Yesterday's sermon based on the lectionary readings.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 or Sirach 15:15-20 •
Psalm 119:1-8 •
1 Corinthians 3:1-9 •
It’s Time To Grow Up
I think most of you receive the daily devotions I send out through email. If you don’t and would like too, let me know and get me your email and I’ll start sending them to you. They are usually very short and come early in the morning so that you can spend a little time with God each morning. Anyway, A couple of our devotions this week used scriptures that talked about us growing up or no longer being children. They talked about us growing spiritually. They both talked about speaking truth. About being careful not to follow those who would mislead us. Not to blindly follow as a child would but to grow up and put childish ways aside, to open our eyes to those who try to trick us and lead us astray. In one of the devotions, I said we should look through the lens of love to help us see what is truth. In today’s society, it’s easy to get caught up in the hot topic of the day, it’s easy to follow the masses who are ridiculing the other side, slandering those who have a different opinion. It’s easy to share and spout ‘facts’ others tell us without checking to see what is true and what’s not, but these verses from 1 Peter 2 and Ephesians 4 instruct us to do the opposite. They instruct us to Grow Up and so do our verses today.
Would you please pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts and minds be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.
Okay, I know, it probably seems rather harsh to just say, “It’s time to grow up,” as I did in the sermon title, but well, it is. In our reading in 1 Corinthians this morning, Paul compares the people of Corinth to infants (in Christ). He says he couldn’t come and speak to them as spiritual people, because they were infants in Christ, they are still people of the flesh.
What does that mean? Well, in the very next verse, he says, “For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?” Of the flesh. I decided to look at other translations and interpretations of these verses. In the Common English Bible, in place of in the flesh, it says still unspiritual. What does that mean? Well, I looked a popular interpretation, The Message Bible, and it had a lot to say here. It still says, that they are acting as infants in relation to Christ, but then, where the other translations talk about quarreling, fighting, and jealousy, The Message says, “As long as you grab for what makes you feel good, or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way?” Wow. Now that feels a little harsh doesn’t it? There are lots of harsh moments in the Bible, and I think they are God’s way of trying to get our attention.
My kids used to say (and I use the the phrase use to generously if you know what I mean), why do you have to yell? My reply has always been, well, because the first 3 times I said it you didn’t seem to hear me!
Maybe God is the same way. In our reading in Deuteronomy we are commanded to walk in his ways, observe his commandments and decrees. We are told to choose life, to love God, obey him and hold fast to him. We are warned about turning our hearts away and not hearing God and then bowing down to other gods. I think this happens when we are spiritually immature, like babies in relation to Christ.
Then in our call to worship which is based on Psalm 119 We are told to keep his decrees, to seek him with our whole hearts, to walk in his ways, having our eyes fixed on his commandments. I think these are lists for growing up spiritually, in Christ.
Then our reading in the Gospel this morning, talks about the commandments too but Jesus takes them even further. When speaking of the commandment, “You shall not murder,” he takes it further by saying, “If you are angry with a brother or sister, you are liable to judgement, if you insult them, you are liable to the council and if you say, “You Fool”, judgement is yours too.” Instead, we are to love them, to reconcile with them and as it says in 1 Corinthians we are to work TOGETHER.
These days that seems so very hard, work together? What even is that? And yet, that is totally what we are to do. We are to work together, we are to choose life, life in Him and live as he calls us to live, following his commandments, walking in his ways, loving God and all his people always.
Our Bible study this past week focused on the topic of “Growing People Change.” We talked about how Paul was opened to this growing by Christ himself. When he met Christ on the road, he was faced with his sins against Him. His eyes were opened to the truth and he then took time to grow and through that growth he was changed. In fact, he went from persecutor of Christians, someone who killed Christians, to one of the best evangelists and preachers of the Gospel who ever lived. He was changed. He grew out of a spiritual infant in Christ to spiritual leader. His friend, Apollos, had a time of growing as well, he was an infant as he started spreading the Gospel but he grew to understand the Gospel better by working with other followers and preachers of the Gospel. At one time people started saying they were followers of Paul, or Apollos or Peter but Paul sets them straight on this when he asks can Jesus be divided? Jesus cannot be divided and neither should we. We cannot love personality over truth.
Now, I’m not trying to get political on you. I promise. But I’ve been seeing a lot this infancy in Christ lately and I think it is time to Grow Up, to Grow spiritually. To seek Christ more, to follow him more, to spend more time with him, to walk in his ways, to follow his commandments and go deeper into them. It’s time for us to grow up and reconcile with our brothers and sisters, it is time for us to stop using God’s name, the name of Christ in vain to get our own way. It’s time for us to Grow up and love God and our neighbors as we love ourselves. In fact, i think it’s time for us to love others so much that we put them ahead of ourselves. It’s time for us to Grow up and place our trust and fear to God. It’s time for us to fix our eyes on His ways in every way. It’s time for us to grow up and put our jealousy and quarreling away and learn to work together with one another, and to see each and every person for who they really are, Loved Children of God and start working together to change the world into the Kingdom God created us to be. Amen.