John Carter – March 11, 2018
The people of God live humbly for the sake of the Gospel.
Christian, like Christ we have been called to deep sacrifice and self-denial. This call is hard to obey. This call is repulsive to our flesh. This call is supremely gratifying to our Holy Father in heaven. Just like any other teaching of Christ our gut reaction is to justify why we are the exception and therefore exempt from obedience. But before we establish too great of a line of reasoning justifying our actions let’s consider the words of Paul.
Brother and Sister in Christ, here the plea of Paul to count others more significant than yourself. Not for the sake of backhanded self-exaltation. But for the sake of God-honoring humility which when paired with the Gospel message results in the praise and glory of men, women, and children coming to a saving knowledge of their glorious savior.
If the world demands your life, give it for the sake of the Gospel.
If the world demands your possessions, give it for the sake of the Gospel.
If the world demands your time, give it for the sake of the gospel.
If the world demands your money, give it for the sake of the Gospel.
Should we not count all our earthly possessions as filthy junk in light of the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus? Brother, Sister, do not let your pride get in the way of other people’s salvation. What good is it if you gain your life and possessions yet forfeit your soul?
A legalist will do one of two things with this text. One legalist will through this whole section calling it ‘hyperbolic’ or ‘exaggeration’. While the other legalist will assume a position of ‘cowardice’ or ‘useless-pacifism’. True Jesus was silent before his killers. But he spoke against evil. True, Jesus did not have a place to lay his head, but he also guaranteed provision for his mother.
I am pleading with the believer and unbeliever alike, turn to Jesus. Trust him for your safety, security, and provision. No longer allow the world to be your safety net. With one hand give away everything you have, and with the other gather food and clothing for the poor. Let your life be marked by an unshakable trust in the provision and protection of the living God. While your life wastes away, store up treasures that do not fade, rust, or break.
- Vocal, but silent – Matthew 27:11-14
11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
- Compelled – Matthew 27:32
32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.
- Care for the broken – Isaiah 58:2-12
‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,[a]
and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed[b] go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
Again you have heard that it was said to the old ones, “You will not break-vows, but you will pay to the Lord your promise. But I say to you:
Do not take any oath,
Not by heaven—for that is the throne of God,
Not by earth—for that is a footstool under his feet,
Not towards Jerusalem—for that is the city of the great king,
Not even by your head should you take an oath—for you are not able to make even one hair white or black.
But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, and ‘no’ ‘no’. Beyond that is from evil.