Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Community Of Peculiar People

Your source of blessings and love for your enemy should seem strange.

Luke 6:20-23 Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said, "God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. 21 God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. 22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with their creator and with each other but that didn't last for too long. The Bible is the story about how quickly our relationship with God was broken, the effect it had on all other relationships and the long road back to living in perfect community again.

God called out a community to be his people, he gave them a standard to live by that would govern how they related to himself and to each other. At Mount Sinai he gave the community ten simple rules that seems like an easy way to help them to live together peacefully but man has proven that we think we know better. (Exodus 19-20)

When Jesus began his ministry he also called for a community that would live by a different set of rules. From the mountain where Jesus first recorded sermon was given, he challenged us to live by a set of values that is completely opposite of normal human wisdom.

Our View Of Our Circumstances 

The people inside the community of Jesus followers have a different outlook on life and value things that the world despises. This community has a different idea of what it is to be blessed, this community realizes that sometimes our blessings are very well disguised to the point that the world is very confused by what we value and consider to be blessings.

Jesus said that his followers would be blessed at all times but especially when they are weak, poor, hungry and/or persecuted. We are not to go looking for ways to be persecuted but when we are our reaction is different. Because we know that all things work together for our good we realize that every situation is a blessing.
Pain And Suffering Have A Good Purpose
Cleanse and purify us by getting us to focus on God
Cultivate our spiritual growth and strengthen our faith
Certify his power to sustain us so that he gets the glory
Jesus also told us that the things that the world uses to describe blessings are things that we should be cautious about having. We usually define blessed as having power, comfort, success and recognition but Jesus tells us that we need to be cautious when we have these things and we should beware of other people that have these things.

Our View Of People Outside Our Community

When we live with the proper attitude about power, comfort, success and recognition we can live with a radical new freedom. We won't have any reason to put down other people because we won't be trying to build ourselves up. Therefore we can be generous in using our time, treasure and talents for the benefit of others instead of for our own interest.
When we realize that we are both sinners and saved by grace, we will have freedom from the values that previously defined us, and yet a regard and love for those who don't share our values.
- Tim Keller
There is a tendency to look down on people that are not on the inside, this is just as true inside the church as it is in the rest of society, very few people are drawn to befriend and seek the good of people that are not like us.
Luke 6:35-36  “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
It isn't enough to just tolerate your enemy and decide not to harm them, Jesus wants us to truly love them and do good to them, we are supposed to treat them better than most of us treat our best friend.

Since God is kind to the unthankful and the wicked (that's us) we are obligated to do the same. We should have the same heartfelt compassion to treat the people outside of the community of believers just as awesome as God has treated us.

Your source of blessings, the things you value and your love for everybody should seem strange to the world around you. So strange that they will know that you really are his child and they will be attracted to join us.

How strange do you look to the world around you?