Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feb. 8 Sermon: I gotta be me.

No ipod again, only notes.

1 Cor and Mark

I gotta be me. Sammy Davis Jr.

Do we? Paul here speaks about taking on the characteristics of others in order to be able to relate to them.

We privlilege our cult of our own personality to the extent that we might think, “be true to who you really are” is part of the gospel.

This is half true. We are so thoroughly bought by a culture that tries to sell us every reason in the book as to why “who we are” isn’t good enough.

Consumer empire. Difficulty of realizing who we are and being true to who we are.

In a very real sense, God can’t use us until we know who we are and are willing to be true and honest to ourselves and others about that.

Part of what it means to confess that we are a sinner. That we are lacking. That we aren’t self made or self realized. We need rescuing.

Not the end of the road though. Paul is telling us there is something beyond that. It is putting the self aside for the purpose of something greater.

Paul says he’s willing to “become a Jew, so that the Jews.” He is a Jew, is he not?

There is one greater than us, and there is a purpose greater than our own “self realization.” This is where self-help and new age fall short.

Struggle with “being who I am,” and “being all things to all people.” Why—so the good news can be shared.

Perhaps this a gift of the iteneracy. You aren’t served by folks who are just like you are.

King of the Hill, Methodist pastor is from Iowa or something. Obvious that she’s different than the culture. We need to know that that kind of setup is helpful to the Gospel.

Talk about how I’ve had to stretch and learn about my context. How is God calling you to stretch the boundaries of your own personality?

The gospel, the power of God, always encounters and engages people where they are, where they live, in their social matrix. Inevitably, the gospel moves them and changes them, but it always comes to them, engages them, and nourishes them from that very point, as and where they are.

What is the Gospel to you? What is the good news of Jesus Christ? What meaning does that have for you?

Now, think about someone who you think needs to hear that message. That’s an easy way to share the Gospel because you’re just sharing with someone else the way that you hear God calling you.

What does Paul mean by “Gospel” the Corinthians:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Notice that in Mark, just when Jesus seems to be hitting his stride and casting out demons right and left, he goes out into the wilderness for some prayer and solitude, and when his disciples come to him with the message that everyone is searching for him, Jesus says they need to carry on and find other places to spread the message.

Casting out demons was a fine way to spread the good news in one area, but we find Jesus up to other things in other places.

Paul mixes the imagery of being a slave for Christ and being free in Christ because both are true, and because some of us need to hear words of freedom while others need to hear words of tighter binds.

Obviously, Romans 1.1-5 (which proclaims Jesus as resurrected Lord) and Romans 1.16-17 (which proclaims what happens to those who acknowledge Christ as Lord when they hear the gospel, the good news, of his resurrection and exaltation over all) fit together like hand and glove. There should be no tension between them. But it is helpful to notice how they fit together. Putting it roughly, Romans 1.1-5 tells us the content of the Gospel and Romans 1.16, 17 tells us the effect of believing the Gospel.

Others, regardless of their differences from us, deserve to be given the Gospel in whatever way they might understand it. They deserve it because they are children of God.

Ben Harper, Power of the Gospel, (Fr. Fight for Your Mind, )

It will make a weak man mighty.
It will make a mighty man fall.
It will fill your heart and hands or leave you with nothing at all.
It's the eyes for the blind and legs for the lame.
It is the love for hate and pride for shame.

That's the power of the gospel.
That's the power of the gospel.
That's the power of the mighty, mighty power.
That's the power of the gospel, well.
That's the power of...

Gospel on the water,
Gospel on the land.
The gospel in every woman,
And the gospel in every man.
Gospel in the garden,
Gospel in the trees.
The gospel that's inside of you,
Gospel inside of me.

That's the power of the gospel.
That's the power of the gospel.
That's the power of the mighty power.
That's the power of...
That's the power of the gospel.

In the hour of richness,
In the hour of need.
For all of creation comes from the gospel seed.
And you may leave tomorrow and you may leave today,
But you've got to have, got to have the gospel when you start out on your way.

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