Faithlife Sermons

Overcoming Lables

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It is always a pleasure to worship with you every week, and I truly do not take it for granted. I know that to step on to this platform and be a part of the team of individuals who lead you every week is a task that carries wondrous weight and it is a weight that I know, Deb, Liz, Rebecca, Stephine, and at times Ethan would happily carry again and again. Last night brother Phil made the tough call that he would not be able to fellowship with us this morning because of a significant fever. So if you would, please remember him in your prayers. After he called to let me know. I rose from my sleep, kissed my wife goodbye, walked to my office and began to work on the last message that you would be receiving from this series. The first week, we heard from brother Derek about overcoming offance where he shared with us how when we are tied up in our offenses we are unable to live the life that God has intended us to live. Last week Pastor Josh shared with us how the only way to overcome the shame in our life, the very thing that God has rescued us from what you are not, to who Christ is. and lastly this week, before we celebrate to comionnation of Christmas this Saturday, I will be discussing overcoming labels.
Has anyone ever asked you, in a random fashion what you favorite movie was? What about your favorite music group or food. I hate those questions, because not only do they change all the time, and it’s likely that the answer is what ever you watched last or, ate last. But you can never think of a clear answer, never the less, one you really would stick behind. This was kind of the case with this sermon. After I found out, I found myself going over the title again and again. “Overcoming Labels”. What does it mean to overcome a label? Have i ever overcome a label? What labels do I wear upon myself now? All very good questions as a look at the clock at the time of writing this and it clicks ever closer to this very hour.
As i sat back in my chair and thought about this a funny scenario popped into my head. If you were to gather all of the people in your life from coworkers to family members from coaches, to teachers. From parents to children, and their task was to sum you up in one phrase, what do you think that would be? Would it be that you are kind? Would it be that you are generous? Would it be that you are long-suffering or patient or how about that you are a good teacher, or loving father, or gentle mother. I mean, I’m sure any of us would be happy with any number of these, but what about the other side of it what would be the earth shattering reality to some of us to hear the stark contrast to any of these. Instead of hearing that, we are kind, we would hear that we are hard and abrasive instead of hearing that we are loving, we were here that we are crass or hurtful with our words.
Labels come in many shapes and sizes we hear about the things that people say about us on the Internet, or through the grapevine. But these labels stop short of just something that we hear from a passerby in our life.
Sometimes we hear labels that define us. The American psychiatric association decided that in order to better understand people and the cognitive illnesses that cripple them from living a healthy life that contributes in a positive way to society. they put together a comprehensive list of disorders so that the collective brain trust of mental health professionals can help and improve how we work with individuals and their trauma. This document is called the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, or better known as the DSM-V. A five because there have been 5 editions, each one changing and becoming more and more comprehensive. This book list close to 300 different disorders. Ranging from a separation anxiety disorder, sleep-wake disorders to oppositional defiant disorders and just about everything in between.
Since the creation of this text, millions of individuals have been able to seek help and receive treatment for issues that prevent them from living a life without the frustration from a social, physical or mental handicaps. This has helped shaped the way we provide treatment to those battling with Alzheimer’s or help our society create measures to better assist those with anxiety disorders.
Let’s back up a second we’re thinking about this in terms of significant impacts, caused by trauma or some other factor. Let’s simplify this labels don’t necessarily have to be something that is placed on us, such as a physical, or psychological diagnosis. Think about the labels that are much more simplistic. For example, let’s think about your hobbies. What do you do in your spare time some of you may play music so will it be fair for me to call you a musician? Some of you like to drive fast will it be fair for me to call you a race car driver‘s‘s? Some of you like to cook? would it be fair for me to call you a chef these are too silly examples, but think about, the hundreds of other labels we would either place on ourselves or somebody else would simplistically place on us. How many of those would we ascribe to.
OK that is us. What about the labels we place on other people. The labels that we place on people who vote for Democrats or the labels that we give people who wear red hats. How about the labels we place on people get abortions or who picket in protest.
You see labels are all over the place. labels have become the way that we understand ourselves and it has become the way we seek to understand others. that may be for the better or for the worse. Unfortunately, many times we find ourselves creating labels as a means of protection. If I can understand myself, then it may help me understand why the world is so painful, and if I can understand others, it may help me protect myself from those who seek to harm me.
Let’s pray
As we rapidly approach, this wonder a celebration of the birth of our Savior. I am reminded of the life of Jesus. I am reminded of his extravagant generosity as he interacted with, and ministered to hundreds if not, thousands of people directly and indirectly. And what is even more beautiful, is his pursuit of those whom society has cast aside. Those who have been dejected, deemed unclean, unfit for life among the common man those whom, by there very ethnicity were considered vagrants, or as I tell you this right now I would gamble that many of you are thinking of various individuals in Scripture, whom this applies. I am in a for some of us. Our mind immediately goes to the Samarian women. Who is Jesus in his love and tenderness extended his merciful hand and showed her pragmatic, real time unconditional love. We think about the tax collector, Matthew. Who wear if I were to say, was on liked would be a gross understatement. But yet Jesus, again in his extravagant generosity, showed him mercy.
As I mentioned before last week, Pastor Josh preached on overcoming shame. Last month he and I discussed his sermon as he made the transition in preaching style to accommodate the sermon series, and while we were all blessed, immensely by the time he labored over the word, please allow me to say that is no small feat. It is not a simple thing to just take multiple passages of scripture and attempt to crowbar them into one specific topic, and as we discussed shame. Our Conversation reflecting on the various lepers that Jesus healed, and while Pastor Josh was unable to spend significant time discussing that last Sunday, and unfortunately, I too will be unable to truly explain the width and breadth of such an event, I would like to pull out some specific key things to consider.
First let us read in Luke 17:11-16
Luke 17:11–16 ESV
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
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