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An appeal for reconciliation Pt2

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Wha does it mean to be a church member? Does it mean that I have my name on the rolls so I have a place to be buried? Does it mean that my name is there so I get in heaven? What does it mean?

Intro

Can America Survive?
Illus: Article that talks about a divided America and whether or not it can survive?
Can
History is not very kind to multicultural chaos — as opposed to a multiracial society united by a single national culture. The fates of Rwanda, Iraq, and the former Yugoslavia should remind us of our present disastrous trajectory. Either the United States will return to a shared single language and allegiance to a common and singular culture, or it will eventually descend into clannish violence.
America barely survived the Civil War of 1861–65, the Great Depression of 1929–39, and the rioting and protests of the 1960s. But today’s growing divides are additionally supercharged by instant Internet and social-media communications, 24/7 cable news, partisan media, and the denigration of America’s past traditions. All Americans need to take a deep breath, step back, and rein in their anger — and find more ways to connect rather than divide themselves. They should assume their opponents are not all sinners, and that their supporters are not all saints. Things are bad now. But our own history suggests that if we are not careful, they can get even worse.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448643/divided-america-people-must-connect-america-survive
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448643/divided-america-people-must-connect-america-survive
There is a problem in our churches today. Decline and division
Folks, we have much to say about how America responds to this division. We can be a grand influence on unity and fellowship -
Rather than the society influencing the church, what if the church influenced society?
Last week we talked about the decline and division of the American church, this week we will look at reconciliation and individuals
Church membership:
A warped understanding of church membership shows us that we have inverted our understanding of church and society
Based on our research of 557 churches from 2004 to 2010, nine out of ten churches in America are declining or growing at a pace that is slower than that of their communities. Simply stated, churches are losing ground in their own backyards. Another way of looking at it is generationally. About two-thirds of the Builder generation, those born before 1946, are Christians. But only 15 percent of the Millennials are Christians. The Millennials are the largest generation in America’s history with almost eighty million members. They were born between 1980 and 2000. And we have all but lost that generation. We can blame it on the secular culture. And we often do. We can blame it on the godless politics of our nation. We do that as well. We can even blame it on the churches, the hypocritical members, and the uncaring pastors. Lots of Christians are doing that. But I am proposing that we who are church members need to look in the mirror. I am suggesting that congregations across America are weak because many of us church members have lost the biblical understanding of what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. We join our churches expecting others to serve us, to feed us, and to care for us. We don’t like the hypocrites in the church, but we fail to see our own hypocrisies. God did not give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks. He placed us in churches to serve, to care for others, to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give, and, in some cases, to die for the sake of the gospel. Many churches are weak because we have members who have turned the meaning of membership upside down. It’s time to get it right. It’s time to become a church member as God intended. It’s time to give instead of being entitled.
Rainer, Thom S.. I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference (Kindle Locations 191-205). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Church vows:
(7) In loving obedience, do you submit yourself to the government and discipline of this church, promising to seek the peace, purity, and prosperity of this congregation as long as you are a member of it?

Drama

Paul is appealing to Philemon
He now shows what he is asking
Philemon is being asked to receive Onisemus as a new creation (17)
Obviously this is included in reconciliation
Paul asks for his debt to be covered and forgotten (18-19)
Paul was seeking Philemon to respond - Christlike

Doctrine

Reconciliation:
1) includes receiving someone as God has received you
Paul wants him received as he has been received
a fellow heir of Jesus Christ
2) includes unconditional  forgiveness
Paul becomes the mediator
Paul is showing Christ’s love - atonement
Propitiation
Romans 3:25 ESV
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Rom
1 John 2:2 ESV
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
We believe that this atonement is limited to the elect - That Christ died for His elect
The atonement of Christ is sufficient to save all but not applied to all - only God’s elect
Once we understand how great this is: that we are counted among those elect this is an awesome statement
Illus: Edmund in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
After Edmund was rescued from the White Witch, the children wake to Aslan having a conversation with Edmund
Edmund had betrayed his siblings and Aslan. And Aslan was about to go to the “stone table” to be sacrificed for Edmund to appease the White Witch.
Aslan tells the kids to forgive and forget:
“Here is your brother,” he said, “and—there is no need to talk to him about what is past.”
Excerpt From: C. S. Lewis. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe/id360625556?mt=11
3) includes a refreshed heart
Paul desired this in order to have joy in unity and reconciliation
The Holy Spirit drives us in this direction
If we have the HS we will be driven toward reconciliation and the joy it brings
Galatians 5:22–26 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Gal 5:22-26
Galatians 5:22 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Paul compares this to the way of the world
Galatians 5:17–21 ESV
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:17
God works within his church to bring reconciliation and not division
The goal here is Koinonia - spiritual fellowship
“your partner” - κοινωνός
Illus: The world is divided while the church is unified
World: divided over many things
gun control - due to mass shootings
Church: united in Christ - spiritually and practically
We are to be different and that difference comes from Christ and is to influence the world
The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition Chapter XXVI. Of Communion of Saints

II. Saints, by profession, are bound to maintain a holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.e

Doxology

If we seek to grow in Christ we must be a church that seeks koinonia
We must be willing to reconcile: forgive and forget
The goal of koinonia is “to maintain a holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities.”
to maintain a holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities.
Westminster Assembly. (1851). The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (p. 142). Philadelphia: William S. Young.
Our fellowship is different than some social club.
Rainer mentions in his book in the chapter on unity the one thing that destroys unity and fellowship: Gossip
Gives two solutions to stopping gossip:
So how should we respond to this issue of gossip in our church? First, don’t be a source of gossip. If you have any doubt whether something is gossip or not, don’t mention it. Keep your tongue under control.
Second, if someone in the church begins to share gossip with you, gently rebuke him or her. You don’t have to be harsh in your response to them. Kindly say that you would rather not hear any gossip and you would hope it wouldn’t continue to spread. You can be a unifier in your church with those simple words.
And if there are just a few more members like you, word will begin to travel. Other church members will know that gossip is not tolerated in your church. And the congregation will be a place of joy and unity. “For the one who wants to love life and to see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit” (). Love life. See good days. Control your tongue. Stop the gossip. Be a unifier.
Rainer, Thom S.. I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference (Kindle Locations 350-357). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
We must be different than the world and seek peace and unity within the church body
receiving one another as members of the body of Christ
practice unconditional forgiveness
Church unity is torn apart when members refuse to forgive, when any member is too prideful to grant forgiveness. Remember, Christ loved us so much that He died on a cross to forgive us. And now, as He has forgiven us, so we must forgive others. It is essential to the unity of your church.
live with a refreshed heart
Rainer, Thom S.. I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference (Kindle Locations 377-379). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
We must carry that out into the world and influence America
Live with a refreshed heart
Let is be different from the world and seek reconciliation with one another, thanking God for the ability to do so, and let us go and influence the world with this very same unity . . . .
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