JOSHUA 7: DEADLY SINS IN THE CAMP
Joshua 7 is a story about a man who stole gold and silver and hid the items under his tent. The man's disobedience impacted Israel in at least two negative ways: most importantly their relationship with God suffered, and second they lost in battles. The battle losses tipped off Joshua that something was more deeply wrong. As you read the story, thank God for our savior who has reversed sin in a radical way, who took the sin of humanity and reversed the curse on humanity that sin brings.
Meanwhile, this blog will be more application of how The Journey deals with sin in our camp. The stoning found in this story (Joshua 7) has stopped, but we still must deal with our sins in biblical, Christ-centered, Holy Spirit-led ways. The Journey is getting out of the condemnation racket and into the loving business as a church! During a recent preaching series on Romans, I said that welcoming Gentiles into the Jewish family tree would have felt to Jews like we Christians welcoming immigrants, people from the LGBT community, and Muslims.
In naming specific groups that have been targeted for condemnation by some Christians, I wanted us to feel the intensity of how Paul's use of Gentile inclusion in the Jewish family tree would have felt to Jewish followers of Jesus. It worked, although some viewed these words and the surrounding issues as too political. Yes, we're all learning to align our politics according to our faith, not align our faith according to our politics. But what's more important is what's happening within each one of us as we share life together. Those contemporary replacement words for "Gentile" have led to a few in our congregation to ask, “Does loving and including all people mean we include all people’s values and sin practices?” Others have asked, "When are we going to call sin a sin?" in reference to the sins of others. Good questions.
My response to these questions has been fairly consistent. How about we call sin a sin today? Let's call some things you do a sin. Where shall we start? Welcoming all people doesn't mean we welcome all values or sins into the congregation, including some of yours and mine. My lust, my greed, my coveting, my disobedience is not welcome. The tradition of biblical teaching of our local church and most of the Christian world is that sex outside of marriage of a man and woman is sinful. As a church body, we do not make snap judgments of heterosexual or homosexual people, but we walk closely beside one another and care about one another taking next steps with Jesus as the Holy Spirit convicts each of us of our own sins.
Leaders of The Journey are in regular confessional conversations where confession goes both ways. We talk with members of the congregation regularly who may be making questionable decisions or practicing sin. We share good news that God loves each person we counsel with, but we also talk frankly about what we believe may be biblically right, wrong, or neutral in their actions. We also consider how each person is serving in the church and whether or not it's best to serve in a particular area at that time. We counsel and also offer further clinical counseling for people through recommended counselors in Tulsa.
Walking with others in love rather than condemning can still be a way to take life and sin seriously. I regularly preach confessionally and call the congregation to confess sins as the Holy Spirit convicts us each of our own sins. Sermons, including the Romans series, address sin directly. Our shepherds, staff, and Bible study leaders all teach directly from scripture and from their hearts about sin that damages God's image in us and divides us from one another.
Below this blog is a biblical study outline of my two-part sermon on sexuality in 2016.
Finally, when we face difficult issues or conversations, we view these as opportunities to grow, learn, and be changed. Therefore, The Journey leadership has planned several ways to address difficult issues within the next stage of The Bible Project. We call this plan "Courageous Conversations" and this is explained further here.
Another thing you can do in order to gain a better understanding of the issues discussed above is go to the E3 Conference with us in October 2018.
I also recommend you buy and read Terry Ewing's Stickman's Battles: Wrestling with the Seven Deadly Sins and Finding Hope, Growth, Healing, to learn more about sins that can harm your relationship with God and others.
Sex and the Body of Christ Part 1 (1 Cor 5-6)
Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-20
Introduction: Sexual ethics are important to God from the beginning (Gen 1-2)
Our sexual ethics have been broken and overly defined by our culture.
Paul knew sexual immorality would corrupt body of Christ (5:1-5, 2,6)
Something good (embrace) twisted to pride: All people doesn’t mean we adopt all morals
My body, my rules! (1 Cor 6:12)
I can’t help it, it’s how God made me! (1 Cor 6:13) doesn’t excuse you from Jesus making rules of your life, not you.
Ask God to redeem our sexual ethics to honor the body of Christ.
Get rid of the yeast (old ways, bad apple rots the bushel) Don’t judge? Yes, in church we need to judge wisely [Read 1 Cor 6-13]
Passover image, Cross - bought us (6:19b-20)
We’re not beasts, nor angels but icons (image bearers), temples of Holy Spirit (6:19)
God’s sexual ethic is in very basic language.
Gen 2:24: Marriage is a covenant between man and woman that sex binds in unity, procreation, sacrament (like God in marriage to Israel, Christ to church)
Illicit or immoral sex with male or female outside marriage is sin, fornication, adultery.
Dear Abby, I am a twenty-three year old liberated woman who has been on the pill for two years. It's getting expensive and I think my boyfriend should share half the cost, but I don't know him well enough to discuss money with him.
Truth and sincerity (today we call that authenticity), not police but storytellers -- “that’s what some of you were” (6:9-11)
Communion: Conversation, Confession, Prayer, Fleeing like Joseph (6:18)
Sex and the Body of Christ Part 2 (1 Cor 5-6)
Read 1 Corinthians 7
Marriage as a yoke/covenant: unity, procreation, sacrament
Better to marry than to burn (1 Cor 7:9) - mother and daughter between abstaining and waiting.
Parental Myth: don’t get married for sex.
Romantic Myth: as long as you’re in love, have sex.
What does singleness teach the body of Christ?
Church myth: marriage and family all that
Jesus and Paul were single
Singles are 100% whole here.
What can we learn from singleness? Vacancy for God
Paul: 1 Cor 7:32-35
Singles can teach, raise children, contribute as married people can
What does marriage teach the body of Christ?
Sacrament: Actualizing the story of God-Israel, Christ and church
High in fidelity, faithfulness, children
A new set of spiritually forming questions about sex for the body of Christ
How far? (Rotundra story) – What is redemptive, wise, loving, golden rule?
I do. – We will. The church’s role in faithfulness. Accountable2You
Not police but storytellers, conversation, confession, church talking, not just young but all ages to each other.
Resources for Redeeming Sexual Ethics in the Body of Christ
Brenna and Stan Jones, God’s Design for Sex (NavPress, 2007).
The Taylors have used this four-book series for their children, with age-appropriate guidance for parents and children about God’s design for sexuality.
Lauren Winner, Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity (Brazos Press, 2005).
N.T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians (Westminster/John Knox, 2011).
Chris Doran, “Thoughtful Considerations on LGBTQ Issues”
3 Sessions at Pepperdine Lectures, 2016
William J Webb, Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis (IVP Academic, 2001).
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.