Saturday, August 14, 2010

Convinced civility

These are sermon notes.

1 Pet. 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give
an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect,

Peter writes to suffering Christians facing opposition. Tempted to keep a low
profile but told to be ready to speak out, yet with gentleness and respect.
Not well known characteristics of bold witnesses.

.......... everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
W B Yeats The Second Coming

The medium often is the message. World full of good communicators of bad ideas.
Gerry Adams, Martin McGuiness, while the children of the kingdom often do not come
across well, Ian Paisley

Civility is public politeness, a kinder gentler people. It is a fruit of
the Spirit. But people who are civil often lack strong convictions and
those with strong convictions lack civility. We need both civility and
passionate conviction, a convinced civility.

It means treating all people, especially those with whom we differ with courtesy
because they too are made in the image of God, marred though it be.

Hebr. 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy;
without holiness no one will see the Lord.
We need a convinced civility.

One biblical book that helps us to move thoughtfully in the direction of
living as servants of God is 1 Peter.

From what we know about the civility, or lack of it, in the apostle Peter in
his earlier days of ministry, as explained in the Gospels (recall who cut off
the priest's servant's ear? => John 18:10), these words in 1 Peter carry
authentic weight as someone, who through his growth in Christlikeness,
exhibits much more of an appreciation of the fruit of the Spirit in this
sphere "convinced civility".

What convicted civility is not
Civility is not relativism. It does not mean we cannot criticise wrong things. We
can approve that people have the right to say some things without agreeing that what
they say is right.
Not non-judgemental It is not refusing to proclaim standards by which conduct is to
be judged. No-one can be non-judgemental.
Accept the person, not the sin. See them for their potential, not their sinfulness.
The judge who was Christlike.
Not a mere evangelistic strategy.

Characteristics of convinced civility
Opposite of a Crusading spirit
Thought they had a good cause and went about achieving their aims in a godless
brutal way. In fact the cause was also wrong. But a crusading spirit says, We are
in a battle for the soul of the nation. No compromise with error. No surrender. The
devil loves pluralism and toleration. Liberal crusaders have different slogans,
Nothing must stop our pursuit of social justice, God wants us to empower the poor,
the task is too urgent to worry about niceties.
Seeks change in all of life
God cares about public as well as private righteousness and morality
He wants Christians to be agents for change.

But those of us who delight to proclaim God's sovereignty, holiness, justice and
wrath need also to do it in a way that is God like in terms of his love and
gentleness., a God who is slow to anger, and often takes a lot of time to change s
stubborn hearts, a God who brings about change without writing off people as junk.
We need a modesty about what can be done and be faithful where God has placed us
with the resources available to us. There has only been one true Messiah.
The place to learn civility
The church is the context to learn public righteousness. We should learn it first
in the family then in the church where views may differ but are expressed with respect.
The family gives us some problems in this area for we have a bad of strong love and
a familiarity which can lead to a lack of civility, especially among our children.
I'll kill him for using my mug. We start to learn in the family and learn more in
the church.
If we cannot live work and speak together with convinced civility as a people of God
our testimony to the world will not be credible. Why have we not had a credible
testimony to many Muslims. They look to the nation. We need to point them to the
Choose words carefully
The Crusader believes the cause is so important any means may be used to attain the
end including abusive speech. Story of the stones thrown by the black boy.

Remember we are all sinners
Concentrate on your own sinfulness and the other person's humanity

Ps. 139:19 -24 If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you
bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your
name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against
you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if
there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Listen. Learn to find good things in those from whom you differ.
Learn to appreciate diversity need to disentangle it from false religions and value
systems but God loves diversity
Rev. 5:9-10 And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to
open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for
God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a
kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
Difficult but essential
All sexuality is warped sexuality. No-one is either gay or straight. Question the
terminology. Just because someone has a different view of reality do not let them
judge yours to be a phobia.
Be honest, be frank but you do not have to sniff every dustbin in town to know what
rubbish is. There is a way of talking about sexuality which is unacceptable.
Scripture is not prudish but neither does it take delight in erotic titillation.
Remember we all have things of which we are ashamed.

The wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God.
Eph. 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into
him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

We are triumphant in Christ
We are to proclaim His victory and authority
but without triumphalism

We are sometimes good prophets but poor priests for we fail to identify with people
and where their problems are. Listen and identify. The leader is affected by the
people. Jesus was. He wept.

We stick to issues not scoring points off people
We show appreciation of the good things in their lives
We confess that we are sinners and they fall short of their own standards Garba
We point them to the sufficiency of Christ
We demonstrate his love in our community
give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

We live in the time of God's patience. He is patient with us and works slowly.
He draws straight lines with crooked sticks

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Blogger Michael Gormley said...

A true Calvinist teaches that everything that happens has been predestined before the foundation of the world. Thus, according to Calvinism, because I have free agency and no true power to choose contraries (i.e., free will), I do voluntarily what I could never do otherwise.

Thus, "My sins last week happened; they were certain to happen; and they were predestined before the foundation of the world. I freely did evil, but I could not have done otherwise."

A true Calvinist admits this. Yet St. Paul teaches that, with every temptation, God has made a way to escape from committing the sinful deed (1 Cor 10:13). Therefore, the question for the true Calvinist is:

"Which way did God, in fact, provide for you to escape the temptations to do the sins you committed last week, if indeed you are so inclined? That is, if you have been predestined before the foundation of the world to do it?"

This is a clear hole in the Calvinist position, forcing one to conclude that Calvinism cannot be reconciled with St. Paul.

Clearly, if Calvin is right and one is predestined to commit a particular sin before the foundation of the world, God could not have truly provided a way out of that sin for you to take.

How could He if you were predestined not to take it? So, either Calvin is wrong or we are dealing with a God Who feigns offers of deliverance from temptation.

So, which is it? Is God a fraud or is Calvin?

2:58 pm  
Blogger Graham Weeks said...

Neither is a fraud. You are mistaken in your understanding of predestination. It is not determinism. God is sovereign and man is a responsible agent. He is not a free agent for his will is bound to a fallen sinful nature. Before he comes to Christ a man is free to sin. He can do no other it is his nature. After he comes to Christ he is under no obligation to sin and is responsible not to, having a way of escape. When I choose to sin I do not blame God. It is my responsibility. I need to repent and seek forgiveness. With a new nature i am freed to obey but I still suffer the after effects of the fall.
You are not a Calvinist and mistaken in your understanding of Calvinists.
Best wishes and prayers.

5:02 pm  
Blogger james said...

Very Interesting..

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6:48 am  

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