Summary: adapted from Steve Higgs at Merridian Christian
Peace in the church, Live @ peace series
Eric A. Snyder, Farwell Church of Christ
April 28 2002
It is not our first instinct to accept those that are different than us.
This is illustrated the best in Junior High School.
Have you ever noticed that junior highers have a label or description for everyone.
For instance, if you are really good at sports but not very good at school you are a jock.
If you are a girl and you come from a well to do family you are a snob.
If you look a certain way and are good at school you are a nerd.
It’s like a food chain, and if you’re like me you wanted to work your way up that chain.
Who hasn’t gone through the awkward experience of trying to be something your not.
You join a sports team despite you’re hatred for that sport.
You start to buy different clothes.
You comb your hair differently.
You try to act and be something that will help you gain some sort of popularity, which is the junior high term for acceptance.
Then junior highers become senior highers and senior highers become adults and we realize that we no longer have to alter ourselves to be accepted, right?
I’ve seen a guy work an obscene amount of hours trying to gain the acceptance of his boss and co workers.
I’ve seen a woman bounce from guy to guy trying to find some kind of acceptance.
I’ve seen people trying to find acceptance in peer groups using drugs, alcohol, and sex.
Here’s the problem: finding acceptance in your work, finding acceptance in a guy you barely know, finding acceptance in a beer can is easy way out because what you have found is not true acceptance.
There can’t be acceptance without understanding.
If you get along with someone you don’t know it’s not true acceptance because you don’t really know each other.
Scott Peck in his book the Road Less Traveled tells about how easy it is to find love and acceptance in the eyes of your pet.
Because a pet can’t talk back, and you can place your own feelings and emotions on the pet and just go about your day like everything’s perfect.
People talk back and when you enter into community with them conflict is going to happen, because that is how we are wired.
Some of you have had horrible experiences with community so far.
You have not experienced the acceptance that I will be talking about today.
You’ve experienced the opposite of that, rejection
You’ve experienced the loss of community in your marriage (where a trust was violated or a divorce happened).
Some of you have had horrible experiences in churches with community, where your trust was violated, maybe things fell apart and you got badly injured.
Some of you have friends you haven’t spoken to in years because of broken community. All these things happen because we are dealing with people, and people aren’t perfect, and sometimes those closest to us reject us instead of accepting us. What it does is it makes you a little gun-shy to enter into community again, and it makes you apprehensive of ever sharing your true feelings and beliefs. But sharing our thoughts and feelings is part of the ground work of community.
It is my hope that as you enter into community at Farwell that your experience will be different than you’ve had before. Because all though it’s true that the church is made up of people and people are flawed, it’s also true that the church is guided and directed by the Holy Spirit. We understand that God has a plan for us, and we have his Holy Spirit to help us achieve that plan.
God’s commandment to the church in Romans 15 is to accept one another, and that is what he created us to be. Today, we are going to look at 2 different churches in the Bible (starting with the church in Rome, their story is found in Romans 14.) We are going to discuss what it means to be accepting of one another. How do you handle differences of opinion? How do you handle the sin in our lives when it comes to acceptance?
Let’s read Romans 14
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God