ.” So how do we do that? How do we do that? Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” What Colossians 2:8 is describing the hollow and deceptive philosophy, is describing the pattern of this world. What we talked about beginning with Romans 1:20, and just how the world is evolved into a culture that’s very far from God, that’s the pattern of this world. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” That sounds a lot like guard your heart for everything you do flows from it, doesn’t it? So, do not conform to the pattern of this world, be transformed by the renewing of your mind and then watch this, then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will. 1 John 2:15 also helps us to understand how we can keep the voice of the world out of our head. It says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in them. For everything in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes
19 minutes | Jun 17, 2020
The Way Forward
Mark 16:1-7 How do you adjust when everything you had assumed is in shreds? Your job, your finances, your friendships, even your assumptions about yourself have gone sideways. You know you can’t sit in hopelessness and despair. You have to keep going. Join Brett Clemmer as he looks at the story of the women going to the tomb after Jesus’ crucifixion. Things seemed dark, but they weren’t as bad as the women and the 11 remaining disciples thought. Need some hope? Join us as we look to the Scriptures to find the way forward. DownloadsTranscriptDownloads Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…” Download Handout Download Transcript Download Audio Download Video Transcript Walking With God in a Pandemic The Way Forward Rough Transcript Brett Clemmer Brett Clemmer: Hey, guys, welcome back to the Bible study. We’re wrapping up our series today, Walking With God in a Pandemic. I want to talk today about the way forward. Where do we go from here? What I’d like to do is talk a little bit about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but before I get into that, what I’ve noticed is there’s lots of different kinds of people, but there’s two kinds of people in particular that I interact with, and those are planners and visionaries. Planners are the kinds of people that they like to have a process for everything. They like to have spreadsheets and project plans, and maybe you’re a guy like that. I’ve got a guy that works for me, and he’s a planner, and I love having him around because he’s always thinking of the process. Then, you might be more like I am. I’m a visionary. I often say, “I can’t tell you what I’m doing tomorrow, but I got a pretty good idea of what I’d like to be doing three years from now or five years from now.” Those are visionaries. As Christians, there are problems that we would typically have as a planner or as a visionary. A planner, the problem that a planner can have is you want to set your plans and then you want to follow your plan. Sometimes, planners have a hard time not being rigid, not allowing for deviations based on circumstances. They can get pretty flustered when things don’t go according to plan. Then, for visionaries, like I am, sometimes, the problem with a visionary is that we get equally stuck on our picture of what the future is supposed to be. We also might struggle with circumstances or with changes coming that make us have to adjust our vision for how things are supposed to go or where we’re supposed to arrive with the destination even is supposed to be. I think those are really two sides of the same coin. What I think they come down to is this: both planners and visionaries, we want to be in control. We want things to go the way that we want things to go. When circumstances intervene and they pull us to the right or to left, it can be very disconcerting for us because we had a plan. We had a vision for how things were supposed to go. Well, I don’t know about you, but 2020 started off with some great plans that we had planned for the ministry. I had a great vision for where we were going to go. Many of us in the organization had a great vision for where we were going to go. Then, 2020 happened. Then, COVID happened. Then, the racial issues really bubbled up to the surface in a huge way with the death of George Floyd. We’ve had three crisis this year that we’ve had to deal with. We had a health crisis followed by an economic crisis and a social crisis, and these all still going on. For a planner, these things throw your plans into disarray. For a visionary, these make your vision of where you think you’re going, what you think the future is going to look like, feel very unstable. That can be so disconcerting. When you realize that about yourself, if part of where your sort of angst is right now with how things are going in our society, recognize that either because you’re a planner, because you’re a visionary, that you’re getting pulled off. Here’s the key for me in all of this. That is that we’re trying to be in control, that we’re expecting things to go the way that we want them to go, and we’re not allowing God to intervene in our plans where a lot of us, as Pat likes to say, a lot of us plan, and then we pray that God will bless our plans rather than praying and then making plans on what God tells us about in our time abiding with Him. If you’re a planner or visionary and you’re really feeling a lot of frustration and unstableness, instability right now, I’d like to suggest to you a third way, and that is to be a disciple. What do I mean when I say that? Is that just an easy answer? Well, what I mean is I mean to be resilient and hopeful, but also action-oriented and believing in the power of God. If you are resilient and hopeful, if you are action-oriented and believing in God’s power, then, as things change, you’re going to be able to adjust to that. That’s the whole idea of resilience. I think a disciple of Christ, a believer in the power of God, has a leg up on the planners and the visionaries who don’t have God in their lives, who don’t have the ability to see the supernatural power of God at work. I think that’s a good thing for us to think about as we try to chart a way forward in the midst of these crises that we’re facing. If you have a Bible, let’s look at some folks that also had some plans and also had some visions for how the future was going to look. Let’s look at Mark chapter 16, and I’m going to read the first seven verses of that chapter. This is after Jesus has been crucified and He’s been laid in the tomb, and then we see this story of the women going to the tomb in Mark chapter 16. “When the Sabbath was passed, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they might go and anoint Him, and very early, on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb, and they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back. It was very large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe. They were alarmed. He said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He is risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid Him, but go, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee. There, you will see Him just as He told you.'” It’s the word of the Lord. Mark tells this story of the women going to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. This is what you would do in these times. They didn’t always embalm a body. They would sometimes cover the body in spices as a respect to the body and to, obviously, make it not smell or at least not make it smell so bad. That’s what they’re doing. They’re basically going to show their respect. Now, you might think about what they were feeling at this point. I mean, they had to be full of despair and sadness. They had plans for how things were supposed to work. Just a few days before, Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem, like a conquering king on a donkey’s colt, just like it was prophesied in the Old Testament. They probably had plans for what was going to happen as Jesus brought a new kingdom to the nation of Israel, at least sort of reformed the oppressive religion that they were under, perhaps, if not actually throwing off the Romans. They had plans. They had a vision for what that was going to look like, and it all got just thrown away. That’s what we see in verses one and two, the Sabbath was passed, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they might go and anoint Him. Why? Because that’s what you do. That’s the next thing. If you’ve got the handout, and, if you don’t, go ahead and pause the video and go download the handout and print it out so you can take notes, but in that first circle of the handout, the first part of the way forward is just do the next thing. DO THE NEXT THING When you’re struggling and your life isn’t going the way you think it’s supposed to go, and the health crisis, the economic crisis, the social crisis are somehow impacting your life and everything that you had planned, everything that you envisioned isn’t working out the way you expected, what do you do? Well, you do the next thing. For Mary, Mary, and Salome, the next thing after Jesus’ death, unplanned in their vision of things and their plan of things, was you go and anoint the body. That’s what you do. I think, for us, as we’re dealing with these crises, if you’ve lost your job, go find another job. If your income is decreased, you’ve got to readjust your budget. If you are recognizing that you are around people who are suffering the effects of racism, or even if you’re around people that don’t have the right attitudes about race, lean into that. Do the right next thing. Have the difficult conversations that you need to have. I think you’ve just got to do the next thing. What is that thing that you’re supposed to do if you’re struggling right now because things aren’t going the way that you thought they were going to go? What’s the next thing that you need to do? Just go and do that. You see that with them. Very early, on the first da
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