Faithlife Sermons

Blessed Subtraction

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Should Christians be tolerant of all people? The world preaches tolerance, pluralism, relativism, etc . . . How should the Christian respond?


Illus: Students walk out at Taylor University.
Dozens walk out at graduation commencement because of the guest speaker - VP Mike Pence
Graduate Laura Rathburn said she was disappointed the school had involved Pence in Saturday’s ceremony. She told the paper she planned to walk out in protest and decorated her cap in rainbow colors with a message: "Ally Visible For Those Who Can't Be.”
“I thought it was a really inappropriate decision. I think his presence makes it difficult for everyone at Taylor to feel welcomed,” she told the paper before the ceremony.
Reframe this a bit - and we see this is actually the opposite of tolerance, acceptance, pluralism, diversity, etc . . .
The world has a bunch of people running around looking for their own little Utopia.
Matter of Perspective - ours or Gods?
So often we see the world attempt to live with Diversity and pluralism
What they really seek is a Utopia
This is proof that all men created in the image of God seek reconciliation and redemption. From what?
We know it is sin and redeemed through Christ.
But, we are to be counter cultural - not living worldly lives but Christian lives in the world


Paul wanted to visit the brothers
2nd Missionary Journey
Probably already written book of Galatians
Brothers - term used to identify fellow believers
Emphasizes the adoption into God’s family - kingdom of disciples
Paul goes with Silas
Barnabas goes with John Mark


God uses connectivity to strengthen his church
Church - people
A gathering of misfits
Illus: A coal left off to itself will die out and be extinguished.
God uses human division to strengthen his church
The church is not immune to sin, nor the thinking of the world.
We can take any situation and do what the graduates did:
“I feel”, “I Think”, “I Want” etc . . .
God uses inexperienced men to strengthen his church
Paul did not want to take John Mark
He withdrew from them in Pamphylia - he was not familiar to the work
App: If you are a disciple you can be a servant of Jesus Christ


Reframe: Rather than one mission work, we now have two through a disagreement
God builds his church through what appears to us to be a disagreement or division
People are sinners
God will overcome our sin
God’s church will not be thwarted by sin. It may be damaged and hurt for a time, but never destroyed.
Being a disciple we should have a different view than the world. Our responses should be different. Our conversations should be different. Our feelings and attitudes should be different.
The framework we put around an issue is different:
This should frame how we view disciple life
God uses community to teach and grow us in Christ
God uses other people to sharpen us
This should give us an attitude of humility. We need to be teachable.
God is in charge of his people and his wolrd
This should give us an attitude of prayer
Paul and Barnabas both wanted what they wanted. They wanted it their way. They in a sense were stubborn and defiant, so it appears. Yet, they had an extra measure of the HS. They were healing and doing miracles. They were set apart by Jesus.
So, God obviously allowed such a disagreement. He established in their hearts this belief. Now, their sin probably led to pride and arrogance. We read nothing of prayer or humility. Yet, God used that to further his kingdom.
If the apostles are susceptible to such failings, how much more are we, disciples of Jesus far removed from his earthly ministry and without those powers of miracle and healing.
We need to be disciples who walk in God’s grace, with humility and in prayer!
The Disciple should be tolerant. But, tolerant as God defines it not the world. The disciple should see diversity as a good thing, as God defines it, not the world. These things need to be reframed and properly understood.
Walking in the grace of the Lord, strengthening the churches
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