Seventy-nine minutes into the game, the score was 12-10 for them. One minute left to play, Meninga got the ball and handed it off to Langer who in turn passed to Walters, to Carne and Renouf, Hancock, Smith, Langer, Meninga and finally Mark Coyne who had come on from the reserve bench slammed the ball down for a most excellent try. The Queensland Coach Wally Lewis said if that ending had of been written into a novel nobody would have believed it. And you are wondering what I am talking about. The year was 1994 it was the interstate Rugby rivalry between New South Wales and Queensland, and it looked something like this: Show video clip.
The first two minutes have nothing to do with the message, but they are fun.
It is just a game. Nothing more and nothing less just a game. Nobody’s life or eternity was on the line and yet those guys played it and we watched it as if the outcome was of eternal consequence.
If we took our Christianity as serious as we take the sports, we would live in a very different world.
That last play though, that was the most incredible display of cooperation and teamwork I have ever seen.
And friends that is what Cornerstone Wesleyan Church needs to exhibit to the world. We may need to show love to those around us, but Christ told us that people would know we were Christians not because we loved non-Christians but because we loved one another.
1 Corinthians 12:25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.
Fairly simple and yet what exactly does it entail. And is it something that we want to do. You see the church is not made up of a mass of people, nor is it simply made up of individuals; it is much more complex than that.
You see the church is made up and occupied by a strange creature called an “each other.” And it’s not a simple thing to understand or to love. It has a multitude of heads to think with and a multitude of hearts to feel with. And this morning we are going to look at some of the “Each Others” in the Scriptures.
Let’s start with, Romans 12:10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.
1) Honour Each Other. You see in Christianity there is more than just you, and there is more then just your family. There needs to be a loyalty to Christ and His Church, but it goes even deeper than the devotion that you feel for you family. Remember the words of Christ in Luke 12:53 ‘Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter
and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’”
You say “Denn, that’s terrible.”
No that’s life, families have problems. The first family in the Bible had a sibling rivalry that ended in the death of one brother. It is all too common to see children who are alienated from their parents and that isn’t a common problem it has been around for thousands of years.
But our loyalties to God’s family, the body of Christ has to go even beyond what we feel toward our families. How devoted are you to each other?
Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with each other.
2) Live in Harmony With Each Other
The church needs to realize that harmony means unity not uniformity. There is a big difference. You see we won’t always agree, that isn’t what’s important. There are times that I can’t even agree with me. What is important when we disagree is how we handle our disagreements. There are times that we need to agree to disagree. Consensus does not mean everyone thinks the same way, but it does mean that everyone gets an opportunity to express his or her opinion if they want. However, realize that nobody can force you to express your opinion.
The thing that I marvel at time after time is the dumb things that we disagree about. Nine times out of ten not only won’t they be important a decade from now they probably won’t even be important a week from now. It’s like music.
It’s incredible how Satan can take something like Holy Spirit anointed music and turn it into a battle ground for the Saints. I know we don’t all have the same musical taste but so what?
I read recently that throughout the church’s history, each generation has found the musical tastes of the next generation unacceptable and as a result has declared it un-spiritual.
We may not live in agreement but as a church family we best live in harmony, which means if we don’t get our way, we don’t whinge about it and we don’t get up on our hobby horses.
Romans 14:13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
3) Don’t Condemn Each Other
If you know the history of the church in Rome that Paul was writing to, you’d know that they seemed fairly quick to judge and condemn each other on certain issues. Some people were celebrating the Sabbath on the Sabbath, that is on Saturday, others had gone in another direction and were celebrating what they called the Lord’s day, which was on Sunday. Some of the people refused to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols and others had no problem with eating meat sacrificed to idols.
Now I know that those things aren’t really issues today, unless of course this side of the church decided to celebrate the Sabbath on a Saturday or on a Thursday.
I had an uncle who would not eat in a restaurant that served alcohol.
Other people have no problem in that area, but they won’t eat in a pub, other people figure hey the foods cheap and I’m not drinking and carousing so why not?
There are some very definites given in the Scripture concerning what a Christian ought to do and ought not to do. Enough definites that we shouldn’t have to get into insignificant areas. Of course, if you believe fervently in something it’s not insignificant is it?
I’ve decided that as a pastor I’d rather win people than win arguments.
Now, if you are committing adultery, murder, thievery, drunkenness, premarital sex of any of the other definites perhaps that isn’t judging, maybe that is just being observant.
“But Preacher” you say “somebody has to keep tabs on people” I know, “And” you say “somebody has to be the conscience of the church” I know. “And, somebody has to speak to people about what they are doing and how they are acting” I couldn’t agree more. “Great” you say, “I’ll do it.”
Sorry, the job has already been filled; the Holy spirit is in charge of the convicting department.
Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
4) Accept Each Other
Can I ask you a question? Sure, I can, after all I’m up here. What requirements did you have to have to fulfil in order for Christ to accept you? Did you have to be pretty? Obviously not or at least I didn’t. How about smart, outgoing, charming, did you have to have a pleasant personality, or a holy lifestyle? Did you have to have money?
No, you didn’t have to be pretty, smart, outgoing, charming, pleasant, holy or rich. You had to be repentant. You had to embrace Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
In the early church there was sometimes problems where some people were accepted into the church more readily than others. James the brother of Christ makes the statement in the book that bears his name James 2:1-3 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favour some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
Now we would never ever, ever be guilty of making some people comfortable in our church and not making others comfortable, would we?
Everybody gets the same seat, except for me and club 56. You don’t feel bitter about that do you? not much.
But what about after the service, do people feel accepted? Regardless of how they are dressed or how their hair is cut or isn’t cut. It doesn’t appeal to you, you wouldn’t dress that way or wear your hair that way, tough! Nobody’s asking you to. But the command of the Scripture is Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
Romans 15:14 I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them.
5) Teach Each Other
And in the same sense in order to be taught we need to be willing to learn. We can all learn from one another. There is no one person in this church who has a monopoly on smarts. I’ve have learned a lot since I have come here. I hope there are those of you who have learned things from me. Sometimes we learn things from people that we don’t want to learn things from.
Sometimes we learn in spite of ourselves. When the first group of believers was described in Acts 2:42 Luke wrote this about them, Acts 2:42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. . .
Older Christians you are responsible to teach younger Christians, and they will learn whether you think you are teaching them or not, after all more is caught then taught. And so, when you live your life in front of younger believers you are teaching them what a mature Christian is, kind of scary isn’t it?
It gets even scarier because not only are you responsible for what is taught, but also for what is caught.
Galatians 5:13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
6) Serve Each Other
That should be popular in our “me first” society. As Christians, as brothers in sisters in Christ we are to serve one another. How many times did Jesus tell others that he didn’t come to be served but to serve?
When we serve, why do we serve? Out of sympathy, duty, obligation, guilt? The word of God says that we are to serve one another in love. The same reason God, the creator of the universe sent his one and only Son, love. How do we serve one another, Paul offers one suggestion a little further along in the same book when he says in Galatians 6:2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
Solomon reminds us of the power of two in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. In business they call it synergy, and it’s the sum of the combined parts is greater than the sum of the individual parts. I like to say it’s 1 + 1 = 3
Even though we talk about the joy of fellowship better yet is the joy of friendship. You see we can have fellowship together and only see each other on Sunday’s over a cup of coffee.
Friendship on the other hand implies a little bit more of a commitment. Jesus realized just how important the friendship factor was when he told the apostles in John 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
There are some things in life that we just can’t carry alone, and we were never intended to. Our first full time church was as minister of young adults in First Wesleyan Church, in Malone N.Y. and it was terrible. The only thing that saved us at all was the fact that about 40 miles away Al and Nancy Vardy were in their first church and having a rough time as well. If we hadn’t of been able to get together once a week just to listen to one another it would have been a much worse year.
We need to be there for one another, not just to cluck over our burdens, not just to discuss our burdens, not just to ponder our burdens but to bear them, to help with them and when we fall to help each other up.
Paul talks about our Christian life as a race, but it’s a different kind of race. When they run in the Olympics if a fellow runner falls, tough. But in this race when a fellow runner falls, we need to stop and help them get back to their feet, and if we need to help them along for a while then so be it.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 So encourage each other with these words.
7) Encourage Each Other
This goes along with bearing one another’s burdens. We need to grieve with one another. When one of our family hurts, we need to be there to comfort and encourage them.
Probably the one excuse we use more then any is “I don’t know what to say” truth is that in many cases there isn’t anything that you can say.
When I speak to those who are grieving or hurting I don’t say “I know how you feel” because I don’t, I don’t trot out Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Because when a child has died, or we’ve lost our job, or our spouse has left us it doesn’t really seem like there is much good in it.
If you can’t do anything else then cry with them and remember the words of Christ in Matthew 5:4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
In other words, extend to your brothers and sisters in Christ the same courtesy that you would to a total stranger. It is a terrible thing that the more we care for people the more we take advantage of them.
In your marriage do you do things to your spouse that you’d never do to a mere acquaintance?
Do you say things to your loved one that you won’t say to a stranger? Do you remember when you got married and the preacher asked you if you’d love, comfort, honour and keep your spouse, in sickness and in health”?
And you said yes.
Maybe we need to ask ourselves if the things we are saying to our spouse are loving, comforting and honouring?
The same applies for our brothers and sisters in Christ, in Cornerstone Wesleyan Church and outside of Cornerstone Wesleyan Church. It must confuse Non-Christians when people who all claim to serve a loving Christ can’t get along.
We need to be kind and compassionate to one another. That might mean giving up the prize parking spots and making sure that when folks are sick things are made a little easier for them, it means what Paul said in Romans 12:10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. I love the way it is translated in the NKJV Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another;
In other words, the other guy should be more important in your mind then you.
Which goes along with that James 4:11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters.
James 5:9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged.
Pretty sound advice. Remember the tongue has the power to build up or tear down. Don’t grumble against one another and don’t speak evil about one another. Do you realise that most of our suspicions of others are based on what we fear about ourselves?
It’s unfortunate that the part of the body that people speak with is often too big for the part they think with. Solomon pretty well summed it up in Proverbs 21:23 Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.
If you are an encourager you probably won’t be a discourager. Take a lesson from the mule who finds it impossible to kick and pull at the same time.
Have you thanked the people who make Cornerstone possible? The worship team, the greeters, those who make your coffee those who teach and assist in nursery, CS Kids and Club 56?
They are all listed at the end of the service on the screen for your viewing pleasure and so you can keep on encouraging one another.
And that leads us to Colossians 3:13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. kind of goes along with what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:5 Love keeps no record of being wronged.
8) Forgive Each Other
And not only does Paul tell us to forgive each other but he goes on to qualify his statement by saying, Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. it When it comes time for the judgement you will receive your forgiveness with the same measuring cup that you used on earth. Will Jesus forgive you begrudgingly? Will Jesus forgive you reluctantly? Will Jesus forgive but not forget?
Let’s not allow petty hurts ruin the fellowship of Cornerstone Wesleyan Church.
If we have something against a brother or sister let’s forgive it and forget it. Charles Spurgeon one of the great preachers of the last century said, “When you bury a mad dog, don’t leave its tail above the ground.”
This entire message can be summed up in the words of Christ in John 13:35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”