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Common Lectionary: Epiphany 2B
The Kingdom of God and its values change everything; as citizens and servants in this Kingdom, our behavior should reflect that in how we love and forgive others.
Keywords: - Kingdom of God, Sinners, Han, Sermon on the Mount, Suffering, Oppression
Key Scriptures: - 1Co 6:1-12, Phi 2:1-13
Other Scriptures: - Rom 7, Mat 20:25-28
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1. Citizens of the Kingdom
a. Sinners; saved by Christ through repentance
b. Han; victims, oppression
c. The poor, those who mourn and suffer
2. Kingdom behavior; Christ as model
a. Obey God; bow to God only, not this world
b. Leaders must be slaves; no lawsuits among believers
c. Like-mindedness; compassion; looking out for others’ interests; forgiveness
We are citizens, servants in the Kingdom of God, which opposes the kingdom of this world. This Kingdom encourages us and calls us to behave differently toward others; it has ‘rules’ that are different from the ‘rules’ of this world or cultures. First, we must understand the two conditions we find ourselves in, and the coming of Jesus to rescue us from them: sinner and han, or victim of sin. Jesus invites those who suffer, the poor, into the Kingdom. Jesus’ life itself is a model we are “grown into” as we are sanctified; it is a call for Kingdom behavior: healing the sick, loving the oppressed. Leaders must also have a different kind of authority: they must serve others. In addition, as believers we do not answer to this world; only God has any real authority over us, and we need not fear the ‘power’ of this world. Believers are not to take up lawsuits among each other, but rather choose to be wronged and cheated. We should be willing to abandon everything in order to maintain love and respect. This was our response in our separation from the diocese. We did not sue to keep the property, and we were loving and respectful even where we disagreed. We are also not to be ‘mastered’ by any worldly thing (addiction, abuse). We are to be compassionate, like-minded, of one spirit and purpose, with no selfish ambition or conceit; we must look to the interests of others, considering them better than ourselves. Our primary motivations are to be obedient members of this Kingdom, since others see our actions. The Kingdom and its values change everything; we recognize we are both sinner and han, and forgiveness is a top priority. END