14 January 2018

14 January 2018

You are worth so much more…

Psalm 139:1–6, 13–18
1 Corinthians 6:12–20

Intro – Ownership changes the way that we treat things…

Cars are funny things, they represent one of the most expensive things that we use every day. They are generally designed to get us around, to help us to work, to play and to keep us safe while doing it. When driving they aren’t quite part of us but almost feel like an extension of our body, something we almost control by reflex, we know the sounds it makes, the feel of the engine, the tyres on the road and will generally notice if something doesn’t seem right. While we spend a lot of time in our car, while we might get attached, there will come a time when it will be replaced… Like with our 88 corolla recently… Once that decision is made, especially if reselling the car isn’t a priority, looking after it feels much less important. It might be blowing a bit of smoke, have a few dents and scratches, the aircon may have failed and the upholstery is coming apart, but since you are getting rid of it soon it doesn’t really matter… You will just drive it until it stop and then replace it… Because in the end, cars don’t drive themselves… (yet…) Ultimately your car is just a tool, a possession that you use until it is used up… And then you replace it…

Before I go any further, I know what some of you are thinking… Steve, we just heard a passage about sex…. And now you are just talking about cars…

Passage: A passage that talks about sex, self-worth, belonging…

The thing is that I think that the way we treat cars helps us to understand the mindset that Paul is arguing against in this passage. When we read this passage, the way that it talks about food, sex, etc, can be confusing… The thing is that the Christians that Paul is talking to basically understood that human people were basically made up of two parts, body and spirit, with the spirit being the important part, the true part, who you really are, and the body being basically a disposable, broke, tool… Something to transcend, to rise above, because it is temporary… They basically saw the relation between spirit and body as the your spirit being in the drivers set and driving your body around, with your spirit being set free when you die… The issue in this passage is that some within this community had developed this ideas to basically say: “Your spirit is saved by Jesus and your body doesn’t really matter, so do whatever you like with it…”

For these Christians Paul is seeking to correct, your body, and the bodies of those around you are pretty much just tools, a possession that you use until it is used up and you don’t need it anymore… Paul takes issue with this. Paul is then seeking to help this community come to a better understanding about themselves, who they are as humans and what it means to be a community together…

Paul is reminding these Christians that we are whole people, not simply a spirit driving around a body. Paul reminds us that we are integrated, inseparable, whole. That our body, mind, spirit, all that we are, are intimately connected, shaping and being shaped by one another. Add to this, he reminds them that now that they are part of God’s family, Gods spirit is part of that mix too, shaping and reshaping all of who we are to be more and more like Jesus, bringing God’s presence with us wherever we go. That to understand ourselves as only one part, as only body, as only spirit, etc, of this is to have a distorted understanding of who we really are as humans.

For us today, this should remind each and every one of us that all of who are is precious and part of who we are in Jesus. That the way we treat our own bodies, and those around us, should reflect this. We can’t simply be satisfied with focusing on spiritual things while ignoring the physical needs and realities of ourselves and those around us, but rather should seek to foster a community which seeks life, wholeness and healing for every part of who we are.

In our relationships… We can’t be content at simply seeing others as a means of satisfying our own physical or emotional needs. We can’t be content with simply taking what we want without commitment, vulnerability and love. We are made for more than that, so are those we are in relationship with…

In our work… We can’t be content with seeing others as basically the same as machines we own, simply a means by which we make a profit, or as convenient tools to advance our own career. We are made for more than that, so are those we work with…

In our spirituality… We can’t be content with simply offering words in prayer or worship if we aren’t at the same time seeking to give attention to the needs of those who would hear us. We can’t be content with seeking to save someone’s spirit but be unconcerned with their physical wellbeing… Jesus did far more than that, he did plenty of preaching, forgiving, but he also did plenty of healing and feeding.

For us today, this passage should remind us that everything we do, not just sex, is shaped by who we are as God’s children and who we are as part of his family. That when we live in ways that fail to recognise how precious our bodies are, how precious those around us are, and how precious God’s world is, we hurt ourselves, wound those around us and further the brokenness of creation.

For us today, this should remind us that Christianity isn’t some spiritual rescue from a broken world, but that the flow of the story of the Bible is that God created everything, that it was good, and that the broken creation, including us, will someday be renewed and remade when Jesus returns.

Conclusion: Everything is legal, but not everything is good.

Finally this passage should remind us of one key thing… Paul isn’t talking about requirements that people need to meet to be part of God’s family, or how those outside of God’s family should live, rather it is about how we should strive to live in response being accepted in God’s family.

Through the grace of God we are forgiven, accepted into God’s family and start a process of renewal and discipleship that may take a lifetime. In that we are freed from the worry of having to earn our place, freed from the worry of having to be good enough and freed to peruse a life where we more and more resemble Jesus in body, mind and spirit.

May we then be a community who recognises and celebrates the value of the world in which we live, who recognises the value of all those we meet, body, mind and spirit, event if others don’t see it in themselves.. May we celebrate our identity as God’s people, the body of Christ, present in the world. May we repent of the times and way that we treat our own bodies, those around us or our creation just another tool, a something that you use until it is used up…

May we be those who know the freedom that comes from being accepted into God’s family by grace. May we show that forgiveness and grace to one another and together seek to be on a journey where we become more Christ like. May we be those who seek to foster and grow what is good, life giving, renewing and each day seek to move away from everything else.

Speaker: Rev. Stephen Rothery

I am married to Shannan and we love life in the Redlands.

 

I love tinkering with technology, have spent waaaay too much time in on-line gaming and am an early adopter of virtual reality. (Currently rocking a HTC Vive at home and GearVR for mobile) Before coming into ministry my background was in Electrical Engineering/IT which meant I spent a lot of time working with information systems and automation in factories and industry around Queensland. All of this means that I am basically a huge nerd 🙂

 

In terms of faith, I am passionate about journeying with people as they seek to follow Jesus and understand what this looks like in their family/work/community. None of us are perfect, but through God\’s grace we can make a difference as together we seek to bring hope in places of despair, love to those who feel lost or ashamed and comfort to those who are hurting.