"I Need a Hero," has been sung by many over the years. Our stories and movies are filled with a longing for a real hero. In Romans Chapter 15 verses 1 to 6 we see the real hero of life, Jesus, his quest, and how we encounter this hero.
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Music: Achaidh Cheide - Celtic by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Romans chapter 15 verses 1 to 6
Introduction: Bonny Tyler/ Shrek 2 –
Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
We search everywhere for a hero to make this life better. Get it right, or you get the wrong one- lover, politician, an intellectual, a sportsman.
1. The Hero of our Story: power is so easily abused- Michael Foucault.
Who he was- But here is our blueprint/ model of the greatest strength expressed in the greatest gentleness: Christ himself v.5. If anyone was stronger then it was he. Here was God in the flesh, the One who had received the adulation of myriads of angels, for whom all the creation was made to glorify, and yet- Philippians chapter 2. Of no account- in order to serve (This is the drama of the dogma!) people like you and me!
What he did- V.3 – from Psalm 69: Jesus takes the scorn placed upon God!
- Now the weak believers heap insults on the strong ones. People may have every right to slag us off, but when Christ gave himself up to death, it was like he was taking the slagging in our place. Every accusation people could hurl at you was hurled at the One who should only have the praise of the whole of creation being hurled at him. Do you get any idea of the value that places upon you that the creator of the universe would undergo that for you!!??
Implication: And you worry about what other people think about you, you lose sleep if you don’t get enough likes online, and responses every night on Snapchat! That’s why Youtube disabled the dislike feature!! You are following the wrong stories! This is key to transforming so many of the mental health issues that afflict our age in our celebrity culture- the obsession with what others think about how we look, who we are with, what we wear, and how high we are in our career (instead of how satisfying and creative our work is), etc is all answered in the drama of this dogma- this truth- that the insults have fallen on him. And if he who was so great stooped so low as to take it, then we too can take a few misunderstandings and insults if it helps to keep the peace.
2. The Quest of the Hero - to restore the kingdom- next step is to see how this dogma now affects this life: v.6 with one mind…v.5 same attitude….as your life gets entwined within the eternal story of Christ’s love then your story is going to change.
The building site of community v.2
- Compare to architect’s model of a new community – gives us a taste of what is coming. The church is meant to give people, ourselves included, plus the watching world - a sense of what is coming in the New Heavens and the New Earth. In fact- love your neighbor in the same way.
- Church often fails- v.1 one particular danger is the bulldozers who are strong and use that to please themselves- i.e. make choices without any consideration for other believer’s consciences, with the effect that it damages – knocks down the walls of faith, the wall of confidence, the sitting room of communion and fellowship with each other, the kitchen of hospitality.
- The West is full of de-churched people and many, though perhaps not most, have been wounded for all kinds of reasons. But here the specific danger is the Gentile Christians who had a stronger grasp on their freedom in Christ were ready to trash their Jewish fellow believers.
- It’s a unity of love, not of complete agreement, see ch.14 again. Unity is not the final goal- praising God is. But when the quarreling is over then God can be truly praised as he should.
3. Encountering the Hero
a. Sourcing the story in the OT stories v.4 – a treasure trove of inspiration- left unopened in the attic because you don’t have the key- the understanding of how to read the stories with Christ as the hero and you as the object of his quest to save those whose world is being destroyed e.g. Stranger Things- a mirror of darkness that is real and keeps finding expression through our stories of horror, because deep down it’s all true!
- Read the Old Testament and all stories like that- drive my boys nuts watching Netflix- there’s Jesus- there is the devil- there’s us!!! Stories teach us these things so that the story of our life changes other people’s stories too….
- But how well do you know and appreciate the Old Testament? Think back on your church experience how often was it preached on? It really is the treasure in the church’s attic. Yet here is just one example of Psalm 69 fulfilled in Christ, whose example can empower us to hold our strength with gentleness. Not to read the OT is like denying yourself 2/3 of the food in the larder!
b. The Impact of the hero- v4. Stories are meant to lead to action- “Since it is so likely children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” C S Lewis, leading to endurance with people and encouragement.
- V.5- prayer is the oven for this food that sustains us on life’s quest to build a better kingdom.
- Because the God who did things then does things now - Faith takes history into present-day reality and creates a living history. Faith creates a bridge between past experiences and the present. Because God is outside of time, what has happened can happen again. He is not bound by the past nor constrained by present situations that overwhelm us.
c. Creating the Happy Ending- v.6 unity of the kingdom and the true King! And they all lived happily ever after! One voice- Sing!