Topic – Faithful Civility – The Civility of Jesus
Speaker: Steve Moldrup
Date: April 20,2023
We recognize that today we’re more easily “outraged”. We’re conditioned to be more easily “triggered” and “offended”. More thin-skinned.
Our question today is: How is Jesus different from what we see and hear (and do) today?
What if we used 2 Tim 2:23-25 as baseline, the filter thru which we acted?:
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
Not quarrelsome, no foolish or ignorant controversies, be kind, able to teach (knowledgeable of the topic), patient when opposed (vs. reactionary, retaliatory), correcting with gentleness.
WHY? To what end? God may grant repentance leading to truth! Their salvation – not our victory.
WHAT MIGHT THIS LOOK LIKE IN OUR CONTEXT?
There are a number of stories in scripture where we can observe and learn from Jesus and how he handled difficult or contentious situations and people with civility, kindness, wisdom and love. (see Going Deeper below)
OUR CASE STUDY TODAY –
Acts 17:16-34 – Paul in the Athens Areopagus
- What do you notice about how Paul approaches these people?
- His “spirit is provoked” by the idols, out of his love for God and the truth, and out of his concern for them
- (17) “so he reasoned” – not “so he railed, retaliated, shouted”
- (17) “everyday” – persistent; it’s a long strategy, not punch and run
- (18) this strategy provokes interest and dialogue and conversation.
- Some think he’s a fool, a babbler. But he’s not offended or put off by it, he doesn’t retaliate or attack
- some are drawn in and curious about his message – Jesus and Resurrection
- (19) this faithful, civil approach – dialogue, conversation, patience, standing boldly, speaking boldly but civilly – earns him a place with the big thinkers
Some still mocked and ridiculed him, but he somehow let it roll off.
He wisely knew when it was time to leave the discussion (v.33)
And the beautiful fruit is in v.34, “But some men and women joined him and believed”
A good evaluative, diagnostic question for us to consider: What is my aim, my ultimate goal? Is it to WIN, to be right? Or, is it that “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth”?
TO CONSIDER – Rules of Engagement gleaned from scripture:
- Be nice / kind (Prov. 15:1)
- Assume the best first
- Keep it personal – know and use people’s names
- Manners matter – show respect
- Lead with the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5)
- “Lead with your ears, follow with your tongue, let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness does not grow from human anger.” (James 1:19,20)
- Remember the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12)
- Iron sharpens iron. How might “they” be sharpening me? (Prov. 27:17)
- Grinding won’t remove folly; won’t change a heart (Prov. 27:22)
- Gentle words vs harsh words (Prov. 15:1)
- CLARITY WITH CHARITY – seems to be the biblical way
- Say what you mean, mean what you say, don’t say it mean.
The Civility of Jesus: 4 Scripture studies
- Matt. 17:24-27 – Paying the Temple Tax
- Matt. 18:21-25 – The Unforgiving Servant – a cautionary tale
- John 4:4-30,39-42 – The Samaritan Woman at the Well
- John 13:1-20 – Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet -even Judas and Pete
We are excited about all the partnerships that are developing as the launching of Shepherd’s Abbey is getting closer.
Shepherd’s Abbey is a training course developed to help leaders walk with God through the challenges of leading in today’s society. From the current mental health crisis to shifting cultural norms, leaders are faced with unique challenges that shape and influence those in their care.
The Shepherd’s Abbey training consists of six training modules. These modules explore the topics of Christ our Good Shepherd, discovering our core hunger, shepherding in shifting terrain, the tools of a shepherd, shepherding through crisis, and self-shepherding.
What we are praying for you:
Prayer for a busy mind
Lord Jesus, my mind is full today,
swirling with a million thoughts of all the fears and what-ifs, the responsibilities, the hopes, and the expectations.
Will you help me to unload it?
Thought by thought, I place them in your hands.
Fill me instead with your peace and
help me rest in the truth of what you say about me: that I’m your beloved.
How you can pray for us:
- Please pray for a new and exciting opportunity that God is developing to help serve those working in Facilities.
- Please pray for God’s continued provision as the ministry of Collegiate Abbey grows and develops.
- Please pray for our families to experience rest this Summer.
- Please pray for Shepherd’s Abbey as it continues to come together.
- Please pray for wisdom and discernment for Steve and Britton as we develop new partnerships as the ministry continues to expand.