Sunday, July 19, 2015

PRINCIPLE of “An Audience of One”: SCS No. 55

Sunday, July 19, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 55

PRAYER for Today:
Father, we know You are able to heal the hearts of a broken nation.  All we ask is that Your will be done and whatever Your will is to give us the strength and wisdom to live Your will till Your Son comes back.  It is in His name we pray. Amen.

SCRIPTURE for Today: Colossians 3:17-24 (NIV)

17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

SERMON for Today:

As you can see for today’s Scripture lesson I have temporarily left the Gospel of Mark and gone to Colossians.  I recently went to a church near my home and the minister used these verses for his sermon.  I have not been back to the church because I think he used the verses to promote his own view of how he wanted things to be.  You may accuse me of the same thing before you finish reading this sermonette.  The minister I am speaking of did not start with verse seventeen and if you open up your Bibles most of them will have a break between verse seventeen and eighteen.  I can assure you the original manuscript did not nor did the early manuscripts that our Bibles are translated from.

Dallas Willard in his book The Divine Conspiracy gives Os Guinness credit for coming up with the phrase “an audience of one.”  Willard says Guinness spoke about the Puritans living as if they lived before an audience of one.  

Matthew 6:1 (NIV)
6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

Here Jesus plainly tells us not to do things to be seen or praised by others because if we do we have our reward already.  In the verses in Colossians we are being told that whatever we do to do it in the name of Jesus and for the Glory of the Father.  This is not a list of how to live our lives today.  Slave owners tried to use this Scripture to prove that slavery was ordained by God.  Today some ministers and folks in the pews want to use it to continue promoting the slavery of women.  The purpose of this scripture was to do neither.

This scripture simply says whatever you do do it well because you represent the Lord Jesus Christ on earth.  It says in verse twenty-four that we are not working for human masters.  That includes slaves, wives and children.

If all marriages were like Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33), there would be no separations or divorces.  Also, there would be no abused wives or children.  My point is that at the time Colossians was written there were slaves and wives mostly worked in the home and all Paul is saying for everyone to do the best job they can because they are doing it in the name of Jesus for God’s glory.  That does apply today and we still stand before an audience of ONE.
© Ed Cooper, July 19, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s.  Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was there with his parents in the early 1960’s.)

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