6: Our Roles

Dan Parks October 31, 2018

What is Christianity?  And what is the point?  Lesson 6: Our Roles

Biblically, a Christian is a disciple — in other words, a follower — of Christ.

To follow Christ, we must repent — in other words, turn, by faith

from selfishness to selflessness (seeking good for others),

from seeking what we want to seeking what God wants.

In other words, we must turn from doing things our ways to doing things God’s way.

And the point of all of this: Reconciled, restored, mutually loving relationships with God.

John 3: 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Ephesians 5: 1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

2 Corinthians 5: 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

1 Thessalonians 5: 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

Real reconciliation to God changes everything:

Colossians 1: 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

God’s desire is not only that we be reconciled to Him, but that “all things” & everyone would be:

1 Timothy 2: 1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.

And His desire is not only that we be reconciled to Him, but through Him to everyone & all          things:

Colossians 2: 1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.  …

 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

John 10: 10 [Jesus:] “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

This is no small thing that God is up to; He is up to no less than “the renewal of all things”            (Matthew 19:28).

The eternal & coming Kingdom of God is a theme all throughout Scripture:

Isaiah 45:           5I am the LORD, and there is no other;    apart from me there is no God. …  11 “This is what the LORD says—    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come,    do you question me about my children,    or give me orders about the work of my hands? 12 It is I who made the earth    and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens;    I marshaled their starry hosts.  …  18 For this is what the LORD says— he who created the heavens,    he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth,    he founded it; he did not create it to be empty,    but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the LORD,    and there is no other. 19 I have not spoken in secret,    from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,    ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the LORD, speak the truth;    I declare what is right.

 20 “Gather together and come;    assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,    who pray to gods that cannot save. 21 Declare what is to be, present it—    let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago,    who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD?    And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior;    there is none but me.

 22 “Turn to me and be saved,    all you ends of the earth;    for I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn,    my mouth has uttered in all integrity    a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow;    by me every tongue will swear. 24 They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone    are righteousness and strength.’” All who have raged against him    will come to him and be put to shame. 25 But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel    will be found righteous and will exult.

Jesus & His followers talked a lot about the “Kingdom” of Heaven & God:

Matthew 3: 1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Matthew 4: 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Matthew 5: 17 [Jesus:] “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 7: 21 [Jesus:] “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Matthew 13: 24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

   27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

   28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

   “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

   29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

 31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

 33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”  …

 36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

 37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

   40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

    44The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

   45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

    47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  … 

    52 … “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

Matthew 18: 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

 2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Luke 9: 1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  …

 10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.  …

 57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”

   But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”

 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 10: 8 [Jesus:] “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this:

The kingdom of God is near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”

Luke 13: 22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

   He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

   “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

   26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

   27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

   28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Luke 22: 14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

Acts 1: 1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Acts 19: 8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.

Acts 28: 23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.  …

 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus calls us to live in view of this coming Kingdom:

Luke 12: 32 [Jesus:] “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

 41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

 42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

   47 “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Being a Christian is largely about taking our place in this Kingdom:

1 Peter 3: 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  …

Colossians 2: 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Romans 8: 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Colossians 1: 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Galatians 5: 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

 19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

James 4: 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  …

 7 Submit* yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  …  10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

[*Note: The Greek word translated “submit” here (& elsewhere) is “primarily a military term, ‘to rank under’” (per Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)].

           

2 Timothy 2: 3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.

So what does this mean for us today?  Again, generally this:

Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind [and with all your strength*].’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”                                                                                   [*In parallel passage in Mark 12:30]

Matthew 6: 31 [Jesus:] “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

But let’s also look at some more specific principles.  The Bible records a lot of amazement  surrounding Jesus & His ministry; but it only records two instances in which Jesus Himself           is amazed:

Mark 6: 1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

   “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

 4 Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith.

Luke 7: 1 When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.

   He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

This outsider understood:

1) There is a chain of command;

2) He was in the middle somewhere; &

3) Jesus was at (or near) the top.

The Bible has a lot to say about authority & the chain of command — & our place in it, & God’s           place over it.

For one, authority itself comes from God:

Romans 13: 1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Luke 4: 1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. …

 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”

John 12: 31 [Jesus:] “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.”

John 14: 30 [Jesus:] “I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.  …

John 16: 11 [Jesus:] “… the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

2 Corinthians 4: 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 


To see the full set of notes, you can download them here.

Dan Parks

Roles

Bio

B.A., English Writing, DePauw University
M.F.A, Creative Writing, The University of Alabama

Dan and his wife, Brooke, have attended Faith since 2015. They have two children, Anna-Claire and Isaiah, and live in the North End of Lafayette. Dan helps to coordinate Faith Church North's men's ministries and the greeting team