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Stuff

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· What is God’s heart in this?
§ I’m going to start off on the introduction to a series I’m working on about defining our modern church as a place that the “un-churched” would want to be. Today’s sermon is a slight expansion on last week’s sermon, then for the next 4 weeks we’ll work through the modern celebration of advent. That is, the coming of the Christ, which we’ll celebrate on the 4th Sunday, Christmas Eve.

Stuff

§ What a great video. We aren’t called to walk this alone.
§ I’ve been thinking this week about stuff. Last week we talked about trusting God with our “stuff”, and being open and abiding to His change. I illustrated that point with the example from Luke, where Jesus gets frustrated with His disciples for not trusting Him.
§ The illustration video ends with the phrase, “just bring your stuff”. That’s so good. For the past couple of years I’ve been working with people, and most specifically military veterans who feel like they can’t share their stuff with anyone.
§ Because I know some of you, I’m very aware that some of you in this room are holding onto some significant baggage and stuff.
§ When we let these burdens weigh us down, and get in the way of living, how many of you know, it frustrates God, because we aren’t trusting Him.
As I said, last week, we need to trust God. So what’s God’s plan
§ When we let these burdens weigh us down, and get in the way of living, how many of you know, it frustrates God, because we aren’t trusting Him.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart

And do not lean on your own understanding.

That proverb goes on to say, “In ALL your ways, acknowledge HIM, and HE will make your paths straight.

Colossians 3:2 NASB95
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:2

Pastor Jack Hayford

Pastor Hayford served in our Foursquare movement for 60 years, he was even our President for four years. He’s written several books, and he has served in congregations of over 10,000 members. In his 1993 book, Kingdom Living, Pastor Jack described the importance of trusting God’s salvation, and how trusting God frees us from sin. It frees us from the penalties of sin, the power of sin, and the presence of sin. He goes on to illustrate this in the biblical texts, here’s the quote:
The Lord justifies us, freeing us from sin’s penalty (); sanctifies us, freeing us from sin’s power (), and glorifies us, freeing us from sin’s presence () Jack W. Hayford and William D. Watkins, Kingdom Living: Growing Steadfast in the Faith: A Study of Romans, Spirit-Filled Life Bible Discovery Guides (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1993).

What about the Church?

One of the ways that God wraps His arms around us where we are, is to through each other. God gave us each other, he wired us to be relational beings. Some more than others, and some of you may even be questioning how “relational” we really are after some time with extended family for the holidays. I’ll show you where.

Paul’s Charge to the Church

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, giving instruction.
Galatians 6:2 NASB95
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6
Galatians 6 NASB95
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
What is the Law of Christ?
Since it has come up, it’s important to quantify exactly what the law of christ is: Quickly, the prophets which foretold of the coming of the Christ, or the messiah. In Isaiah, 42, the texts state that when the Christ comes, He will teach HIS law to the gentiles.
In Jeremiah we see a similar reference to a time when a disobedient Israel, as a nation, will receive a new covenant which will consist of a law that is written on the heart, and therefor a law they will be able to obey. Biblical scholars believe this to be a reference to the law of Christ that Paul was referencing.

Bearing Burdens

So back to bearing each other’s burdens.
Paul is saying that when we as Christians, that is people who follow Christ, when we show grace, love, mercy, charity, and compassion to others…we fulfill Jesus’s way for us to live. It’s what He wants from His church.

The Called Church

So now it’s getting hard, right church? Pastor’s up here telling you not just to “not worry” about your stuff, but to bring it to the church, and trust these other broken people to help me?
Yes.
I mentioned that I work with struggling veterans a lot. One of the most effective tools we’ve found to date for cases of trauma, be it psychological trauma or sexual trauma, is the application of peer support and peer mentoring. That’s when people who have similar traumas, get together and support each other. Now I’ve facilitated a bunch of these meetings, sometimes it’s a bunch of staring at the floor, and drinking bad coffee, and overeating of doughnuts. Hey, that sort of sounds like church sometimes. The facilitator’s role is to get people sharing. Church, welcome to your peer support group.

The Church: A Christ Follower Support Group

Now we’ve got to get ready for new members.
Some of you are saying, “wait a minute…I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with this” That’s ok. You don’t have to be comfortable, and one of the first rules in these groups is that no one has to share. No one is forced. Instead we create an environment of support, and a net of understanding. Not fake, judgmental invitations…but rather an atmosphere of love, similar to the Father’s love for us. Our support group needs to be a place of refuge, a place of love, and a place where we example things long before we ever open our mouths.
Now we’ve got to get ready for new members.
Let’s pray:
Let’s pray:
Father we humbly ask that you wrap your caring arms around us. Envelope us in your love and help us to learn how to trust you. Secondly we ask that you would continue to teach us as a church of your followers, in the ways of relationship which helps to bear each others burdons. Father forge relationships of trust and love, and teach us how to example your grace and forgiveness to each other. Lastly we ask that you make us a people who yearn to spread that love to others. We ask that you send people here, that this place would be a refuge where burdens are shared. These things we ask in your son’s name, the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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