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Living in God's Kingdom (Closed Captioned)

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August 15, 2010 Sermon Our text is taken from the Epistle to the Romans, where we read from Chapter 14 beginning with Verse 13: THEREFORE LET US STOP PASSING JUDGMENT ON ONE ANOTHER. INSTEAD, MAKE UP YOUR MIND NOT TO PUT ANY STUMBLING BLOCK OR OBSTACLE IN YOUR BROTHER'S WAY. AS ONE WHO IS IN THE LORD JESUS, I AM FULLY CONVINCED THAT NO FOOD IS UNCLEAN IN ITSELF. BUT IF ANYONE REGARDS SOMETHING AS UNCLEAN, THEN FOR HIM IT IS UNCLEAN. IF YOUR BROTHER IS DISTRESSED BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU EAT, YOU ARE NO LONGER ACTING IN LOVE. DO NOT BY YOUR EATING DESTROY YOUR BROTHER FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED. DO NOT ALLOW WHAT YOU CONSIDER GOOD TO BE SPOKEN OF AS EVIL. FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT A MATTER OF EATING AND DRINKING, BUT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE AND JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, BECAUSE ANYONE WHO SERVES CHRIST IN THIS WAY IS PLEASING TO GOD AND APPROVED BY MEN. LET US THEREFORE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO DO WHAT LEADS TO PEACE AND TO MUTUAL EDIFICATION. This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Amen. Text taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 1978, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Remember Lot's wife? Jesus said to His disciples, in talking about the Kingdom of God: "Remember Lot's wife" who with her husband, moved to the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. They looked at that area and it looked good to them. It was a great place to live. There were lots of blessings. So Lot and his wife, moved near to that city. All of a sudden then we hear that they were living IN the city. And we're all familiar with the account of when the angels came to visit Lot, and how depraved and sick the people of that time were. Lot's wife was IN THAT HOUSE when those people were beating down the door to rape their visitors. Lot's wife was IN THAT HOUSE when Lot offered his daughters to those people instead. Lot's wife was WITH Lot when God came to rescue him from that depravity from the world that was not uplifting him and not supporting his faith and Lot and his family ran from Sodom and Gomorrah ... "Remember Lot's wife". She looked back. I wonder what she thought ... Oh my beautiful house, all of those things that I had there; I had to leave them behind. All of my wonderful friends. All of the things of this world that she had to see one more time but the fire and brimstone raining down from heaven and annihilated everything that her mind was fixed on. "Remember Lot's wife". Because how difficult it is even for us today who live in the Kingdom of God ... who have received faith by the gift of the Holy Spirit ... who know and understand what God's will is ... how easy it is for us ... to look back. To want something else. To look at the world and be envious Scripture says that's even a problem for us. But we live in the Kingdom of God. And we are to live in God's righteousness but we know how difficult that is for us. Even how difficult it was for the church in Rome that Paul was writing to. That was an interesting congregation because it had both converts from Judaism in it as well as new Christian Gentiles in it; coming together ... trying to figure out how they were going to live and work together to promote God's Kingdom. And it wasn't going so well because they had difficulties 'cause they kept looking back. The Jews kept looking back to what was so familiar to them. Their dietary laws, the Laws of Scripture, circumcision. The Gentiles kept looking back to everything that they had in their life before coming to faith and it was destroying their congregation ... because everybody was passing judgment on everyone else. We had the Gentiles saying to the Jews: Stop cramming the Law down us. That doesn't apply anymore. Christ destroyed it. We live in freedom. We can eat whatever we want ... bacon cheeseburgers, if we want, are fine now. But the Jews kept saying: Oh, it just irks me when those Gentiles go over there and eat that meat that is on sale because it was sacrificed to idols. How can they even think of putting that food into their mouths knowing that it was that close to an idol. And they just kept tearing the congregation apart by arguing and bickering and judging each other. And the Apostle Paul came to them and said: You know the Kingdom of God is not about what you eat. It's not about what you drink. The Kingdom of God is about the righteousness of Christ. It is what is INSIDE of you. It is not living in such a way as to make yourself look good. Or to make yourself look better than the person next to you. It is about Christ living IN you. That faith that has been given to you and that wonderful gift of God enables you to live in a way that pleases God; in the freedom from your sins. The removal of those sins from you means that there is no longer guilt in your life. Because you can't have guilt for something you don't have. And you don't have that punishment of sin on you. Christ took that punishment on Himself. He took that punishment to the cross of Calvary. And He died so that we could be forgiven. He took our sins upon Himself and in place He has given us His righteousness ... His holiness. And we're reminded that we're to live in that righteousness, not some manmade righteousness that we make up and decide this is what makes us a good Christian. And there are a lot of groups and people that do that today. If you wanna be a good Christian you can't have any alcohol ever. If you wanna live your life of faith, you should have no caffeine. You should never treat ... mistreat animals therefore all of us should be vegans. We all come to this place with our own ideas. And there's nothing wrong with some of those ideas. If you cannot use alcohol wisely, then you shouldn't be drinking it. And, for you, that is something that is going to be outside of what you can do. But you can't make that law and say: This is what ALL Christians do. Or more importantly ... to stand in judgment on someone else and say: I am better because you do that. The Apostle Paul says it's not about what you drink. It's not about what you eat, so STOP judging each other. Stop coming down so hard on each other and maybe look at yourself. Because it may be perfectly fine for you to eat meat bought at a store that is run by a bunch of Mormons. How dare you support the Mormon Church with your money? Well, let's not go to Vons anymore. You know let's never drink a Coke because they're owned by the Mormons, too. We may as well just run over there and give them an offering and there are people who think that way. That's not what the Kingdom of God is about. It's about believing in Jesus Christ and living that life of love so that the people who are your believers are encouraged and not torn down. And you can have your opinion. It's not law; it is an opinion. But if your opinion is putting someone else who worships with you into a place of despair, into a place of feeling that they're somehow not as good a Christian, or that they are second-rate in comparison to you, you have NOT treated your brother or sister in the faith with love. You put a stumbling block in the way to their relationship with Christ. So sometimes it means even though we know we CAN ... we may not do it. Because Paul says it's all about loving each other ... supporting each other. It doesn't mean that you're going to let anyone else speak badly of what you consider good. But you're going to educate that person. And sometimes it's going to take years of education, as well as years of example, to say that this is okay. For someone who can't drink any alcohol at all, and it really is a serious issue for them. You don't bring them into your home and pour them a glass of wine and yourself a glass of wine and toast them even though you could. But there may be a time when you can sit down with them and say: I understand that this is a difficulty for you. But God in His Scripture even says: A little wine is good for the stomach. But we do that in love, not in condemnation. Living in the Kingdom of God means that we live at peace with God. And that really is, I think, the first place for us to start. We, as individuals, need to be at peace with God in our relationship with Him. To honestly know and understand that He loves us. That He has freed us from our sins. That He says to us: This world is yours to use in connection with your faith if you use it wisely. And that's fine and we make those decisions for our life based on the Law of God and the common sense that He has given to us. And we live at peace with that. And we realize that the person who sits in the pew behind us or in front of us, in adiaphora can come to different conclusions that are the total opposite of ours. But, in peace, we can come and worship together. To love each other. To understand each other. Because it is about the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Not looking back to what we missed from the days when we were outside of the faith. Not looking back to holding on to the things of this world. Because Jesus told His disciples that's what everybody was doing. When Lot and his wife left the house, that's what everybody was doing. When Noah was building the ark, everybody was going along their merry little life, having a wonderful time; they were eating, they were drinking, they were sleeping, they were going to work. They were doing the things of daily life. Nobody heard ... the door on the ark close. Nobody saw ... Lot and his wife running to the hills and the fire and brimstone coming down. And the Kingdom of God is going to come in the same way to us. You're gonna be outside of your house; you're not gonna have time to run in and grab whatever you think you have to have with you to go to heaven. If you're at work, you're not gonna get home. You may be lying in bed with your wife, or your husband and it's still going to happen. And the faithful are going to be taken to be with the Lord. And those who do not believe will be eternally condemned. [Pause] And that could happen today. So we look at our lives and we understand they're temporary. We understand ... that we're here to help each other and support each other through the difficulties of living in this world. So we stop judging each other. We stop nitpicking and ripping each other apart. But we come back to what James said: Submit to the will of God. Be at peace with God. Live at peace, and live in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Not looking to the world for its answers and its pleasures, but turning to our King. Turning to our God and saying: I live for You because You lived and died for me. "Remember Lot's wife". Every time you pick up that salt shaker ... that really was her end. We have so much more in store. We have the Kingdom of God for all eternity with Christ in His heaven. Live in the Kingdom of God and serve Him. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God which goes beyond all of our understanding, keep your hearts and your minds and especially your lives, in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 17 minutes and 58 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 65
Posted by: hischild on Aug 19, 2010

Knowing, and remembering, we are blessed because of Christ's righteousness in us, we can live at peace with God and with others in our daily lives. To contact Pastor Dave: www.ziontorrance.info

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