How to start a revolution

Posted: Wed. Jun, 22 2016

A Revolutionary idea

We are coming up on the 4th of July holiday in America, which celebrates the time when our Founding Fathers started a revolution.

It was about liberty, it was about taxes, it was about a lot of things. 

We are also in an election year, one where the people seem fed up with the way things are run in America. In fact, one of the major party candidates based his campaign on the idea of leading a new revolution.

So this is as good a time as any to introduce a revolutionary idea.

This one comes, not from “feeling the bern”, but from reading the Bible.

Colossians 3, to be specific.

COL 3:8-13
8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and  abusive speech from your mouth. 9  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him —  11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

There it is. The seed of the revolution.

But perhaps you missed it.

So let me slow down and hover over it:

13  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

We are about to go back to the letter of James and pick up where we left off there.

The thing is, James is going to have a lot to say about the things people SAY.

And he wants to start a revolution too!

Here’s his cry for revolution:

JAM 5:8-9
8  You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9  Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

 

Complain much?

Am I being too subtle here?

I know what it is. It is not what you had in mind when it comes to the revolutionary.

OK. Let’s take this one step at a time.

We have been working our way through Colossians 3,  and working on the fundamental heart beat of practical Christianity.

It a putting away of the bad , a renewing of our mind, and a putting on of the good.

So right now I want you to work with me on this.

I want you to stop and think about all the things you complained about this week.

Do a mental map.

Where do lots of your complaints hit?

The people closest to you, right?

And you see, that’s where you can start the revolution too!

Right.

That’s the revolution.

The revolution is simple. 

STOP COMPLAINING.

Not what you expected, is it.

That’s OK.

We pour so much negativity into life with our complaints.  Isn’t it so?

 

God is done complaining about us

And we’re Christians now.

And God is love.

He is all about pouring in the positivity (is that a word?) into our lives:  forgiveness, redemption, righteousness, eternal life, love.

Sin and death
threw all they had
at Christ on the cross
and lost.

ROM 5:20b-21
20  b  but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

ROM 8:2
 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

God is love.

Let’s start there.

Now, if anybody has something to complain about, it’s God.

Things didn’t work out with us humans the way He planned it when He made us originally in His image, now did they?

And yet He’s done complaining about us.

COL 2:13-15
13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

HEB 8:12
"FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES,
AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE."

Did you ever think of it that way?  That God will never complain about you again?

That’s what “no condemnation” is about.  That’s what being justified as a gift is all about. 

Jesus didn’t even complain about us when He was on the cross!  When He was  suffering for our sins and mistakes and evil and disobedience.

ISA 53:7
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

LUK 23:34
But Jesus was saying, " Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."

Revolutionary!

He never complained about us at the cross,…

 when He faced the torturers,
and the excruciating pain,
and the shame and the grief,
and the turning away of His Father’s face.

Not
One
Complaint

About me
Or about you either.

Hmmmmm.
 

The worst complainer of all

And yet we go on complainin

Complainin about mothers
Complaining about fathers
And kids

Complaining about brothers complaining about sisters
And neighbors too

And people at work
And people at church
And the weather

Complain complain complain

Do you know who the worst complainer in the world is?

Sure, you do.

Our adversary the devil.

He’s always complaining…
and he does a fair amount of complaining about you and me as a matter of fact.

But each and every time satan goes complaining to God about us, don’t you know that Jesus, who opened not His mouth when it came to His own suffering on our behalf…

Now He does open His mouth, to come to our defense, and remind our Father of the blood and the “paid in full”.

When satan lodges his complaint against you, Jesus goes to bat for you.

 

How to pick up your cross

In our Thursday night Bible study, we are in Matthew 10.

And at the end of Matthew 10, Jesus tells His disciples to pick up their cross and follow Him.

And a lot of Christians, including me, wonder what that means, and what our cross is, and how to pick it up.

Wanna pick up our cross tomorrow and follow Jesus?

Bear with our brother or sister without complaining. 

Instead, do it with lots of forgiving.

Because that’s what the cross is all about.

The cross is all about bearing without complaining, leading to forgiveness.

EPH 4:31-5:2
31  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

5:1  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

 

Stop it!

Wanna start a revolution?

Decide to stop complaining.  Just stop it.

 

1. Put away complaining.

2. Have your mind renewed by looking at the magnitude of the forgiveness Christ secured for us at His cross.

3. And then put on forgiveness.

And start with those closest to you in life.

If you have been yearning to do something big for God, here’s a suggestion:

Stop complaining about your wife.

Stop complaining about your husband.

Stop complaining about your children.

Stop complaining about other people’s children.

Stop complaining about your co-workers.

Stop complaining about your classmates.

Stop complaining about anybody at church. Like ever again.

Stop complaining about your boss, or your teachers.

Stop complaining about your parents.

Stop complaining about your country.

Stop complaining about the government.

Stop complaining.

When we get the urge to complain, here’s what we ought to do.

 

Sit at the feet of Jesus

Listen to Jesus.

MAT 5:21-22
21 " You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.'  22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ' You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. 

MAT 18:23-35
23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.  24 "When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.  25 "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.  26 "So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.'  27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.  28 "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.'  29 "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'  30 "But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.  31 "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.  32 "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  33 ' Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'  34 "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.  35 " My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."

I will sit in silence and humble adoration as He chastises me about these things.

Remember - God is love - no matter what page of the Bible you are looking at.

Besides, if anybody has the right to chastise me about getting angry with my brother and not forgiving him, it's Jesus.   He died for my anger and my lack of forgiveness.

Jesus saw firsthand that we could not handle these things without Him.   We couldn’t stop complaining against our brother, we couldn’t forgive him either, yet nor could we handle the consequences of our sinfulness.

So first He took the consequences instead.

He handed Himself over to the torturers to take our punishment.

And He didn’t complain about us at all - through all the pain and suffering.

He opened not His mouth.

He died.
He was buried.
And now He is risen from the dead.

 

Our burden is light

And now He turns to us and says:

“You will never see hell fire.”

“You will never be turned over to the torturers.”

“That cross is not for you -

because you could never handle that….. so I handled it for you.”

Here is your burden now.

GAL 6:1-2
1  Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2  Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

See - the yoke Jesus has for us is easy, and His burden is light. 

Especially when you compare it to the burden Jesus carried for us.

Besides - even now, Jesus is still doing the heavy lifting for us.

His yoke is for two:  Jesus, and you.

His burden for you is the burden of your brother or sister.  Classmate. Friend. Spouse. Child.  Boss. Neighbor. Enemy.

She ain’t heavy - she’s my sister.

COL 3:12-13
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Wanna start a revolution? 

Stop complaining.

Put away that complaint. Think of the cross. And put on some forgiveness instead.

Who knows? You might even see some fireworks. 

A pyrotechnics of relief in their eyes, perhaps. Explosions of gratitude maybe.  In the colors of love, joy, and peace even.

 

 

Until the next time, we’re all ….

In His grip,

Pastor John

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