Summary: We're called to leave so we can cleave and then weave our lives together so that God does not grieve.
Leaving, Cleaving and Weaving
Rev. Brian Bill
February 25-26, 2017
We all wear many hats. Here are three that I put on.
• Pastor. As one of your pastors I have the joy of shepherding God’s sheep. Sometimes this involves ministering to people in pain and helping them through the hurts and heartaches of life. 1 Peter 5:2: “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you.”
• Preacher. I also have the pleasure of proclaiming the Word of God. This involves faithful study of the Scriptures so that I communicate exactly what God has declared in His Word. I’m humbled by the admonition in 1 Peter 4:11: “Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God.”
• Person. I echo what the Apostle Paul declared in 1 Timothy 1:15: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” I am a person with problems and a sinner saved by grace. The first time I spoke at Celebrate Recovery I stood up and said, “Hi, my name is Brian and I’m a sinner.” The response was immediate as they warmly responded, “Hi Brian!” Recently I was with two Edgewood members who invited someone to gather with us in one of our services. One of the guys said something like this: “We’re a church filled with sinners and we’d love to have you join us.” Right on.
These roles work together well but there is some inherent tension in them. While I’m called to have compassion as a pastor I’m also constrained to communicate what the Bible teaches as a preacher. When we come to passages that are counter-cultural and even controversial, I’m committed to declare what the Bible teaches. My aim is to do so truthfully in a spirit of grace, knowing that I am a person with problems myself.
Jesus is not always “politically correct” but He is always perfectly correct. We must settle whether we will follow what Scripture says or what society says. We will not compromise by caving to culture nor will we clobber sinners. We’re called to be like Jesus who was “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
As I mentioned last weekend when going through books of the Bible verse-by-verse, we’re forced to tackle topics that we might not choose on our own. If you want to watch, listen or read the message that dealt with the topic of sin and hell, simply jump on the Edgewood app or go to edgewoodbaptist.net. Here’s a summary of what we learned from the closing verses of Mark 9.
• Avoid causing a follower of Christ to sin
• Cut off anything that causes you to sin
• Live out the cause of Christ
Our topic today comes right from our text for today – marriage and divorce. This brings up all sorts of feelings, doesn’t it? Some of you are single and wish you were married and there are some who are married who wish they were single. Some of you have lost your spouse and this topic is terribly difficult for you.
Before we go much further, to those who are single, please forgive us for making you feel second-class or unimportant – whether that’s been done inadvertently or intentionally. It’s wrong when we put pressure on you to get married, or make disparaging comments, or tease you, or just leave you out of things. We must stop.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that married-couple households have slipped from nearly 80 percent in the 1950s to less than 50 percent today. In an article entitled, “Bowling (and Living) Alone,” The Wall Street Journal reports that the nuclear family of two parents and their children is no longer the most common living arrangement. In its place are “single-adult” households. According to census figures, the largest chunk of American households now consists of people who live alone.
Many of you have experienced the pain of divorce. You may have sorrow, loss, regret, relief, anger, guilt, shame, fear, depression, confusion, disappointment, bitterness, or a combination of all these and more. One pastor writes, “There are few things more painful than divorce. It cuts to the depths of personhood unlike any other relational gash.”
Forgive us as a church for treating divorce as the unforgivable sin. We don’t know what you’ve been through or what you are going through right now. I like what Kyle Idleman says in his new book Grace is Greater, “People need us to raise a hand, not point a finger. They need to hear, ‘Me too. I’m broken too.’”
If you are divorced and remarried, God wants to help you make your present marriage one that reflects His compassion and faithfulness.
As we pointed out previously, Mark includes only certain miracles, parables and teachings in order to highlight Jesus as Servant and Savior. As the shortest gospel, not everything Jesus said or did is recorded by Mark. One example occurs between the close of chapter nine and the opening of chapter 10 as he doesn’t mention a five-month period of time that is recorded in John 7-11 and Luke 9-18. Mark is quick to take us to the cross.