INTRODUCTION: Please read entire emailIn this edition we have included:
1.  Devotion: Opinions in Light of the Gospel
2.  Resources
3. Life Hack

1. Devotions: Opinions in Light of the Gospel
by Pastor Todd 

In yesterday’s sermon, we learned how to deal with differing opinions within the church in Romans 14:1-12. Eating restrictions and celebrating special days were two examples Paul used in illustrating “disputable matters” – matters that Christians can have differing opinions on, yet remain unified concerning the indisputable matters. There were six responses found in the text to help Christians navigate these differing opinions:

1. Be welcoming (vs. 1)
2. Do not quarrel (vs. 1)
3. Do not despise (vs. 2-3)
4. Do not pass judgement (vs. 3-4)
5. Be convinced (vs. 5)
6. Honor the Lord (vs. 6-12) 

Looking back at those six responses, one could say, “Wow, those are hard to do.” May I suggest that it is actually not hard but an impossible list of actions? This is a list that Christians can only “do” as one’s who have been transformed by the gospel. Let me explain two reasons why this is true in light of this passage. 

First of all, the gospel reminds us that each and every one of us are equally in need of salvation and have only been received by God by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Each Christian has been adopted into God’s family (Romans 8:14-17). Here are some great verses that remind us of the humble equality we each have in Christ:

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” (Romans 10:12ESV)

“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13, ESV)

“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11, ESV)
Since the gospel has put each believer on the same footing and same status, we should not let our differences over disputable matters divide us and/or treat fellow Christians as if there is a class system in Christ’s church.

Secondly, and even more importantly, it is the gospel that not only saves but empowers a believer to “honor Christ in life and death” (Romans 14:6-8). It is the gospel power that transforms us to live our new life in Christ as living sacrifices (Roman 12:1-12). What Christ has done in us enables us to be welcoming to others, to not quarrel over lesser convictions, to not despise others for different convictions, to not pass judgement as if we are better than others in our convictions, etc. The gospel gives us security about the things that ultimately matter allowing us to diverse in areas of differing convictions.

Understanding the gospel as it applies in this area humbles us. And it should also encourage us in that we are able in Christ to do what He has called us to do (Romans 6). As you seek to “honor the Lord” with your life this week, let that include showing kindness to fellow brothers and sisters who are equally growing in their faith and may have different opinions about things than you do. This may even include those for which you are sheltering in place.

2. RESOURCES:
Here are some helpful links in light of today’s devotion: 

Loving Others through Political Differenceby Naselli & Leeman
Speaking of opinions, politics sometimes brings out some of the most heated opinions. How does this translate in the church? Here is a great article on learning to love others with different political opinions than you.

In Essentials Unity, in Non-Essentials Liberty, in All Things Charityby Mark RossThe title of this article is the quote which began yesterday’s sermon. Here is some more detail of how important this issue truly is in the life of the church.

ICYMI: Free EbookCoronavirus and Christby John Piper:
This is a great little book to help us make sense of our hope in Christ in light of this pandemic. Piper is an excellent writer – you’ll be encouraged and challenged. I believe there is a free audio version, too. Click on the title for more information and to download the ebook.

SIMPLE LIFE-HACK:
When was the last time you wrote a letter – a real letter? Is there someone you could write a letter to today that could really use your encouragement?

STAY CONNECTED
Contact Any of Us with Prayer Requests or questions:
Todd Burgett: todd@orchardcommunity.org
Jeremy Wong: jeremy@orchardcommunity.org
John Gould: jgould@orchardcommunity.org
John String: jstringer@orchardcommunity.org
Lisa Burgett: lisa@orchardcommunity.org
Sue Ertis:  sue@orchardcommunity.org