The Gospel's Most Passionate Plea

Today’s sermon from Romans 12:1-13 is now on the web. You can listen to it here.

Here’s how I summarized and applied the text:

A life lived in the grip of the gospel bears the stamp of God’s glory on every aspect of that life. With respect to God, decisive commitment. With respect to self, continual change. With respect to others, intimate connection. The applications are plain, are they not? One, decide today, if you have not yet done so,  based on the massive mercies of God to you in Christ, saving you from sin and judgment, to climb, the whole of you, onto the altar of sacrifice and dedicate your life to Him as a holy and pleasing one of worship. Two, identify the ways you have succumbed to the worlds way of thinking, like perhaps individualism, letting it squeeze you into its mold, and battle back by daily reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on the word of God so that you might discern what pleases Him and live out His will in your life. Three, join a growth group this year. Determine to put yourself in a place that the mercies of God in the gospel flowing into your life will in turn flow out of your life to and with others in the intimate fellowship of a small group.

Let us live our lives this week in light of the gospel’s passionate plea for lives stamped with God’s glory in every respect.

How Not To Resolve Disputes Among Believers

Today’s message from 1 Cor. 6:1-8 is now on the web. You can listen to it here.

I summarized the passage and closed with applications this way:

Believers must reject the ridiculous and audacious folly of resolving their disputes in secular courts of law – given the special destiny of judging for believers (the world and angels), the serious disconnect with adjudicating by unbelievers (they have no standing in the church), and given the shameful defeat of litigating against family (why not rather suffer wrong, be defrauded than to wrong and defraud your brothers). Let me close with five practical steps of application.

1.       If you haven’t done so already, read Ken Sande’s The Peacemaker, especially if you are in a conflict and/or if you are a member of OGC. Maybe even read it again. We place a high value on fostering a culture of peace. Nothing will equip you better.

2.      Consider joining the reconciling team at OGC. Matthew Antolick, himself trained by Peacemaker Ministries in conflict mediation is heading up this ministry to help serve our body in resolving disputes so that we have godly recourse when disputes come. See him for more info about what’s involved and how you can be trained.

3.      Inventory your heart in a conflict. If you can’t overlook an offense, follow the pattern of restoration clearly set down by Jesus in Matt. 18. Be willing for wise, objective and godly people to speak into your life along the way when they see something potentially out of order.

4.     Become a church member if you aren’t already. Conflict resolution through godly mediation and arbitration and church discipline is one of the privileges and responsibilities that membership affords. Think about it. There is nothing for you or your opponent to be put out of if necessary, if you aren’t already those who have voluntarily put yourselves in it.

5.      Trust God and the gospel of grace and forgiveness to rule your relationships within the body of Christ. Behavior that chooses to suffer wrong, defrauding as opposed to coercing rights, doesn’t come naturally to the sinful flesh. That takes the fruit of the Spirit controlling the heart through the power of the gospel.

Praise God for His faithfulness to us over these last years in preserving the peace within our fellowship!