CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
OCTOBER 30, 2022
What does God expect?
I always marvel at how the Lord led Paul to speak to the churches in his letters. There is almost always a greeting that sets a positive tone. Then he moves into what is behind why the letter is sent. Oftentimes there is a blunt, honest discussion of what should be going on in that particular church. Other times it is an honest discussion about things that are happening in the church or churches. Then Paul always ends each letter with words that intend to pump the churches up to follow Christ in ways that will lead to eternal life, as well as successful life while on earth.
Today we are looking at Paul and Timothy explaining that there are certain things that cannot be a part of a true believer’s life. These they are acknowledging used to be part of many of the lives but should not be a regular part of their lives anymore.
Once again, I want to remind you that Paul and Timothy are speaking to a mainly Gentile church. A lot of things that did not go along with God’s teachings in the Old Testament or what Jesus taught while he was on the earth were part of their past life. They get real blunt beginning with verse 5 when they say, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature; sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” They continue on in the 8th verse with more things to eliminate. “You must rid yourselves of all such things as these, anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator.”
Let us stop for a minute and look at all theses things that are being mentioned. Quite a list, isn’t it? The question for you and me is how are we doing with this list? One of the points they are making is when you are born again things need to be changing. For some, overnight transformations happen. For others, it takes time. The point they are making is change needs to happen. Did you notice in verse 7 they acknowledged reality? Paul and Timothy understand many of these things used to be a normal part of their lives. That can be true in our world today as well. In America especially lifelong Christians sometimes believe everyone should understand the basic concepts God has established but that is not always true. Patience, love and mercy need to be a part of leading others to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In spite of their blunt talk, you can sense the love and mercy they are showing this church. To go back to those lists for a minute, some of them may be easy to stay away from for most Christians but some of the others maybe are not as easy. We might not be sure about what is meant by impurity and greed, but we understand the challenges of anger, rage, even filthy language. They want the church to know Christ has won the victory over all of those things.
Paul and Timothy as men of Jewish roots want to remind these churches God views all people the same now. Christ died and the victory has been won for everyone if you confess your sins and trust in the salvation God brought to everyone through the cross. They then remind the churches what should be flowing through every believer. Beginning with verse 12 we read, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and early loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Once again, an amazing list of things we are free to do and experience as often as we can. Some are easier to make a part of our lives, but others are, at times, a challenge. Again, how are we doing? Are any of you struggling with patience, humility and forgiveness? They made a point of saying in verse 14 that over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. What a promise once again we are told to walk in! These churches are being reminded what separates them from receiving the full blessing of God. They are also point blank told what things leads to God’s blessing and victories flowing to believers. In other words, we are told still today what junk to rid ourselves of and also what good things will help us stay on the right track. Then notice what they close out the verses we looked at this morning with. In verse 15, we are encouraged to, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” While challenges are knocking at every door of life, God has given us the formula to the best life possible. It all begins with a real relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Then it is basically up to you and me. How much will we allow God’s Holy Spirit to lead us into the life changing truth that is at our fingertips. If we take advantage of what God has provided us with, we can live a life of peace and instead of being angry and bitter, we have the ability to live lives full of thankfulness. What a contrast that is once again available to us.
Paul and Timothy wanted these churches to take their faith to the next level and that is still the goal for God to see happening in His churches today. After all we looked at today what kind of grade do you and I honestly give ourselves? Is there still a lot of work to be done? Are we moving in the right direction? Or are we stuck in the mud? Depending on our answer, do we admit that we still need to be working really hard on some things or can we praise God we are really on the right track? God loves you and me. His mercy is never ending. Let us go forward clothed in God’s peace and thankfulness!
Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study
November 1—Deadline for newsletter submissions
November 4 and 5 District Conference at the Peoria church
November 9 Board meeting
November 13 Council Meeting immediately after worship
November 27 Decorate sanctuary after soup lunch for all.
Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!
Donation Box: CWS blankets
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook
Keep in Your Prayers
Jonah Martina; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Jill McBride; Cecil; Michelle West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Tate Sawyer; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus; healthcare workers and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library; Florida; Puerto Rico; La Place congregation
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Cherry Grove congregation, near Lanark, IL
Church of the Brethren vision statement:
Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.