"Time For A Revolution"
Pastor Leslie Tipton
May 23, 2010
The Revolutionary War in America (1775-1783) led to the birth of a new nation. The war began on April 19, 1775 with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
For about a decade, tension had been mounting between Great Britain and the American Colonies. The British government had passed a series of laws in an attempt to increase control over the colonies. But Americans had become used to having control over their local government. They objected to the new laws and protested being taxed without their consent. In 1775, Britain's Parliament declared Massachusetts, the center of most of the protests, to be in rebellion. British troops were placed in Boston to take swift action against the rebels. Shortly afterwards, war broke out.
The Colonies were largely unprepared for war. They lacked a central government and had neither an organized army nor navy. Delegates from the colonies formed the first Continental Congress, which took on the duties of a national government. Congress directed the war effort and voted to organize an army and a navy. George Washington, a wealthy Virginia landowner and former military officer, was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army. On July 4, 1776, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, in which the colonies declared their freedom from British rule.
Tension had been building between Great Britain and the American Colonies for more than 10 years before the Revolutionary War began. Starting in the mid-1760's, the British government passed a series of laws to increase its control over the colonies. Americans had grown used to a large measure of self-government. They strongly resisted the new laws, especially tax laws. Fierce debate developed over the British Parliament's right to tax the colonies without their consent.
Great Britain with its larger and better trained army and navy launched a huge land and sea effort to crush the revolution. However, they had to transport and supply its army across the Atlantic Ocean. As the war continued, the British won many battles but gained little from their victories. The American patriots always formed new forces and continued the fight. In 1783 the Treaty of Paris ended the war. Great Britain was forced to recognize the independence of the 13 colonies of the United States.
The Americans were feeling oppressed by the British rule…they wanted to be free from that oppression, free from the control, free from the rule of that other world, and so they declared it was time for a revolution.
It IS time for a revolution! It is time here, Church of the Holy SpiritSong, for a revolution.
We read in our Scripture today from Romans 12: 1-2 says; "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test approve what God's will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will."
It's time for a revolution in how, why, where, when we do this. See, 'cause we get stuck, don't we. We get stuck in the muck of this world, or should I say the patterns of this world. And to get unstuck, we gotta get revolutionary in our thinking. We gotta shake free from the oppression, just like the newly declared Americans, and walk in freedom in our lives.
What am I talkin' about? You wanna know…..ok, here we go.
It's time for a revolution in our service to God. Now, we just read it, but I'm gonna remind you right now……offer your bodies a living sacrifice. I want you to say that with me now…..offer your bodies a living sacrifice. Let's say it again. "Offer your bodies a living sacrifice." What does that mean? Are we gonna go climb up on the altar, each one of us, one by one, and be offered. Ok, now that I've completely freaked out our new visitors, please allow me to explain.
Flip over to the Book of Matthew, Chapter 4; beginning at verse 18: "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fisher of men.' At once they left their nets and followed him."
So here we have two brothers fishing together. Isn't it a nice story, how they were spending time together on the weekend, during their off time, to be with each other and have a time of leisurely fishing? Just to go and drop a line into the water, kick back with a brewski, feet up, radio on, lazy yellow dog laying at their feet while they chat about the week's events? And then along comes Jesus…."Hey fellas, come on along with me."
No, they weren't fishing to relax, they were fishing to earn money and to feed their families. There were working…..they were laboring; they were trying to make a living. And then along comes Jesus and says "Stop what you're doing, and come and follow me." And the Bible says "At once, they left their nets and followed him." Further on Jesus sees two other brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat with their father. Matthew 4: 21-22 says "Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him."
It's time for a revolution in our service to God. If Jesus were to walk in here right now, through that door, and say "Come on, everyone here, come and follow me," how would we respond? Some of us would jump right up and run to Him in worship, and some of us would hesitate to make sure He really is who He says He is, and some of us would slowly saunter up to Him and say "What's in it for me," or "How long is this going to take," or "No thanks, I'm not interested."
Which one are you? At times, I'm all of them…..to be honest with you, depending on what's going on in my life, my response varies.
Let's be honest…that's all of us!
But it's time for a revolution.
We've got to change the way we think when we hear Him call us. "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." In other words, change your thinking about service to God.
Let's change our service to God from something we have to do to something we want to do.
Let's change our service to God from something we do for atta boys or atta girls to something we do because we want to please the Lord.
Let's change our service to God from time taken away from our daily schedule to time gratefully given in praise and worship because we love Him and want to give back to Him.
Let's change our service to Him from thinking about ourselves first to thinking about our fellow person and serving Him by serving them first, no matter what that might mean to us. It's called sacrifice.
Boarding the SS Dorchester on a dreary winter day in 1943 were 903 troops and four chaplains, including Moody alumnus Lt. George Fox. World War II was in full swing, and the ship was headed across the icy North Atlantic where German U-boats lurked. At 12:00 on the morning of February 3, a German torpedo ripped into the ship."She's going down!" the men cried, scrambling for lifeboats. A young GI crept up to one of the chaplains. "I've lost my life jacket," he said. "Take this," the chaplain said, handing the soldier his jacket. Before the ship sank, each chaplain gave his life jacket to another man. The heroic chaplains then linked arms and lifted their voices in prayer as the Dorchester went down. Lt. Fox and his fellow pastors were awarded posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross.
Are we gonna drop our nets when he calls, or will we hesitate?
It's time for a revolution!
It's time for a revolution in our relationships in this Body of Christ, in this church. Romans 12:3-5 says this. "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you; Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
Each member belongs to all the others. Radical thought, there. Let's think about that for a minute. If I, as a member of this church, have a clear and solid understanding of this concept, it's going to revolutionize the way I deal with the C word here…..what's that word……conflict. Yuck! Conflict.
But seriously, if we have that solid grasp of belonging to each other. I belong to you, you belong to me. Sounds like some hokie oversized purple dinosaur song, doesn't it? I love you, you love me…..but I digress.
If we know and understand that we belong to each other, it gives us the opportunity for a new way of thinking and acting with each other.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind….do not conform to the patterns of this world.
Now I'm going to share a little-known tidbit about my life here with you. I don't think I've even shared it with Sandra. When I was a kid, and I was bored, I used to get into a lot of hand fights. Now these hand fights are not what you may be thinking. I didn't fight with anyone else, but I would stage a fight between my two hands.
How silly is that? Hands don't fight against each other, do they? Your liver and your ear don't get into a heated exchange…..your left big toe and your ankle don't disagree on something and never get over it, do they? Just one note here….there may be a disagreement between your nose and your smelly feet, but that's about it.
In a discourse similar to Romans 12:3-5, the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 12. He writes about "One Body, many parts," and in so doing, stated that we all need each other. "The eye cannot say to the hand 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!' Aha, we do need each other and we do belong to each other.
So why don't we act like it? Why do we get into petty arguments? Why do we think that we are more important than any other person in this church? Why do attitudes and judgments and fights and quarreling and egos come in here? I'll tell you why….because we haven't heard Paul's request of us to "not conform to the patterns of this world." We need to revolutionize our thinking about each other!
You got a beef with someone, go reconcile. Who cares who is right and who is wrong…you're probably both a bit right and a bit wrong! Who cares if it's been four months…..go! Who cares if the world says if you go first, you're the weaker one….God says you're the stronger one!
It's time for a revolution in this church!
It's time for a revolution in the way we give our gifts here at Church of the Holy SpritSong! Going on in our text in Romans, we read in verses 6-8:
"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; it if is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." You can let out your breath now, I'm not talking about tithing.
Gifts given by God…abilities given by the Spirit for the purpose of ministry. Gifts are supernatural abilities, above and beyond natural talent, in some cases, however, they may spring from a spiritual empowerment of a person's natural abilities.
So the Lord says if your gift is teaching, then teach. No brainer, right? Of course I'm gonna teach if that's what my gift is. But no, He's saying much more than than. You see, after awhile, after we've been serving for some time, we get a little tired every once in awhile. We get run down, or worn out. And it's during those times that we tend to lose our fervor, our excitement, our passion for what it is that we do.
Why do we do that? Because we're human, because we always want to be stimulated in everything we do, because we want our lives and our experiences to be fresh, and exciting, and full of pop! And why do we feel that way? Because we are conforming to the pattern of this world, and are NOT being transformed by the renewing of our minds.
When that happens, we gotta do a little self-evaluation…..pray, listen, follow. Get some spiritual renewal in a new way….pray with a friend, go to a retreat, get away, attend a conference, buy some cd's, worship. But do it with fervor, do it with passion, do it with the all the expectancy you can muster, knowing that God is at your side, guiding you into renewal and restoration.
Now let's face it…..sometimes it's just time for one thing to end and a new thing to start in your life. But what God is asking us to do is to be not just a teacher if we teach, but to be the best teacher we can be at all times because that's what He has called us and equipped us to do. And as long as you are called to be that teacher, you teach with all you have. With all the passion and fervor and the Spirit carrying you into every day, you teach, and you teach well.
It's time for a revolution in this place. This church needs you, gang. We need every one of you to do what it is God has sent you here to do. Are you doing it? Do you know what IT is? If not, let's find out together. If so, do it with passion, do it with love, do it with your eyes up and your ears open, listening and following our Father in Heaven.
It's time for a revolution!