This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Life in His Story”.
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The series we are doing now is called Life in His Story and we are looking at the Christian Year together. The Christian Year is an incredible way of helping us to define our lives in accordance with His story by structuring the year around the central redemptive acts of God in the Messiah. In effect, the Christian Year is more than a series of commemorative holidays, but a way of actually ordering our day to day, week to week spiritual lives around the story of redemption. It helps to give our lives context in relationship to where we are in His story as we journey through the events of the life of Jesus each year. This week is the fourth Sunday after Easter. Two weeks ago we talked about the goodness of God. Last week we talked about the importance of getting connected to God in prayer so that we can get the hope and help we need to live by doing the next right thing. This week we are going to give some practical ideas for living by doing the next right thing. This is also our Blessing of the Bikers weekend.
James 1:17-20 (NIV)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. 19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Everyone should be those things, but unfortunately, that is not the norm by a long shot. In our culture we are more likely to be the opposite. We are not good listeners, we are way to quick to voice our opinions, and we tend to get angry very quickly at even the smallest disturbances. In our anger we tend to do stupid things and make really bad decisions. Fortunately, the Apostle Peter has some great ideas for how to live by doing the next right thing, how to enjoy this now and forever life that is available to us in Christ.
1 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV)
8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1. Be agreeable
A couple of years ago Alice would say this to me while we were having a “discussion”, “You are being oppositional”. There is no way to respond to that. If you say, “no I’m not” then you are. So we need to work on being more agreeable.
1 Peter 3:8a (NIV)
8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic,
Romans 12:16 (NIV)
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Give that Biker wave to the guy on the moped! Speaking of Biker waves…
2. Be loving
We have discussed this a few times recently.
1 Peter 3:8b (NIV)
8 …… love as brothers,
Remember to pass things through the love filter..
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
3. Be compassionate
1 Peter 3:8c (NIV)
8 …… be compassionate
Compassion is a way of demonstrating the type of love we are talking about.
1 John 3:18 (NIV)
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
We need to get outside of our own ME focus and really look for ways to be kind and bless other people. Don’t let people just blend into the scenery and machinery of their lives. Remember that they are God’s creation, that He loves them, and that we need to see them the way that He does.
4. Be humble
1 Peter 3:8d (NIV)
8 …… and humble.
Humility is a major part of experiencing real now and forever life. We have to be able to admit that we are broken. That we have messed up.
Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)
13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
And when we do, God is able to give us the grace we need in Christ to enjoy and experience life.
James 4:6 (NIV)
6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
5. Be encouraging
1 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
The ministry of encouragement is one that we should all be actively involved in. Make it a habit to encourage at least two people a day. When you encourage two people, three people are encouraged because God will encourage you.