The Church is Christ’s eternal reward, so let us love, give, serve, and participate in unifying and edifying rather than dividing our preferable matters.
April 26, 2023
Speaker: Dustin Scott
Passage: Romans 14:7-21
All right, I get to be the jerk who shuts down the joy. No, not shutting down the joy, just channeling it into new things.
Good morning, everyone. Oh, you guys are awake. I said that at the 8:30 Gathering. I think I heard the slightest trace of a “good morning” in response. Well, we need to get excited again. We’re back in the book of Romans this week. Who here is excited to be back in Romans? Who here thinks we will finish chapter 14? No. We’ll give it a noble try, though, won’t we? Yes.
So we’re going to be diving in. We’re going to start in verse number seven. Before we get started, I want to kind of give you guys a little bit of a taster of what I’m doing. I’m going to begin our readings in the New Living Translation. That’s kind of the liturgical standard. That’s the translation we’re familiar with here. I’m going to start there just for readability and familiarity. But then after that, I’m going to be diving into the New Revised Standard Version. So if you hear verses and they sound slightly different, I promise you I didn’t change the Bible. I’m not accruing for myself those plagues in Revelation by doing that, I promise. So that’s what we’re going to do.
I’d love to invite you guys to join me. Would you stand in honor of the reading of the scriptures this morning?
Starting in verse seven, “For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose, to be Lord of both the living and the dead. So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.’ Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food in and of itself is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong, and if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good for the kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God and others will approve of you too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the Church and try to build each other up. Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else. If it might cause another believer to stumble.”
Holy Spirit, we invite Your authority into this room. We remember with Paul that really the only thing we bring to our equation is our weaknesses. So, Lord, come take our weaknesses. Come take the places where we need to grow, where we need to develop in You. Where we need to take on the nature of the Son Jesus. Show us a new revelation of Your heart. I’m reminded that this series is called “An Invitation To Love.” Show us what Your love looks like and allow us to live into it. We love You. We honor You. We recognize that it’s You alone who transforms us. If I teach anything that’s not from You this morning, let everyone forget I said it and be carried off in the truth of You. We ask this in Your name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And the Church said, amen.
Our series is titled “An Invitation To Love.” We’re rapidly, or perhaps not so rapidly, approaching the end of chapter 14. Over the years, when understanding the Scriptures and when communicating them, I’ve worked to to lean on the wisdom of both pastor Greg and also an undergraduate speech professor when understanding and communicating Scripture. I will say that this undergraduate speech professor gave me the worst grade of my life. It was a C, and I’m still not entirely over it.
So when communicating the Scriptures, when understanding a passage, we need to ask ourselves three important questions. The first one is this. What is it? What is the truth of God we’re talking about?
The second question we need to dig into and explore is, why does it matter? Why does this truth relate to the way I live my life?
And last but not least, the thing we need to dive into at the end of that cycle into is how am I going to apply this truth to my life? Does that make sense?
So within our recent teachings on Romans 14, I feel like we’ve really delved into the “what.” Paul will say that the gist of this passage is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He has been established as King, or perhaps we should say, reestablished as King of Eternity by the Father person of God in reward for perfect obedience and faithfulness, through the Incarnation, through His earthly ministry, and ultimately, through His death and resurrection.
We’ve also talked about the “how.” How are we to live our lives because of this truth? Well, because of this grand cosmic event, we are to love others and refrain from dividing the Church over secondary issues. That’s how we should live.
The question that remains unanswered, in my opinion, is this. We haven’t fully addressed the “why” question. Why does the Lordship of Christ determine secondary disputes are irrelevant and harmful to the life of the Church? Now, this should be restated. In chapter 14, Paul is not talking about issues of sin. He’s addressing concerns of preference. He’s talking about these concerns and disputes that were breaking out in the Roman Church over issues of food in verses 2, 3, 6, 15, and 20 – 21. He’s talking about concerns about what we drank in verse 17. And last but not least, he’s talking about these disputes which were breaking out over what holy days or times of worship the Church should observe.
If we remember, the Jewish practice was to worship on the Sabbath centrally. The Gentile practice was to celebrate on the Lord’s Day, the date of Jesus’ resurrection, which was Sunday. This is what the disputes are breaking out about within the Roman Church.
David Mitchell framed the dilemma of our secondary concerns well a few weeks ago. The problem with secondary issues is that no one ever regards his own opinion as secondary, does he? So the question of “why” I believe is answered right at the gist of this chapter in this morning’s passage. The answer to the “why” question is made even more incredible by this, that Paul, an apostle, is going to live and die for this truth for the Lordship of Jesus. I believe that the gist of this passage is the connection point between Christ’s lordship and Paul’s invitation to love.
It’s in verses eight through nine, and I’m going to the New Revised Standard Version here. It says, “Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end, Christ died and lived again, so that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”
There’s the punch line. We are the Lord’s. As we pull apart today’s message and as we talk about the scriptures, I want to first fixate our gaze on this Jesus, who is our Lord. I want to focus on why He is commanding us to love.
Well, Paul will say in the book of Colossians that He’s the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for in Him all things in heaven and on earth were created. Things visible and things invisible. Whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or powers, all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him, all things hold together.
John chapter three, the Father loves the Son and has placed all things in His hands. Chapter six of John, “everything that the Father gives to me will come to me.” And last but not least, in Hebrews chapter two, it was fitting that God for whom and through whom all things exist, and bringing many children to salvation and to glory should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
So we’ve talked about the Lord we worship. Now I want to ask what’s most important to our Lord? Let’s go to John 17, to His high priestly prayer, right before He makes the grand sacrifice of the cross. He’ll say, “I desire that those also whom You have given Me may be with Me where I am to see My glory, which You have given me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
Paul will say in Romans eight, that our destiny in salvation is to be conformed to the image of this beautiful, wonderful, glorious son. And I want to end last but not least, on that idea of us being conformed to His image in Revelation chapter 21. When John of Patmos recounts his testimony, saying, “Then came of the seven angels, who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And in the Spirit, He carried me to a great high mountain, and showed me the Holy City of Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God as the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal.”
Why are we to love? Because Christ is Lord. We are to live out unity in the Church because it’s what He considers of the highest importance.
The reformer John Calvin once wrote that God loves no man outside of Christ. He is the beloved Son, in whom the love of the Father dwells, and from whom this love is then extended to us. Paul demands that we love by refusing secondary disputes because, ultimately, Christ is Lord of the Church, and loving order is His design. He’s the central character. We’re His belongings.
The Gospels have much to say about the Father’s love for His Son, Jesus, particularly the Gospel of John. Whereas we’re invited into that picture because of our adoption into that love. The Church, the bride of Christ, is God the Father’s eternal reward to the Son for perfect faithfulness and obedience.
The dilemma with much 21st-century, modern, or postmodern teaching is that it frames the salvation story as a tale entirely about us. What Paul’s really getting at in chapter 14 is, if the story is our own, if salvation is all about us, then it’s no wonder why we imagine ourselves as the judges.
If salvation is defined by my identity, my life, my purpose, my happiness, my preferences, my goals, and my ambitions, then, of course, I’m going to act in judgment towards anyone or anything that gets in my way. This view of salvation leaves no room for others, and most importantly, it doesn’t leave room for Christ, who is Lord alone.
Far from this egotistical tale of self-realization lies the scriptural truth, a grand Trinitarian saga of a Father who loved His Son from eternity and is preparing an eternal and unblemished gift for His Son, a bride consisting of many members. Paul’s not just randomly moving from the Lordship of Christ and then scolding us saying, “Hey, don’t fight about secondary issues.” He’s telling the Gentiles of Rome, the Jews of Rome, and ultimately us to watch out. When you harm others, when you cause them to stumble through temptation and secondary disputes, you are damaging Christ’s eternal reward. You’re harming something that doesn’t belong to you.
That’s why he’ll say in verse four, “Who are you to pass judgment on slaves of another? It is before their own Lord that they are able to stand.” In verse 15, “Do not let what you eat cause the ruin for one for whom Christ died.” In verse 20, “Do not for the sake of food destroy the work of God.”
What is Christ’s intention for this great gift, the Church, that they may all be one? In the words of John 17, “As You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You, may they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
How does Christ protect His gift, this eternal gift from the Father? Well, both Paul and Jesus are going to use this term for stumbling. The word in Greek is “scandalon.” We’re going to do the kids’ church thing, and I’m going to make you say it. Scandalon. “Scandalon” was a word that was used for a trap or snare for an animal. Paul’s using it figuratively, and to name the issues of secondary preference which derail the Church.
By doing this, Paul will distinguish our correction of sin from the hindrance of secondary preferences. You see, when we correct a brother or sister who is in sin, who has turned from God, who’s living in idolatry, were ultimately standing with them as a brother or sister saying, “Hey, you need to turn your gaze back to Jesus,” right?
When we argue over secondary disputes, when we make our opinions that aren’t clearly established within Scripture into battle lines, we’re ultimately building a wall between others and Jesus. That’s why he finds it so important. That’s why Paul will write in verse 13, “Resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or a hindrance before a brother.”
This word is used by Jesus elsewhere in the New Testament to address the same issue. He’ll say in Mark chapter nine, I want to be sensitive with this because it’s a bold, intense Jesus statement that keeps you up at night. He says, “If any of you cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble,” the word here is “scandalesay,” it’s a related term to “scandelon,” “it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown to the bottom of the sea.”
Within Mark’s Gospel, Jesus in this passage is not talking about children. This isn’t just a sentimental message. He’s talking about those who are made His through belief in Him as Lord and consisting as members within the Church. He’s stressing the enviable nature of those who are made His. And He’s condemning the way that we can so often tempt others into sin or destroy their faith by making secondary preferences our aim.
Paul and his traveling disciple named Clement, who was an early apostolic father, will say a lot about these issues of division within the Church. Paul will write letters to the Corinthian Church, and Clement will actually step in and write some more letters too because I guess the Corinthians just could not figure it out. They’ll talk about two forms of division that will inhabit the life of the Church. One which separates the body of the Church and the terms here is “schizma” or “heresis.” We would recognize the modern English term “schism” or “heresy” from these two words. And he’ll talk about another form of division that inhabits the heart, the spirit, and the mind of a believer. This is called “diesychos.”
In Galatians, Paul will list the sin of division and dissension in the immediate neighborhood of jealousy, rage, idolatry, and witchcraft. It’s a pretty bad neighborhood. I don’t think I want to move in there. James will go as far as saying those who live with such division, in this case, “diesychos,” must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. These terms and passages are significant and sufficient, but they’re not exhaustive, as the New Testament has much more to say about eschewing division in favor of unity in Christ the Lord.
So what are we to do when we fight sometimes? Have you guys noticed that fighting comes up in the Church from time to time but comes up in families too? Well, on issues of sin, I believe the Scriptures teach we either confront or we repent, depending on what role we occupied within the situation. Then we find reconciliation together. If you need a step-by-step process on that, Jesus gives us one in Matthew 18.
What about these issues of secondary preference, like fighting over food, drinks, and what day of the week we worship on? I believe that we’re called to talk it out, to prefer others, and refuse to break communion together. Let me give you an illustration. If you or I are dining with a brother who has historically struggled with issues of addiction, you or I don’t have to order a beer with our burger. The world won’t end, I promise.
If wine isn’t your preference, and you’ve historically struggled with weakness or an area of sin, and you go to a neighbor’s barbecue, you don’t have to break out into open dispute because you see them drinking a glass of wine. It’s really kind of simple, isn’t it?
But what do we do in those issues of offense? What Paul and Jesus call the “scandalon,” those deep divides which can inhabit the Church. I believe we must never — and when I say never, I mean never — allow our offenses or our secondary preferences to lead us. I’m quitting the small group because blank. I’m refusing to talk to so and so because blank. I’m staying home from Church this weekend or gathering because blank. The only answer that should ever fill the blank in the life of a Christian is this: I’ve searched the scriptures, I’ve heard from the Lord and my daily time of prayer, and God is leading me into something new. We do this without offense and seek the blessing of the church family when it’s possible.
All decisions and all behaviors made outside His lordship constitute the sin of idolatry. Because Romans 14 and the sum of Scripture teach this, He’s the only one who’s allowed to lead us. We belong to Him.
In truth, a division is nothing more than a return to our old nature. It’s really our old clothes, isn’t it? We’re pretty good at dividing each other in sin. The world doesn’t need more division, they’re pretty good at it. Division is the worship of any temporal preference or pleasure over and above the Lordship of Jesus. The sinful nature will so readily exchange the eternal gifts of God, like love with one another and the Church for fractured, finite, and broken things like food, drinks, or our favorite time of the week.
Think about division and self-preference in the context of the scriptures’ descriptions of idolatry. The fallen humankind exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the created thing rather than the Creator. I have a much longer list but I won’t go through it this morning.
Do we want to esteem the temporal, the physical, and the non-eternal atop the great gift God the Father is preparing for His son? So Paul has talked about the issues in His time with food, drink, and gathering times. They still plague the life of the Church a little bit, don’t they? But what are those secondary issues which still rock the Church today? What are the postmodern issues of our time?
I want to dig into that. We know those issues, those hotly debated topics, the ones which fall outside the plain teaching of Scripture as embodied within the creeds and the historical convictions of the Church. Now I want to pause local churches and their leadership will inevitably find a unique voice, and so will members of the Church. They’ll find their aim and their culture within the wider body of Christ, and we’re to align with the covering where God has drawn us to. We’re to be a part of the Church that God’s taken us to.
I’ll put it this way. I have some friends who are Greek Orthodox Christians. If God ever calls you into a Greek Orthodox Christian church, I wouldn’t recommend bringing your electric guitar to choir practice. Does that make sense? Probably not something to divide the church over.
But in more seriousness, what are those issues? What are those places whether within our local body or the wider Church, we must refuse to fracture communion over? Well, let’s talk about worship. Contemporary versus traditional songs. Has anyone seen a fight break out over that in church? What about contemplative prayer versus energetic worship? Standing versus kneeling versus dancing? I got to watch in this past gathering a 13-year-old student who is passionately in love with the Lord dance on the side of the stage earlier. You can’t tell me that God isn’t pleased with that.
Spontaneity versus liturgy, plain rooms and pulpits versus lights and drums versus icons and incense. What about the theological issues? This is the neighborhood that I’m probably most prone to fight in. Free will versus predestination. The appropriate form of baptism. Whether bread and cup is just a symbol or if Christ is somehow mystically present in them. That’s something that churches have divided over. What about those impossibly precise interpretations of eschatology and end-times prophecy? We’ve heard fights about those. What about the practical issues? A Vintage family member’s choice or weakness in areas of food or drink? Financial debates break out even though there’s no sin or failure of morality within that situation. What about divisive allegiance to a particular church leader, or perhaps my most loathed, our aggression and hostility towards other Biblically Orthodox Christian churches just because they look different than us?
I want to stress it’s okay to have strong opinions on matters like these. I have some strong opinions on them too. God exhorts us to search out the mysteries and profound questions of Scripture. Nevertheless, it is utterly unacceptable to divide the Church — Christ’s eternal gift — over matters that are sinless, unclear, and Biblically cannot readily be solved. After all, if in the words of Revelation, this gift is the very rare jewel of Christ, clear as crystal, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves how we might love, give, serve, and participate in it, rather than splitting it apart?
I have all these notes on sin and how just by nature it makes us divisive. I also have a little bit of a deep dive into the story of Adam and Eve and his pre-fallen verses post-fallen declaration over her. But I don’t think I’m going to dig into that right now. Should it suffice to say that division is the grammar of sin? It’s me versus everyone else, including God.
The enemy despises human fellowship and communion. Unity and order bespeak the image of God and humankind and creation. And it also bespeaks the image of Christ and the Church. The unified body is Christ’s eternal reward from the Father and is the permanent target of the enemy’s schemes. He will use any and all measures to undo the move of God in our time and destroy the Church. Thank God that Jesus promised it’s not going to happen, right?
As we draw to the end of Romans 14, and as we reflect on Steve Anderson’s testimony and message last week, I want to ask us a few questions. Are we not hungry for revival in northern Colorado? Are we not excited about 20 baptisms on Easter? Are we not astoundingly privileged to experience and participate in the majesty and tangible presence of the Lord in our gatherings? Are we not thankful that God, before all eternity began, destined to save and gather up people like us who are isolated, self-destroyed, rebellious, and shameful?
He’s not a Christian, so don’t go looking too far into his poetry. It gets kind of crazy sometimes. But the poet, Charles Bukowski, in my view, stated the sin condition quite well when he wrote there are people so tired, so strafed, so mutilated by lack of love, that buying a can of tuna in the supermarket is their greatest moment of victory. We’ve all been there outside of Christ.
Have we forgotten how far He’s taken us? Has God not transformed us as adopted sons and daughters in Christ to be a glorious and resplendent church?
Now I want to ask another question, how many history-shaping outpourings, revivals, and church movements began with nothing but a simple and repentant return to Christ’s lordship? I think about the Hebrew Scriptures, the reforms of Josiah, and the return of the Jews from Babylon under Nehemiah and Ezra. What about the Maccabean movement, even though it had its problems? We can think after the ministry of Jesus, the earthly ministry, about the apostolic spread of Christianity across Europe to both the Jews and the Gentiles. We can think about the conversion of the Roman Empire, which I’m sorry, Dan Brown and DaVinci Code, was not because Constantine converted to Christianity. Sorry, that’s my own thing there.
What about the Reformation and the Great Awakenings and the Oxford movement and the Welsh in the Shantung Revivals? What about the revivals we’re starting to see flare up in our own time?
Now, I want to ask another question. How many of these divinely inspired moments in the Church and in the history of Israel were derailed or died away because people got bored, irritated, and distracted, and preferred turning their gaze towards the allure of secondary issues and offenses? How many souls were lost? How many churches and traditions have ceased? How many men and women have perished upon the altars of secondary commitments?
If we’re wondering the answer to the question “why,” why is Paul exhorting us not to argue over secondary concerns? The reason and the answer to “why” is because the story fundamentally is not about us. We are not our own. We belong to Him now. We are minor characters. Dearly loved minor characters in the grand romance of the Triune God.
The scriptures are not fundamentally about our wants, our whims, or preferences. Rather, they give an account of a God who is bestowing an eternal reward upon His Son for perfect faithfulness and obedience. And the truth is, if you took every human person, every star, every mountain, and you stacked it in a pile, it still wouldn’t be as worthy as Christ our Lord.
Perhaps the most puzzling truth of all is this: in the creation of the miserable beauty of oceans, the Rocky Mountains, of all the wonderful and majestic things that God has made, God chose us. He chose us and the people we’re fighting with, in the wider Church, to be this great gift to His son.
Paul will even refer to the Holy Spirit’s work within us in chapter eight. We as the Church are the foretaste of the life that is to come, the resurrection of our bodies. And the ultimate end of this salvation story is not me being able to drink a beer with a burger at a barbecue. It’s a cosmic reconciliation of God and God’s new creation where He will be all in all. Where we will rise from the dead, where every sickness will be healed and every sinful thing will be righted. And ultimately, when we see Him, we’ll be made like Him in perfect peace and enjoyment forever. That’s the story. We have to teach the whole story if we’re going to teach the Gospel.
G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “Every heresy has been an effort to narrow the Church.” John Henry Newman would say, “Sad it is you have no heart to inquire after or celebrate those who are around you in the Church.”
Let it be said of us at Vintage, we didn’t narrow the Church, we expanded it. We didn’t shorten or subvert the move of God, we advanced it. And most importantly, we didn’t damage Christ’s gift, we cherished it. And we watched it flourish. Whether we lived or whether we died, we were the Lord’s. So let’s commit to doing more than just the bare minimum. Let’s actively build the gift that God is making for Jesus.
So how do we do that? Well, first you have to join it. Maybe you’re a new believer, maybe you’re new to this house. If that’s the case, we’d love you to come join our family as a church. You do that by hopping into our Connect Class.
If God is not inviting Vintage to be your family, your eternal or temporary church home, then go to the Holy Spirit and ask them where is. Ask God to lead you and show you that place. Once we’ve joined the Church, what are we to do? We’re to build it. We’re to spend intentional time with friends and Christian neighbors. Even though I know sometimes sitting alone and watching the Mandalorian is so much better, or at least it feels better at the moment.
Whenever we can, we’re to prefer the interests and preferences of others. Don’t neglect the gathering where we worship, where we study the Scriptures, where we participate in the sacraments together. Why? Because God said they’re important. So we have to believe that.
Last, but not least, find a place both within the Church and as the Church to the world to give and to serve. To spread the Gospel and to minister to your fellow believers. Once you’ve started building, it’s time to create connections. Pray for other local churches and Christian traditions. Pray for ecumenical missions and services of worship and acts of service to the world around us, like Life For The Innocent, Colorado House Of Prayer, the Marisol Center, or 40 Days for Life.
Last night, we got to celebrate that in this immediate, Life For The Innocent is going to be able to save 216 children. And it’s primarily been facilitated by the churches of our region and the Christian business owners.
We’re to take part in the concrete acts to clean up our city and advance the Gospel. We’re to evangelize through our loving words — and this is my favorite part — through our hard work to transform our families, our workplaces, and our social circles so that they all start to look more like Jesus.
I want to end with a story, and I’m two minutes and 16 seconds over time. Will you guys forgive me if I say it? I want to tell you a tale about me. We’ll hide that fact. It’s about a really arrogant 19-year-old a while ago.
This 19-year-old was between churches. He hadn’t quite shown up at Vintage and he was leaving another church for a couple of good reasons but mostly bad. He had a very short stint at a Catholic parish and became friends with a longboarding priest. That’s not an overstatement. He would wear a cassock and he was about 60 years old. It was a sight to see.
So anyways, they’re talking one night and this 19-year-old kid decides to quote an Instagram pastor who had said something flashy. What he said was, “I love Jesus, I just hate the Church.” So the priest is talking about the theological significance of candlesticks, and to end the conversation, our 19-year-old friend says, “You know, father, I love Jesus, I just kind of hate the Church.”
To which our priest friend says, “Hey, you love Jesus, but you hate the Church? Can I invite you into a story? Imagine I was a little bit younger. I was getting married, which isn’t something priests typically do. And I was like, ‘Man, I remember Dustin, I want to invite him to my wedding.’ So you get an invitation in the mail, you pull out the RSVP card, and you start writing and you go, ‘Father, you’ve been like a spiritual father to me. You’ve shown me more about God. I’m so excited to come to serve you and celebrate you at your wedding. It’s going to be such an incredible moment. But that horrible witch you’re marrying can burn in the underworld.'”
He might have added some profanity, but I left that part out. And he turned to me at this moment and said, “Dustin, do you think you’d still be invited to my wedding?” To which I croaked out, “no.” Then he said, “Why would you expect to be invited to the bridal supper of the Lamb when you hate Christ’s bride?”
If you’re already loving, if you’re already serving, if you’re already digging in, I want to say, good job. Don’t get weary in the midst of well-doing. If you’re struggling with an offended heart like I am, allow God the Holy Spirit to begin to transform it. Because God is preparing a great gift for His son. This is the true answer to “why?” Why does the Lordship of Christ inform our avoidance of secondary disputes? Because God’s gift is more important than our offenses. God’s Church, unlike anything and everything else, will extend beyond this life and be grafted into eternity. We’ll be able to celebrate it forever. So my invitation is don’t divide, build.
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