Revelation 4:11 Worship

Main Point: The Creator God is worthy of all worship.

We have a great calling. God has called us to think about, celebrate, and talk about Him. So, it is strange that the Church, which has more training and resources available to her than ever before is so often silent. It is shameful that I am often silent when I should speak. Why is that? Why are we silent in worship and evangelism? Why are we not joyfully and consistently talking to people about Jesus?

In his book, Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, Alvin Reid claims that one big reason we don’t talk to our neighbors and coworkers about the gospel is we don’t talk to ourselves about the gospel. Better still, Jesus says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil (Mt 12:34). Whatever you treasure, whatever you think about, is going to come out of you. We have a treasure problem.

At one point, after teaching, Jesus stops and asks, “‘Have you understood these things?’ They said to him, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old’” (Mt 13:51-52).

Jesus wants us to be gospel-masters. I wanted to say, “Jesus wants us to be treasure-masters” but we are already treasure-masters. We know how to treasure worldly things in our minds and talk about those things. We know how to store up idols like money, family, work, cars, and houses. We easily and joyfully talk about those things. This is a call to stop stock piling worldly things in our minds and hearts. We are called today to store up the things of Christ.

When we talk to ourselves about God, when we store up God in our hearts and minds, then out of that overflow the mouth will speak. When the church talks to one another about God, when we treasure God in our songs, prayers, and conversations, then out of that overflow the mouth will speak. In our time today, I want to give you treasure that is worth talking about at Walmart or around your dinner table and for all of eternity. We will become master scribes and master stewards who taste and tell that the Lord is good.

Read Psalm 95

Here is our plan, Lord willing, for today and the next five weeks. We will focus on six passages that together form a simple outline for you to use when explaining who Jesus is and what he has done. We are pausing our memory work in Philippians 3 and are committing ourselves to memorizing Revelation 4:11 this week, then Romans 3:10-11, Hebrews 9:27, 1 Peter 3:18, 1 Peter 1:3, and finally John 3:36. If you haven’t found a Sunday school class, I want to invite you to join the group Matt Mills, Clint Spruill, and I are teaching at 9:45 am in the fellowship hall. Come and join us as we encourage one another to store up the gospel in our hearts. We will become master scribes and master stewards who taste and tell that the Lord is good.

Right now, let’s dig into creation and evangelism. Revelation 4:11 says, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

When telling the gospel story, to yourself or to others, start with creation.

I. The Triune God created all things (Gen 1:1-2)

Genesis 1:1-2 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Here’s the truth:

  • God created everything

Now we need to clarify that God did not form everything from cosmic playdough that was already on hand. Scripture teaches that God created then formed everything that exists. The Trinity (Father, Son, and Spirit) were engaged in creation. In Genesis 1:2, we see the Spirit of God present and working in creation. Colossians 1:15 says, “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rules or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

Everything physical and spiritual was created by the Triune God. All the rocks and trees, all the birds and bees, all the yous and mees were created by the Father, Son, and Spirit. Every spiritual being was created by the Triune God. You will never find anything anywhere that does not owe its origin to God. You will never find anything anywhere that wasn’t created for Jesus.

Now, creation is not a minor issue. Instead, we should constantly worship God because of creation.

II. The Triune God is worthy of worship because of creation (Rev 4:11)

Here is our memory verse for the week, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being.”

  • The wonders of creation call us to worship God

Revelation 4 is a picture of worship in heaven. There are four magnificent creatures and twenty-four elders around the throne of God. Everything in these creatures and elders longs to worship and celebrate and enjoy the power and presence of God. Worship is not only a matter of praising God for his saving grace. We also worship God for who he is and how he works. Look at Revelation 4:11. Why do the twenty-four elders fall down and worship God? They worship God because he created all things and by his will they were created and have their being.

These angels look out over creation and their right and joyful response is to praise God. They look at the intricacies of the human body and they praise God. God you did that! The look at the intricacies of the universe and they praise God. God you did that! They look at a rose, a blade of grass, colors, textures, and sounds and they praise God. God you did that!

And God was not forced to create all things. Revelation 4:11 tells us God created all things according to his will. It was his plan and his desire to bring all of this into being. No deficiency or need made God create all of us and all of this. God created to display his glory. The glory, honor, and power of God are meant to be enjoyed by all of creation. So, where do you see and enjoy the glory of God? Paul Tripp says he goes to Starbucks to worship. He doesn’t worship the coffee or the cups. The glory and beauty of food and drink point to God and cause him to respond with thanks and praise to God.

Wednesday night I walked through an indoor garden filled with 6000 tropical plants; over 200 difference species. It was the most beautiful and intricate and exciting thing I have seen in some time. I worshipped as I went through that garden. But I didn’t worship the plants or the soil or the gardener. I worshiped and thanked and celebrated God who made those plants and gifted the gardener. The wonders of creation call us to worship and

  • Worship involves giving God glory, honor, and power

Earlier in Revelation 4, in verse 9, the four living creatures give God glory, and honor, and thanks. Here, in verse 11, the twenty-four elders give God glory, honor, and power. The four living creatures give God glory when they praise him for his work of creation. They don’t give God’s glory to another. They praise HIM for creation. And they honor God when they serve his will in creation going here and there and seeing all. They glorify God when they give him thanks. Thank you, God, for creating us and this magnificent universe! That’s the four living creatures. They glorify God by worshipping him. They honor God by doing his well. They look at God’s work and they thank him. We should do the same. What about the elders?

The elders give God glory, honor, and power. Now, they don’t give God glory, honor, and power because God lacks glory, honor, and power. They give God glory, honor, and power because he is worth it. The elders, most likely a class of angels, glorify and honor God by trusting God and seeking to accomplish his will. The power God gave them is used to accomplish God’s purposes. They love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

You see, creation is full of God’s glory. Creation is full of opportunities to honor God by accomplishing his will. Creation is filled with good works for you and I to accomplish by God’s power. Accomplishing your work, loving others, confronting evil, forgiving sin, and asking for forgiveness are all opportunities to glorify God, honor him, and show his power.

Like the angels, we are meant to worship God by doing his will. We are meant to look around at God’s creation and give him thanks. Creation fuels worship and creation plays a major role in evangelism.

III. We must talk to ourselves and others about God

You must

  1. Store up treasure in your head and heart

We must read and think about how God created. We need to read and think about why God created. Like the elders and living creatures, thinking rightly about creation will cause us to worship. Here’s an example of storing up treasure. Memorizing Philippians 3 has caused me to repeatedly think about my resurrection from the dead. I’m straining forward to the resurrection. My goal, by any means possible, is to attain the resurrection from the dead. We’ve been storing up this resurrection treasure in our heads and hearts.

Now, I was at a worship conference this passed week. We sang a lot and we sang about a lot of things. Guess which theme really got me excited? I loved singing about the resurrection because I have been treasuring the resurrection in my head and heart. Out of the overflow of the heart my mouth rejoiced in God’s promise to raise me from the grave. Thinking and worship are tied together. Worship and evangelism are tied to treasure. Let’s focus on creation. We need to

  1. Talk about God’s purposes for his creation

God is not a cosmic scientist who discovered creation and is now studying all the parts. God is not trying to figure out what plants, angels, and humans can do or why they exist. God intentionally created everything for a purpose. God created marriage, family, work, and government for a purpose. We’ve already read from Colossians 1:15 which tells us that all things were created through Jesus and for Jesus.

Are you thinking about the significance of the fact that all things were created for Jesus? Are you talking about how everything exists for Jesus? The path that we walk as Christians is a path of restoration. On Jesus’ path, we constantly seek to restore people and things to God and his purposes through Christ. What is broken around you? Maybe it’s a broken pipe, or a broken bone, or a broken spirit, or a broken promise, or a broken relationship, or a broken law. Glorify God and honor him by using the power God has given you to restore what is broken. Work for good and explain the good. The resurrected Christ has strength and wisdom for you to be an ambassador through which broken things are restored to God’s creation purposes.

So, how does your singleness advance God’s creation purposes? How does your family serve God’s creation purposes? We live in a day and in a culture where people want to know their lives and work have significance. This desire is a product of creation. Connect people to God’s creation purposes. Talk about the gift and goodness of work. Every time something works like God created it to work, that becomes an opportunity to point toward the wisdom and goodness of God.

We also need to talk about the effects of sin. Every example of brokenness is an opportunity to point to God’s purposes and, by the resurrection power of Christ, work toward restoration. Find ways to connect pain to restoration in Christ. Every case of sickness or death or frustration is an opportunity to talk about the yearning we all have for the perfection of life with God. We long for and are heading for a new creation. Every case of success or fruitfulness or joyful work is an opportunity to talk about the goodness of God in creation. God has not abandoned us. God’s work of creation includes purpose; talk about it. Then

  • Look for and celebrate God’s glory in creation

What brings you joy? Maybe it’s a savory dish or the skill of an athlete or painter or inventor. I would love to talk to you about all the shades of green I saw in that garden of 6000 plants. What about your neighbors and coworkers? What brings them joy? Here’s an interesting conversation starter, “What are you enjoying these days?” Ask the question and show your neighbor or coworker love by listening. See if you can ground their joy to God. I mean give them a simple statement without being condescending. Say something like, “Isn’t God good? He made language so we can tell and enjoy a good story. God created us with skill and strength, so we can play sports and paint pictures and play music.” Connect that joy to God who created.

But what if you ask and they don’t have any joy? What if you ask, “What are you enjoying these days?” and your neighbor Eeyore says, “Nothing, everything in my life is terrible.” What will you say? Should you sneak away and go quietly enjoy your own pleasures? No, love that neighbor by grieving with him. Your next question is powerful. Ask this, “I’m sorry, will you tell me your story?” Ask the question and genuinely listen. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t tell your story of when something like that happened to you. Listen and grieve. After you have grieved with your neighbor say something profound like this, “I grieve like you over the broken things in my life. Can we get together and talk about how God helps us in our sorrows?”

When your neighbor says yes, where do you go? You can go to Isaiah 53 and the suffering servant who bears our sorrows and carries our griefs. Start in the suffering of Isaiah 53 and make a bee-line for the cross, resurrection, and indwelling Spirit. If you aren’t ready to have that conversation, then find someone who can help get you there. Come and let me know and I’ll connect you with someone who can disciple you so that you can go and make disciples. The beauty and brokenness of creation provide everyday opportunities for us to help one another worship God.

Are you familiar with “God-sightings”? God-sightings are celebrations of God’s simple things. Start when your children are young and most things are amazing. When your little one is excited about a bug, clouds, or a puppy, simply say, “Aren’t you glad God made bugs or clouds or puppies?” Look for and celebrate God’s glory in creation. Keep looking and celebrating. Cultivate joy and gratitude. People will likely start to wonder why you have hope. When they ask you for a reason for the hope that is within you, bring out the treasures of creation and salvation.

Here is our last and profound way to honor and glorify God.

  • Gather with the church

As elders, our calling is to proclaim the greatness of God in Christ so that you can see him and love him and honor him and glorify him. In 1 Timothy 4:12 the Apostle Paul told Pastor Timothy to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching. God has revealed himself and salvation through the Word. Therefore, we read Scripture, we read a lot of Scripture, because we need to hear from God and we need to hear about God. Through our prayers we seek to stir you up to join in the worship of God.  Through the sermons we seek to teach you about God and life. I give you notes and questions on the blog each week so that you can do the work of storing up treasure in your heart that will eventually flow out of your mouth. You need to feast, so we as elders need to work hard to teach you. We want to give you treasure that you store away and bring out to your family, coworkers, and neighbors.

But we do more than read, pray, and preach. We sing. Our singing is a powerful way to glorify and honor God. Our singing is a powerful way to teach one another and store up treasure in our hearts. Every Sunday we glorify God and help one another store up treasure. Like a chef gathering the best ingredients, we work to gather the best songs. Like a marksman meticulously weighing grains of gun powder, we meticulously weigh songs. In response to what Dale is doing with the songs, we need two things from you. We need you to think and we need you to sing.

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Let me break that down with teaching and a word of exhortation, “think.” You need to think about the truths we are singing. You need to store up treasure in your heart. You must help your children think and store up treasure. You need to read the words of the songs and ask, “What glorifies God in this song?” You need to read the words of the songs and ask, “How can I use all the power God has given me to honor him with this song?” We want you to work biblical truth deep into your heart and mind. Therefore, we want to give you meaty songs. Last week John Piper said, “the heights of your exaltation cannot go further than the depths of your theology.” Your joy and gladness in worship are not dependent on your preferences. Your joy and gladness in worship are dependent on your beliefs.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. We gather together each week to worship God and teach one another. God has set things up so that our singing is an act of worship and teaching. Our singing to God and about God is an act of discipleship.

So, show up each week having stored up treasure in your heart through Bible reading and Scripture memory. Gather with the body of Christ each week so that you can be taught and so that you can teach. Show up, think, and sing. We need you. We need you to teach us and you need to give God glory, honor, and power. He is worthy because he created all things. He is worthy because he has redeemed us through his Son. Let’s sing his praises and then go out and tell others.

Let’s pray- God, make us master scribes and master stewards who taste and tell that you are good.

Evangelism Follow-up

Week 3 Principle 3:

Shifting from giving an evangelistic presentation to having an evangelistic conversation takes pressure off the witness and relates the gospel more clearly to an unbeliever.

Scripture to Meditate On:

“Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed: “To an Unknown God.” Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it—he is Lord of heaven and earth—does not live in shrines made by hands.” (Acts 17:22–24)

Questions for Reflection and Application:

Where is a place you love to meet people for conversations? Starbucks, Cracker Barrel, an activity like hunting?

Have you ever introduced two people you love to one another? Maybe at a wedding or on a blind date or informally over coffee. Was it scary or did you enjoy it?

What are the three things people can tell about us in a conversation? Spend some time this week observing this in people you meet.

Did the checkout guy at the grocery store (or your waiter or a casual acquaintance) care about you as a person? As you observe if others genuinely care about you, also observe if your actions reveal if you care about others.

Over the next seven days, pay attention to how often and in what ways people talk about their pain or their passion. This includes anything from trivial matters to serious, life-altering events. Write down several examples. Reflect on these instances and how the good news of Jesus can speak to these points of passion or pain. Practice connecting that person’s situation to Jesus.

Even though we’re three weeks into our study, I’m still not asking you to stand on a street corner wearing a cardboard sign saying Jesus is coming! We’re taking small and deliberate steps here toward a lifestyle of evangelism. Spend this week continuing to look for opportunities and ways to share Jesus in everyday conversation with others.

This Week, Pray for:

  • God to help you see the opportunities to connect with others in everyday conversations.
  • God to help you grow in your witness.
  • Pray about developing a long-term relationship with at least one unbeliever at your work, school, or in your neighborhood.

Reid, Alvin. Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out: Evangelism the Way You Were Born to Do It (pp. 131-132). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Revelation 4:11 Discussion Questions

Check out the Two Ways to Live gospel outline.

  1. Review these passages: Revelation 4:11; Colossians 1:15; 3:16; Matthew 12:34-35; 13:51-52; and 1 Timothy 4:12.
  2. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  3. Why do you think many Christians are not joyfully and consistently talking to others about Jesus?
  4. Describe the last time you talked with a neighbor, classmate, or coworker about Jesus.
  5. Make a list of those people you are trying to win to Christ. Pray for opportunities to talk with them about Jesus and pray for boldness to take those opportunities.
  6. What part of creation often calls you to worship and thank God?
  7. Explain what it looks like to give glory, honor, and power to God.
  8. In what ways are you seeking to glorify God? In what ways are you seeking to honor God? In what ways are you using your God-given power to glorify God and do good to others?
  9. Explain how worship is the product of storing up treasure in your head and heart (Matthew 12:34; 13:51-52).
  10. Explain how evangelism is the produce of storing up treasure in your head and heart. Use the doctrine of creation to explain this treasure principle.
  11. Why is it important to understand that all things were created for Jesus?
  12. Explain how 1 Timothy 4:12 works through Mambrino Baptist Church.
  13. Explain how Colossians 3:16 works through Mambrino Baptist Church.
  14. Pray for God to give you opportunities to talk to others about Jesus.

Evangelism Group Day 1

  • Questions for Reflection and Application:
    • If you were raised in a Christian home, was evangelism part of your family culture? How so?
    • Do you know the names of your neighbors? Do you know them well enough to know the pains or passions of their lives?
    • How different would your life look if you started living each day, just that day, passionately pursuing a life that glorifies God?
    • What is the one thing that keeps you from that? What is one thing you can do today to move toward that goal?
    • Reflect on this statement: “If you feel like you should share Jesus with someone, it’s probably not the world, your flesh, or the devil. Take the risk.”
    • Think about someone you know who doesn’t know Jesus. Write their name down. Pray for him or her. (You don’t even have to witness this week but it’s okay if you do!)
    • Ask God to reveal to you what holds you back from sharing your faith. Then ask God for the grace to overcome that fear, believing he will do it.
  • This Week, Pray for:
    • God to help you face and overcome your fears.
    • God to help you meet your neighbors if you haven’t already, and begin developing relationships with them.
    • Each day this week, pray the three-fold prayer of the witness: God, give me this day: an opportunity to share Christ The wisdom to see it The courage to take it
      • Reid, Alvin. Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out: Evangelism the Way You Were Born to Do It (pp. 127-128). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Romans 15:7-13 Discussion Questions

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. After hearing from the Word, what is one way you can take a step closer to Jesus?
  3. Are you more prone to worry about being accepted by others or are you more inclined to push others away? How does the gospel address this?
  4. What truth about Jesus causes you to want to sing?
  5. Read Hebrews 11:13. Did God keep his promises to Abraham? How did God keep his promises to Abraham?
  6. Why is the Jewishness of Jesus so important to us?
  7. Describe the joy and peace you experience by believing in Jesus.
  8. Would you describe yourself as “abounding in hope?” Why or why not?
  9. Romans 14 and 15 connect the experience of hope to understanding the Bible and being filled by the Holy Spirit. Who can you talk to that can help you understand the Bible and walk by the Spirit?
  10. Describe the ways the Holy Spirit causes you to abound in hope.

Gospel Clarity

The apostle Paul has been doing the faithful work of discipleship throughout chapter 14. The Holy Spirit has not simply told us what is right and then commanded that we do the right. No, Paul has been weaving the gospel masterfully throughout the chapter. The righteous life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ has been held up throughout the book of Romans. In the theology section, chapters 1-11, the gospel has been clear and in the foreground. Now in the application section, chapters 12-16, the gospel is clear and in the background. The gospel is there in 14:9, “For to this end Christ died and rose again, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and of the living.” The gospel is the reason we live all of life with and for Jesus. The gospel is the reason we honor God and give him thanks through every decision.

Gospel clarity in the background shows up again in 14:15, “By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.” The work of Christ for that sister determines her value and the work of Christ determines how you will treat that brother. Gospel clarity in the background shows up again in 15:3. Our goal is to understand how the righteous life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ determine how we treat one another. A right understanding of Jesus, coupled with a Holy Spirit fueled desire to become like Jesus, move us so that we become joyful servants.

Act Like Jesus

Text: Romans 15:1-7

Main Point: The strong give the most.

We are witnessing a shift in mindset among the generations. The older generations, the builders and the boomers, often operate under the mindset that hard work and success secure privileges. Hard work and success mean you get the best office, the best parking spot, the best perks, and a seat at the table. Oftentimes the builder and boomer generations believe that hard work and success mean you necessarily get what you want. The younger generations, the millennials and gen z, often operate under the mindset that they deserve the privileges regardless of work or success. By simply being born you get the best office, best parking spot, best perks, and a seat at the table. All these generations believe the same lie. The lie is I deserve to get what I want.

But let’s dig deeper into that idea, the idea that I should get what I want. Why do we believe we should get what we want? Underneath this desire is another desire, the desire to be happy. I want to be happy therefore I want what I believe will make me happy. The next step is easy. I want to be happy turns into I deserve to be happy. Since I deserve to be happy, I deserve what will make me happy. A terrible problem arises when we don’t have the power to get what will make us happy. What should we do about that? We must get the power. We must grow strong. When we have strength and power we can get what we want and when we get what we want then we will be happy.

Each one of us is tempted to lean on a different source of power. For some of us, we trust in raw physical power. This can be the raw power of physical strength or beauty. The guys and gals work out to be strong and to look good. Both of them do it to gain power over another and get what they want. Others depend on the strength of education, money, fame, or government. If I can wield the power of money, influence, or the law then I can force people to do what I want them to do. And when people do what I want them to do then I get what I want and then I will be happy. You live under the same roof with a tyrant; each of us seeking power in order to force others to do what will hopefully bring happiness

The church is particularly vulnerable to this misuse of power. Authority and strength are good gifts from God, but they are easily hijacked for the selfish pleasure of those in power. Elders and deacons are tempted to misuse their authority. Members who have served faithfully for decades are tempted to misuse their influence. Families that have served and given generation after generation begin to think they deserve to get what they want.

Here is where Christianity demolishes our culture’s current misuse of power: the stronger you are the happier you should be because the strong give away the most. Our culture says you will be happy when you get. Christianity says you will be happy when you give. Let’s dig into God’s word for the goal of increased joy.

Romans 15:1-7

I. This is a call to be joyfully strong

The world says we are all obligated to fulfill our desires. The world instructs us to be self-centered and self-seeking. The world’s motto is do what you want and don’t let anyone tell you no. The stronger you are, the more self-centered, self-seeking, and hopefully happy you can become. The gospel leads the opposite direction.

  • The strong are made to carry the weak (1)

Look with me again at Romans 15:1, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” God tells us that the strong are obligated to please others. The more you have, the more you give away. The stronger you are, the more burdens you bear.

The idea of an obligation can mean you have a debt to pay. I am obligated to pay my mortgage every month. The idea of obligation can also mean a responsibility like the responsibility of a husband or father or governmental authority. That is the idea here, the strong are responsible for the weak. The strong are responsible for getting to know the weak and strengthening the weak so that the weak are able to do good.

To put it simply, there will be things you want to do in the church, but you must not do them in order that you can do better things- namely, build up the weak. You are going to be tempted to put yourself first. You must fight this temptation with greater joy. Don’t settle for short term joy; the joy of meat and wine. Set your mind to gain long term joy; the joy of the salvation and maturation of soul. Instead of using your strength to grab it all for yourself,

  • Use your strength to please your weak neighbor (2)

Look with me at Romans 15:2, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” Now, this is not saying if it pleases your neighbor to rob a bank then you should help him rob a bank. Instead, if it pleases your neighbor to not eat meat or drink wine offered to idols then don’t do it. This is a call to know your brothers and sisters. What concerns these people in this room?

This same call to please others comes in 1 Corinthians 10:33, “Give no offence to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”

Are you strong enough to understand that food and drink are insignificant? Please your neighbor by living out the reality of the insignificance of food and drink by laying them aside. Value your brother. Value your sister. Do not value food or drink. We are set free from these things in order to do the most good.

Verse 2 is very helpful for us as a church. The question we should ask on Saturday evenings as we wait for sleep is this, “What does God expect of me tomorrow?” Romans 15:2, “God expects you to do good and build up your brothers and sisters.” We want to train you to do good and build up. We want to give you opportunities to do good and build up. Once you understand your role on this small stage, the worship gathering of the church, you are better equipped to fulfill your role on every stage- with your family, coworkers, and neighbors. In all of this, we set our eyes on Jesus.

II. Jesus is our example

Jesus is the reason why the strong do not please themselves but instead seek to do good and build up others. The apostle Paul is using the gospel to direct the use of Christian freedom. The righteous life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection tell us how to live. Jesus’ life and priorities direct our lives. So, are you a Christian? Then you are committed to live like Christ. What did Jesus do? Verse 3, “Christ did not please himself.” Know this

  • Jesus is the world’s strongest God-man

If anyone understood how to live as a son of God, it was Jesus. If anyone possessed spiritual strength and freedom it was the Son of God. Jesus is the world’s strongest man, the world’s strongest God-man. What did he do?

  • Jesus did not put his comforts first (3a)

Look with me at verse 3. We don’t please ourselves, “For Christ did not please himself.” Again, we’re talking about matters of freedom. It may be helpful to think in terms of comforts or pleasure. If Jesus put his comfort and pleasure first he would have never become a baby. Think of the extreme discomfort and difficulty of the eternal omnipotent Son of God becoming an utterly dependent infant. Think of the omnipresent spiritual Son of God becoming bound in a body, even a body that cannot walk. But obviously verse 3 is speaking more of the cross. If Jesus put his comforts first, if Jesus sought only what was pleasing to himself, then he would have never submitted to being beaten, humiliated, and brutally killed. The cross and self-centered pleasure cannot coexist. Jesus didn’t live for his own comfort.

  • Jesus lived to do his Father’s will (3b)

Instead of living for what feels good or tastes good, Jesus lived for what accomplishes the most good. It is not that Jesus wasn’t happy. Jesus was perfectly happy. His joy was one of the reasons people wanted him to come to their parties. Jesus was no frowning legalistic fuddy-duddy. Jesus wasn’t sitting at home ranting on Facebook or Twitter. Instead, Jesus was out loving and serving people. Jesus knew food and drink are small things. People, the salvation and discipleship of men and women, are the most important things. Doing his Father’s will, pursuing the salvation and growth of others, brought him joy.

Psalm 69:9 serves as the proof that Jesus did not please himself, “as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” One of the marks of a person separated from God is his anger toward God. The children of this world don’t like God and they don’t like God’s ways. So, here is the world shaking its fist at God and there is Jesus aligning himself with God and therefore receiving the hatred of the world.

Make the connections. Did everyone love and appreciate Jesus for doing his Father’s will? Did everyone write thank you notes to Jesus for denying himself in order to do good and build them up? No, they crucified him. You who are strong, will the weak always love and thank you for sacrificing your comfort for their good? No, you will sacrifice for them and they will not like you, they may slander you, they may reproach you, they may crucify you. Be like Jesus. Don’t please yourself. Instead, lay aside what you want in order to build up others.

How in the world are we supposed to live this way?

III. Read your Bible (4)

Pastor Aaron is going to unpack verse 4 in two weeks and get very practical with how to read your Bible. I’m going to introduce the ideas today as we head toward the Lord’s table. The way to become more like Jesus is to read your Bible. But we don’t just read it aimlessly.

  • Read your Bible with Jesus at the center

Psalm 69 was originally written by King David concerning a situation in his life. The apostles understood that Psalm 69 was not limited to David but was ultimately written about Jesus. This is why Paul could defend his call to sacrifice by pointing to Jesus and using Psalm 69 to describe Jesus. Jesus is the center of the Bible. More specifically, Jesus is the center of the Old Testament. Aaron is going to tell you how to read the Bible with Jesus at the center. Let’s stay with our quick overview. Read your Bible with Jesus at the center and

  • Read the Old Testament in order to learn

Look with me at verse 4, “For whatever was written was written in former times for our instruction.” The Old Testament was written to teach us, New Testament Christians. The Old Testament is for you. If the Old Testament confuses you then come to our new Sunday school group that starts next week. Jay Collier and Johnny Lindsey are going to make Romans 15:4 come alive in your life. You have the Bible so that you can learn from the Bible. Come to the youth room next week at 9:45 am and experience the blessing. It’s going to be good. Read your Bible in order to learn and

  • Read the Old Testament for endurance and comfort

Why do we have the Old Testament? We have the Old Testament because we need endurance and comfort. Weak Christians don’t become strong Christians overnight or after one conversation. Making disciples takes endurance. The Old Testament will give you that. Weak Christians will do and say things that disappoint you. Making disciples is costly. You need comfort. Where will you get it from? You’ll get comfort everyday from the Old Testament. Pastor Aaron is going to teach you how to get comfort. Jay and Johnny are going to teach you how.

Stay with me in verse 4. Where do endurance and comfort lead us?

  • Read the Old Testament because it produces hope

We experience joy in the face of set-backs and disappointments because we are instructed by the Old Testament and the Old Testament is producing endurance and comfort in us. Namely, the Old Testament helps us better understand who Jesus is and how Jesus lived. Knowing Jesus, through the Old Testament, gives us endurance, comfort, and hope. Read your Bible and

IV. Trust the God who speaks

Where do encouragement and endurance come from? Verse 4 tells us endurance and encouragement come from the Old Testament which points to Christ. Verse 5 tells us God stands behind the Old Testament and speaks through the Old Testament. God is the God of endurance and comfort, therefore, pray to Him. Pray to the God of endurance and encouragement (5a).

What I’m saying is prayer is the product of faith. When you believe God is the God of endurance and comfort, when you know God proves himself in Christ to be full of endurance and comfort, when you read your Bible and see example after example of God’s patience and encouragement then you will pray. Trust in God and prayer to God are inseparable. So, what does Paul’s understanding of God lead him to pray for in verse 5?

  • Pray for unity in the church

Verse 5 is Paul’s prayer wish for the Roman church. “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 5 is your prayer for this Church. You’ll see this prayer on the screens as we take the Lord’s Supper, “God of endurance and encouragement, make us live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Jesus Christ, that together we may with one voice glorify You and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ask God to show you how your use of freedom may be disrupting the body. Ask God to show you how to use your freedom to strengthen our peace and build up others. Pray for unity and focus on Jesus because

  • Jesus is the means to unity (5b)

Verse 5, our harmony with one another is in accordance with Christ Jesus. Your position for or against meat offered to idols will not unify us. Your position concerning wine or flags or how to school your children will not unify us. Jesus is the only adequate means to true unity.

For this church to grow strong and enjoy unity you must choose to deal with us according to the mercy, grace, patience, and holiness of Christ. You must choose to forgive us. You must choose to serve us. You must choose to endure with us. You must choose to deal with us according to Christ and not according to your self-centered pleasures. We must all do this.

When we unite together around Christ the result is verse 6. Because of our individual unity with Christ we will come together and glorify God with one voice. God’s goal for us is a unity and worship (6). It’s not enough for us to begrudgingly give up our freedom. God is with us through Christ so that we can joyfully sing and celebrate our life in Christ. When you do your own thing and go after your own thing it tears down our unity. When you chat with your neighbor about common or insignificant things it tears town our unity. God’s goal is for each one of us, because of Christ, to add our voice in unified praise.

Therefore, welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you. Christian, God wants you to

  • Act like Jesus (7)

If Jesus only accepted those people who look and love and act like him then he would never welcome any of us. Instead, Jesus accepts us into his family because of his transforming grace. We accept one another around this table and into membership and throughout each day because of Jesus’ transforming grace. We look, love, and act differently. That’s ok. What must unite us, what must bring us together, is our shared desire to honor our Father by living like Jesus. Everyone one of us needs to deliberately set our minds on Christ and not on pleasing ourselves.

So, to prepare for the Lord’s Supper we are going to come together and with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are going to sing “We Hunger and Thirst.” This song may not be your favorite. Given the choice, you may choose something else. But having your own desires does not mean you are free to say one thing while we say another. Instead, our unity in Christ leads us to join our voices together and sing the same thing. Our confession is the same. Our worship is an act of unity. So let’s sing. Let’s sing together. Let’s look around and welcome one another and with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

A shift is happening. We are moving away from using our strength to fulfill our self-centered desires. We are moving toward the Lord’s table, toward joyfully laying aside our freedoms for the good and building up of others. Church, let’s join our voices and sing. Let’s confess our hunger and thirst for righteousness. We hunger and thirst for Christ.