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Inclusive Exclusivity

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2020 9:00 am

Inclusive Exclusivity

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 23, 2020 9:00 am

We often like the concept of diversity, as long as other people adapt to our customs and styles. But the gospel teaches us a different way. In this message, Pastor J.D. teaches from Romans 3, where we learn that, while there is only one way to salvation, God doesn’t accept us because of anything about us but because of what he’s done for us. This makes Christianity, as Tim Keller says, “the most inclusive exclusivity there is.”

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Today on Senate life with JD.

When your justification is based on how well you do. You are always in competition with everybody else because how good you see yourself is determined by how you compare to others and that results in pride in boasting when you thought you're doing well and it results in despair and jealousy when you thought you not doing well. The essence of pride is competition like the concept of diversity as long as other people adapt our customs and style teaches us a different way. Today Pastor JD Greer teaches that while there is only one way to salvation, except as because of anything about us, but because of what he's done. This makes Christianity as Tim Keller says the most inclusive exclusivity. There is, let's jump right in the Bible this week. In Romans chapter 3 Romans chapter 3 verse 27 Romans 327 you and open your Bible recently, my family and I were at Universal Studios in Orlando Florida. I do speak down in Orlando at something and so while we were there we decided to make it a family trip and taken a couple of the amusement parks will be government Universal Studios you know that one of the main attractions.

There is Harry Potter world and regardless of what you think about about that whole saga. I know some of you have some reservations and I'm not trying to get into that here this morning and not run weight into those waters, but regardless it is one of the most elaborately built amazing sections of any amusement park that I've ever been to the creativity in the construction that went into it are staggering.

Here's the thing you've ever been to Universal Studios you probably know this, the entrance to that part of the park is at the very back of the park and it's almost completely unmarked and that is intentional if supposed to re-create how you get into the of the so-called magical world in the book. So when you're in Universal Studios you basically the back of the bar you alter this open doorway in a wall that looks like you're going into a public restroom, but instead it opens up into this amazing and complex world of imagination.

I told my wife that if you did not know that that part of the park was there, it's very likely that you can walk right by it and miss the most elaborate thing at Universal Studios. Why share that because that is a little bit about how I feel about Romans chapter 3 verses 2070 31 I be honest with you I almost skipped it in the teaching of the book of Romans here because on the surface. When you read it.

It looks kind of inconsequential. After explaining some of the most beautiful majestic theological language, how we come to Christ and why that's distinct from every other religion of the world.

Paul then just start start start study trip to Ramallah little bit about the law releases what it seems. Romans three verse 27 where then is boasting is that it's excluded all atenolol bones were snow on the contrary by wall safe. We conclude that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law or is God the God of Jews only. As you not to go the Gentiles to yes he is the God of Gentiles suits. If there is one God would justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised by faith.

Verse 31 to be then nullify the law through faith. Absolutely not. On the contrary, we uphold the law and always seemed to me like Paul is rambling on a little bit about the law after he finished making his points. I told him land the plane. Okay you made if you stuck the landing now just read the chapter up, but the more I have learned about the book of Romans. The more I see these verses address what is Paul's primary purpose.

One of Paul's primary purposes. In the book of Romans and they are absolutely crucial to remember I told you this the first weekend in the introduction, the book of Romans is not just a treaties on the gospel. It is that the most detailed treaties we have in the Bible on the gospel, but it is also very practical counsel that is being given to the church in Rome about a real-life problem they were having that problem was that Jews and Gentiles were not getting along in the church. Remember this during introduction I told you the Romans was written right after Jews had returned back to the church in Rome after having been gone for five years the Jewish people had been gone because five years prior to the writing of the book Emperor Claudius had banished all Jews from Rome, which would've included Jewish Christians as well. By the way, you can find that story and asked 81 Intuit describes that will after being gone for five years. The Jews were allowed to come back in here was the thing Jews and Gentiles. We know had all these cultural differences that stylistic differences political differences and so forth. Prior to this. Prior to this man is used to been basically the ones in charge of the church that they were the first Christians which means they had established the church of the Gentiles that became Christians were coming into a church that was led by Jews with Jewish customs after they got banished. Of course the Gentiles to go over to now the Jews are coming back after being gone five years.

They are returning to a church very different than the one they left the church is now doing Gentile music with Gentile instruments. The pastor was wearing Gentile style. Sometimes the priest and air Caesar's or whatever the potlucks they were serving, they were serving Gentile foods. Everything was different to the culture that used to be in charge one in charge anymore. It's all these racial and cultural tensions are flaring you can understand that right if you're part of the so-called majority culture here. Imagine that Roy Cooper are governors came out and banished all white people from Raleigh and did the triangle for the next five years and imagine we'll come back to tear the majority culture to a church where other people you know other people that are that that were raised like a lot of us have different cultures and styles and things all of a sudden it's it didn't feel like you know the church we we left you can see why there's going to be a challenge. There's a Paul is trying to help unify these these Jews and Gentiles in this church got away but weddings really important to note that they did not do the easy thing, which would've been the start Jewish campus and a Gentile campus right for start Jewish church on the road in a Gentile church on opposite sides of the town that would've been much easier. But they did not do that. And that's because Jesus is vision of the church was Jew and Gentile in one United body, which is why I would say that multi-ethnicity is so important. Our church as well. We know that we need to reflect the diversity of our community and we need to also proclaim the diversity of God's kingdom. If I could just be really really candid here with you for a minute. Some of our brothers and sisters of color here in this church and told me like you know what you guys in the majority culture you like the concept of diversity as long as you're the one to remain in charge and everything is stylistically the way that you like it have told you that many of us. Many of us think we want a multiethnic church when we really want is a multi-colored church with everybody of different colors acting like they all like our customs and styles that makes for a really good photo op that makes for a good picture of the website but it is not actual kingdom diversity. That is why some a church we try to share leadership here. The church and be open to doing things a little differently than some of us may have grown up use to write that. That's what we're trying to do rental to the definition of a multiethnic church is that at some point you feel uncomfortable if you're not ever feeling on, including either the pastor if you're not overdoing that it just means that you might or might conform to you in the and that's not the vision of it to Paul is writing into this context to try to say, hey, there is a way to get beyond these things to have more in Christ than you have dividing you, whether it's culturally or politically or whatever. Paul says the answer to this relational breakdown is the gospel, and he writes the longest treaties on the gospel to address a relational problem which is in itself a lesson to you bold and write five ways get along what he wrote was here's the gospel.

This is ultimately a gospel issue. Relational problems go back to gospel realities being forgotten to wear beards broken were to put the gospel ear and that's what were trying to do. Paul says that one of the primary things that is dividing Jew and Gentile believers is specifically found here is how Jewish people approach the law Jewish people approached the wall with the typical we called a religious mindset. Every religion of the world functions on this premise, except for the gospel. Every religion says I obey.

Therefore I'm accepted. If I obey well enough and often enough to do enough good things in the past God standard then I will be accepted by God. That's what the Jewish people, many of the Jewish Christians. Even I continued to assume that their justification they're being made right with God was found in the excellence of their law keeping is that premise, Paul says that fuels this division now you like will help. How's that will see when your justification is based on how well you do. You are always in competition with everybody else because how good you see yourself is determined by how you compare to others and that results in pride in boasting when you thought you're doing well and it results in despair and in jealousy when you thought you not doing well you see the essence of pride in any area where they were talking sports or religion and academics apparently in a culture ethnicity.

The essence of pride is competition. I love how CS Lewis explains Elizabeth pride gets no pleasure out of having something only out of having more than the next man we say that people are proud of being rich or clever, good looking, but they are not there only proud of being richer or clever, or better looking than others and everybody else became equally rich or equally clever equally good looking mother be nothing to be proud about is the comparison that makes you proud.

It is a pleasure at being above the rest of that make sense anything of it this way that matter to you, do fancy your team is good only that you are better than Carolina and vice versa, and estates fans you don't care what your record is for the season, only that you beat at least one of those teams at least once during the season right, we can just enjoy the fact that we have two of the greatest basketball programs in history right here in the triangle know we got account championships we account which coach has more wins and obviously we should all just be state fan since Jesus said the last will be first anyway okay right. That's how pride works pride and sustains itself is sustains itself a competition so you think of it in religious terms. Your you're always asking yourself subtly better than this person I am I where am I on the scale of of good people. Or you might think of it, an industry like MIS good of a mother as so-and-so like a 70 thought you're doing well comparatively speaking that lead you boasting which very quickly turned and the judge mentalism and then even disdain when you don't compare favorably to others, it leads to an inferiority complex or despair which frequently turns into jealousy and hatred you end up developing real sensitivity to criticism that your first time that this is a problem for you, you're really sensitive to criticism. Criticism really bothers you, because your identity is built on being good compared others.

And when people challenge her sense of goodness by criticizing you. They challenge you with your very core.

They're challenging your identity you get really really prickly when criticize either their criticism devastate you used go into a tailspin of despair or in self-defense. You start your criticizing them back or one of the list of reasons why you're actually better than they are anyway, the reason you're doing now is because your justification is been attacked your justification.

What set you apart.

What makes you good to you. Gotta defend yourself or maybe you just kind of silently resent whomever you feel like makes you look bad. That guy at work get that promotion that you thought that you deserve right and so in your your your you could jealousy him in your heart you say things like, better dad than him because of the ice to think of himself about other pastors.

I was jealous of this to be totally frank with you many FIFO hurts my medical was a lot better preacher. The mayor, where they had a you're a lot more successful church be like yeah but I'm better at X, Y, and Z than they are and that makes me all around better than them nuts because my justification came from how good I thought I was in my profession, or maybe for you to that of the mother that puts up her perfect little peck on that on Facebook of her perfect little kids in a private little outfits or private little bows and your perfect little brownies in front of her perfect little HDTV were the kitchen. You think I just hate her, you know, and anything I bet you she's have a mirror abroad. I hope she's having marital problems right but mentally/like I'm not describing what goes on your heart.

An honest review bubble goes in my heart I know it's what goes on in your heart that's is the way that we work that all come from having an identity that is built on goodness and being set apart on justification that comes from being good from law keeping. It even makes us into really living in denial about our flaws, which makes it really hard to get along with, because we can even admit our flaws to ourselves because I would undermine her sense of goodness, you might give us some throwaway comments about role centers are remaking to make fun yourself in some areas.

But what really comes down to self-criticism. You don't do that because you gotta maintain it since goodness to build justified you see why Paul pinpoints this is a major source of division. So after explaining the gospel in detail to them in chapter 3 that is that our justification doesn't come from how good we are at anything is not really good at anything. It's given to us freely as a gift in Christ Jesus. Paul then says, verse 27. So where exactly is boasting then it is excluded. By what tell-all stop boasting because God says thou shall not boast, we start judging it.

He says thou shall not judge know it's not one of works. On the contrary are boasting ceases by the logic of faith the gospel eliminates boasting by undercutting the very basis of pride. I may hate you were save anything you did. You were save by keeping the law, you couldn't keep the law. You are a miserable failure. There was none righteous, not even one. No one even sought God. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In fact Paul Swayze was so bad. You were so bad that Jesus had to die to save your sorry so and that destroys the basis of pride and we sing about here in the church when I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and poor contempt disdain on all my pride or Paul says is God the God of Jews only is he not the God of Gentiles also the Gentiles to is only one God, he justifies the circumcised.

That's means religious people by faith, and on servers, not the religious people. He justifies them by faith just as well because ultimately when you peel back the layers of their religion.

They got the same simple heart community need to be saved same way. So why do you think of yourself in different categories 100 person Center all have sinned and fall to Gentile, rich, poor, black, white, religious, irreligious, all of the news of Morgana Center all the fallen short of the glory of God. And there's only one way of salvation.

Verse 29 one God who justifies both the religious and the irreligious in exactly the same ways. That means the gospel. Paul says that means the gospel should be creating a new humanity that really ought overcome the divisions that result from boasting that come from you distinguishing yourselves in different categories and try to show what your set apart in some way. It's a new inclusive humanity that overcomes any divisions that resulted from boasting that you're here listening to me on wait a minute, Pastor JD only one God only one way of salvation that doesn't sound inclusive to me that sounds like the epitome of an exclusive that's a really good point right but listen, if you're special if you're new to Christianity are new to the church. Hang with me here for just a minute okay. You gotta understand I get what you think that will be exclusive, but you gotta understand first that all religious claims are ultimately exclusive. For example, hang with me if you say all good people of every religion go to heaven. That sounds like super inclusive ride to meet hashtag coexist. I will then if you say that all good people of every religion go to heaven who would be just excluded bad people and I guess you're the one who gets to define what is bad and I suppose racists and rapists and child molesters to be on the list and generally more conservative.

I'm supposing you would put certain kinds of of sexual immorality on the list of what makes somebody bad. And if you're on the more liberal side, you would probably put anybody who judges somebody else for some kind of sexual immorality. You put that on the bad list with the point is you all have a list and some people are on it and others aren't nonregular Gordon and not religious at all.

I don't exclude anybody for any reason, sin is not true.

You still have a standard as to what constitutes a good person. I used to live right outside of of Chapel Hill. Now that's a hashtag coexist place. If there ever was one right you try driving a truck with oversized tires and an NRA sticker on the back windshield and another sticker tell people you think global warming is a hoax and that's why you refuse to recycle and I bet you will experience some nonacceptance from some of the people there. That's not what I did.

By the way, it's not what I understand the point is there definition of what is good and bad is just as exclusive in Chapel Hill has any other fundamentalist community in the world all religious and all moral viewpoints end up being exclusive. Everybody's alive for who was in was out but the gospel of Jesus.

You see, is a different kind of exclusivity, because the gospel teaches us that our acceptance with God is not based on anything about were not accepted by God because of our higher morality were not accepted because our education are marital status or race or political viewpoint know God extend salvation to us as a gift to all who will admit that they are unworthy to receive it and repent and receive it in humility and faith, that you might say it this way all religions are exclusive. Tim Keller says colleges are exclusively Christianity is the most inclusive exclusivity that there is what made the gospel scandalous in the first century was not who would excluded.

What made the gospel scandalous was whom it is included.

According to the town mood, which was a set of Jewish traditions that tell us what is through the first century recorded atomic every Jewish man as part of his morning quiet time would pray this prayer is that God, thank you that I am not a woman I'm not a slave. And I'm not a Gentile because American hierarchy. You have been a Jewish man was the highest in the in the hierarchy right so I told you it is not coincidental that when Paul goes to Philippi a Jewish rabbi goes to a Gentile city, they start preaching the gospel. The first three people to get saved for some people going to price is a woman.

Lydia slave girl and then a Gentile. So the first four members of the church in Philippi were a Jewish man, a woman, a slave and a Gentile.

That is not accidental. Gotta say I'm turning everything on it said I'm suing you, there's really no distinction that all people are saved in the same way and that this is the most inclusive exclusivity that there ever has been. The gospel overturns all bases for boasting all basis for division. Like Paul says it's excluded not because God gave us a law don't discriminate. He just undermined any of the things would call discrimination in the first place, not by the way, in case it's still unclear to you. Please don't think of justification. Think of this just in terms of religion because all people secular and religious alike are seeking justification. In fact, this is the driving impulse that you have in life when you realize it or not. Many people turn to religion. They think that their religion makes them good and acceptable to other people turned other things in our secular culture. Many people for example turn to excellence in their job and so if the really good at what they do. That gives them a purpose for living and make them good to give them a sense of worth and make them put their head up high and I read this article a few weeks ago about Sydney Pollack don't recognize it neatly was one of very famous moviemakers produce a lot of the movies are probably your favorite. He died in 2008 right before he died was very sick, very weak and that's when this article came out because it explained that even though he was on the verge of death, even though he was very weary. He refused to stop working even when his family was pleading with him to slow down because they could see it was driving him to an early grave, he said and I quote he said I know I know I know that it's it's driving me to my grave minutes of grueling process, but I can't justify my existence of a stock every time I finish another movie-like I've earned my stay for another year or so.

That's what many people note that the so-called secular sphere do. It's like I get a nice day but being good at what I do, that is, a secular quest for righteousness.

Many people try to find it. For example, in their parenting read another article about a writer whose career was not going anywhere and nobody was reading his work in the papers won't call and get them to write articles in the EE center to question our purpose in life. But then he says get this then I looked at my two little girls and I know that my existence is justified. In other words, being a good dad and her two little girls justify his existence.

I would say a lot of parents alike that their existence is justified by being a good enough parent that enables their children to be successful. But here's the thing. If your children are your justification you can end up putting way too much pressure on them because you need then to succeed for you to feel validated if they don't succeed then you feel like a failure and that's why they do poorly or they get in trouble they compare unfavorably to the kids of your friends you take it as a deep personal blow to your identity and I could probably even slips out of the kind of things you say you get if you don't do this that I will look bad as a parent I am a failure as a parent. If this is what you end up doing your passion for their success is not really about them at all. It's about you. It's selfish because your success. Your validation is determined by their access you need them to succeed. So you feel justified, always trying to find something that tells us were okay.

Something that is our righteousness, something that is her clothing, something that sets us apart to be them makes us acceptable.

That is our justification we going to reminisce for about three weeks. We have one week left before we take a little break and take a step back and get a little perspective on what to expect in the steering you know in this series.

This honestly is been one that I had been scared to do for 15 years as a pastor is another. Whenever I did it about in the back and regretted nothing unnecessary change now that Romans really is the crown jewel of the New Testament.

It really does. From start to finish.

Lay out our understanding of not only what the gospel is but but who God is and what he is doing in the world. Martin Luther said it is impossible to read or meditate on this letter too much and I adeptly agree. One of biggest ways that we will do that is through a brand-new Romans, Bible study, which will be given in three parts is going to come this week like box case at something great on a shelf in because of the importance of the book of Romans in origin of Christianity and the Bible itself is something that not only we want to experience these messages. I think you have it in there to remind you of the death of the gospel in Romans and give me something even talk about other people think of the great copy of this study. Thanks when you don't need to is kept on the radio and online by listeners like you when you tune in. You can another listener to think the message you can extend my gift to someone else. By doing your part of this program knowing and remember to ask for your copy at the first part of our rim and Bible study in the coming Maalox for the set six 635-5220 866-335-5220 Denny request the curriculum online TV career.com.

Be sure to join us again.

You are serious to reminisce writing them in my career


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