3rd last Sunday of the Churchyear 6.11.2016
TEXT: Romans 14, 5 - 9
TEXT - Romans 14:5-9 We Belong to the Lord
What is your favorite possession? Maybe you now think of one of your first valuable possessions. Maybe it was your first car, first house, or other first possessions that seemed or still seems very important to you. It is true, isn´t it that we take special care of those things that we value the most. We may even store them away in a very safe place the possessions that are most valuable.
The Lord God spoke through Moses to his people to remind them they were special. Those words were in the minds of the people when the Lord God spoke through the apostle Paul to the early Christian church of believers in Rome. "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession"(DEUTERONOMY 7:6). The Lord looks at every believer as his most important, most valuable possession. With that in mind God’s word brings us great comfort as we consider the theme:
WE BELONG TO THE LORD. By God’s free grace we belong to the Lord: I. In our earthly life, and; For our eternal life.
WE BELONG TO THE LORD IN OUR EARTHLY LIFE.
A. Great and drastic changes were taking place in the early Christian church.
The people once outside of faith, once considered religious rejects were now entering God’s kingdom, through baptism and thus were integral parts of the early church Those who were once thought of as not chosen were now chosen. Gentiles were being came into the fold of the Christian church and considered themselves saved!
By God’s free grace and the power of God’s word the Lord was bringing Gentiles into his church. Gentile believers did not have the traditions nor the customs of the Jewish believers, In verse 5. Paul says: 5 Some people consider one day to be more holy than another. Others think all days are the same. Each person should be absolutely sure in his own mind.
Israel had their traditional Sabbath day for worship, they worshiped on Saturdays,
Gentile believers worshipped on Sundays: for it is the day of Christ’s resurrection, the day of Pentecost was also on a Sunday. In either case, whether Saturday or Sunday, both were to worship giving glory to the Lord, verse 6.6 Those who think one day is special do it to honor the Lord. Those who eat meat do it to honor the Lord. They give thanks to God. Those who don't eat meat do it to honor the Lord. They also give thanks to God.
Jewish believers – had their issue around Kosher food, which had to do with whether food was clean or unclean. b. Gentile believers had no such worries. They could eat any meat even though it possibly was sacrificial meat which butchers then received to sell to gentiles.
C Indeed the church was challenged at that time through issues which threatened to split the congregation because of issues surrounding worship and food challenges (+ other issues) and then this issues grew into great emotional issues because people came from different cultures trying to be a community in one congregation. Sounds familiar in a way, doesn’t it?
Remember that with Jesus’ death and resurrection the temple curtain was torn in two. The early church was growing away from the old, traditional, worship ways that had been in use for generations. The early Christian church was now coming to grips with many “things neither forbidden nor commanded by God” – (adiaphora).
Christ’s sacrifice upon the cross gave the Christian church freedom from the OT laws. There was freedom in worship among many other things. The word “must” was removed from the vocabulary concerning worship life. When anyone today says, “you must do this or that”. Is that what God really says? Paul in his letter to the Collossians says:"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ"(COLOSSIANS 2:16,17).
Today our day of worship is on Sunday: the first day of creation, the day of Christ’s resurrection, and the day of Pentecost. Believers can worship God Every day of the week if you will. But we have accepted Sunday as our common day of Christian Worship..
Our modern day church is not much different from the early Christian church. There are thousands upon thousands of people living in our country South Africa and many come from foreign lands. All of them bring their customs and traditions that may seem new and very different from what we are used to. Are they wrong? Are they bad? No, not always. We need to remember that we can adapt and adopt those things that give glory to God. This does not mean that we throw out Scriptural sound doctrine overboard and just accept what is new. God’s word is still the truth! We are also to bear with our weaker and stronger brothers and sisters. We are to remember that saving faith is saving faith.
"You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ"(GALATIANS 3:26,27). We are all believers, yes, and we all belong to the Lord.
F. As believers we no longer act and live in a vacuum. We live not to serve ourselves but to look out for the best interests of our fellow man. Why? Simply because we belong to the Lord. We have been called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. God looks at us as his treasured, valuable possession. Paul says: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body"(1 CORINTHIANS 6:19,20). We belong to the Lord. How awesome is our God who loves us and accepts us as we are!
BUT WE ALSO BELONG TO THE LORD FOR OUR ETERNAL LIFE.
We need to remember the cultural clash as Christianity begins to grow and flourish.
Gentiles, once were considered untouchable by Jewish believers, now they were being saved daily. Both cultures were learning that inseparable bond that bound them together, verse 9. 9 “Christ died and came back to life. He did this to become the Lord of both the dead and the living.”
Christ’s death and resurrection was the cornerstone of the church that united these “living stones”. And it is and was the cornerstone and foundation, Christ himself, who would and could overcome any obstacles the church faced.
For these early believers from different cultural and religious the theme rang out, “We belong to the Lord”. It is this confession which united them all inspite of their diffrences. Hence Paul could say: in Verse 7. “We don't live for ourselves alone. And we don't die all by ourselves“. Christians were no longer to feel alone or lonely again ever.
No matter our or their time in life, beginning or end, every believer belonged to the Lord, For Paul made it clear in verse 8. If we live, we live to honor the Lord. If we die, we die to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Oh yes, “We belong to the Lord”! There is comfort in these very words that the world cannot take away from us. Every year more and more people in our nation feel lonely
or alone. Many are simply afraid and do not know where to turn. God wants you to remember day in and day out that you belong to him. "God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’"(HEBREWS 13:5b, 6).
Sadly, very sadly, not everyone is sure of his or her eternal outcome. Even some considered to be great men and women of faith lack the boldness and conviction of saving faith. Time magazine reported of letters from Mother Teresa. In them she admitted that she did feel the presence of Jesus in her life and was uncertain concerning eternity. Another great evangelist agreed with her only hoping that someday he would be found worthy enough to enter heaven. There is the problem. No one is worthy. BUT the Lord God saves us by his grace through sacrifice of his Son, Jesus for us. "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life"(JOHN 5:24) Notice the present tense: has. Eternal life! It IS ours – now.
“We belong to the Lord”. What great comfort this knowledge is for us as we live here on earth. It brings me comfort, joy, and strength. And I hope to you to. This statement is also God’s guarantee to us that heaven is our home and Jesus has indeed gone on ahead to prepare a place for us. We live differently in this world than most people. True, we have valuable possessions. Our most valuable possession is our treasure stored up in heaven. Knowing this, we live in this life always looking forward to that which is our true destiny, eternal life. "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain…. I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far"(PHILIPPIANS 1:21, 23).
WE BELONG TO THE LORD! We belong to the Lord living by faith in our earthly life. We belong to the Lord living by our Savior for eternity. Rest assured Christian that you are God’s valuable possessions. Scripture tells us why. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"(1 JOHN 3:1). Think about this truth: We were born into a world which has turned its back on God, and does so more and more. But now, by God’s grace we are now children of God. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us”. WE BELONG TO THE LORD here on earth and forever in heaven.Prayer
God´s richest blessings for 2016
Gottes Segen für 2016
Our Webpage: www. luthkemp.church
Every Sunday - 8:30am English language, Sunday School and youth Service
10:00 am German language Worship service.
Next Congregational lunch on Sunday27th November 2016. Combined Worship Service at 10:00am
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