I've Been Neglected!
I have heard from many dear members of Metro about the message, “When Neglect and the Gospel Intersect.” Wow, I was longwinded in that message, which makes your encouragement all the more amazing! I’ll work on getting my windbag to be a little less full! I know that a lot of life has passed by us since that message 10 days ago, but I hope whatever the Lord was doing in your heart is still fresh.
A few friends referenced a section in particular from the message that served them, so I thought I’d post it below, and man, even rereading it, fresh conviction and a desire to grow are hitting me! God bless you, friends!
A Functional Gospel moves us from how we feel to what is real.
• In the text the first thing mentioned is that the number of disciples were increasing. Luke is already setting the stage with that information to help the reader’s interpretive grid.
• The widows could have just started making all kinds of assumptions without any fact finding and that could have led them to every wrong conclusion.
• Too often we equate our opinions or our feelings or our perceptions with truth.
• When that happens we end up further from the truth and the further we drift the more distance we have to cover to get back. And so Paul urges us,
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, what is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8
• A functional gospel goes out of its way to think what is the best. A functional gospel is not so eager to find fault or lay accusations.
• When explanation is given that reveals that neglect was not intentional it should make a difference in how we think, feel and respond.
• This is so critical to grasp as brothers and sisters because often times the neglect we think we experienced wasn’t even real; it was imagined!
• If we search our hearts we can find those times where we ended up offended at someone not over what actually happened but what we think happened.
“The offense may have been more imagined than actual, but that made no difference to those who felt overlooked.”1
• It should make a difference! When our perceptions can be served by a true understanding of what happened that should impact and change how we go on thinking about something. If the Gospel is functioning in us as it has the power to do then we will not be a people who quickly equate our feelings with truth. We will increasingly become a people who want to ensure we have rightly understood why we were neglected if we were neglected before we allow any offense or bitterness to take root.
• When Paul calls upon the church to make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace he does so because he knows that by simply being human, by being an assembled people who are different, and even the designs of Satan himself, numerous things will seek to thwart that unity!
• Because we live in a fallen world, because we are finite…because we are human beings, we will all experience neglect and we will all neglect.
• In light of that reality, I believe the Lord would urge us to love one another in such a way that we guard against importing or inserting motives into others that aren’t even there!
• Neglect will happen sure enough, but let's not add to it by assuming neglect where no neglect was intended or even thought of.
• The Gospel of Jesus Christ at work in us has the power to overlook a lot, to exercise charity, to think the best.
1R. Kent Hughes, Acts, pg. 94
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