A Christian is willing to say, "It is my right but I choose to give it up for the sake of the gospel. It is my right but I choose to give it up for the sake of being a witness. My testimony is more valuable to me than my rights."

Audio Transcript

A follower of Christ — are you ready for this — this is so tough, this is very difficult, this is why it's something that is gonna be one of the most difficult things that we have to talk

A Christian is willing to say, "It is my right but I choose to give it up for the sake of the gospel. It is my right but I choose to give it up for the sake of being a witness. My testimony is more valuable to me than my rights."

Oh that's hard. Let me take you back to a biblical example in Acts chapter 15.

There's a debate going on in the church... I know that's amazing — debates never happen in church right? Everything's always good. Everybody's always happy. We're always on the same page. Well there was a real vigorous debate going on the church because originally the church was just a bunch of Jewish people who started following Jesus and started becoming Christians. Well then they started bringing in all these pagans who want to believe in Jesus too, and we have a cultural shift.

I mean they worship different, they talk different, they eat different, and some of the Christians who used to be Jewish are still obeying the old Jewish laws and the Greeks who are becoming Christians couldn't care less about any of that. They're coming from worshiping Zeus and now we're serving Jesus and you got the Hebrews who were worshipping at the temple are now
working in the home.

They're coming together and it's like two ocean waves that are crashing on one another and you're getting the strong undertow — what it's doing is it's drowning some people because they don't know — who do I obey? Who's right, who's wrong? So they start having a great big meeting. It's called the Acts 15 council. It was the first church council meeting and the number
one... we don't talk about this a whole lot because it's uncomfortable. The subject matter is not what people want to talk about, but we're gonna talk about it because we're CrossPoint and we don't care. Can I get an amen in the house?

The subject matter was that there was a big debate in the church as to whether the dudes had to get circumcised if they weren't already circumcised. I know it's awkward. If you don't know what that means find your campus pastor anywhere, ask them what that word means.

Now circumcision is a difficult and painful process. Listen, if you don't know what it is, we're not gonna talk about it right now because even though I said we're CrossPoint and we'll do that, I ain't doing that okay? That's what we're gonna do. Let's just put it to this — it is an extremely difficult, it's like, "Hey, you want to join church?" "Yeah that'd be great I like your church." "Okay, well you got to tithe." "That's a big ask." "Wait til you hear the next one..."

People from the Jewish bakery were like, "Dude it's not a big deal we did that." "When you were a baby!"

So you got all these Greeks coming in and they're like "Yeah we want to follow Jesus. We left this and we got to do what? I'm out. Can't do that."

The Apostle Paul, who's been working with the Gentiles comes to the Jerusalem council and  says, "Guys can we cut them some slack? They're changing their whole life and besides didn't Jesus nail all that stuff to the tree? We don't need to do this anymore."

There was this fight. What are we gonna do? And they had this council decision and the council came back.

"Okay we want you to keep these dietary laws because that way you can eat at the same table and this, but the end result was, "No. You don't have to be circumcised to be a follower of Jesus." All the Greek believers went "Yeehaw!"

Now, fast-forward to Acts 16.

In Acts 16 after the counsel, Paul won. Paul then goes back out on the road sharing the gospel with people and he's out there and he's got a Greek follower — a kid who had a Greek daddy who was with him, who's probably absolutely thrilled at the decision. They're going to make disciples and in Acts 15...

Everybody say, "15." And then we move to Acts 16. Everybody say "16." Just one chapter later, Paul looks at Timothy and says, "Hey before we go out, go get circumcised."

There had — it's not in the Bible — but there had to be a moment where Timothy thinks like, "Say what?" 

They just said! But here's the issue — we are going in front of a bunch of Jews before we go to the rest of our mission field and they're not even going to listen to you. I know the council said
this and it's your right to not have that done but what's more important is the gospel mission that we're on. 

Even though he fought for the right, he said we have to be willing to lay it down if it does better in the sake and in the name of the gospel.

Now that's great for somebody in the first century. What if Jesus said you have the right to be mad at her because of what she did to you... but what a witness you would be
if you would lay it down and start fresh?

You have a right to hold on to that hurt and even prosecute because of what they did to you... but what kind of a difference would you make if you laid that down?

See, some of you might push back and say, "You telling me God's asking me to be a doormat?" No no no. We'll get to that in a second. He's not asking you to be a doormat, but he is asking you to make a difference and that means that sometimes we lay down our rights while we fight for others' rights. But we do it because we're willing to sacrifice for the sake of the gospel.

Watch the full sermon here

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Andy Addis

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