August 15, 2021

Harmony in the Church (part 2)


I. Disharmony due to Differences

Different Opinions (v. 1), Practices (vv. 2, 5) Levels of faith (vv. 1-4) 

II. Harmony in spite of Differences

In understanding of God (vv. 3-4), In accepting one another (vv. 1, 5)

We said that in these chapters, the apostle Paul not only instructs the church, but he counsels them. The differences in the church brought up the heart problems, and now Paul is working with the hearts of the people.

What is the essence of the problem and what solution Paul provides? The problem is idolatry, or rather, the problem is that the good things in life can climb up on the throne of our heart, and as soon as this takes place, this very good thing becomes and idol, which is sinful.,

For example, Paul says, our opinion can be placed over everything in life, and if anyone would dear to attack our idol, we will defend it in every possible way. The diagram itself is simple…

We said that the solution to the problem is not the removal of the causes, and not even in strict control over our reactions and behavior, but in the changes of the heart! This is the essence of Christianity. If until now you perceived Christianity as a list of rules that you need to try to follow, or the strict control over emotions or reactions, or even an attempt to move away from all that provokes our sinful reactions, then this is a religion that has nothing to do with Christianity. True Christianity is fundamentally different from everything else in this – there is a deep work within the heart. God takes a heart of stone away and replaces it with the new heart that is capable of loving God and one’s neighbor. In this heart there is an eternal struggle for the throne. A believer will strife and live so that the Lord will always sit on the throne of his heart!

In today’s text, Paul uses secondary issues as an opportunity to develop an argument to the very height of the Gospel – the role of Jesus Christ. How quickly the conversation about food turns into a talk a deep theological debate…

Read the text. Do you have conflicts? The solution to conflicts is not in one common opinion for all, and not in the command not to be irritated, or not to judge, or not to despise, but in the overthrow of the idol of his opinion from the throne of his heart, and this happens when Jesus Christ returns to the throne! How does it happen? 

3 theological arguments for the lordship of Christ!

I. Christ’s Lordship in Life (vv. 7-8)

The result of the teaching here is at the end of (v. 8) – we completely belong to Christ! He has authority over our lives.

The point is that for a believer, Christ is the Lord, Master!

There are two elements that carry the Lordship of Christ in our lives. 

1) (1 Cor. 3:21-23) – (v. 21) “all yours” – means that since Christ is our Lord, He takes care of and will take care of everything! This is what (v. 6) speaks – we thank God! He meets all our needs!

2) In our text – we do everything for the Lord, since He is our Master! In other words, obedience, or submission to His will (Matt. 7:21-27). This is the Lordship of Christ in our lives!

So, you can know or be sure that Christ is the Lord of your life if you understand that everything you have is from God, and secondly, your life is a life of obedience to the will of God!

II. Christ’s Lordship in Salvation (v. 9)

Now, the apostle Paul reaches to the center of Christianity in general, and the center of the Gospel itself – the death and resurrection of Christ!

What does this mean for us?

(1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23) – we are brought, we are not ours, we belong to Him. Why is this a turning point and culmination in a conversation about heart problems?

The fact is that the apostle Paul here touches upon the very essence of the Gospel (v. 9 – both death and resurrection are mentioned…)

We have already seen this (10:9), that salvation is built on these two pillars – Christ is the Savior (he died and rose again), and He is the Lord, and we must confess Him as Lord in practice, and only this way a person can be saved!

Most people who study the Gospel and strive to be saved, do it sincerely, and understand the importance of Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice (in our place), and that on the basis of faith in Christ and His substitutionary sacrificed, we are saved (we are forgiven of sins, Christ’s righteousness is given, and we are delivered from condemnation to eternal torment). But, many stop here, while our text says that we need to confess Christ as Lord! What does it mean? This means that we acknowledge His authority and control over our lives.

(Matt. 11:28-20) – rest = salvation, and the yoke (bridle or strap for working animals) = dominion. As a result, we can say that the true salvation is two sides of the same coin – Christ the Savior (liberates us from the bondage of sin), and Christ the Lord (he rules over our lives).

Why is it vital? If this lordship is not there, then, another master will rule over our hearts – we, ourselves, and our opinions, or even the opinions of others. Here are a couple of texts that speak of absolute belonging to either one or the other.

(Gal. 1:10) – I either please the Lord, or the opinions of others. Here, a person is ready to compromise with his opinion and follow others for the sake of acceptance by people. Dependence on people’s opinions is yet another serious idol of the heart. But, we are interested in an important principle – there cannot be two masters in the heart.

Christ emphasized the same principle when he said that man cannot serve God and money (Matt. 6:24). Here is another idol of the heart – money. But the principle is the same – there cannot be two masters in the heart at the same time. Either God, or money.

Coming back to the question of salvation. Salvation is deliverance from the dominion of sin, Satan, the sinful world, oneself, to the dominion of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 5:15) – the Lordship of Christ!

Here the game in religion ends. On the verge of death, games, or good ideas will not help – you need something with a better foundation -and only a believer can look toward eternity with confidence, because he has the promises and the testimony of the Bible!

III. God’s Lordship in Judgment (vv. 10-12)

(v. 10) – Judgement. There are 2 judgments, one for believers and one for non-believers.

Judgment for unbelievers (Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20:11-15) is condemnation, or eternal judgment!

Judgment for believers (John 5:24 – they will not be on the judgment before the white throne); (1 Cor. 3:13-15; 4:1-5; 2 Cor. 5:10) – bema) – all the deeds will be revealed, and evaluated, there will be either a rebuke or praise (not about salvation).

(v. 11) – a quote from (Is. 45:23) to convince that God is one judge over all.

And now application of this text to two categories of people:

First, to those who are unsure of their salvation…

This is how a person who has not experienced regeneration usually thinks: “After death I will be in heaven with God because my good deeds on the scale of justice will outweigh the evil deeds… plus I believed in God, and even went to church…”

But this is fundamentally inconsistent with God’s logic. Let’s take as an illustration the very first judgment of God… over Adam and Eve.

Tell me, what bad things Adam and Eve did in the Garde of Eden? They ate only one fruit, that God did not permit them to eat. Well, from our point of view, this is not so bad – they did not rob, kill, didn’t commit adultery…

Now let’s look at all their good deeds: when God crated Adam, he gave him the task to cultivate and keep the garden… he did it. Then God brought all the animals for Adam to name them, and he did it. Then, God created Eve for Adam, and he loved her very much! They did fulfill their marital duties well!

Now, compare all those good deeds that Adam and Eve did, and on the scales of justice place one failure to not eat the forbidden fruit. So what?

God immediately punished Adam and Eve with spiritual death – they lost communion with God, and He kicked them out of the Eden. Then, God punished them with physical death… not immediately, but a few years later, and moreover, death and sin passed on to all of us, and now we are all deprived of this paradise… and now we need to find our way back to paradise…

Somewhere our system of judgment and God’s differ. What is it? God’s perception of sin is much higher than ours! It is more serious? It is so serious, that to cover our sin the Son of God had to die! 

Secondly, for those who are confident in their salvation. The subject of judgment is also important, but the judgment is different!

If I love and aspire to be in heaven, then I will be interested in that time being a time of joy.

Imagine a bride who is waiting for her wedding day; the groom has already proposed, and she said “yes.” He gave her a ring, and the wedding will definitely take place. Well, then, she can live as she pleases, right? After all, the wedding is already promised. No! Brides, as far as I know, exhaust themselves with cruel diets, and other things so that they come prepared for the wedding day without shame or blemish.

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