Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Promise and an Appeal

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Deuteronomy 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

• A bit of what’s what… The Deuteronomy passage is about Moses and the power of God which is so awesome that people were frightened of it, scared to death. And God says to the people “I will raise up a mediator, someone like you, someone from among you, who will speak my words.”

Moses was such a prophet. There were many other prophets. Jesus Christ certainly was fully human in order to be completely relatable to humanity.

God promises to provide a go-between.

• [aside] The power point just has some words I want in front of you:

“The living core of the Christian faith is revealed in Scripture, illumined by Tradition, vivified in personal Experience, and confirmed by Reason.”

“Our mission is to reach out to all persons with the love of Christ,
and to make living, growing disciples of Jesus Christ.”

• Paul on food and freedom.  Culture of animal sacrifice, then question about eating meat from marketplace (which had likely been sacrificed to idol): Is eating it participation in idolatry?

Paul’s answer: “No, but…” If someone, another believer, a less-experienced believer sees you doing it and imitates you and falls because of it, you share responsibility for their fall.

Act out of love for them. Put aside what YOU are strong enough to do, for their benefit.

• Application: Paul appeals to community over license. Your faith informs your behavior. Let your behavior be moderated by love.

All is permissible, but not all is beneficial (1 Cor. 6:12). You have the freedom to do anything, but not everything is helpful.  Kids, listen up!

• What is beneficial? That which is edifying, building up, good for the community.

Jesus Christ set aside the power of God Almighty (could do anything) in order to connect with us without overwhelming us. Met us on our level, to spur us onto the next.

John Wooden (UCLA Basketball coach, 1960s, 10 NCAA Championships in 12 yrs, 88-game winning streak) would be a poor basketball coach if he didn’t drill a team on the basics. A good coach doesn’t start out with the advanced stuff but moves the team through the foundations in succession. And btw, he was a devout Christian, considering his beliefs more important to him than basketball: "I have always tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior…”

• Certainly we desire to mature in faith, and our mission is to make growing, living disciples – by engaging folks at all levels and saying Walk with me…

• What is beneficial is what edifies community.

Behavior informed by faith and moderated by love.

Prayer: that we may grow in faith & knowledge & love, and use what God has given us to bless others. Inspire us and build us up, Lord.

• Hymn 382 Be Thou My Vision

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