Ironically, the Sunday when he preached this message, I barely heard a word of it. Remember this post? Well, the hurtful comments I was referring to happened that day, so as I was wallowing in the unfairness, the sorrow, and the pain of the words that were spoken, I completely missed H.'s message of peace and mercy. Praise God our church posts its sermons online and I was able to download and listen to the 'missed message' this morning.
The long and short of it:
We are not marked by our sin, the law, our insecurities, or our short comings as Christians...
We are marked by our profession of faith, our new life in Christ, our assurance in Christ, and God's benediction to us...'the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit' (v. 18).
Paul says 'peace and mercy be upon you' (v. 16) who walk by this rule.
What rule, you ask? Is this another part of the law I must keep? Nope...
It is the rule that Christ is our only hope, and that he has finished the work and no one can cause us trouble (v. 17); no one can accuse us. We can have peace and mercy when the law, when Satan, when other people (some Christians even) tell us that we are not who we are supposed to be.
Doesn't that make you want to dance??!
I want to run outside to the middle of the street, yell and sing and dance and praise God for the finished work on my behalf, on all our behalf.
I want to give mercy and grace to those around me (even the object of my pain); I want to love greatly because God has loved me GREATLY.
What we must remember, what must constantly be on our hearts and minds, is that of our own power, we can do none of these things. 1 Corinthians 3:21, 23 says 'Let no one boast in men. For all things are yours...and you are Christ's and Christ is God's.'
Bottom line: We are all in this together.
This life is hard (understatement of the year) and we need one another.
*The title of this post came from an Enter the Worship Circle song. I looked on YouTube for a good recording of it, but couldn't find one. So, instead I'll leave you with another great song, Trouble Won't Go by The Blackthorn Project (some members of Enter the Worship Circle are a part of this group).
1 Corinthians 3:9
'We are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.'