«Family Traits 2.0 - Part 2: Missional Living MATT CHANDLER, January 28, 2007 If you have your Bibles, let’s go, Ezekiel. We’ll start there, then ...»
Family Traits 2.0 - Part 2: Missional Living
MATT CHANDLER, January 28, 2007
If you have your Bibles, let’s go, Ezekiel. We’ll start there, then head to Isaiah in a little bit and end up in Matthew 23.
Last week...honestly if you’re a guest with us here this morning or if this is your first or second time here, it’s a good time
for you to be here. We’re kind of going through what we call our family traits. Or basically, we’re having a very frank, very
raw discussion about philosophically why we do the things we do, how we’re built out, why we’re built out the way we are, why we do certain things but don’t do other things. And by no means, in any of this are we saying that we think we’re the way. We just think we’re a way, and we want to be obedient to Christ as He’s disclosed Himself to us in the Scriptures and how we feel we need to be obedient to those. And so, last week we launched out and talked about the fact that you and I find ourselves caught up in this epic story that’s behind everything in the universe, that a creator God created all things.
He created them in rhythm, in harmony, functioning for the display of His glory, for the enjoyment of His creation and enjoying His glory. He creates it all, and it works well. And that lasts for two chapters of the Bible. And then from there, sin is introduced into the world, and sin breaks that harmony, breaks that rhythm, sends things spiraling out of control.
So these really beautiful things gave us for our enjoyment of His creativity and glory all of a sudden become at times perverse. The examples I gave you last week were: The Scriptures are really clear that wine was given to man to make his heart happy. And so wine then, instead of becoming that, moves and becomes drunkenness.
Food was given to us so that we might revel in and glory in a creative God who thought of flavors and how flavors would combine. So that in eating a fajita from La Hacienda Ranch, there should be an explosion of worship because God created not only the skirt steak but the guacamole and the cheese, and when that’s combined, that’s all God’s stuff.
And so, that was given to us so that dinner, lunch, breakfast, mid-afternoon snack would be these moments of gratitude ladened worship. But instead, it has either become gluttony or consumed without gratitude at all.
Sex given to us...so the Hebrew idea behind sex is this word dode. It means “the mingling of souls.” Instead of becoming this very powerful mingling between two people who are walking in trust and in mental and emotional intimacy, it becomes a mere physical act or outright adultery or the preacher word is “fornication.” I still don’t know what that means, but I have to say it because I’m a preacher.
So, this is what happens. All that was right, all that was in rhythm, all that was in harmony is fractured by the fall of man. Now, God intervenes in the middle of this broken, spiraling out of control creation and sends Himself in the flesh, Jesus, by the death of Jesus on the Cross, to absorb the wrath of God and prepare a way for men to be redeemed back to Him. Now, it has been my experience that most Evangelicals and most people who are a part of churches, in fact, I would say even most churches believe that the story stops there. Like, the whole story of what’s going on is creation, fall, redemption and then the story’s over. Now, the problem with that is the Bible, because the Bible isn’t going to let the story stop there. When you stop the story at your redemption, then what you do is you, whether you want to or not, it just rolls down this way, when redemption is the end of the story, then you become central to a story that, in the end, you’re a bit player in. Like, if you want to view this in 2007 terms, if this is a movie, it’s a 9 hour move that you have 7 seconds in. You ain’t Tom Cruise in this movie. A bit player. The other piece that we don’t talk a lot about, because it’s horrifically convicting, is restoration. Because the story of what God’s doing and what we find ourselves caught up in doesn’t end up in redemption, but rather redemption leads to the restoration.
And so, here’s what you’ve got happening. You’ve got God creating harmony, rhythm, everything moving like it should, the fall fractures that, God sends Jesus, Jesus saves mankind, begins to save men and women so they wholly His.
And in becoming wholly His mentally, emotionally, spiritually, our resources, who we are, what we do, by giving Christ ownership of that, we become tools of restoration. So He begins to use us, the church to restore broken places until His return at which He’ll perfect all things. That’s the whole story.
But it’s been my experience that the majority of us are stuck on just the redemption thing. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love redemption. I’m not complaining about redemption. I’m not saying, “Redemption’s ruined this thing.” That’s not what I’m doing here because it hasn’t. Saved by grace through faith, that in itself, a gift so that no man should boast in anything but the cross of Christ, it’s this beautiful thing, but it doesn’t stop there. And if it does stop there, if the church stops there, she becomes impotent and loses her place in the story. From the beginning, God has said, “I will bless, I will save, I will heal, I will redeem so that you might be an agent of healing, redemption, hope. I’ll give you and example.
In Genesis 12, which by the way is about as beginning as it gets, God comes to a man named Abram and says, “Here’s what I’m going to do with you. I’m going to make a great people out of you. In fact, your relatives in the end are going to outnumber the sand on the beach and the stars in the sky.” Now, I know some of you haven’t been to a beach. Galveston doesn’t count. That’s not the beach. Don’t get in the water there, seriously. If you’ve ever been out to the West Coast or Hawaii or some place like this, I mean you’ve just got all these granules of sand and God says, “This is what I’m going to do through you. And here’s why. I will bless you, I’m going to bless you so that all nations of the earth will be blessed.” So, listen to what God’s plan was in the beginning. “Abram, you become Abraham, you become the father of many nations, and in blessing you, in saving you, in calling you out, I am going to push back what went horrifically wrong at the fall. I will right what’s gone so horrifically wrong through you.” So to this day, you and I, saved, called, healed, made whole. Not so that wholeness and healing terminates on us alone, but so that it pours out of us onto a dark and hurting world. But here’s the thing. The church has always struggled with this. Like, she forgets so easily. And so, God, who’s this great, great husband to you is the illustration in Scripture, He talks to His bride all the time about this.
Let me show you some of the things I’m talking about. Ezekiel 16. Now, if you grew up in church or didn’t grow up in church, you’ll know this story. There’s this story in the Old Testament where God got angry at two cities and He destroyed them: Sodom and Gomorrah. Even if you didn’t grow up in church, you know the story of Sodom and Gomorrah because some pastor on television referenced the story in a debate over homosexuality. Now, what we were told in Vacation Bible School or church...they didn’t give us the whole story, they kind of built it around Lot and his wife. If you’ll remember, God said, “You get out of here. I’m blowing the place up, and if anybody looks back, they’re doomed.” And so, Lot is in front of his wife, hauling it. And he turns back to find his wife, she’s a pillar of salt because she looked back. He didn’t grab her. He’s like, “See ya.” He just left his salty woman there and ran on without her. And she looked back and was destroyed by God, and fire falls from the sky and consumes Sodom and Gomorrah and no one is spared in those cities.
Everyone is killed in those cities. Now, you and I have been told, if you’ve got any kind of church background at all, we’ve been told that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of sexual deviance. Now, that was a small part of it, but the truth is that’s not the whole story. Once again, the problem that we get into is the Bible itself. The Bible’s going to teach that Sodom and Gomorrah were for a heart issue that led to sexual deviance, but it wasn’t the sexual deviance itself that He destroyed. Let me show you what I mean. Ezekiel 16, starting in verse 49, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom:...” Alright, so here’s what he’s saying. This is what happened in Sodom. You want to know why God destroyed Sodom? Here’s why He destroyed Sodom. “...she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” Alright, so once again let’s go back to the story. Let’s go back to the context in which we find our lives being played out. God says, “You’ve been blessed, I’ve blessed you with wealth, I’ve blessed you with food, I’ve blessed you with harmony, I’ve blessed you with safety, and you are taking all that I gave you to push back what is dark and you have let it terminate on you.” Now, look at this next line. I told you we’d talk about the sexual deviant part. Look at verse 50. “They were haughty...” And for the young crowd, it doesn’t mean the whole city was good looking. That’s not hottie; it’s a different kind of haughty. It’s pride. I’m just trying to span the linguistic gap here. “They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.” Now, according to Romans 1, sexual deviance is a result of a man’s heart and a group of men’s and women’s hearts that says, “My way’s better than God’s. I’m smarter than God.” Romans 1 would say it like this: that we “exchanged the truth about God for a lie.” And when we do that, the Scriptures say, God gives us over to a depraved mind to do what is not proper. Sexual deviance always follows self-indulgent, greedy hearts, always. If I could not be a pastor and just be a historian with you for a minute, if you’re not a believer in Christ here, not church folk, if I could step down here and be a prof and use some of the history. I promise you, you can go study any superpower that’s ever reigned, and that moment, at their apex, what you’ll find is that they’re all very comfortably living, they are all oppressing the poor and sexual deviance is out of control, whether that be incest, whether that be rape, whether that be homosexuality. Just watch it. Just go out to your library. It’s this place that has books. Or Google it. On or the other. So, God comes to His people...now keep in mind, Ezekiel is written to Jerusalem. He comes to His people and say, “I have blessed you. I’m going back to the Abrahamic covenant. I have blessed you so that you would be a blessing. Instead of becoming a blessing, you have terminated My gifts upon yourself.” Let’s go over to Isaiah. It will be to your left. Honestly, you can pick almost any Old Testament book. Let’s go to Isaiah 1, we’ll pick it up in verse 10. “Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom!” As soon as they heard that, they would have been like, “Uh oh!” Because Sodom occurred hundreds of years before this. So He’s now calling them...this isn’t a “Hey Billy, how are you doing?” This is not a nice greeting. “Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations--I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.” This is a very interesting passage of Scripture because all of the things He says quit doing, He actually commanded them to do. But they’re coming before the courts of the Lord, they’re bringing offerings, they’re singing songs, they’re lighting incense and God’s going, “I’ll have no part of what is sacred and what is evil before Me. Do not combine the two. You are doing right external actions, your heart’s wicked. I will have no part of this.” Let’s keep going. “Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,...” Now, the church historically, we’ve loved this line. All across America today, there’s a thousand if not a hundred thousand sermons on “cease to do evil.” And evil is defined all over the board.
For some, it’s rated-R movies. For some, it’s Disneyland. There are all these different levels of what’s evil. The church has historically loved this one, but I think it’s the second part that we’ve got to start being obedient to. Look at verse 17.