Wonderful Day of Worship and Fellowship

I just wanted to share a couple of highlights about our worship this morning.  While we were partaking in the Lord’s Supper together, one of the members of the church attempted to read through Mark 15.  He was unable to finish the chapter without being overcome by his emotions.  It is great to see the gospel story of Jesus still stirring hearts. 

Secondly, I preached on being “salt” and “light” from Matthew 5.3-16.  I realy strove to challenge the congregation about what it means to be salt and light in an empirical age where the nation we live in seeks to protect its wealth and power by any menas necessary, including deadly violence.  As a way of presenting this, I reminded the church that passages in The Sermon on the Mount such as Matthew 5.43-44 (love enemies, pray for persecutors) and Matthew 6.24 (cannot serve both God and wealth) both challenge the way most Christians living in the U.S. baptize the nation’s wealth and power and subsequently serve to protect national interests rather than following the teachings of Jesus.  As you know, such a sermon is far from being politically correct (no pun intended).  The sermon was well received and several people told me that it was nice to hear someone challenging the way discipleship calls us to an alternative counter-culture way of life.

Last, we had a great potluck as we, the Kandiyohi Church of Christ, always do.  I suppose one of the reasons I enjoy our potlucks so much is because our congregation is so spread out geographically that our potlucks really create time and space for fellowship that is not always available.  Praise God for the fellowship we have with him and his people!

4 responses to “Wonderful Day of Worship and Fellowship

  1. K. Rex: I would be interested to hear about your view on the “2 Kingdoms” and Law vs. Gospel or Works vs. Grace.

    There seems to be much ignorance abound on this topic on “both sides of the isle.”

    In as much as one could rightly argue against the grip on the flag that some evangelicals promote; we could also have the same argument against the “other side” who hold a grip on subjects like the death penalty and war or Guantanamo Bay.

    In as much as our core loyalties are to God and His Church and not to the flag; so also grace belongs to the church, not the government of a nation (Rom 13:4). For example, do we want, or is it the responsibility of a Governor to extend grace to a killer who has broken the law? Is it his job to extend grace or execute the law?

    I say this to say if one is to preach on matters of law in accordance to the scriptures; we should keep it in regards to the church rather than on political motivations; I don’t care what “side” of an issue one falls on.

    Something I’m still pondering…

  2. Jr,

    You assume the church as a society separated from the world in such a way that it has no impact upon the world unless the world (people within the world) join in the church. That is not how the head of the church, Jesus Christ, lived his life. His life was lived in the public sector in a way that impacted the vey institutions of public life. I believe this is how the Kingdom of God breaking forth is to be understood – the Father’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. I have a problem when Christians involved in politics, are so in order to fight for a political institution and/or ideology of this world. However, as an example, since Jesus teaches his followers to love their enemies, I do think it is unethical for Christians to support and/or participate in the destruction of the state’s enemies.

    I hope that helps to explain where I come from.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

    • I now see where you are coming from. Thanks for that clarification.

      A correction. You said that I “assume the church as a society separated from the world in such a way that it has no impact upon the world unless the world (people within the world) join in the church.”

      That is not what I assume in the slightest. We most certainly have an impact as the Church in the world by going and proclaiming repentance and the forgiveness of sins; making disciples and baptizing so that more and more people can spread the same message. This is what we call missions.

      What Jesus did say was “give to Ceaser what is Ceaser’s and give to God what is God’s.” And the text is very clear that God placed administrators of justice in place to punish evil. I in no way want the administrators of justice to have grace upon doers of evil in a civil society. What I want – and what the Bible gives them authority for – is for them to administer just punishment “for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

      I fail to see how your philosophy would not completely disarm police officers, judges, laws, and yes, presidents or kings, from protecting people they are in charge of protecting.

      I do think you are mixing the two kingdoms where they were not intended to be mixed. My main point here is that “Love your enemies” is not law; it is gospel – which returns us to my original point of the 2-kingdoms issue vis-a-vis law vs. gospel and works vs. grace.

      Your brother –
      Jr

  3. Jr.

    Thanks for clarifying what you mean about church. We are on the same page as far as the church’s mission goes.

    As for Jesus telling us to give to Ceaser’s what is Ceaser’s, I hardly think Jesus meant supporting, endorsing, and/or participating in the state when the state wants to pursue a course of violence to protect its own status as a kingdom, sacrifice the lives of unborn children in the name of individual rights and choice, exploit the weakest for the profit of the strongest in the name of capitolism, etc… I believe Jesus’ response about giving to Ceaser was a clever way of refusing to be trapped by his adversaries.

    When one is a part of this world and wishes to become a disciple of Jesus, it requires them to make a choice and sometimes (perhaps most of the time) that choice is a difficult choice that does not always result in an easy life in this world (cf. Matt 5.11). However, disciples of Jesus need no protection from the empires of this world, for disciples of Jesus are already victorious in Christ (cf. Rom 8; Eph 1; 1 Peter 1; Revelation).

    As for disarming the state from being able to use violence as a means of procuring justice… remeber that the eschatological vision includes swords being transformed into plowshares. So what would happen if every person in power ceased to rely on the power of this world (the sword) in exchange for the power of the gospel (the cross)? Well, it would leave us precarious environment – for a temporal moment. Just thinking outloud…perhaps this is when the Lord would return, after all, there was another time when God could only find Noah and his family living a righteous life and so God came in judgment upon the world with the flood.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

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