Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Glue of Christian Unity - Part 2

August 21, 2011
Josh Harris - The Glue of Christian Unity - Part 2
Colossians 3:12-15

God is used to dwelling in jars of clay.  We are disposable tupperware.  He knows how to deal with losers. 
Do you see how relationally bad these sins (anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, dishonesty, sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness, idolatry) are?

2 More Ingredients
3.  The Virtues of Christ.  (vs. 12)
- Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience.
"Put on" means "get dressed in," "clothe yourself with."  Don't wear unChrist-like clothes.  Our behavior flows out of our identity. 
"I am, because of Christ, dearly beloved."
If you're in Jesus, you need to dress like Jesus.
Compassion - kindness expressed in love and humility.
Meekness - Not weakness.  It takes an incredibly strong person to be meek, gentle.  Power that chooses to express itself in gentleness.  "An old dog who lets a child tug on his ears."
Bearing with one another - put up with them - bear their burdens and forgive them.

We don't stay united because we're worthy, but because we forgive and love each other. 
Shallow unity = agree with me and never mess up.  If this is what you're searching for (unity where everyone has to meet your standards), you're never going to find it. 
We can love those who are unlovable, be patient with those who mess up, because of Christ.  Has bearing with another cost you anything?  Have we ever been worthy of Christ's compassion?  No, we haven't, yet He bore with us, loved us, was/is patient with us, humbled Himself unto death and forgave us of all our sins.  Should we not do the same with our brothers and sisters in Christ?

4.  Let the Peace of Christ Rule. (vs. 15) 
You were called to this peace in one body. 
Peace - It is described in different ways in the Bible.  a) a peace in our hearts.  b) a peace between God and us.  c) a peace that is directly tied to our relationships with others, the church - a unity with each other.
God saved us for a unity with each other. 
"Rule" means "umpire."  An umpire enforces and officiates and keeps us from doing something that hurts the unity of the body of Christ. 
Don't let your heart be ruled by your own sinful desires. 
What does it mean to "let the peace of Christ rule in that moment"?  Unity doesn't trump truth. 
If our hope is that others will get their act together, we'll never have unity.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Glue of Christian Unity

August 14, 2011
Josh Harris – The Glue of Christian Unity
Colossians 3:9-15

“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.”

We are called “in one body.”  Miss the theme of unity and you miss the whole point of the passage.  God cares about our unity; our behavior affects the body of Christ.

How the Gospel allows the church to live in unity (The Glue):
1.        Christ above all and in all.  (verse 11)
Old behavior is taken off, new behavior is put on, and the Spirit comes to guide and grow us. 
“Here” means “in the church” – our identity is no longer our ethnicity.  New identity is Jesus Christ – a much greater identity. 
What matters most is that you’re being renewed by the Holy Spirit.  Christ matters more than anything else.  Jesus is living in them just as He is living in you.  None of us has a special claim on God; no special standing before God. 
Christian unity is destroyed when we put something else before Christ.  Our viewpoint is not more important than Who is in us, uniting us.  Jesus loves them just as much as He loves you.  Nothing we have done or earned or can do gets us a better standing.
2.       Gospel Identity (verse 12)
Behavior – compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness. 
We must remember that we have become “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.”  Do you believe this of yourself?  How do you define yourself?  We can never buy or earn these descriptions – “holy” and “beloved” – that’s the point of grace – it’s an undeserved gift.  He chose us before we were born.  “You are holy and beloved.”  The word beloved in this verse is the same word God uses to describe Christ:  “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”  (Matthew 3:17, 17:5, 2 Peter 1:17)
So often we use labels to describe people we feel are unworthy of our or God’s love.  “They dress weird, they act weird, they make me feel uncomfortable.”  These labels are unloving and unChrist-like.  Nothing compares to the labels God gives us:  Holy, beloved, made righteous, one body, heirs with Christ, family. 
It is only because of our unity in Christ that we can share His grace with others.  When we try to find security apart from God, we fail to see ourselves and others as God does.  We must actively choose to view others as God does.  How DARE we label each other that way?  They are holy and beloved just as we are.       

Monday, August 8, 2011

You Knew Me Before My Birth

What sweet landlords I have!  When I woke up this morning, I found this in the hallway outside my room:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Quiet My Soul

The Key Master

The Key Master comes
To open the door that's locked
When you call on him.

He opens doors for
Those who are locked out and he
Turns no one away.

The Key Master makes
A way for all to enter;
No door remains locked.

He has a kind face
And is approachable; call
On the Key Master!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Calmly holding your ground when the earth shakes beneath your feet.
Opening yourself up to harsh words and judgments, criticisms and critiques.
Using your voice to speak God’s Truth and be a light.
Risking your reputation to do what’s right.
Aiding those who can’t help themselves. 
Going head-to-head with your worst nightmares.
Emptying yourself of all but love when it puts you in harm’s way for the sake of others.