How Should We View Others?

How do we look at other people? What are we to think about them? What should be our main thought of others?

We all know that we are supposed to love them, after all as Christians we are supposed to love everyone. We get and understand that. But, that doesn’t really answer the question.

When you see someone, someone you like, or someone you don’t like, how should we see them? Listen to what Paul says in Romans 13: 13-15:

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.

binocularsPaul is writing here about food sacrificed to idols. That was food that had been dedicated to an idol that was then for sale, sometimes, you would be at a feast and not realize that the food you were eating had been dedicated to an idol until the feast had started.

What did you do then? Paul says that the food is fine. But, look at what he says in the end. You can eat it, sure, but by what you eat – do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.

So, if our actions, can bring harm to another, we need to very careful consider what we do. Because we don’t want to harm another for whom Christ died.

That’s what we’ve got to remember. Jesus died for the world. The folks we like, the folks we don’t like. He died for everyone.

And that’s how we should view others. As someone that Christ died for. As someone that matters to Jesus. As someone that is important. There are no unimportant people; there are no people that don’t matter.

Every matters. Because Jesus died for them.

Remember that today. How should we view others? As someone that Jesus died for. That right there, that can change our lives.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Only God Judges

One of the concepts that we see mentioned a lot and quoted a lot in the world today is “Only God can judge me.”  I know you’ve heard that saying, and in fact, so of us may have said that ourselves.

But, this does, in reality, have a scriptural basis. There are several passages of scripture that can point to this.  There are  many of the words of Jesus, and today, we read from 1 Corinthians 4:3-5, we were can see it.  But, I want us to really read this passage and see what we may notice this morning:

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

only_god_can_judge_me_by_canariias-d5bfbfhThere’s a couple of things that I want us to notice in this text. First, that saying is true.  Only God can judge.  Paul says that the Lord judges his for his actions, not any man, or any human court.  Our job in life is not to judge others.  Our job is to love others, to point to Jesus Christ with all that we do, to make a difference, to be salt and light.

That’s what God has us here for.  To point to Him.  Our job is be His ambassador, to show other’s His way and His life.  He doesn’t need us to be chief judge of the world.  That position is already taken.  Only God can judge.

But, here’s the thing. That statement is not a get out of jail free card like our society uses it.  Only God can judge.  And He is the judge.  He will one day pronounce judgement.  One day, we will stand before Him.  One day, we will hear well done, my good and faithful servant, or we will hear depart from me.

Now, this judgement is not based upon our “works” but upon His grace in us.  However, that grace will make itself know in our lives.  It will show itself in our actions, our grace, who we are, how we live.

God’s desire for us is to live by His grace, His mercy, and be faithful today with each step that we take.  Do our part to be as obedient as possible, letting His life, love, and mercy shine through us.

Today, you live, not to please man, but to please God.  And with that, may we live in a way that truly does seek to please God!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Oh, You’re a Christian?

A few weeks back, I read a blog post that’s stuck with me. It was entitled, oh, you’re a Christian? You can read it by clicking here. Basically its the story of two folks talking and one realizing that the other is a Christian, and being surprised by that.

Why were they surprised?

They said, you don’t seem judgmental enough.

That’s stuck with me a lot since I read it. I’ve referenced it in several sermons and teaching moments. It has really bothered me. Why?

How have we, as the followers of the One that is love, is mercy, is grace, how have we gone from being defined that mercy and grace, to being defined as being too judgmental.

Listen to what Jesus does today in Mark 2:15-17:

And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

wanted2The Word says that He ate with sinners and tax collectors. Those that were seen as less than, or not as good, not as holy, not as righteous. He ate with them. He loved them. He came for them.

He came for sinners.

Jesus Christ came for sinners. Of which I am the chief one.

We have got to be more graceful. How do we do that? Be remembering that we too are sinners that Jesus came to eat with. We too are sinners that Jesus came to save. We are not perfect. We are not superior.

We have to remember who we are. Remember how Jesus has loved us. And as saved us.

And love others in that way.

Today, may we seek to be like our savior. May we see to love everyone as He did. And may we seek to point others to His love and grace.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones

“Them”

We really want to God to get “them” sometimes, don’t we?

After all, “they” are wrong. “They” should be punished. “They” deserve God’s judgement. He should get “them” for their sins and their mistakes.

That’s what we can think and believe. That’s what we can truly believe.

But, here is the thing. Jesus doesn’t just love us. He loves “them” too.

Listen to what happens in Luke 9:52:55:

And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them.

Fire_From_HeavenThey reject Jesus. And the disciples say, do, you want us to call down fire from above to consume them. Ok, two things here.

First, really James and John? You think that you can call down fire from above? Really? Like that’s your job? We should be very careful when getting ready to call down the fire of God’s judgement. That’s not our job.

Second, if they had stopped to think, they would have realized that Jesus came to save “them.” And us as well. Cause here’s the thing, it isn’t just “them” that make mistakes and fall down. It’s us too.

Today, let’s remember that we are not the judge of the world. That’s leave that to God. Let’s stop calling down fire. And lets, instead, turn to the one thing that can truly change lives.

Love.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Judgement and Grace

I really want the Lord to judge “them” for their sin.

Whoever “they” are, and whatever “they” are doing, I want Him to get them. After all, they deserve judgment. I mean, look at what they are doing! God, go get ’em!

Now, for me and I my sins, I want grace. I want forgiveness. I want God’s mercy for the mistakes that I make every day.

For “them” and their sins, I want the holiness of God to come and smite them for the mistakes that they make. For me and my sins, I want the grace of God to smooth over the rough edges of my life and remind me that I’m His beloved child, no matter what.

So, to recap, I want judgment for them, and grace for me.

All of us as Christians are tempted to live that way. To think that we are the righteous and they are the sinners. We as Christians are sometimes (most times) tempted to live a life of judgment.

Listen to what Paul writes in Romans 14:10-12:

“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

Paul says who are you to pass judgment on another? And in our society, we like that verse because it lets us off the hook. We can say, “Don’t judge me!”

But Paul is really saying this: we are not to judge each other, because ultimately, we will all stand before a truly righteous judge one day. One day, we will all give account to God for our lives and what we do.

This passage isn’t a “get out of jail free card” but a reality check card. We don’t judge because we are not worthy of being a judge. Only God is.

Because of that, I want to live that graceful life that is given mercy for my sin, as well as your sin. Only God can judge.

None of us are good enough to judge.

But, God is.

And how does He respond to our sin? Grace.

May we respond the same way to others and their sin.

And may we all seek to live our God’s grace and life in our lives.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones

Being Thankful: We Don’t Get What We Deserve Podcast

The sermon podcast for Sunday, November 13, 2011 is up on Asbury Church’s website.  This is second sermon in our series “Being Thankful.”  We talk about in this message how we are thankful that we don’t get what we deserve.  The text for this sermon is Exodus 32:1-14  Also by clicking on these verses you can see my notes from the sermon as a note in the YouVersion online Bible.   You can listen to it by clicking here, or you can listen to it here on this blog by clicking the link below. And, as always, you can subscribe to my sermon podcasts through iTunes.

CLICK HERE

We Don’t Get What We Deserve

Out to Get Me?

I’ve told my folks before that when I was a kid, my image of God was that He was a really angry old man up in heaven ready to get me when I messed up.

He had a long white beard, He had long white hair. And He was mad.

I tell folks in my mind, God looked like a really angry Col. Sanders. And He was angry at me.

He knew how many mistakes I’d made, how much I’d done wrong, all way’s I’d messed up and He was going to get me.

He had His lightening bolt in His hand, ready to strike me.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve always liked this passage today in John:

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ 3Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.

In Jesus day, if something was wrong in your life, people through that it was because God was punishing you for something.  If you were blind, then it simply must because you had done something wrong or your family had done something wrong.

The could be no other answer.

That’s what the people thought.  So, they asked Jesus, who sinned?

And Jesus said – no one. No one sinned to make this happen.  It just happened, but God is going to use it for His glory.  God was not out to get this man born blind.  But, God was going to use his blindness for God’s glory.

Today, God is not out to get you.  He’s not out to trick you. He’s not out to destroy you.  He’s not waiting for you to mess up so He can punish you.

He’s not an angry Col. Sanders.

He loves you.  He’s pulling for you.  He’s on your side.  He wants to know you.   He loves you.

He is not out to get you.  He’s not.

He will used whatever is going on in your life for His glory.

He loves you.

Never forget.