Sermon Series: To Save That Which Is Lost (Part 3 of 5)
In our relationships, we all have some level of knowledge (I Corinthians 8:1). From there, however, we face the choice of either continuing to pursue knowledge — which will only make us proud — or pursuing love, which will build others up. Love is the greatest of them all, and is how the church is built.
It is when we build the Church, however — as opposed to a congregation or a club — that we open ourselves to the risk of being hurt, because we are drawing close to each other. When we love, we make ourselves vulnerable, but that is the only way we can experience true unity. Thankfully, God’s Word clearly shows us how we can be reconciled in relationships where there has been friction or even sin.
In order to eventually experience true reconciliation, however, we must first ensure that we have the right attitude of love in our heart. Two aspects of this attitude of love are:
1) To cover up another’s disgrace: Joseph is the first person called “righteous” in the New Testament (Matthew 1:19), and this is because he chose not to publicly humiliate Mary (“love”) for what was outwardly perceived as sin (“knowledge”). That is why the Father could use Joseph as to raise His Son, Jesus. God needs men and women with this spirit to build the Body of Christ today.
2) To build others up after they’ve fallen, by uniting with Jesus in the ministry of intercession: When Joshua the high priest was covered in filthy garments (Zechariah 3:1-5), Satan immediately came alongside to accuse him. But, the Lord rebuked Satan, and removed Joshua’s filthy garments. Zechariah could have joined hands with Satan in accusing Joshua for what was factually correct (“knowledge”), but instead he joined wholeheartedly with Jesus by adding a turban on top of Joshua’s head (“love”). Likewise, God is looking for those who will build others up, not tear them down.
When Cain was jealous of Abel, his face showed it — he couldn’t even look God in the eye (Genesis 4:5-7). God warned him that if he didn’t deal with that resentment, an enemy was crouching at the door seeking to devour him. That enemy was sin. Cain didn’t heed God’s warning and was devoured by that sin. Likewise, when we face any situation of conflict, whether in the home or in the church, let’s remember that the person with whom we are facing that conflict is not our enemy. We have only ONE enemy — sin! And, we are our brother’s keeper.
Let us beware of partnering with the Devil in the spirit of accusation, which often begins with a little curiosity to know others’ faults and condemn them. Instead, let us partner with Jesus in the ministry of intercession, which covers others.