Pul­pit Notes

The Covington News - - Religion -

Un­der­stand your pur­pose - Part II

I Corinthi­ans 10:31 “Whether you eat or drink or what­ever you do, do it all for

the glory of God.” Last week, we looked at how we can give glory to God by how we face death. To­day, let’s look at how we give glory to God with how we use the life we have be­fore death. Let’s start by imag­ing your­self on the hospi­tal bed, given one week to live. How on earth could you give God glory there?

Maybe you’ve heard Je­sus’ story of the Good Sa­mar­i­tan (Luke 10). Think of the vic­tim in that story. He was left for dead at the side of the road — no money, no hope, worth­less. If we’re gaug­ing value by “qual­ity of life” this guy is at the bot­tom of the price chart, right? But, his life gave glory to God, didn’t it? Pre­cisely be­cause this man had no power to do any­thing, his life gave that Sa­mar­i­tan be­liever the op­por­tu­nity to show his love, to ex­er­cise his faith, to give God glory by help­ing.

Re­mem­ber how Je­sus said, “Come to me you who are weary and bur­dened, and I will give you rest.” Maybe, even if your life gets to the point you see no rea­son for it, maybe your pur­pose on that hospi­tal bed will be to let some­one else live Je­sus’ love for you. In Sec­ond Corinthi­ans 1, Paul re­minded us how God gets glory when things don’t go well for us. He said that we have to go through our prob­lems, we have to go through need­ing help, so that we are bet­ter able to help oth­ers down the road and give glory to God by demon­strat­ing his love in some­one else’s life if or when he brings us through this strug­gle.

Your life is all about the glory of God. And God gets the glory when his peo­ple re­al­ize that. As we face all of our strug­gles re­al­iz­ing that they are man­age­able be­cause Je­sus con­quered our great­est strug­gle, God gets glory. As we cel­e­brate ev­ery bless­ing we’ve been given be­cause we know it is just a fore­taste, just a glimpse of the bless­ings we have in store for us, God gets glory. In how we view all of life as noth­ing but God’s grace, God gets glory.

So with what time you’ve got left, whether it is a lot or a lit­tle, un­der­stand your pur­pose — that God get glory, and see ev­ery end-of-life de­ci­sion and ev­ery sin­gle at­ti­tude and action in that light. As Paul said, “Whether you eat or drink or what­ever you do,” whether you live or die or what­ever you do, whether you re­cover or suf­fer or what­ever you do, whether you go sud­denly or slowly or what­ever you do, whether you read a de­vo­tion to your loved one or sing them a hymn or sit qui­etly by their side hold­ing their hand, or what­ever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

That is your pur­pose in life. May God grant that we ful­fill it. Amen.

the Rev. Jonathan E. Scharf Abid­ing Grace Lutheran Church The church as the

tem­ple of God The New Tes­ta­ment gives us a va­ri­ety of im­ages to de­scribe the church: the peo­ple of God, the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the be­liev­ers, the saints, the elect and the field of God, just to name a few.

It also speaks of the church as the tem­ple of God. In Eph­e­sians 2:19-22, the Apos­tle Paul said: “you are no longer for­eign­ers and aliens, but fel­low cit­i­zens with God’s peo­ple and mem­bers of God’s house­hold, built on the foun­da­tion of the apos­tles and prophets, with Christ Je­sus him­self as the chief cor­ner­stone. In him the whole build­ing is joined to­gether and rises to be­come a holy tem­ple in the Lord. And, in him you too are be­ing built to­gether to be­come a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Paul com­pares the church to the metaphor of a build­ing, al­though the church is never an ac­tual build­ing or struc­ture in the New Tes­ta­ment. Rather, the church is al­ways peo­ple gath­ered to wor­ship God and build each other up as the body of Christ.

Paul is telling Chris­tians three pri­mary truths from this pas­sage of Scrip­ture:

First, the Church is a dwelling place for God. The root idea of a dwelling place is that of a house or home. It is a place where God lives and re­sides as an on­go­ing res­i­dent.

If the church is God’s home, then God must be present in the church.

If the church is God’s home, then God must be host rather than vis­i­tor.

If the church is God’s home, then God must be comfortable in the church.

Secvond, the Church is built with peo­ple. It is built on the foun­da­tion of the apos­tles and prophets, with Je­sus as the chief cor­ner­stone. A cor­ner­stone is vi­tally im­por­tant to a build­ing be­cause all the build­ing must be aligned with the edges of the cor­ner­stone.

Paul is say­ing that the church must be built in com­plete align­ment with Je­sus if we are to re­main straight and sta­ble. He also tells us that the church con­sists of “liv­ing stones” rather than inan­i­mate rocks and stones placed to­gether in a wall.

Third, the Church is a holy tem­ple. The church must be holy be­cause it is the tem­ple of a holy God.

The church’s ho­li­ness must re­flect God’s ho­li­ness. If we do not, then we are giv­ing false ad­ver­tis­ing about God. Ho­li­ness is al­low­ing the Spirit of God to form more and more Christ in us, among us, and through us.

The rel­e­vant ques­tion for each of us is this: am I a fit dwelling place for a holy God? Is there any­thing in my life that would pro­hibit him liv­ing in and through me to the mea­sure and ex­tent to which he de­sires?

No, the church is not a build­ing. It is peo­ple who are fully sur­ren­dered and con­se­crated to God. It is peo­ple in whom God lives by his spirit. Dare to be his liv­ing tem­ple and stay aligned with Je­sus, the cor­ner­stone.

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