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SermonThink Like Jesus Christ
An all-creatures Bible Message

Think Like Jesus Christ
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
17 September 2017
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Matthew 5:3, 7, 48
Romans 14:1-12
1 Corinthians 2:16

Think like Jesus Christ is a reminder that we all should be giving ourselves, for it is most likely that’s the only way we are going to be able to live in the heavenly will of God.
 
Perhaps some of us may even believe that we can’t really think like Jesus Christ, and if you are one of them, you’re wrong, for Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:16…

16. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
NASB

Believe it; it’s true.
 
This also means that we can think like Jesus Christ, or at least we should.
 
Jesus taught the people to see and understand the Hebrew Scriptures through what He was teaching them, and if and when they found that their understanding was being confused by the teachings and the tradition of the religious leaders, they were to follow what Jesus said and taught them.
 
So, let’s do our very best to think like Jesus Christ as we look at Romans 14:1-12…

1. Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

This is one of those verses that can be very confusing and sounds like a person who is “weak in faith” has very little faith, but we believe that we should see this statement through something that Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:3…

3. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
NASB

Being a person who is “weak in faith,” as Paul writes, sounds a whole lot like a person who is “poor in spirit,” but Jesus goes on and tells us why a person who is “poor in spirit” is blessed; because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 
Why does Jesus say this?
 
We believe that a person who is weak or poor in faith or spirit, is a person who is not set in their mind with what they believe, but they are open to hear the unction of the Holy Spirit teaching them what God wants them to know.

2. One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.

We may never know the full meaning or intent of what Paul is writing or the way in which the text is written.
 
However, in the context of what Paul is writing, we believe that the person who is “weak” has compassion and empathy for the animals and doesn’t want any living being to suffer and die so that they may eat; in contrast, the person who is strong in faith has little or no compassion or empathy for the animals, because they are locked into the teachings and tradition of the religious hierarchy.
 
To us, this is thinking with the mind of Christ.

3. Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him.

We cannot force a person to think like Jesus Christ, we are to just love them into the kingdom of God; we are to just set the example of kingdom living before others and allow them to stand before the Lord according to their own lifestyle, for God sees the true intent of every heart, unlike us.
 
However, since eating and wearing animals causes the animals to suffer horribly, we can ask those people why they don’t feel the fear, pain, and suffering of the animals as we do; and we should do this in an non-judgmental way.
 
More than 35 years ago we ate and wore animal by-products, and various people lovingly showed us the truth about what happens to animals, or told us about it, and we began to change…and we have been vegan for more than 30 years.
 
We need to think about how we woke up to the truth, and what were the most effective things that other people helped us to understand, and we need to relate to others in the same way.
 
Think about what we are told in Matthew 5:7

7. Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
NIV

This is similar to the golden rule, for as we show mercy to all other living beings without expecting any reward, we will be shown mercy from our Father who is in heaven.
 
True mercy has no limits; we cannot selectively choose who will receive our mercy and who will not; it must be shown equally to all humans and other animals, or it is not the kind of mercy that Jesus is telling us about.
 
Let’s return to what Paul wrote…

4. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

This is what we meant about people who hang on to their hardness of heart, because they prefer the corrupt ways of this world instead of the heavenly will of God; they will have to answer to God for their actions.

5. One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind.

This is like observing the sabbath day.
 
Jesus seems to teach us that every day should be as a sabbath day to the Lord; not that we can’t work or go shopping, but that in everything we do and say, we do to honor the Lord and His heavenly will.

6. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

People all the time are thanking the Lord for ungodly things, but that doesn’t make it acceptable to the Lord.
 
Think about what we said about being merciful; if someone is eating animal flesh, are they being merciful to that animal?
 
We don’t believe that there is any way they can be, and as a result, they lose the blessing.

7. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;
 
8. for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.

Is Paul telling us, as Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:48?

48. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
NIV

Perhaps, but maybe not, for to us, the only way we can be perfect is to live according to God’s heavenly will, and this requires us to look clearly at our own way of life and whether or not it is in the heavenly will of God.
 
We need to think like Jesus Christ all the time and leave no room for the devil.

9. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

We don’t believe that this is saying that the Lord accepts everyone, for He is also Lord of those who are going to hell; even though they may not accept Him, He is still Lord of all.

10. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

This is also why God is Lord of all, and why we all need to have the mind of Christ, and think like Jesus Christ.

11. For it is written,
"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall give praise to God."
 
12. So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.
NASB

And if we think about it, it becomes a lot easier to do this if we have the mind of Christ and think like Jesus Christ.
 
It’s not so much how we interpret things or see things or do things, unless they are being done in the heavenly will of God.
 
We constantly need to ask ourselves: how would Jesus act in this situation, how would Jesus interpret this Bible passage, or whatever else may enter our lives or minds.
 
We can think like Jesus Christ.
 
Amen.

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