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Reasonable Christianity

 

Romans 12:1-2 (KJ)

 

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

 

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

These are some of the verses that are the basis of what and who we are to be as Christians. The world will never comprehend that what God expects from us is our very lives. That is not reasonable to them but God says that is exactly what you are supposed to do. It is your reasonable service. To give up your life to Him is to live life the way that God intended for it to be lived. To give up your life to Him is what He expects you to do. Giving your very life to Him is what is required. The world can not accept that because it is not reasonable. St. Irenaeus said this, "The Glory of God is man fully alive". They attempted to stone him for heresy after he said that because it was not reasonable to think that God's glory had anything to do with man. God's glory has everything to do with man if the man is truly seeking God.

 

Matt 16:5-12   

 

5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

 

Even now the disciples can only see to the end of their nose. Any of us guilty of the same thing? How many times has God been trying to tell us something and we totally miss it because what He is saying doesn't seem reasonable or we want to sit around and try to reason with Him because we don't want to do it? Here the disciples are being taught that they can not follow the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Saducees. Jesus is trying to tell them that the old way is past and He is the new way and all they can see is that they forgot to bring lunch. In their reasoning they missed the lesson.

 

Matt 21:23-27  

 

23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

 

Jesus is now openly showing Himself to be the Christ in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes are desperately trying to get something big enough to get Him killed because what He is teaching is the end of their usefulness. It is the end of what they have been taught their whole lives and the end of what they have spent most of their lives teaching. Christ telling them they have been taught and are teaching wrongly was not something that they could deal with. If Christ is right, they are about to be unemployed and useless. When they ask Him a question and He answers them with a question they are obviously not ready for that either. They have to huddle up and try to reason some sort of answer that will save their skin. They are more afraid of the people than they were of what Jesus might think so they reasoned that they will lie to God and say they don't know when obviously they do know that what John was doing was of God. They feared man's punishment more than they feared God's punishment. They cared more about what man thought than what God thought. I'm afraid that I have to plead guilty on that one too.

 

Mark 2:2-12

 

2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. 3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. 4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

 

The first thing that strikes me in these verses is an interesting thing to think about. God could draw a crowd to a place that it would be so packed that 4 dudes would have to bust a hole in the roof and let their buddy down by a rope to get him into the service without a carnival or clowns or lunch being served or famous singers being there or anything. God actually drew a crowd by proclaiming the truth. Interesting. I bet that if the word got out that we were proclaiming the truth and God was showing up around here on a regular basis, we could draw that same kind of crowd.

 

The scribes were not there to be taught by Him, they were there to try and trap Him and they thought they had done it. They accused Him of speaking blasphemy because He had forgiven the man's sins before he was healed. The scribes didn't say that they had any issue with Jesus's healing the man but their reasonable minds could not comprehend that He had just as much right to forgive the man's sins as he did to heal him. Even after all the things they had seen Him do it was unreasonable to them that this man could actually be God. Sometimes I think that we aren't much different. Jesus can forgive whatever or whoever He wanted for whatever reason because He IS God.

 

Luke 20:9-14

 

Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. 10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. 11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. 12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. 13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. 14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.

 

The owner of the vineyard had leased it to some workers. He sent his beloved son to get his part of the harvest and the ones that were leasing the vineyard reasoned among themselves that they should kill him and then they could take everything for themselves. This speaks of the Father sending Christ and what happened to Him when He was on the earth. The religious leaders of the day sought to kill Him because they could not reason that He could truly be Christ. Jesus spoke this parable against those who would not accept His authority as God. It is really all about those that would kill Him and try to take the inheritance of the kingdom for themselves.

 

They said what Christ spoke was heresy. In the parable the servants were trying to become the Lord and in their reasoning they thought if they killed the heir they would achieve their goal. The parable is a symbol of Christ and those who He was speaking against, the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the Jews that would not accept Him for who He was. This parable is what eventually happened to Him. They did eventually get Him killed thinking that His death would be the end of it, but they certainly did not achieve what they were hoping to achieve. His death turned out to be the exact opposite of what they thought it would be. His death was not the end it was the beginning.

 

Do you see the theme here? What do this parable and the verses from the first part of this lesson have in common? People were being reasonable and missing the very thing they should have been seeing. The people in all these verses were reasonable people. Reasonable people being reasonable will miss Jesus and everything that He stands for every time. Reasonable people do not see what all the fuss is about. Reasonable people just plain don't get it and I mean reasonable Christians just as much as I mean the reasonable non-Christians.

 

What and who Jesus is can not be explained by reasoning. You can try all you want but this God we serve and this book He wrote can not be understood by being reasonable. That's what the Pharisee's and the Sadducee's tried to do. Be reasonable. All they did while He was teaching, performing miracles and showing himself to truly be the Messiah was try and figure a way to get rid of Him because they couldn't see Him for who He was. They'd been trained their entire lives to recognize the Messiah when He came. They had spent their entire lives rocking and wailing in front of that wall saying...Messiah come...Messiah come...but when He came they could not imagine that He could be this simple man born in a barn. He didn't look or sound like they had been taught. Their preconceived notions of what He would be like were standing in the way of them seeing Jesus as the son of God. I think it's so interesting that the blind saw Him, the sick saw Him, even the prostitutes, the thieves and the tax collectors saw Him but those that should have been able to recognize Him had no clue. They were the ones that eventually would get Him killed. That truly is not reasonable.

 

For us it's simply not reasonable to put your life into the hands of someone that you have never seen but God says that is what our reasonable service is to be. If you are going to be reasonable about all this then you will never be what or who God expects you to be. When you break this completely down it is not even reasonable to believe that there is a person such as God. Even the words themselves are an oxy moron. Like military intelligence or jumbo shrimp. Reasonable Christian. There is no such thing. Nothing about the Christian life is reasonable.

 

It is not reasonable that you must be covered in blood to be clean. It is not reasonable that the Creator would come here only to be killed by the hands of those He created. It is unreasonable to think that Jesus could spit in the dirt and make mud. Put it on a blind man's eyes and when the man washed it off he could see. It is unreasonable that Him speaking some words over a dead person could make them live again. It is unreasonable that you would even be here today worshipping a God that you can't prove exists. The very things that we are to do as Christians are unreasonable. Giving away 10 percent of your pay check as soon as you get it is not reasonable. Just the thought of giving away your money expecting to get more money is stupid to most people. Loving your neighbor as yourself is unreasonable. Our God is not a God of reason.

 

There are those that say that it's not reasonable to expect people to truly live holy. People say that it is unreasonable to expect everyone that comes to church to want to seek God with all they are. Is that not the very thing that the Bible tells us we are supposed to be doing? Is that not what these verses say that we are supposed to be doing? Some say that everyone that comes to church doesn't want any part of this whole seek God like never before deal. I ask the question.... why? I believe the answer is very simple. They have never seen Him or encountered Him for themselves. When you have Him flood over you like an ocean wave crashing onto the rocks all you can think about it figuring out how to get to that place again. You just need to experience it once. One time of standing...or more likely lying on your face in His presence is all it takes to be addicted to God. 

 

Right now all I can think about is all of us coming closer to Him. Seeing Him in a way that we might not have even dreamed of before. I truly believe that God is trying to get every one of us to understand that the way that we get to the place that He wants each us to be is to be totally sold out to Him. God says that it is reasonable to Him that we should give our lives to Him not just our Sunday at 10 and our Wednesday at 7. We have to be open minded enough to let Him speak to us in a new way about some new things. You know in reality what I'm saying here is not new. It's just the same old, same old. Look at the church in Acts. They sold out to God and people were added to their number daily. They sought God with all they had. I'm not saying that we all need to sell everything and have church in someone's house all day every day. We just need to commit our selves to living for Him every day. I know that we all understand about tithing 10% of our money but how about tithing 10% of our time. It seems reasonable to me that 2.4 hours of every day should be God's. That is what Cheryl and I are committed to doing as a minimum. It will change your life if you'll turn the TV off and turn God on. Read the Bible, read a Christian book, pray, sing, worship....whatever. I challenge each one of you to try it. If you'll do it then you will get to know who He really is. Then He will have the opportunity to get loose in your life and trust me that is an amazing thing.

 

If you give your life to Him you can know His will. If you know His will you can do what He wants done. If you know what He wants done then He will provide His power to make whatever it is He wants happen. Without Him you and I are nothing. With Him we can be as much as He can make us. I pray that every one of us in here can get to that place. I want to be close to Him more than anything else.

 

But we will never be close to Him if we keep on living the way we are living. Besides giving Him you tithe of time you need to hold what God thinks above what man thinks. Remember back to the chief priests in Matt 21? Remember that when they reasoned they chose not to answer Jesus because they feared that man might do them harm? To often that is what we do. Much to often the church is more worried about looking right than being right. We have to get more concerned about being right no matter how that looks to others. 

 

We reason that God would not tell us to do something that would be out side of our comfort zone. I believe He is telling us exactly the opposite. We have reasoned that just because we have never done it that way before or because we have never heard it put that way before that it must be wrong. We have been taught for way to long that God doesn't "work that way" any more.

 

If you sacrifice your life to Him then you can know His will is a doctrine that could not be more scriptural.  

 

I heard this in a sermon recently. "We don't know what we like, we like what we know". We have become so conditioned to the way it's always been that it can be very difficult to accept something new. I fully intent to make you question some of the things that I am preaching tonite. That is how we are going to grow. If I come here and tell you what you already know, how does that get anyone closer to God? I urge you to pray about what has been said here. God will be the ultimate judge if this is right or wrong. Pray with an open mind and let Him speak to you.

 

Seeking God the way that I believe that we need to seek Him is totally unreasonable to some people maybe even most people. God works in unreasonable ways. The Bible is jamb packed with unreasonable things. God works through people that it is unreasonable for Him to use. That's how I got here. I can't water down what I believe God has laid on my heart to bring to you. That is unreasonable as well but it is the only thing I can do and be true to what I absolutely believe that God wants. 

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