Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bethany Bullet - April 13, 2010

How to Follow Jesus without Embarrassing God

President Obama the other day asked, “Can’t we disagree without being disagreeable?” He is not the first president I’ve heard ask this question. In fact, I believe, I’ve heard every president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Pacific Southwest District of the LCMS asking that same question since I’ve been ordained.

While we might expect such to be the case in politics it should be quite alarming, dare I say embarrassing that such is the case in the church; and has been since the one founded in Corinth. Division, factions, jealousy, and rivalry all of it was found in that congregation. Read chapters 1-3 of 1 Corinthians for the full force.

The church in Corinth forgot and then they fought.

They forgot:
• Whose They Were
• Who They Were
• Why They Were

Then the fought over:
• Control
• Credit

Whose They Were - The replaced; The Lamb with a shepherd. “I follow Apollos, I follow Cephas, and I follow Paul.”

The names have changed. Like Peter and Paul, some have universal renown: Graham, Warren, Olsten. Like Apollos some are more local: Loesch, Bunnett, Kritzer – but how often have we too divided, pitted, and sided because we have forgotten whose we are?

Who They Were - They began to think of themselves as better than others; more deserving of grace than the unbelieving world. Clinging to their works like trophies in a case, they assumed God was lucky to have them. How often have we forgotten that? How often do we view or judge others based upon a self-righteousness and arrogant spirit?

Why They Were - Authority, notoriety, and glory such is what they sought. How often have we forgotten the reason we exist as church and members thereof?

Over Who Got Control - We know what it is to want the final say, to believe everyone ought to agree with us to seek power and influence.

Over Who Got the Credit – Who doesn’t like a pat on the back? Who doesn’t want acknowledgement?
+ + +

Paul reminds them and us that the church is the Lord’s, it ain’t about us and He is the one who brings things into being and causes them to happen. “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is important because only God makes things grow.”

So following Jesus without embarrassing God means we start by remembering…

1. Whose We Are - We are not our own. Our lives have been hallowed by Christ’s perfect life; we’ve been redeemed by His precious blood, our future secured by His victorious Resurrection. We are His!

2. Who We Are - We are only sinners saved by grace, whose personal righteousness is like filthy rages and we are now to view ourselves as no more than servants as did our Lord.

3. Why We Are - We are called to engage in the mission not set up a kingdom.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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