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January 14, 2021 12:00 am
My soul and have my entire ministry.
When I hear the term culture war when not at war with our culture, not angry with our world. We don't hate this world we are begging this world as Paul wrote, to be reconciled with God no matter what the challenges no matter how hot the fire. We respond with grace we we want them to be saved where the ambassadors carry forward these billets threatened by the moral decline in our culture and in return, the world feels judged by Christians instead of feeling loved by us. How are we supposed to navigate this tension.
How are we supposed to treat others who disagree with us on things so fundamental to who we are as believers, how can we foster relationships that promote gospel opportunities and allow us to share our faith when similarly will explore this today on wisdom for the heart here Stephen Devi with a lesson called peace and a cup of coffee noticed the beginning of the verse. Here's the first condition. Romans chapter 12 verse 18 first words possible. If possible peace. Why would why would Paul start off by writing that condition well because peace isn't always possible. The gospel sometimes brings a sort it divides the family truth may hurt some people.
Frankly, because of who you are as a Christian would rather argue with you then make peace or receive peace from you. They'd rather fight you, then reach a settlement you you didn't try to do it.
You didn't want to do it, but there on the job all you did was bow your head and invite the guy across the table to pray with you before lunch, and he reacted with incredible fury and and who do you think you are and I can even eat your sandwich and tea and asked for it just happened because of who you are and what you believe in, my dear neighbor was every time I preach every time I preach.
I potentially add to a growing list of enemies I hear from them periodically and not inside here. Of course there being on the Internet and radio and now the letter a couple of weeks ago from Amanda demanding the back on the radio and apologize for what I said about what he believed what I said and then a few days ago another letter with a lot of material that I needed to read so that I could correct my statements about this particular call. This individual was in college, that is your lady from another state called and tried to find me. I wasn't there.
I don't stay there so that we been in hiding and she called at any rate, she called and demanded an apology for what I said about animals was cats. I think that was in the Bible.
I got a freak. So what I the truth is further along we go the more people there are out there who are not interested in peaceful relations with Christians hold of the truth of Scripture and you discover the same thing in her testimony, which is why it's important to note that Paul writes if possible, notice the second condition possible. So far as it depends on you know I write that letter because it isn't always dependent on you is what Paul writes the verse 19. Never take your own revenge, beloved leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will pay, says the Lord, you pursue peace with people that you know as unbelievers are going to stand before God when the he never really becomes your enemy because you understand that as long as his breathing is your mission field. So in the meantime, offer them as much of a peaceful and gracious response. As you can. Your offering them the gospel of peace you're approaching them with your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace your offering them this peace treaty that Christ paid for the Holy Spirit three was offering to them, and the Holy Spirit and works through you as the messenger of peace demonstrating through your life that attribute afraid which is only found in him, for he gives you the fruit of peace. Galatians 522 so God is and say to these Roman believers are us united. Just keep away from the world you have any piece so you need to stay away from. You need to buy some land and maybe some other Christians going with you and you build a little commune you stay away from the world they don't like you.
So you need to just escape that that isn't biblical, and the fact that became institutionalized and what we think of as monasteries. I'm going to find peace alone, Paul is suggesting this is our our mission field.
This is why we been placed on the planet by the grace of God affect notice first 20 but if your enemy notice that not a stranger or your neighbor if your enemy is hungry and feed him if he is thirsty, give them water to drink. For in so doing you will heap burning coals of fire upon his head. Maybe you're thinking. I like that burning coals part now is speaking my language not really if you look carefully at this verse you can understand the positive responses can choose believer feeding your enemies of giving water to your enemies. This last response of keeping coals seems out of place and seems negative and we don't understand it and we don't understand because we've never carried around coals on top of our head, but in Paul's day, they did. They didn't have matches above the kitchen sink it onto start a fire.
They didn't have matches out by the girl on the deck so many didn't keep the fire going or please keep coals hot little clay ovens inside their homes, which they cooked and which heated their homes at night they would be able to keep warm, and they would be Emily. If for some reason, perhaps as a result of being away or maybe being ill. Maybe some of the herd got loose and they spent a day chasing down and they got back in and there coals had turned to dark cold ash. The quickest way to solve the problem would be to go to neighbor for some live coal from there. So the neighbor was kind they put in a couple of calls into a container that you might abroad and then you balance on your head in a typical fashion back to your own and be really kind if you're in the place of providing the coals to give your enemy call or two from your oven if you did that would help them.
However, there may be some distance all have to travel. They might not make it home without coals and even if they didn't take a long time to get that fire back started to cook and the little huts are still going to be cold, so Paul is telling us to respond here not just with kindness but with abundant grace. Notice you are literally keeping coals of fire in the container. There get a balance on their head as they will come so that when I get back home. No time at all. I got off the fire going and they got the cotton. They have food ready and then there little huts are warm to the application for the believer that Paul is making here is that you hear here that he grace upon them, and is going to be hard. It might not solve everything. It may not fix everything that it can be hard for someone to remain your enemy when you graciously help them rebuild their fire Robert Chapman who pastored during the days of Spurgeon, Spurgeon said he was the same as Manny never met is a single man all his life.
Pastor little tiny church in England and he lives in a community where one of the groceries just hated him because of his gospel. In fact, he would walk by that man's shop and that man if he was near the door would spit at Robert Chapman said nothing kind for years. On one occasion Robert Chapman had guessed unexpectedly and deleted groceries in this couple and family that was staying with him volunteered to go by any civil I tell you what I want to travel across town because I want you to buy groceries from this man's stand.
They did and they needed him delivered in this grocer said and to whom shall I deliver them and they said the pastor. Chapman was such a stunning thing that this man, you talk about keeping coals of fire on the Scripture said that men did indeed come the Chapman confess and hear the gospel and he was saved may happen, but I can tell you how to be less likely to happen if our neighbor shows up and we throw coal at sheep help them rebuild their fire effectively rebuild their lives. One author wrote of this, we were not reactionaries to our culture. We are the peacemakers and I would agree. And it's important that the church understand that were not panicking. We can talk about the sin and the morality of our culture as we prepare to go to the gospel to be very aware what was happening. We are preparing and we are praying and we are serving and and while working in our jobs were living in our communities split with such distinctive lives that offer grace that the unbeliever scratches their head nonoffensive just to be offensive. Sometimes the truth offends were not angry or resentful, just as Paul never shares any resentment or any kind of personal anger against Nero and none of his letters, we find that let me show you turn to the right and had to first Timothy first Timothy chapter 2 we looked at this in an earlier promise were making as members of this church to pray for our leaders and those in authority over us. But now I go to the next phrase and LFL purposely because I wanted to get to it now going to verse one.
First Timothy chapter 2 and verse one. First of all, then here's your priority. I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men. That's great you think of Paul O that's Nero and all who are in authority. That's the Senate in order not. Here's what I want to see in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life with all godliness and dignity, tranquil and client life. Maybe you're in and out of airports every day in your traveling or working 60 in a 70 hour weeks in your thinking. I would love a little tranquility, you know, maybe you're chasing you know to elementary school kids around the house and had a quiet moment in six years to 2 AM and even that's not guaranteed thinking, tranquility woman who blogs now serving on the mission field talked about how as a teenager I read it.
She said her family would take these cross-country trips on summer vacation. In that discussion took me back to our family. Six retina driving from Norfolk Virginia to Minneapolis Minnesota we do in 24 hours and I thought it was just because we like to. And then I realized there wasn't any money to spend the night anywhere and so we would literally drive would start in the evening and get there the next evening before boys and a mom and a data she described this. It took me back there and she said that this little trick what they did as they traveled across country to keep the peace.
She wrote we each were allowed to take a turn choosing a cassette player in the car take this a good day. He said that the little rectangular thing to hold no one in the family was allowed to complain about the choice cassette that one of the siblings chose more parents they get their turn as well but they had to listen quietly and try to enjoy. She said everybody always anxiously awaited their 90 minutes their turn. She said, especially my father.
He always put in a 90 minute tape was still blank 90 minutes of silence I could use a cassette long time ago was talking about Friday for the king and only silence will be helpful to know the pose and out of touch with the first century of the 20% three things words are from the Holy Spirit, the peace and tranquility that Paul is referring to here is that internal focus on the sovereignty of God over kings and over nations and over authorities and certainly culture at large that nothing in life can happen outside his divine purposes, so surrendering to his sovereign purposes as they roll out to us with thanksgiving from this text is the principle that produces internal tranquility and quietness.
Nothing in your life surprised God even though outside there is nothing but swelling waves and wind and surf on your little boat reminded me of the apostle Peter was in the boat with the other disciples in the middle of starting a member of your own and have the faith of narrative where Jesus comes walking on top of the water and having cross that water known about some time ago. Picture what it must've been like for Peter to call out and say that you, Lord, let me come to you and Jesus. A commodity clamors over the side of that boat, and walks on top of the water.
Then he looks around. It is a big gust of wind or some spray in his face and he focuses on the circumstances and and he begins to sink in the praise that short but very effective prayer Lord, save me.
The Lord reaches down and pulls him back up and they walked back together and it occurs to me that he learned but we have to learn and relearn. And then we learn all over again even though perhaps because of her own failure. The water tends to go over our head is still underneath his feet. Everything in life seems to be over your head is under his sovereign feet. This inner tranquility. Paul writes to Timothy, it ought to be marked by two things. Godliness and dignity. Another was a godly demeanor and gracious bearing. It doesn't mean your killjoy and you can laugh and enjoy life is not an Adobe crash course off-color, dignified live up to your calling as believers. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God. Verse three.
Notice who desires all men to be saved. This is the desire of every believer who reflects the character of God.
This is why this disposition is so important. These people are not our enemies. Their mission field we we want them to be saved where the ambassadors carrying forward the terms of peace with God. They may not like it because it calls for total and unconditional surrender. We offer the terms of fighting the world died, bristle, and have for my entire ministry. When I hear the term culture war were not at war with our culture were not angry with our world.
We don't hate this world we are begging this world. As Paul wrote, to be reconciled with God no matter what the challenges no matter how hot the fire.
We respond with grace we are feeding we are delivering water, the bread of life. The water of life and tangible water in Britain to 20 people to the one who came to pay the ransom for the treaty that we can now have with God through his blood and cross work matter how hot it gets permission. The change we came into the auditorium.
When she came in perhaps maybe one of these doors on the tree you you received the coffee bean and you put in your pocket or your purse, pull it out.
Take a look at an online pastors journal that I subscribe to one pastor told the story of a young lady who was complaining to her father in his church and he shared the story and I thought this would be a great place to conclude with these promises as a relates to your personal life or church life in our community life. So I'm sure she said her father. You know all these problems I'm having.
It's like I saw one and I have another one start all of us who are older say that it never changes.
We have made a commitment so if you're like me to deal with only one crisis of the time.
The plan she says I'm just weary of it. Father who was a chef and they were talking in the restaurant took her back to an area in the kitchen refill three parts, three small pots with water anyplace each pot on on high heat. I fire. Soon the pots came to a boil in one place some carrots and another a place some eggs and in the third.
He placed a handful of coffee beans and then just talk to her as if he would really do anything. They chatted for a while and then rather impatiently.
She said okay dead what's up with the pots on the stove. He went over and turned off the burners. He fished out the carrots replacement of molding fished out in a put it in a little bowl and then he poured some of the coffee into a cup. Turning to his daughter.
He said sweetie, tell me, tell me what you see. She said well I think carrots and egg coffee said no look look closer and handed her fork and he said he said investigate the carrots were they like and she pressed on them. And of course they were mushy and soft.
He said break that egg and she broke it in the no longer running soft but it was hard and he said now the third and she took a sip of that rich coffee and just smiled, but she still said that, what's the point. He explained to her that each of these elements have faced the same fire, same adversity same challenge, but each of them had reacted to it differently. The carrot went in strong firm, but after being subjected to the heat became flimsy and bushy V-8 was fragile. It's thin outer shell and protected however it soft interior but after sitting in the boiling water its insides Road hard the coffee beans were unique by being in the boiling water subjected to fire and heat. They change the flavor of the water now. The room was filled with an aroma and the taste of rich coffee father looked at his daughter and asked which one are you going to become. And I believe this is Paul's same question here because of heat and adversity and challenge and shores and its possibilities. Instead, become and influence by means of what we are on the inside who dwells within us. I want you to take this coffee bean and place it on your desk or your counter at home or work somewhere where you see it often. Let us serve as a reminder that God never intended your circumstances or your culture change you before you to influence your culture by means of the aroma of God through Christ.
In fact, Paul would write to the Corinthians, this wonderful text. He said this but thanks be to God who always leads us in a procession of triumph in Christ and manifests through us office suite aroma of the knowledge of God. Second Corinthians 2. This is our distinctive purpose in the world. This is not the time or the place to retreat. You know to go back to life when it was simple. This is a time for us to face the fire.
The pressure but with this kind of demeanor this kind of spirit. This kind of disposition. We are peacemaking dignified concerned, humble people and we by the grace of God fill our world with the rich aroma of Christ more than ever before love this has to be a promise or commitment to our culture as a promise to them who are outside of this peace treaty with God. They see something distinctive and different mass.
They smell the aroma, taste the flavor of our lives.
We deliver to them the terms of peace and the come to know Christ like. We know to give him glory and the artistic with that. Stephen concludes this lesson and this four-part series called going public, going public is a call to action for believers who want to obey God's command to influence the world for Jesus. If you want to do that well. I hope this series has helped you. I want to make sure you know how you can access this series to listen again.
Maybe the Lord has brought others to your mind who would benefit from these four lessons. Here are some options for you.
Going public is posted to our website and you'll find us email@example.com at the top of the homepage as a menu item called teaching and if you look for our topical lessons and then click on Christian life you'll find this series. Once you do, you can listen to all four messages and read Stephen's word for word manuscript. We also have it available as a digital download. If you want to download the audio files to your computer.
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Our website is wisdom online.org once again find us firstname.lastname@example.org you can also call us. Stephen's daughter Candace would be happy to talk with you and help you get signed up the phone number is 86 648 Bible or 866-482-4253. Thanks for listening today. Please join us again tomorrow for more ways