Paul 6 – So What?

Can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Year A  21st  Sunday of Ordinary Time,

Psalm                          Psalm:  124                                        
First Reading:             Exodus 1:8 – 2:10   
Second Reading:        Romans 12:1-8       
Gospel:                        Matthew 16:13-20
What I want to say:
Summarise Romans and Paul so far and explore the “How to live this out” – expand into next weeks reading, which includes our passage/whakatauki
What I want to happen:
People to reflect on how they live out Paul's framework of living in the fulfilled covenant

The Sermon

        1.      Introduction:

So week six in our series looking at Paul and his letter to the churches in Rome.
what I have been using to explore Paul’s writings is not the only way to read Paul – is the way that makes most sense to me and a lot people I have read over last couple of years.
quick recap
     a.      Paul is a Jew ––
o   not a “lets keep every word of torah” kind of Jew
o   but a “lets renegotiate how we read scripture and torah in particular” kind of Jew -> radical Jew
o   sees the world through Jewish eyes
     b.      Paul pretty important  for us
o   while sometimes tempting to try and ignore him
o   about ¼ NT written by him – not counting Hebrews
o   over half Acts Apostles

     c.       He like most fellow Christians understood gospel within Jewish way seeing world and understanding history.
o   so getting into heaven was not the goal for him
รจ fulfilment of the covenants with Israel through the messiah
o   all about restoration of humanity to pre-fall state in Garden of Eden
o   and renewal of creation –
-          that is theological question that Paul is working on.
     d.      Paul is writing to churches in Rome
o   divided church
o   divided between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians
     e.      offering way understand what Jesus has done that allows them to live and work together despite their huge differences.
f.        see in structure of letter
o   chapters 1-4 are all about the problem – story of Adam and how all humanity came to be under sin –
o   chapters 5-8 – hear how in the covenant with Israel God promises to restore humanity and renew creation ->
§  God is faithful to covenant
§  in Jesus God has been faithful to covenant
§  God has fulfilled covenant through faithfulness of Jesus
§  talks about how through this faithfulness God invites all humanity to be part of God’s work to restore humanity and renew creation.
§  at the heart of Romans is Pauls assertion that humanity has been restored and creation renewed through God’s faithfulness – God’s faith not ours
     g.      raises really important question - what about Israel –> chapters 9-11 address
o   it is a really really important section
o   validity of Pauls argument rests on this issue
§  who or what is God faithful to?
§  can we trust this faithfulness if Israel seem to have been rejected?
o   issue heard clearly stated last week
“1I ask, then, has God rejected his people?
Paul responds – Hell no!
assurance comes with a warning – too often ignore
“You stand only through faith.”
faith is not our faith but God’s faithfulness
reads “You stand only through God’s faithfulness.”
-          everything is in God’s hands
o   not hands Israel
o   not hands Jewish church
o   not hands gentile church
o   not our hands
o   God’s hands
o   so be humble, this is not about you!
o   this is about God and God’s faithfulness and mercy
-          “So do not become proud, but stand in awe.”

       2.      So what

Leads us at last to the last section of the letter
chapters 12 – 15
where Paul pulls it all together
apart from a few shout outs at the end to some of people who he and his scribe knows
I going to read next weeks reading – rest of chapter 12
            understand why as I read it
want you to ask yourself as you listen
given everything that I have said so far
-          what is Paul trying to do here
-          what is Paul saying?

Romans 12  - The Message (MSG)
4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

-          what is Paul trying to do here
-          what is Paul saying?