Monthly Archives: April 2011

He Is Risen: Everything Changed

Easter Sunday

April 24, 2011

He Is Risen – Everything Changed

 

Luke 24:1-12 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

Today, we have come together to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. But as we do that we must not get lost in the celebration of the Holiday as much as we pause to remember the event that makes Easter, Easter. If we are not careful, we will become enthralled with the activities and details of the holiday and forget that the reason we celebrate is because Christ has risen and for no other reason.

I am by no means suggesting that Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, new clothes, Easter bonnets and a great meal are not ok; it is simply that we must keep everything in perspective. This is a problem for most holidays we celebrate. Take for example the Fourth of July. Too many today celebrate with fireworks, cookouts and friends but fail to remember the very reason why we are celebrating. We celebrate on the Fourth of July to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence which secured our freedom from a hostile England.

We celebrate today because Christ’s death on the cross secured our freedom from sin and His resurrection guaranteed that we would have power over sin, death and the grave.

Let us take a look at the Resurrection story this morning. On Friday afternoon Jesus breathed His last breath of air. In Luke 23:50, Joseph of Arimathia a member of the council, a good and righteous man and one who had not consented to their decision and action; because he was looking for the Kingdom of God took Jesus’ body to be buried.

The Women came along to see where His body was to be laid so that they could return after the Sabbath to anoint His body with burial oils. They returned home to prepare the oils and spices because once the Sabbath started they would not be allowed to kind of work according to Jewish Sabbatical law.

As the sun rose the women were off to prepare the body of Jesus for burial. You see that the Sabbath was over at the first light of dawn. When they arrived at the tomb of Jesus they show something that they did not expect. They found the tomb empty.

What they found were two men who proclaimed the words that would reshape all of history and future events. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here for He is risen.” Suddenly, they remembered the words of Jesus and they ran to tell the disciples. But the disciples rejected the story and considered the words “idle tales and they did not believe them.”

As we review the facts of this story one thing becomes very evident. No one expected for Christ to rise from the dead. Joseph had wrapped Jesus in a burial cloth and the women were preparing the oils and spices for His burial.

The disciples well they were at home. Because of the events of the past week they were afraid, they were confused and they were filled with disbelief. And, when the women had brought the word that Jesus was alive their word was rejected. The disciples did not believe the report of the women.

The disciples did not recognize that the power of God was able to conquer death and the grave.1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. This gives us hope because there are times when I have fallen short and have failed to understand the truth of God’s word.

Let me ask you, how would you have acted knowing that Jesus was going to rise again? Would you have gone to the grave site and waited with anticipation? Any time I am waiting for something I keep checking until I receive that item or the event occurs.

Notice that Peter finally gets up and runs to the tomb. He looks into the tomb but he marvels at the fact the tomb was empty. It still had not registered that Jesus had fulfilled the words that He had promised.

Once Peter and the disciples realized what had happened they knew that because Jesus arose everything changed.

  1. Everything that Jesus had said about Himself was true.
  2. Everything He had said about God was true.
  3. Everything Jesus had said about personal
    prayer to God was true.
  4. What Jesus had promised about Him dying for the payment of sin was true.
  5. The revelation of Him as the Lamb of God and the Son of God was evident.

The resurrection of Christ symbolizes victory over sin and death. Believers can enjoy transformed lives and reconciled relationships with God in and through Christ the risen Lord (1 John 3:1-10). The followers of Christ are guaranteed to enjoy eternal life as the result of the victory of Christ over death (1 John 3:1-3, 1 Corinthians 15:12, 20, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

The resurrection of Christ reassures us that God has power and authority over His creation. Not even death can limit His power. He can bring to life that which is dead. “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54) so “in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22, also see 1 John 4:9).

Christ’s resurrection also demonstrates God’s power over sin. The final outcome of sin is death. When God raised Jesus from the dead He conquered our greatest enemy. God altered the forces of nature along with the ultimate effects of sin. The Creator of Life created life once again.
 
This also means that believers have hope for their own resurrection after they die. Because Jesus lives we can also live again. Paul told the Corinthians that Jesus is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” 1 Corinthians 15:20. Christians look forward to following Jesus into eternity with God.

What does this all mean? It means that there is no sin or no event that is beyond God’s ability to transform because of the cross and the power of the resurrection.


As we anticipate our final reward, we can experience life with Jesus right now. Christ’s resurrection assured the possibility that people can have a real relationship with a living person. Jesus is not the dead hero of our faith. He is our living Friend and Guide. We can walk each day in communion with a living Savior.

To comprehend the impact of this story we must move ahead to Acts 2 where Peter stood before the people to proclaim that Jesus was alive.

In Acts 2:38-39 Peter proclaimed
“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

We repent and receive the truth of God’s promise that to all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21)

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The Triumphal Entry Teaches US About Worship

The Triumphal Entry Of Christ

April 17,2011

 

Theme: The Triumphal Entry of Christ teaches us about worship.

Luke 19:29-42 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.'” So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near–already on the way down the Mount of Olives–the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

Background into the story: To understand this story we must look at the story itself. Below you will find some of the critical parts to this story:

  1. They came to celebrate Passover – The triumphal entry into Jerusalem took place during the Passover season which meant the city of Jerusalem was filled with people from around the world. Because of the festivities around this week the crowd was ready to celebrate so it would not have taken much for them to get worked up. Some have estimated that the population in Jerusalem during this season had swelled to over 3 million.
  2. They came to see Jesus and Lazarus – In John 12, we see that many of those who had come had heard the news about Lazarus and were ready to meet this man called Jesus. Lazarus had been dead for three days and Jesus raised Him.
  3. Why a donkey? The donkey was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. We see the prophetic word “Behold your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” being fulfilled in this moment.
  4. Why a Triumph Parade? The scene of the multitude throwing palm branches was not an uncommon event. In fact,
    when a Roman general was victorious in battle they would receive an official “triumph” parade upon his return to Rome. To receive such a parade he would have had to have slain at least 5000 of the enemy. Anything less than that would have been just an ovation. History also tells us that the king when entering a city would ride on a horse when going into battle and he would ride a donkey when he came in peace. So you see the Prince of Peace was coming into the city.
  5. Why the palms? The palms were symbols of victory and rejoicing. It was not uncommon for the streets to be strewn with flowers and tree branches to celebrate royalty and victorious generals.
  6. Sounds of Praise – “Blessed is he who comes in the name of Jehovah…” As they were signing this psalm they were looking to Jesus as God’s Anointed One, the Messiah, the Deliverer, the One who was to come.

 

In this event there was both great insight and great misunderstanding for the Jew.

The great insight was that Jesus was really the King who came in the Name of the Lord. He was Messiah, the Son of David, the long-awaited ruler of Israel, the fulfillment of all of God’s promises.

The great misunderstanding was that the people of Israel thought Messiah would enter Jerusalem and by his mighty works, take his throne and make Israel free from Rome. But they had a limited vision of His purpose. He was here not to save Israel from Rome but He was here to save the world from sin.

 

In this story we have some key lessons on authentic worship and conversely the false kind of worship that God never intended.

The triumphal enter teaches us that we should be good stewards of what we have been given. You never know how God is going use what you have. Luke 19:29-34
When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.'” So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.”

  1. Jesus called the disciples to go into the town and when they arrived they were to find a colt tied up. They were to tell the owner that Jesus had need of it and that he was to release it into their care. The lesson here is that God owns it all. One of the important facts about worship is that God owns everything and we are simply stewards of what He has given us. The problem is that we argue and debate about the 10% when God actually owns it all. It is all his. In other words 100% of what you have is His, He has loaned it to you.
    1. Your possessions
    2. Your money
    3. Your profession or job
    4. Your family
    5. Your health
    6. Your ministry
  2. God has created us all with talents, gifts, abilities and experiences. God does not waste anything. In particular I want you to think about your experiences. How has God used the experiences of your life to change others; change you? Don’t minimize the experiences of your life as God can turn them for His good. Moses lost it all and ended up on the back side of the desert but this was all God’s plan because he was training, developing and nurturing Moses’ leadership skills that He would use in Egypt.
  3. What do you have that God can use today? What gifts are you holding back? What area of your life is refusing to allow God to have access to?
    1. Talents
    2. Gifts
    3. Abilities
    4. Wisdom
    5. Experiences

 

The triumphal entry teaches that Godly worship is not what we do when are alone Worship is living a lifestyle of worship at all times. Luke 19:35-38
And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near–already on the way down the Mount of Olives–the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

  1. Flash forward one week – When we flash forward by one week we see this same crowd rejecting Christ. You see they were crowd oriented rather God focused. The problem with palm branches is that they don’t live very long. The problem with palm Sunday is that the excitement of the crowd soon faded and when Good Friday came around the same voices that sounded Hosanna were now shouting crucify Him. Their love for Christ was shallow and based entirely on the exciting things that He could do for them.
  2. Worship is not what takes place on Sunday but it is what happens on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
    It is what happens in our homes, on the job, on the highway, with our friends and when no one else is around.
  3. We tend to segment our worship where we think that we have a spiritual life and we have a secular life. If that is your view I beg to differ because we are spiritual beings that have been filled with God’s grace and power. We are to be the church wherever we go. You see we don’t go to church; we bring church in with us. Did you know that this building is not the church? It is the place however that the church meets.
  4. How’s our worship life? Are we living a life of worship and praise or does our lifestyle reject Christ? Are you caught up in the crowd? It is easy to get caught up in the crowd and fail to make a personal commitment. You see we can run with the crowd but be left empty and unchanged by God. If there is no transformation then are you really connected to Him? Do you worship only when it is convenient – If we are not careful we will worship God only when it is convenient. How easy is it for you to reject God? If we are not careful one moment we will be worshipping and the next we will be rejecting Christ. Too many people live throughout the week like atheists and agnostics. Do you see God in the mundane things of life? If we only see Him in the excitement, we may miss him in the mundane and daily functions of life. When we do this we often lose faith and hope because we don’t see Him moving. Do you allow public opinion to change the message you hear or the work you do for Christ? It did not change Christ’s work or view of Himself. Christ did not allow the crowds to determine His obedience.
  5. We don’t worship, we are worship. We are living sacrifices. We should seek to glorify God in every thing that we do. Jesus in John 4:24 calls us to worship in sprit and in truth.

 

The Triumphal entry teaches us that Godly worship will cause the cynics and the critics to come out in mass. Luke 19:39-42 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. The Pharisees called for the disciples to be silent. “Teacher rebuke your disciples.” They judged what they did not understand. They criticize what they others to get above them. Whenever there is a healthy move of God or worship that honors Him there will be cynics. They will argue that you should: Not be so committed; Not be so expressive; Not be so Christian. The fact is that God will be praised. He will be praised by people or creation will scream out worship. Are you the cynic? We can become pharisaical.

Triumphal worship teaches us that God calls for real authentic worshippers but the world around us is seeing a disconnect between what we say and what we do. Real worship causes us to see people in a new light. This new light is not judgmental but draws us to compassion. In this passage we see Jesus praying for the city of Jerusalem. You see worship is not about Sunday it is about reaching others for Christ. The tendency is for us to preach one thing and do another. Then we tend to be prideful, condescending, and fake.

What are the implications of this passage:

  1. We must think of worship as encompassing all of life.
  2. We must not confuse “forms of worship” with the essence of worship.
  3. We must value content far more than style.
  4. We must allow the Bible to inform, guide, and saturate our worship.
  5. We must look to Jesus who died for our false and vain worship.


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Sermon on the Mount – What’s Love Got to Do with IT?

Sermon on the Mount

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

 

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

 

Jesus asserts that a passionate follower of Christ must not only love their neighbor but they must also love those who are considered to be their enemies. What Jesus was saying is that we should love those that we find difficult and hard to love. The fact is that all of us will most likely have someone in our life that we will find it hard to love.

 

In the case of the Pharisees, they held a narrow view of who their neighbor might be and a narrow view concerning whom their love was to be shown as commanded by God in Leviticus 19:18. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

 

In Luke 10:27, Christ poses a question to a lawyer who was most likely a Pharisee. Jesus asked him to define “what is written in the law?” The lawyer responded by saying “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus congratulated the lawyer for a correct answer. Then the lawyer in trying to justify himself asked the question of “Who is my neighbor?” You see this is an important question that must be resolved in our hearts. Jesus response was what we know now as the parable of the Good Samaritan. In essence Jesus was saying that anyone we come in contact with is my neighbor.

 

In the passage before us in Matthew 5 and Luke 6, Jesus says that we are not only to love our friends but we are to also to love our enemies. To understand this passage we must define who our enemies might be.

 

Who is our enemy?

  1. V44 – Those who persecute us. The scripture says “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” These people are those who oppose you or intentionally try to hurt you. The word “persecute carries with it the idea “to pursue with harmful intentions.” It might include hostility like Christ Himself experienced.
  2. V45B – Those who oppose you in less dramatic ways – These are the ones who resist your will. This might include the rebellious child or the cantankerous neighbor or the uncaring, non-listening, ill-tempered husband or wife. These can be the daily annoyances of our lives.
  3. V46-47 – The enemy can be anyone who doesn’t love us. It may be hard to believe but there are people out there that do not love you. We all have them.

 

The idea expressed by this passage is that we don’t stop loving because the person does things to offend us, dishonor us, hurt our feelings, disappoint us, frustrate us, threaten us or even kill us. But He says to love them and to keep on loving them.

 

How do we express love to our enemies? Jesus says that we are to “love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you.” The result is that we will act like and be conformed to Christ’s image.

  1. We bless them – V47. “If you greet only your brethren.” When you think of the person who is slandering you, and saying untrue and nasty things about you, find ways to work blessing into your thoughts. Speak a blessing out loud. When you are with friends, instead of complaining about your unjust treatment, go out of your way (actively) to speak well of your enemies. Why? To shame them? No — though it will. But to find it in your own heart to love them.
  2. We do good to them. We find ways to practically meet their needs – V45. When you find a way you can do something good for one of your worst enemies, do it. Not to shame him, but because you are trying to find it in your own evil heart to love him for Jesus’ sake.
    1. Proverbs 25:21-22 – If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
    2. Romans 12:19-21 – Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
  3. We pray for them – V44 – Praying for one of your enemies is one of the deepest forms of love, because it means that you have to really want that something god happen to them. This goes beyond just wanting good things to being in the presence of God who knows our thoughts and the intent of our heart. When you’re praying, you probably pray for your family and your pastor, and your friends and family. Why don’t you begin to pray and intercede for your enemies? Actively. Start to ask God to help them. Ask God to heal the hurts in their lives that are some of the motivators of their evil actions. Ask God to bless them and show mercy to them. Why? To shame them? No, in order to find it in your heart to love them.

 

And if you’ll do good when you find opportunities, and bless when you think of them, and pray and intercede earnestly before the Lord, you’ll find that God will begin to put love in your heart toward your enemies. This will be actual love and at times it will sometimes bring loving emotions, too.

 

Why is this important?

It is amazing what happens when we honestly begin to pray and seek God on the other person’s behalf. Praying for others does the following:

  1. We show by example what Christ has done for us. We characterize what Christ does for us. He prayed for His enemies on the cross when He prayed forgive them for they don’t know what they do.
  2. We begin to see the other person as God sees them.
  3. We allow God to begin to change the way we think about the other person.

 

Where does this kind of love come from?

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 we see that Paul explains the nature of love. He states that Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

 

In 1 Corinthians 14:1, Paul challenges the church to “Pursue Love” which in essence means to pursue God because God is love. As we know God we will know His love. You see we are powerless to accomplish these things apart from a work of the Holy Spirit.

 

What Paul in essence does is destroys the legalist act of trying to do these things. The fact it is love that does these things and it is only as we are consumed by God’s love can we accomplish these things.

 

1 John 4:16 – God is love and by pursing love we are in reality pursuing God’s love. Therefore any act of graciousness is actually a result of dwelling in and recognizing how powerful God’s love is.

 

Bertrand Russell a well known British philosopher noted that “The Christian principle, ‘Love your enemy’ is good… There is nothing to be said against it except that it is too difficult for most of us to practice sincerely.”

 

The Pharisees problem is that they were trying to keep the law rather than become the kind of person whose deeds are naturally conforming to the law of God. This kind of love is at the core of what we are or can become in fellowship, not something we do. Then the deeds of love, including loving our enemies, are what that agape love does in us and what we do as the new person we become.

So how do you do it? I don’t think we wait for emotions of love. Rather we start with actions of love, and emotions may follow later. We start doing what Jesus taught right here:

So “what does love have to do with it?” The answer is everything,,,,


 

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Sermon on the Mount – Get Mad or Get Even?

Peninsula Community Church

Sermon on the Mount

April 3, 2011

Get Mad or Get Even?

 

Matthew 5:38-42 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

 

As I was preparing for this message, I was reminded of the sign in front of a church that read “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” This was a quote from Gandhi who was a proponent of world peace. What is meant here is that if we react to the negative stimulus in our lives without control we will injure others in the process. This is the truth in many ways.

 

Once again the Pharisees determined that they would take the law into their own hands. If anyone did anything to them they felt justified in revenging the action with equal force. In essence they had misinterpreted God’s purpose behind the proclamation that they were to repay a sum of money equal to the value of the item taken or damaged. The Pharisees exaggerated the purpose of the scripture as dictated by God. They were quick to use the scripture to attack others and to retaliate for what others do.

 

What was proposed in the original law given by God was the law of equivalency which was an attempt to limit the extent of a punishment and to discourage cruelty. In the courts the judge would measure the penalty against the crime committed. In other words the punishment had to fit the crime. In other words if someone broke your arm you could not break both arms of the other person. However, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” as interpreted by the Pharisees promoted revenge, retaliation, and hatred.

 

Rather than respond from a position of love and grace the problem that here is that the Pharisees believed that whatever was done to them that they had the right to retaliate with equal power and aggression. So if you cut me off on the road, I could not rest until I cut you off regardless of the reason you might have done that. If you didn’t say hello to me, then I would ignore you. The problem here is that rather than settle issues the issue is not dealt with and often escalates the issues. This pharisaical teaching would mean that if I felt that someone had said or done something to damage my name or reputation, I must damage his name or reputation an equal amount. How do I know when it is equal? Revenge is so diabolical. This pharisaical teaching was just 180 degrees from the spirit and intent of both tables of the law of love. Love means self-sacrifice and self-denial. They taught the exact reverse of the law of love.

 

While the passage does not promote revenge, retaliation, or hatred the passage does not promote passivity either. Jesus promoted a reaction that is measured and controlled. In fact, the scripture promotes healthy reaction and purposeful assertiveness. This passage is often misinterpreted as that the church needs to be passive and non-assertive in the events of life. This passage is not a call to be a door mat but rather to properly respond to the issues at hand.

 

Three ways to deal with injury and hurt:

  • Aggression – retaliation – fight and manipulation. Respond in such a way that would destroy the other person or set one up for a win/lose situation. The goal is to win at any cost.
  • Assertiveness – face the issues.
  • Passivity – no action – flight. One would rather run that deal with the issues at hand.

 

How to be assertive:

    The natural response to injury is to be either aggressive or to be passive in our approach but God calls to be assertive. When we are personally injured our world does not suddenly become our injury. In other words we understand who has propagated the injury and that it is only them and not the whole world.

  • Stand up for one’s personal rights in a way that honors others and shows forth Christ love.
  • Express thoughts, feelings and ideas in direct, honest and appropriate ways without violating other’s rights. This is not about winning but it is about solving problems.
  • Christian assertiveness involves respect not deference. Because we respect one another we are willing to deal with the issues at hand.
  • Christian assertiveness accepts one’s limitations and one’s worth as a child of God.

 

One of the issues that keep us from a biblical view of assertiveness is shame. Shame-based people cannot assert themselves because they feel inferior and lower than others. In conflict some fight sinfully but this can be forgiven but for one that fights with shame must be healed before they can fight according to God’s plan and purpose.

 

The tale of the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s feud. What began as a feud over the ownership of a hog, ended with 12 family members dead and several bounty hunters who wanted to cash in on the history of the family.

 

Let me close with this passage: Psalm 37 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

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