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“Caring About Others and Our Freedoms in Christ” – Hiram Kemp

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Booker T Washington in his autobiography up from slavery in the opening chapters he talks about how hard life was for him as a slave he mentions that he and his family so far as he could remember never sat down together to eat a meal to enjoy a feast of food together as they were busy working and doing the various things that were their task he goes on to talk about the different shoes that he wore that couldn’t really fit his feet that were rather uncomfortable that made it difficult for him to move about and do all of those things but then he says above all things the most difficult thing that he ever encountered during his time as a slave he said it was the flat shirt that he had to wear where he was a slave in Virginia he had to wear the flight shirt that’s what most of the clothes were made out of there and he talks about his skin as a young boy being tender and the prickly piercings of that flat shirt and how uncomfortable that was but he says when I was as a slave in Virginia it was either the flak shirt or no shirt at all there was really no in-between and then he says his brother John did one of the most kind things for him that he ever heard of one slave doing for another and that was this his brother John a little bit older than him would put on the shirt for him the flak shirt and would sort of break it in and bear the pain for Booker until he was able to break it through and then wear it himself now John didn’t have to do that wasn’t his responsibility to do it he had already done it for himself but to undergo it a second time on behalf of his brother that’s true brotherly love and it’s fitting that that would be recorded in a book entitled up from slavery because the only way out of the slavery of selfishness is really through sacrifice and that’s what we all need to learn it’s been said about the book of first Corinthians that it is the book of a church with problems in 1st Corinthians chapter 1 in verse 10 Paul says I beseech you by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment and if it is true that the book of 1st Corinthians is a book filled with the church with problems it is also true that the book of 1st Corinthians is a book feel with the god-given solution to each one of those problems for every problem that you find in first corinthians paul by inspiration gives a solution whether it be the disease of preacher itis whether it be the marital issues whether it be sexual immorality or whatever the case may be what you find paul doing is this giving inspire solutions for how they could solve those problems turn your bible to first corinthians chapter eight tonight and if the powerpoint won’t cooperate we can just go without it if it just keeps flashing like that we can just go without it it’ll be okay turning bible to first corinthians eight as there’s already mentioned in the last hour this is the section where paul deals with the whether or not christians can eat meat that’s been sacrificed to idols and this goes into the context of first corinthians 11 and verse one and sometimes these verses are sprinted through rather swiftly and people come to their own conclusions on whether we can or whether we can’t but as you get an appreciation for the culture it was a more nuanced idea than that when you think about the jews from palestine who often mocked other jews in that first century world because of their interactions with gentiles and then you think about pagan individuals who were converted to christianity and can they go to the roman guilds of their professions and take part in these business meetings or if a member of their family was being married could they partake in the food at that occasion or not is far more nuanced than we sometimes think and so paul deals with that as you go through these chapters but more than food Paul is dealing with the disposition of heart in 1st Corinthians 6 12 to 13 Paul says all things are lawful but all things are not expedient all things are lawful but I won’t be brought under the power of any meats for the belly and the bellies for food but God will destroy both it and then Paul’s discussion is really bigger than food as much as it describes how do we deal with other people who don’t always see it the way that we do and can we surrender our rights on those occasions brothers you’ve been called to Liberty only don’t use your Liberty as an opportunity to serve the flesh but by love serve one another all of the laws summed up in one word namely this you should love your neighbor as yourself Galatians 5:13 and 14 and that’s Paul taught over and over again our society its punch-drunk on the idea of individualism whatever you want to do and whatever you like and whatever appeals to you and whatever makes you feel comfortable the world preaches self-esteem is its highest virtue and Jesus’s favorite virtue is still self-denial Jesus taught that if you want to be great in the kingdom make yourself a servants Hall even as the son of man came not to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many in 1st Corinthians 8 the first six verses Paul does bring home this truth that there is one God and that idols really don’t exist and so there is some freedom there Paul does say that there is one God we know that we have that knowledge but then in verse 7 however not all men have this knowledge for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto idols and their conscience being weak is defiled but meat commendeth not to go for neither if we eat are we the better neither if we eat not are we the worse but take heed lest that by any means this occasion or Liberty of yours become a stumbling-block for those that are weak for if one that is we see you with knowledge sit at meat in the idols temple will not the conscious of him that is weak be emboldened or be edified or built up to eat those things which are offered unto idols and through your knowledge will the weak brother perish for whom Christ died for when you sow sin against the Brethren and we wound their weak conscience you sin against Christ therefore if meat makes my brother to stumble or a fin I won’t eat any flesh as long as the world stands what principles does Paul give us about caring about others and our freedoms in Christ I want to go through a few of these and then make what I believe to be three practical applications as this lesson concludes tonight number one Paul says remember the week however not everybody has this knowledge so those with knowledge and Corinth they probably could give themselves permission to partake in this and Paul acknowledges that in the first six verses but Paul says everybody is not on your level spiritually and that must matter to you and that must matter to me in Romans 14 and I know Romans 14 and 15 is not an identical situation there are different circumstances but the principles are similar in Romans 14 in verse 14 Paul says all meats are lawful to be engaged in however so the person that is weak if he four takes of it it could damage his conscience and I need to think about that you know Christianity is a religion of growth growing grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ 2nd Peter 3:18 we need to give individuals the opportunity to develop and grow and that’s what Paul is discussing here that there are some individuals in the church at Corinth that may not be where the stronger Brethren are on the issues just at this moment and Paul says you’ve got to give them time and that’s in the spirit of Christianity be patient toward all men 1st thessalonians 5:14 the fruit of the Spirit is love joy peace patience we’ve got to be patient with other people that haven’t arrived where we are yet and Paul says I want you to look out and remember the week notice how many times pause the week in seven verses from verse 7 to verse 13 he says the week individual he mentions them in verse 7 he mentions them again in verse 9 verse 10 verse 11 and verse 12 five times in seven verses Paul mentions the week that is to say if they won’t pause mind that much as he wrote how much more should they be on the minds of the Corinthians as they sat in worship with these individuals that had these different scruples and Paul says I want you to remember that I want you to think about other individuals that may not be where you are spiritually and I want you to consider them every time this workweek is used this in the original language it’s always used in this fashion or for the most part it is used in this fashion some folks that Christians should be helping and so maybe if we step back from 1st Corinthians 8 and see the word week and other context will appreciate what Paul sent here you find it in Matthew 25 in that judgment scene and Matthew 25 42 to 44 Jesus says I’m gonna say this to the goats I was weak and sick and in prison and you visited me not that is there was an obligation to the weak and you for went that opportunity and there’s going to be punishment when Peter and John Hill the lame in Chapter three you remember that occasion in Acts chapter four they’re brought before the Jewish authorities and x4 and verse 9 Paul said or Peter says we did a good deed to this weak man husbands give honor to the wives is unto the weaker vessel first Peter 3:7 though there are many members in the body first Corinthians 12 22 Paul says uphold individuals that are weak I just mean to say over and over again when we encounter the weak individual Paul says and other New Testament writers affirm we should help them in 1st Corinthians 8 is no exception you notice the scariest time in school for a young school boy you know the school boy is afraid of the most it’s not Heights it’s not public speaking it’s being called to the front of the classroom to work out a problem on the board and as he stands there I’ve been there before to work out this problem painstakingly and forget everything he’s ever learned in this moment there’s always somebody in the back of the class saying things like oh that’s so easy why aren’t you done yet they’re not patient you see as we see other individuals that are weak that haven’t arrived sometimes we sit in the back of the kingdom of God and say oh that’s so easy and oh that’s so simple why haven’t they arrived yet and Paul would say however not all men have this knowledge remember the week I’m not surprised that Planet Fitness is slogan for their gym is the judgment free zone are you surprised about that every January they make a killing because everybody’s going to get in shape until February imagine the scrawny individual that goes in in January unfamiliar with how the weights and the machines work or maybe lifting an amount of weight that other individuals that are more experienced have been lifting since they were 13 and you might imagine the comments and the snark snarky remarks that are made as you passed this individual and you say about them he looks like a grown man he can’t live 60 pounds or he doesn’t ought to work the treadmill or she’s never going to lose weight you imagine and Planet Fitness says this is the judgment free zone Paul says to the Brethren that are strong you don’t get to walk around and strut your stuff you ought to be a spiritual spotter for those that need you we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of those that are weak Romans 15 1 Paul says you’ve got an obligation to help other individuals and the further we get from our past the better we often think we look back then the further we get from it we say well I wasn’t that immature when I first began and I understood things a lot better than that and surely they should have a grasp on this after all it’s just food Paul says the first principle is I want you to remember other individuals that are weak number two keep your priorities in place in verse 8 Paul mentions this idea that meat does not recommend us to God some translations have commend us to God some people have the idea that it may be this idea of the meat of four titles meat doesn’t assure a sense of God’s presence for judgment based on wherever we fall on this issue Paul says meat doesn’t recommend us to God for neither if we eat are we the better neither if we eat not are we the worst Paul lays this down for them and he says this is where it stands sometimes preachers will say this when they preach keep the main thing what the main thing what’s the main thing in Christianity have you thought about this the main thing Paul tells us in 1st Timothy 1 and verse 5 the end of our commandment that’s the old King James but it’s better the aim the focus what we really want to hit the target of our commandment is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sense ear faith let everything you do be done in love 1st Corinthians 16:14 that is to say whatever I’m doing whatever issue I’m working out if I don’t do it in love and if love is not my chief in I have missed the target and Paul says I want you to remember the end of our commandment is love meat does not recommend us to God if we eat we’re not better if we eat not we’re not worse sometimes on these issues people say who’s right surely the weaker brothers right he’s more conservative he wants to play us a better safe than sorry he’d rather not do anything at all surely I would side with the weak brother somebody says no the stronger brother he’s right because he understands these different nuances that he gets the first 6 verses and the fact is you can for take of it just under certain context you know what Paul says in verse 8 doesn’t really matter to God friend the kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking but righteousness and joy and peace and the Holy Spirit Romans 14:17 Paul’s main idea throughout these chapters is much like what he says in Romans 14 and 15 and Romans 15 7 Paul says receive one another now some people have the idea that in verse eight and this may very well be the case that Paul is quoting the strong brethren that what they say is meat doesn’t commend us to God so if we eat we’re not better if we don’t eat we’re not worse and that may be the case but Paul quickly follows that up with this idea you better watch your pride in this just because you can doesn’t mean you should pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall and Paul wants to warn these individuals I just want you to be careful about the liberties that you may exercise keep your priorities in the proper place and don’t get tripped up so many times Jesus was teaching his disciples and you remember he get frustrated with him I think of one occasion in Matthew 16 6 through 12 before he talks to them about what do people say about me he says now beware of the leaven of the scribes and of the Pharisees and they start looking around who forgot the bread right and then later on it dawns on them oh yeah he’s speaking about the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees another occasion is John 11 he says our friend Lazarus and sleep and I’ve got to go wake him up and they thought Lazarus was taking a superpower now and they’re like we’ll just let him sleep why would you interrupt his not Jesus and finally he speaks plainly and says Lazarus is dead often Jesus was frustrated because his disciples couldn’t comprehend when he was trying to teach them how many times do you think that happens with us today that Jesus looks down on his people and we missed the main point we don’t really get what it’s really all about and that is can we truly learn to be balanced and love one another be careful about making up rules for other people to follow and thinking well if they disagree with me they must disagree with God those are not two synonymous ideas just because people have a different view than us doesn’t make them wrong dr. Seuss was famous for saying a person is a person no matter how small and an opinion is an opinion no matter how strong just because somebody says I really hold to this I really believe it Paul says keep the proper perspective in place on these matters and don’t let it divide you as Christians meat doesn’t recommend us to God we’re not better than other people if we eat we’re not worse than other people if we choose not to in Romans 14 3 through 5 Paul will talk about days and he says listen don’t condemn each other about eating meat and one person esteems one day and another person chooses another route but God will uphold his servant and who are you to judge another man’s servant I think a lot of Christians are going to be struck with amazement when they walk through the corridors of heaven and they see people there that actually went to public school and people that cheer for Alabama and people that ate gluten and people that had different views on the non-miraculous and dwelling of the Holy Spirit and people that didn’t dot every I and cross every T exactly like they do on every eschatological matter I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised when they see all of these faithful Christians gathered around the throne of God worshipping Him revelation 5 11 through 14 and all worth the same value in his sight meat doesn’t recommend us to God one of the saddest occasions in my opinion in the Old Testament is the case of Esau and Jacob you think about those two brothers now we know Esau was a profane man but appreciate in Genesis 27 he fixed the food for his father Isaac you remember he shows up late what a disaster when your own mom is in on making sure you don’t get the inheritance but that was his lot he fixed the food and he comes before his father and he tries to give it to Isaac and Isaac says I can’t do anything about it he begs and he pleads with him he says please Genesis 27 38 these are his words do you have another blessing and Isaac doesn’t it’s much like the elder brother in Luke 15 you remember what he says all these years I’ve served you I haven’t received anything and as soon as this your son has come what do they both have in common they both think the Father only has one blessing and sometimes in matters of opinion people are frustrated and they get upset because they think this person they’ve got more of God than me and Paul’s point is you can differ on certain things and neither one of you has more or less of God than the other God has more than one blessing and sometimes their immaturity and other things other people may say things differently than we do number next Paul would say consider the conscience of others in verse 9 Paul goes through this idea where he says that certain individuals may see you eat a tinnitis temple and be careful that there’s liberty of viewers did not become a stumbling block for the weaker brother verse 10 for if somebody sees you that has knowledge to that meet in the night of tempo won’t he be emboldened won’t he be edified or built up is the word and saying I can do this too and then through his weak conscience he’ll be destroyed we shouldn’t put a stumbling block into brother’s way as Paul’s point do everything that we can to not cause other individuals to stumble maybe I’ve got to do certain things that I can do as a Liberty which God has given me not in the presence of this weaker individual but I need to be careful that I don’t knowingly put a stumbling block in another person’s way in to illustrate Paul gives a real-life example in verse 10 doesn’t he what if somebody saw you sitting in an idols temple eating meat offered up to idols won’t he be emboldened the person with the weak conscience if he can do it I can do it even though it’s against his conscience even though to him it’s a sin he sees you the stronger brother doing it or stronger sister doing this and this person just forfeits their conscience and says if I really want to be spiritually deep I’ve got to do this even though it ultimately leads to them violating their own conscience which is a sin in Romans 14:23 in a similar context though not identical Paul says he that doubts is condemned if he eats because he eats not a faith whatever is not from faith is sin and that means this and it means the same thing in this context concerning matters of Liberty somebody says I’ve got a matter of option I’ve got a matter of judgment we must ask more than just this question is this matter inherently sinful now brother Mike vestal dealt with this some in the last session I think he was right we’ve got this doesn’t mean that our conscience is held hostage by the individual viewpoint of every person it doesn’t mean that but it does mean this just because I’m the stronger brother or sister doesn’t mean I’m more righteous in fact it means I bear more responsibility that’s what it means and here are a few of the questions that I think a person should go through before we say I want to take part in this effort number one is this action inherently sinful if it is you know that solves the matter and so there are certain sin lists or other ways that the Bible teaches that something is sinful if it is I cannot for take of it number two does this action violate my conscience Romans 14:23 if I violate my own conscience its sinful and then I’m also in sin again and so is it inherently sinful does it violate my conscience but I can’t stop there according to this passage I need to say to myself will this cause my brother or my sister to stumble and then if I can jump through that hoop I think there’s still one more question and that is how does this affect my influence with outsiders 1st Corinthians 9 19 through 27 Paul says I’ve become all things to all men and then once I’ve done that I can say okay I want to exercise this Liberty those are at least some of the questions that I’ve got to go through as I consider the conscience of other individuals I can’t be all for myself and all for the things that only I want to do how many people in scriptures surrender their rights for other people’s benefit you just think about Abraham in Genesis 13 when he and lot continue to grow and amass a great deal of wealth he doesn’t have to say to lot hey lot what do you want to do about this he’s older than lot he’s going to eventually have to save lot out of trouble but you know what he says in Genesis 13 8 let there be no strife between me and you we’re brethren look out and you actually get first pick he didn’t have to do that but when you consider others before yourself you will when the Apostles in Jerusalem see the church at Antioch thriving and growing you know they call first they called a man named Barnabas Barnabas didn’t have to go seek Saul but he did X 1125 didn’t he know Saul was more skilled didn’t he know Saul was better at preaching than him and eventually the text would no longer e Barnabas and Saul but Paul and Barnabas but you know I did that because you consider others better than yourself and Ruth chapter 1 after Naomi’s sons and our husbands have passed away in or pirgos her way you know roof doesn’t have to stick around there’s really not much in it for her at this point but why does she say the famous words in Ruth 1 16 and 17 and treat me not to leave you or to return from following after you where you go out go where you Lodge our Lodge or people will be my people and your God my God she doesn’t have to say that but when you consider others before yourself you will we should consider the conscience of others and say about ourselves and about others what can I do to serve them how can I surrender my rights if I have to so that I won’t become a stumbling block to other Christians because I want them to grow I want them to thrive I want them to be all that they can be for the cause of Christ and that’s what you find Paul teaching don’t cause other individuals to stumble because there are some individuals who have never seen a right that they wouldn’t exercise they’ve always got to have their way and do it the way they want to do things and Paul says if you’re going to be spiritually mature you’ve got to graduate from that spirit of selfishness that sometimes Wells within us all next he says don’t destroy who Jesus died to redeem look at verse 11 of 1st Corinthians 8 and through your knowledge will not the weaker brother perish for whom Christ died for when you’ve sinned against the Brethren you sin against Christ when you wound their weak conscience we often quote passages that talk about Jesus giving his blood for the church and rightly so and we’ll quote those passages to suggest nobody has the right to start a denomination of their own acts 20:28 he purchased the blood the church with his blood jesus promised to build his church Matthew 16:18 and he did and will quote those passages but notice how Paul describes the death of Jesus on this occasion he says when you do things and you don’t consider others you sin against Christ and you offend him everything a person does for or against the body of Christ they do for or against Jesus himself so far as we know the Apostle Paul before he was a Christian and Saul had no face-to-face interaction with Jesus himself but in acts 9 and verse 4 you know what Jesus says to him Saul Saul why do you persecute me when Ananias and his wife lied about the contribution that they laid before the Apostles in Jerusalem you remember what Peter said in acts 5 3 and 4 you haven’t lied to men but to who you’ve lied to God and Paul uses that same principle here when he talks about the weaker brother and he says if you offend them it’s not just between you and them it’s ultimately against Christ who died to redeem them Brittany and I have two kids and I’m starting to understand why my mom always jumped up when she heard us rumbling and bumbling in the next room sometimes they’re siblings that are arguing and maybe even punches that are thrown in mom or dad is just looking around the corner they hear and see everything that’s taking place and then once things get really heated they make themselves known they show up and just about that time one of the siblings begins to make his or her defense wait mom I was only doing this or that and of course they were always the innocent party but mom or dad was there all the time and Paul says when you think about sitting at the table to eat whatever you want to do and do whatever things you want to do it’s not just you and your brother at the table there’s an all-seeing eye who was there too and it matters what he thinks and what he sees Paul is not saying they must surrender they’re right and that they can’t have it any other way he’s just saying you better think long and hard before you destroy that for which Jesus gave his life for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he were rich yet for our sakes he became poor that we through his poverty might be made rich 2nd Corinthians 8:9 God made him to be sin for us we can’t take that for which Jesus died and say it’s not valuable enough for me to suffer I’m just going to do my own thing we’ve got to change that mindset if we’re going to restore New Testament Christianity we’ve got to restore the spirit that says I will surrender my rights if it benefits you sometimes we read acts 2 the bottom half there and acts 4 and you remember what happened when the church had needs they gave of their money they sold possessions and property and we say that’s not communism that was just a special need for a special time and rightly so and if something like that ever happened today if there was ever so today we would do the exact same thing and if you look on facebook and see different tragedies that have happened you see brethren rising to the occasion doing that over and over again but you know what sometimes it’s harder to surrender my freedoms than it is to surrender my money oh I’d give you $300 in a heartbeat if you needed it but I wouldn’t change my mind or just not do something in your presence if it would make you feel more comfortable because I’ve got to exercise my own right and Paul says you’ve got to change that be careful about reclining at the table of Liberty to the disgust of God you might not get to recline at his table in his kingdom Isaiah 25 and verse 6 is a passage in the Old Testament that speaks about one day all nations coming into God’s kingdom and reclining at his table and eating and Jesus quotes it in Matthew 8 11 and 12 many will come from the east and the west and sit down in the kingdom of Abraham Isaac and Jacob and if I want to be there Paul is saying to these brethren you better get it right here and then in the final place Paul says if you must surrender your freedoms and not your brethren therefore if meat makes my brother to offend I will eat no flesh again as long as the world stands by this will all men know you’re my disciples if you have love one toward another that’s what Jesus taught in John 13:34 and 35 now we might read Paul’s words and say Paul was radical I mean Paul was willing to be a vegetarian I’ve heard some people remarked that they’re from the Bible Belt and we just don’t go without me I understand that right somebody says how kapal say that well maybe Paul’s an apostle and Paul he just went above and beyond and maybe this is hyperbole and Paul doesn’t really mean what he says but appreciate the fact that Paul’s desire to submit on behalf of not calls and weaker brethren to stumble or at least until they get to the point of maturity is something that God demands for every one of us greater man has no love than this then that he would lay down his life for his friends and that’s what Jesus did for us Jesus gave us an example that Christianity is a self-sacrificing religion and while the world says grab all of your freedoms and use them before you lose them Jesus says you don’t really know the benefit of them until you can surrender them for the benefit of others in John 13 I don’t know who had foot washing duty that day but it wasn’t Jesus I don’t know if it was Peter or Bartholomew or I don’t know who was supposed to be down there washing feet but I know who wasn’t supposed to be there it was the son of God but he got down and washed their feet and left them an example so that they might know as I’ve done to you I want you to do to others as well I want you to learn how to be sacrificial servants in a world that promotes itself over and over again we have Christian liberty and freedom and we ought to praise God for that but we should learn to care about others and on occasions say not my will but thy will be done now what are three practical principles that we can take away from 1st Corinthians 8 that help us to put this into practice in our own because somebody says well we don’t struggle with meat offer titles and that would be right that’s true but we do have problems that are similar and we’ve got to learn how to navigate these things number one I would say know the Brethren have you ever read through these and said I wonder if I’ve ever cause somebody to stumble and that question can only be answered if I know what would make somebody else stumble and so I’ve got to get to know other individuals besides this just on the surface hi and bye on the surface fellowship how you doing nice to see you I’ve got to really get to know what matters to you what you care about why do you hold the view that you why are you so sensitive about this matter it may be something in your past there may be something that happened that you still associate with your pre-christian life that you say I just can’t be involved with this but I’ve got to love you enough to get to know you Paul doesn’t say to the stronger brethren I want you to become weak like them I want you to take on their thinking he doesn’t say that he doesn’t say receive their ideas he says receive them I want you to care about the individual I want you to first Peter 2:17 love the Brotherhood how well do you know the Brethren do you know at the congregation where you worship the stumbling blocks of certain members do you know certain things that when you do it around them they may be too shy to speak up and say anything but they really do cringe and sometimes they just go ahead and offend their conscience because every else is doing it and God forbid they appear to be weak I think first Corinthians 8 9 and 10 suggests you’ve got to know the Brethren and you’ve got to care enough about them to really get to know them and not just say how could you be so foolish to hold that position shouldn’t you be further advanced than that I want to get to know you and I care about you number two I’ve got to love God if you really love God you’ll love your neighbor that’s what Jesus told when he was asked about the Old Testament in Matthew 22 when they said what’s the greatest commandment in the law Jesus summed it up by saying love God with everything that you have and love your neighbor as yourself the truth is we only treat God as good as we treat people that are made in His image how are you doing on that first on for 19 through 21 says you’ve never seen God and so if you say you love God but you don’t love your brethren you really don’t mean it and we can navigate these waters better when we truly love God with our heart soul mind and strength and care about people the way that God would have us to care everybody’s not on the same path growing spiritually but we got to love people enough to care about them and then number three surrender yourself the devil would have you to stay on the throne of your heart and always demand your rights always have your way never give credence to other individuals never submit and say this time we’re not going to do that this individual is bothered by that so we’re not going to do that surrender yourself Paul said I’m crucified with Christ nevertheless I live yet not i but Christ lives in me and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me I want Jesus magnified in my life and not me Jesus is at the center of life stage not me the whole entirety of scriptures about him and not what pleases me it’s how can I glorify God more in my life and sometimes that means even in matters where God does say yes you can do this I say no I care about the Brethren and what’s going to help us to have brotherly love and harmony more I hope they grow I hope they advance but until then I won’t do it because I care about brother brotherly love and harmony and peace that Jesus died to establish more than I care about my own rights what Booker T Washington’s brother did for him was a kind gesture indeed but what my older brother did for me was far better than that the Bible says that he tasted of death for every man he wore the crown of thorns not nearly as John Washington did for Booker T to break it in but to break us through to God and bring many sons to glory Jesus died the death that we deserve to die and rose from the grave and invites us to enjoy eternal life with him in the context of these passages like 1st Corinthians 8 that talk about what individuals are going to eat our minds rushed to Revelation 19 9 where one day there will be a great supper of the Lamb and John says blessed are those that take part in that supper these are the true sayings of God you see what our elder brother did for us compels us to be compassionate toward other people and to sacrifice our freedoms on occasion through our love and compassion for other individuals maybe you’re not a Christian here this evening we invite you to take part of the marriage supper of the Lamb that will happen when this world comes to an end if you believe that Jesus is Christ and you’re willing and ready to turn from your sins and confess him before men will immerse you in water tonight for the forgiveness of your sins you can rise from those waters a new creature you won’t be spiritually mature immediately but you’re surrounded by people who will walk with you and crawl with you slowly as you get to spiritual maturity because that’s what God’s done with each and every one of us the Bible says when we were yet without strength that is when we were weak Christ died for the ungodly and may we die to ourselves every day for those that are weak as we strive to live godly lives if this is your invitation if you need to respond in any other way we stand ready to assist you as together we stand and sing.

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