We do not all see things the same way. Some practice certain practices which others believe to be inappropriate or wrong. So how do we get along when we’re all living under the same faith roof, so to speak?
Paul gives some excellent guidance in Romans 14. There are three sections: how God views your brother, how you should conduct yourself, and how we should not treat each other poorly.
There are weaker brothers (Rom. 14:1) and stronger brothers (Rom. 15:1). God loves your brother, that is, the one who doesn’t see things as you do. Furthermore, God has welcomed him into the household of faith -and- that very brother answers to God for his faith practice, not you! All of this is to so position the conversation that we get out of the way. Your brother answers to God, who loves him.
The next section deals with how you walk your road. Whether you practice or abstain, do so unto the Lord, not other people. The Lord is the one you will answer to so let’s behave rightly before him. Let’s be clear in our minds as to why we do or do not do certain things because we want to be firmly convinced, not wishy washy in our positions.
The last section speaks to how we treat each other. Jesus died for your brother. Yes, the one with whom you disagree, he matters to Jesus. If your behavior grieves him, stop. Stop before you destroy him. We do not put stumbling blocks in front of each other. When someone stumbles, he commits sin and this is no way to “practice liberty.” In view here is confrontational, high-handed practices in your brother’s presence.
The issues that may bother our congregation are possibly: alcohol, tobacco, tattoos, political leanings, and the matters. How will you walk this out? Can you love your brother enough to not judge or dismiss him, when he disagrees with you? Can you move him?
This message comes from Romans 14:1-12. Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.
We serve a speaking God. Jesus speaks to his church and reveals his will. Apart from this specific revelation of Christ, we would surely be lost.
A local church in submission to Christ can surely expect to hear from him if she so desires. We did. We heard.
The specificity with which we heard is refreshing and enlightening. So what did we hear? It wasn’t so much a pass or fail as it was a course correction. We were affirmed in our pursuit of truth, fight for sexual purity, and dedication to one another. We were called on to a greater appreciation of Christ’s headship, a stronger body life, prayerful dependence upon him, more focused discipleship, and a communication of our gospel message.
Going forward, insofar as we walk in what we have heard, we enjoy fellowship with him and blessing on the work. If we are unable to properly assess what has happened, there is nothing left but a casual drift which invariably leads to irrelevance and a disconnect with reality.
To the point we now turn. Seven times Jesus says to the churches of Asia Minor “He who has an ear, let him hear…” Seven times Jesus says to the churches of Asia Minor “to the one who conquers…”
The first saying is an invitation to whomever to take heed. It contains the promise of greater intimacy with Christ if the “hearer” will but obey. The second saying is an encouragement to the ones who press forward in obedience. Will all conquer? We do not know. For those who do, a gift from God awaits them.
The questions before us as individuals are two-fold. One, are we able to hear? Two, are we among those who conquer?
This message comes from Revelation 2-3. Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.
Pauls tells us “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling…”
Say what? Immediately questions come to our mind. Should we not focus on doing away with slavery? What if I’m asked to do something immoral? What if the boss is a ‘jerk’? What about human rights?
At the core of these questions is a concern. It might go like this, “I can’t entrust my welfare to someone else.” This concern is entirely legitimate based on human experience. We’ve been shown that people will abuse people. People in authority cannot be trusted.
Before we protest further, though. Let’s consider the pattern of our Lord. He obeyed his parents. He submitted to the Law which was held in his day. He eventually obeyed his Father, being obedient to the very point of death (Philippians 2). Even in giving up his life to his tormentors, Jesus did this as an act of worship and obedience to his Father.
Returning now to Ephesians 6, the key word in the passage is “obey”. It does mean what we think it means. In the context the rendering up of obedience is actually God’s will. It is not secondary, it is on point!
In our obedience to earthly masters and employees we properly adorn the doctrine of Christ. Titus describes it that way (Titus 2). When we obey our earthly masters we make Jesus look good. When we make Jesus look good, it actually communicates a message to our generation. God can be trusted.
So, want to preach without words? This is how you do it.
This message comes from Ephesians 6:5-8. Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.
In working through our Corporate Covenant, we come to that portion focused on discipleship. What I would like to do is share some personal history, develop some definitions, and point the way forward for us as a people of God.
As to personal history, here we go. From the time I was born, I have attended church. My parents always took me. During high school, college, seminary, as a single adult, and now as a married man with children, I have always attended church. Most of the models I’ve had the privilege to be in have stressed the gathering time as the primary means of discipleship.
For example, Sunday School, Sunday morning worship, and Wed. night prayer were the primary vehicles of discipleship. Mission was largely accomplished one-on-one. The goal was to get unbelievers to the church services, more or less. The vehicles of Sunday School etc. were sufficient to disciple people. This may be a little simplistic and it may be contrary to what my leaders intended. Either way, it was my takeaway.
For me and perhaps for many of you, at FCC, this was the paradigm.
This construct did facilitate a disconnect between the person who showed up at church and the person who lived life away from church. Additionally, the idea was, get information at the services and then you will be a better disciple.
The difficulties with the paradigm I’ve yielded to for many years is simple. How can you practice the works of Jesus when discipleship is largely church service and information oriented?
In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus says that everyone who hears his [Jesus’] words and does them is the wise man who builds on the rock. Everyone who hears his words and does not do them is like a foolish man who builds on sand.
A disciple of Jesus is a person who lives life the way Jesus lived life. Discipleship is that process of learning how to live the life that Jesus lived. To disciple someone is to teach them to live like Jesus lived. This process includes the classroom but it also includes real life. This includes learning the three areas of focus in our Lord’s life: UP, IN, OUT.
The leadership of FCC is responsible to see that discipleship is implemented and celebrated here correctly. We do not support an information based model of discipleship. For this reason, in the last two years we have changed a lot of how we do things. We have Missional Communities. Here we practice the three rhythms of Jesus. We don’t just talk about them, we do them. Even at a corporate level, we are developing rhythms of practice as opposed to rhythms of information.
The goal is very simple. We want to teach and equip the people of FCC to live a life like Jesus lived! Presently we have added two vehicles to help us better translate this to our fellowship: Missional Communities and Huddles. We frame discipleship in terms of practicing UP, IN, and OUT. We fight to guard against information based discipleship, instead, adding imitation, and innovation.
This message comes from Matthew 7:24-27. Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.
Join us in Cinnamon Sunday for sweet fellowship on New Year’s Day! SPECIAL TIME – 10am
The time is from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Yes you read right because Cinnamon Sunday is falling on New Year’s Day this year we pushed back service for a half hour. This will give everyone a chance to relax and catch our breath from the Christmas Season and bring in the new year of 2017.
Everyone is to bring something sweet and cinnamon to share with our fellowship and if you have drinks other than coffee to share you are more then welcome to bring that as well.
Merry Christmas to all!
(Meeting at Moore Elementary School)
1061 Lewisburg Pike
Franklin, TN 37064
[Map & Directions]
Adult Bible Study: 9:30 AM