Pages of Hope

www.bible.com/72/rom.15.4.hcsb

The Old Testament Scriptures anticipated Jesus Christ and were fulfilled in Him. Romans 15:3 quotes from Psalm 69:9. There David speaks of his alienation from his own people. Why? Because “the zeal of Thy House consumes me”, the first part of the verse, and then, “the insults of those who insult you has fallen on me”. You might remember that the first part of this verse is quoted on John when the disciples remember after the fact Jesus’ zeal for the Temple after he drove out the money-changers. Now Paul quotes the second half of the verse to illustrate a truth that Christians ought to experience as well. We ought to be insulted because we receive the insults of a fallen world upon their Creator. David was so insulted, Jesus was, and so ought we to be. But as Paul reminds us here, our encouragement doesn’t come from the world, it comes from the Lord through the pages of Scripture. If Jesus was so insulted, wasn’t He also glorified? If He was condemned, wasn’t He also raised?

The predictable reaction of the world to Christians notwithstanding, we ought never to fear the insults hurled at our faith. Whether they be crass and crude, or reasoned and philosophized, we stand among giants of faith when those insults fall upon us. For these pages tell us that a greater reward awaits us. If we are failed upon, Will we not be exalted? What is our hope? Do we not hope to see the One who received insults at the cross and was raised again? Do we not look forward to see One humiliated beyond measure for our peace?

Don’t look to the pages of Facebook to find your encouragement. Find your hope within the verses of Scripture.

I know, ironically you are probably reading this one Facebook. “Forget the bird, follow the river”. Only nerds will get that reference. God bless you today and may you find your peace in Him.

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Why go to Church when I am not loved there?

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It ought to be to the Church’s shame that this statement is every uttered. This hearkens back to the last question, but it is the more naked resentment and hurt feelings. It is hard to win back those who have had a prior relationship with your church. “A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.” (Pro 18:19 ESV)

Again, the problem seems complicated. There are a couple of possibilities.  The person in question is complaining because he or she doesn’t “feel” loved. At some point in the past, someone offended them and now they believe that everyone in the church feels the same way as that individual, since no one else offered an apology, or came and visited their home (I have heard this expressed). More likely no one else knows about the offense. It is just as likely, everyone knows the person who did the offending, and don’t want to “rock the boat”. This kind of church believes that one person leaving the church is easier to stomach with than confronting with the Offender. Personally, I believe that such an Offender needs to be dealt with as Ananias and Sapphira, but that is God’s judgment to decide, not mine.

However, for the offended, they are depriving the whole fellowship of the Body of Christ by not attending any Church because of their own hurt feelings. The Whole body suffers when one suffers (1 Corinthians 12:26). This behavior is selfish, that is, it cannot see past itself and its own pain. And such a one believes that it is he who deserves the apology from all, or even a few, rather to take the example of Christ, and accept the suffering for His sake. They may well be owed an apology, but is it for them decide whether this grievance should keep them from all fellowship? Did Christ demand an apology from the Jews who insulted him at the foot of the cross? Does Christ demand an apology from you every time you insult Him by ignoring Him, or pushing him aside for your own priorities? What this question shows isn’t a greater holiness, but a lack of grace, though such was extended to them through Christ. (Matthew 18:21-35)