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In Christ: Justice

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Passage:

John 17:20-23
The New International Version (1984) Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

I Corinthians 11:17-33

One in Christ

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

One in Christ

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

Quotes

Quotes

As Christianity Today senior managing editor Mark Galli has noted, among evangelicals it is “rare” that appeals for social action are grounded “in the gospel of grace, in the Cross and Resurrection, in the miraculous gift of forgiveness, and in the immense gratitude that naturally flows from that gift.”[ 228] Instead, according to Galli, evangelicals tend to use moralism, guilt, and shame as motivation for social justice.[ 229]
Billings, J. Todd (2011-11-01). Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (p. 97). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Billings, J. Todd (2011-11-01). Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (p. 97). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
A watershed point in this history occurred in 1857 when the General Assembly of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) received from some white members a request for permission to celebrate the Lord’s Supper separately from black members of the church. This request was clearly against the Reformed polity of the DRC, which emerged from the Synod of Dort. (Indeed, an earlier request for separate communion had been rejected by the Dutch Reformed Church, for the Lord’s Supper was to be administered “without distinction of colour.”)[ 232] Moreover, the 1857 Synod found no biblical grounds for the separation of communion based on race. However, the assembly, wanting to avoid being conservative, doctrinaire, and rigid, gave a pastoral accommodation that “due to the weakness of some,” communion and worship could be organized for separate celebrations based on race.[ 233] (The “weaker” ones referred to were the white members who made the request for separate communion.) Yet this pastoral accommodation “gradually became common practice and still later the norm for the order and structure of the church.”[ 234] Eventually, the trajectory of this 1857 decision led to two different results: First, it led to the establishment of a separate racially based denomination (yet still under the ownership of the DRC) for colored or mixed-race members (1881, Dutch Reformed Mission Church) and later for black members (1951, Dutch Reformed Church in Africa). Second, what began as a “pastoral accommodation” for violating eucharistic polity was eventually developed into an elaborate theology that sought to ground the separation of the races in creation. With its separatist theology of creation, the DRC became an avid advocate of apartheid as a government policy beginning in 1924, claiming that “competition between black and white on economic levels . . . leads to poverty, friction, misunderstanding, suspicion and bitterness.”[ 235] The DRC, and the new ideology emerging from its broken theology of the Lord’s Supper and justice, became a major source for the political ideology that led to the system of apartheid.[ 236]
Billings, J. Todd (2011-11-01). Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (pp. 98-99). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Face
Billings, J. Todd (2011-11-01). Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (pp. 98-99). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Viewed in themselves, one’s neighbors may not appear worthy of love.[ 264] But just as Christians are called to live not in themselves but in Christ, the law of God calls Christians to consider their neighbors not “in themselves” but in relation to God. For Calvin, this sets a very high standard for neighbor-love. Just as God’s law in the garden evokes a voluntary, grateful response, our love of neighbor should be motivated by a genuine and “sincere feeling of love.”[ 265] Obeying the law of neighbor-love means that one’s delight and trust in God overflows to a genuine love and regard for one’s neighbor, regardless of whether they are “worthy or unworthy, friend or enemy.”[
Viewed in themselves, one’s neighbors may not appear worthy of love.[ 264] But just as Christians are called to live not in themselves but in Christ, the law of God calls Christians to consider their neighbors not “in themselves” but in relation to God. For Calvin, this sets a very high standard for neighbor-love. Just as God’s law in the garden evokes a voluntary, grateful response, our love of neighbor should be motivated by a genuine and “sincere feeling of love.”[ 265] Obeying the law of neighbor-love means that one’s delight and trust in God overflows to a genuine love and regard for one’s neighbor, regardless of whether they are “worthy or unworthy, friend or enemy.”[
Billings, J. Todd (2011-11-01). Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (p. 111). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
For Calvin, Christ is the embodiment of justice, the embodiment of the law of love, which has particular implications for the rich, who are called by Christ to “bestow on the poor, according to their own ability, what their [the poor’s] necessity required.”[ 269] With Calvin’s position here, those with special needs do require special concern in actions of love toward them.
Billings, J. Todd (2011-11-01). Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (p. 111). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Billings, J. Todd (2011-11-01). Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (pp. 111-112). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Billings, J. Todd (2011-11-01). Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (pp. 111-112). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Thoughts

Justification and Sanctification: It’s like getting a ticket to a theme park, and once you’re in, looking at all the roller coasters as opposed to riding them.
‘Mostly’? in the imperative: take, eat, drink, remember, examine yourself, and wait for each other.
‘Mostly’? in the imperative: take, eat, drink, remember, examine yourself, and wait for each other.
‘Mostly’? in the imperative: take, eat, drink, remember, examine yourself, and wait for each other.
CRC Report: We are called to resist making any member of Christ’s body a second-class citizen. We are called to resist individualism while still calling for individual accountability. We are called to enhance the joyful, life-giving practices of remembering, proclaiming, examining, discerning, and waiting. There is much here to challenge and inspires us all. pg. 508
We are called to resist making any member
of Christ’s body a second-class citizen. We are called to resist individualism
while still calling for individual accountability. We are called to enhance the
joyful, life-giving practices of remembering, proclaiming, examining, discerning,
and waiting. There is much here to challenge and inspires us all.
Where people sit in church: Pay-Per-Pew

Sermon Outline:

The Call to be ONE

The Call to be ONE

Studying Jesus’ Prayer
After this meal, disciples split

An Early Church Debacle

Issue with the Corinthian church
Agape meal
‘Mostly’? in the imperative: take, eat, drink, remember, examine yourself, and wait for each other.

A Modern Church Debacle

A watershed point in this history occurred in 1857 when the General Assembly of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) received from some white members a request for permission to celebrate the Lord’s Supper separately from black members of the church. This request was clearly against the Reformed polity of the DRC, which emerged from the Synod of Dort. (Indeed, an earlier request for separate communion had been rejected by the Dutch Reformed Church, for the Lord’s Supper was to be administered “without distinction of colour.”)[ 232] Moreover, the 1857 Synod found no biblical grounds for the separation of communion based on race. However, the assembly, wanting to avoid being conservative, doctrinaire, and rigid, gave a pastoral accommodation that “due to the weakness of some,” communion and worship could be organized for separate celebrations based on race.[ 233] (The “weaker” ones referred to were the white members who made the request for separate communion.) Yet this pastoral accommodation “gradually became common practice and still later the norm for the order and structure of the church.”[ 234] Eventually, the trajectory of this 1857 decision led to two different results: First, it led to the establishment of a separate racially based denomination (yet still under the ownership of the DRC) for colored or mixed-race members (1881, Dutch Reformed Mission Church) and later for black members (1951, Dutch Reformed Church in Africa). Second, what began as a “pastoral accommodation” for violating eucharistic polity was eventually developed into an elaborate theology that sought to ground the separation of the races in creation. With its separatist theology of creation, the DRC became an avid advocate of apartheid as a government policy beginning in 1924, claiming that “competition between black and white on economic levels . . . leads to poverty, friction, misunderstanding, suspicion and bitterness.”[ 235] The DRC, and the new ideology emerging from its broken theology of the Lord’s Supper and justice, became a major source for the political ideology that led to the system of apartheid.[ 236]
Billings, J. Todd (2011-11-01). Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (pp. 98-99). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In Christ’s Broken Body

Erodes our Witness
CRC Report: We are called to resist making any member of Christ’s body a second-class citizen. We are called to resist individualism while still calling for individual accountability. We are called to enhance the joyful, life-giving practices of remembering, proclaiming, examining, discerning, and waiting. There is much here to challenge and inspires us all. pg. 508
Greed and Gossip
Erodes our Witness

What to do?

Repairing Surgery

Lord’s Supper is the centerpiece of Christian unity
Christian segregation: TrueCity
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