DO WE NEED A SPANKING?
Before we begin, I apologize for the title. I wasn’t thinking. After all, we need to realize spanking is a form of abuse and I would never condone that and of course neither would God, or would he? Today’s message again gets us wondering what in the world is Paul talking about.
Paul starts off in the first chapter of Romans saying what model Christians they are in the church at Rome, but then his message takes a drastic turn and just keeps on going. Paul is apparently hearing of some trends in the church that is causing him concern and he wants everyone on the same page before things get out of hand. Paul wants the church to be as honest and consistent as it can be. Just like there are those watching us Christians today, they were watching the church at Rome as well.
Paul had apparently not only heard the good reports about the church in Rome, but also some things that concerned Paul a great deal. Paul knew if the church was going to make a difference in Rome, the Christians had to be honest and believable. There was, it would seem, hypocrisy that had moved into some places in the church. We may have heard it said, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Some of this attitude had apparently crept into the church at Rome. Paul did not pull any punches. He made it clear what God’s attitude is about people who say one thing and do another. In the first four verses of the 2nd chapter of Romans, Paul is warning about two different things. Paul is cautioning about passing judgement on others. As mere humans we better be careful how we view others. We may be getting a little ahead ourselves by looking at Romans 3:23 but it says, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” As we said last week, we are to speak the truth in love as written in Ephesians 4:15. There may be a fine line between being judgmental and speaking the truth in love.
That being said, the second thing Paul was saying in those first four verses was do not be a hypocrite. Some in the church were not only telling people what is not acceptable to God, but the very things they were criticizing others about they themselves were doing. God does not expect us to be perfect, but God does want us to be honest about ourselves to others. Paul was reminding them just because you go to church and do some good things does not mean you can do things that are wrong in God’s eyes and pretend God does not see or care. The remaining verses we looked at this morning simply remind all who will pay attention that God is watching. God cannot accept unrepentant hypocrites. The truth is we all slip and stumble. The question for you and me as well as for the church in Rome is when we realize what we have done is wrong, do we confess to what happened? We do not necessarily have to confess to the church unless God calls us to do that, but we must be honest with God. If we have done something that may cause others to stumble, maybe God would want us to tell those affected we were wrong.
Paul was reminding the church that you and you alone will determine what happens when you breathe your last breath. Eternal judgement or eternal life. When you get right down to it, Paul was telling the church in Rome as well as us today to leave the judging to God. Your life can and will go much more smoothly if you leave it in God’s hands. God’s number one desire for his people is to love. In John 13:35 Jesus says they will know you are my disciples if you love one another. In the Romans 2:7 we are reminded—“to those who by persistence in doing good, seek glory, honor and immortality he will give eternal life.” What a promise!
God wants us to share love with all we come into contact with whether at the grocery store, Casey’s, or Dollar General. God wants us to show love and compassion with our families, friends and those we encounter in life. We are God’s hands, feet, mouth, and ears. We not only need to continue to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ but allow God to show us how to be the best men and women of God we can be. While it looks like Paul is really hammering the church in Rome, he is just wanting to help them be the best they can be. We must share Jesus, the risen Savior, as often as we can. There is a community and a world that needs to see and hear from honest as well as humble Christians. The message is entitled, “Do we need a spanking?” I hope we do not but if we need to be reminded sometimes to take a look at where we are, that is okay. There is a contemporary artist, Steve Camp, from many years ago who had a song called “Shake Me to Wake Me.” I need that from time to time. If God did not love us, he would not care what we do. I believe God is ready to move right here in Cerro Gordo and he wants us to be right in the middle of it all.
Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study. All are invited to attend.
February 10 Executive Committee 7:00
Lenten Devotionals are available in the back of the sanctuary.
Remember to pick up Upper Room and Daily Bread issues, if you don’t have yours.
February 17 Ash Wednesday
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Copies of the February newsletter are in the back of the sanctuary.
March 16 – 20 is the District Potluck via Zoom. There is worship and there are workshops. A description of workshops is on the bulletin board. More information will come soon.
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First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery (Michelle Wright’s brother); Sherry Wright; Tim and Betty Sue Laird; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 450,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; wildfire and hurricane victims; District of IL/WI search committee; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; our nation’s government
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Praise: A number of the girls abducted from the school in Chibok, Nigeria, escaped from their captors. Most of these girls belong to EYN, the CoB of Nigeria. However, at least 100 girls remain in captivity.