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Before we get started this morning, I would like us to take a minute and pray for Pastor Dave and Loretta and their family.
If have not already heard, they are in Pennsylvania today due to the sudden passing of Loretta’s mother.
And so if you will, please pray with me for them.
we fought - ugly fought
Everyone of us today has been impacted by family.
Whether is it for the good or for the bad, family regardless of our situations makes an impact in our lives.
Just a last week we celebrated Mother’s Day, and we celebrate Mother’s Day because Hallmark says we should so that they can sell more cards.
But we also celebrate Mother’s Day because we know that without our Mother’s, whether they are biological, adoptive, spiritual, or the one’s that step in when ours don’t or can’t, without them we wouldn’t have been shaped into the people we are today.
The same can also be said about our fathers, whom we will celebrate in just a few weeks.
49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!
50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!
51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three.
53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Suffice it to say, if Mother’s and Father’s have impacted us, than it stands to reason that siblings, our brothers and our sisters have impacted us as well.
Real quickly, how many in this room has a sibling?
Great, those that raised your hands will know exactly what I’m talking about, those that didn’t, sorry, but after the story i’m about to tell, maybe you’ll be little relieved a little relief.
But that being said, we also live our lives, if some of us are so blessed, with brothers and sisters.
How many in this room has a sibling?
whether older or younger?
babysitters would babysit once and never again
So, I have one sibling, a younger sister.
And if I’m really honest, growing up with us would have been a nightmare.
We are four years apart, and it just seemed that there was nothing that would stifle the sibling rivalry between us.
Those of you with siblings probably understand what I’m getting at.
There is just something with brothers and sisters that wants to best the other.
You just want to be better.
Whether you are fighting for the last roll at the dinner table, or maybe the right to sit in the front seat whenever you would go out somewhere.
There was alway that desire to be better than the other.
If you haven’t experienced this for yourself, just take a look at scripture.
The relationship between Cain and Abel—Yeah that sibling rivalry did not end well for either of the brothers.
Or maybe think about Jacob and Esau, Jacob was a deceiver who stole his brothers birthright and blessing.
Or Joseph with his brothers who sold him into slavery.
The list could go on and on and on.
Anyways, we are four years apart.
I remember the day that I was told I was going to be a big brother.
Well, let’s just say I was not happy.
I was pretty upset.
And our relationship during our childhood years pretty much reflected that.
We fought often and more violently than I know of anyone else that I have spoken to.
In fact, we were so bad that babysitters would take care of us the first time, then never again.
They would never take the job a second time.
I’m sure that was a burden on our parents, now that I think about it.
For those of you that have siblings, this may sound familiar.
It may sound foreign.
But I would venture that all of us at some point or another have experienced this sibling rivalry.
And the same was true with my sister.
We fought so badly that.
Babysitters would look after us once and then never come back because they didn’t want to deal with how bad we were towards one another.
And maybe you can relate to this story.
Maybe you have experienced that same kind of animosity toward your brother or your sister.
And scripture seems to reveal that this now a part of the broken human condition.
Siblings will fight and vie for affection, whether it is the affection of a parent, or a friend, or even the affection of God in Cain and Abel’s circumstance.
But our siblings our siblings impact us.
They change us and influence us, whether it is for the good or for the bad.
And this is true.
How we respond to our siblings in our own rivalry though borne out of sin and selfishness, ultimately impacts who we are and will inform how we relate to others.
How we see other people and whether they will be a friend or a foe.
I tell you this good news as a reminder that today, we are all going to hear some tough things, hard things to swallow.
At least, they are hard for me to swallow.
But, there is good news.
On the other side of all of this, I promise there is good news.
So bear with me until the end.
But, you see, even in the midst of the rivalry that exists between brothers and sisters, the scriptures have called us to deny ourselves and lay that burden down.
Because when we talk about brothers and sisters in a Christian respect, we are no longer talking about and referring to the siblings that we grew up with and may be related to by blood or adoption, but we are in fact talking about those we find ourselves in community with in the body of Christ.
Who all comes from very different walks of like and different preferences and desires, likes and dislikes.
In the New Testament alone, the most frequent word used in order to describe the christian or to reference the christians is “brother” or “Brothers and sisters.”
It occurs 254 times in the New Testament.
Now some of those occasions are in reference to literal brothers, like James and John in the gospels.
But from my quick scour those instances only account for about 10% of it usage.
But even if I am more conservative, we could say that roughly 200 times in the New Testament, me and you, we are referred to as brothers.
Which makes perfect sense!
After all, Jesus has said that we should refer to our God as Father.
And as Father, we recognize that through the cross of Christ, we have been all adopted into the family of God as his sons and daughters.
And thus, if we are his sons and daughters, then we are also in relationship with one another as brothers and sisters.
And so, if our brothers and sisters are those in the Church, in this body of Christ, then we must act as the scriptures have called us to act toward one another.
And in 1 Corinthians 16, Paul addresses exactly this subject.
But before we get to chapter 16, I want to do a quick flyover the Letter.
Because I think we can better understand what Paul in saying in 16, if we know what he has said before that.
First and foremost, Paul is writing this letter to the Church in Corinth.
And let’s be clear, he is not writing this letter because they are doing something right.
It’s because they are doing something very wrong.
We would probably relate this letter to receiving a written warning from our boss at work or even from HR for poor job performance and we need to make adjustments in how we get things accomplished.
Or maybe we could even relate it to getting a speeding ticket because we made a mistake and it will cause us to think twice about doing it again.
Paul is writing the Corinthians because he wants them to slow down.
Examine what they are doing wrong, and then make the necessary adjustments for correction.
But unlike the HR warning and speeding ticket, Paul writes the church because he loves them and wants them to flourish—not fail.
And so in this letter, Paul begins to address the many issues taking place.
There are divisions over which preacher they should be listening to and following, cases of church members taking each other to court, reports of people eating food sacrificed to idols.
Then he closes out his issues with the church in Corinth by spending four chapters calling out the brothers and sisters over their arguments, disagreements, quarreling and fights about corporate worship practices.
Yeah, he went there.
And it hurts.
and it stings.
And I felt conviction after conviction while reading it, and then writing it, and then reading it again, and writing it again.
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