Luke 18

 

This Christmas season I am going to preach a series on Grace.

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Jesus became flesh, He became a man to show us grace and truth. He came to die on the cross so we could experience grace and truth.  So, I want us to explore a few aspects of grace over the next few weeks.

 

Today I want us to talk about fairness.

Have you every yelled, “That’s not fair!”  Have your kids ever said, that’s not fair.

 

On college campuses and from city to city we see a society that is yelling, “That’s not fair!” The election wasn’t fair, the person I wanted to win did not win.  So, they protest and burn the American flag.  These grown adults are whining and complaining – they are throwing a violent temper tantrum.

That is what we discussed last week. I encouraged us to not be whiners but to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  I have voted for many candidates that did not win but I respected the winner (the Bible says to) and was thankful that we live in the greatest country in the world.  I was thankful that no matter who controls the government they could not control my faith and devotion to Jesus.

 

Why do we have such a strong sense of fairness?  Why do kids at an early age declare, “It’s not fair”?

Scientist have been trying to prove that fairness and morality has evolved. Because some chimps and birds practice fairness that the building blocks for morality is part of evolution.  (Evolution did not happen – God created) Scientist want to prove that you don’t need God to have morality; morality came first then a belief in God.  (The belief in God was a way to put the morality that was evolving in the community of animals into context to control.  But controlling doesn’t sound very fair.)

Scientist are studying babies as young as 15 months to prove that babies have a negative reaction when food is not distributed equally. The older kids become the more they want others to have the same.  Unless having the same amount means they must sacrifice what they already have. Everyone wants to share when they don’t have as much, they don’t want to share when they are the ones who must give up what they have.

 

No one cries, “That’s not fair” when they are the one with the biggest piece of pumpkin pie.

Fairness is always seen from a negative point of view.

If you think it is unfair then you give up what you have to make it equal. That is not how people think.

 

Should we be fair? Is God Fair?

It depends on your definition of fair. The way fairness is thrown around today God is not fair and we shouldn’t be fair.  Fair today means everyone is equal.

Sorry, everyone is not equal in talent or intellect.  You can wish all you want.  People don’t start on the same level playing field but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow and become the best you can be.

I could complain that I was not born into a loving two parent home that raised me in a secure environment. Others could accuse me of having an unfair advantage because I was adopted at an early age.  Neither aspect of my life was fair – neither was equal to others.

Who cares? The whiners care.

We are not victims, we all have an opportunity to be our best. Some same, “Equal opportunity not equal outcome” that is not really true either; I would accept “personal opportunity not equal outcome.”

Everyone should have an opportunity to be their best, to accomplish all they can. Everyone does not get the same results even with the same amount of effort.

 

But what about treating people fairly? Should we as Christians be fair?  Yes, we should treat all with respect and love but again our society has confused what that looks like. Here is a good quote:

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense.”

 

What does biblical love look like? What does biblical respect look like?  I accept you and want you to become all God wants you to become.  You have free will to live how you like but I will encourage you to live to please God.  I love you enough not to accept your lies or your destructive behavior.

 

Fairness is not letting you get your way. Fairness is not showing you favoritism.  Justice and fairness mean you are equal under the same rules.  If you do the crime you will do the time – no matter who you are.

In the Old Testament we see the Justice of God – people rebelled they were punished.  We don’t like that because that means we are guilty.

In the New Testament we see the Unfairness of God – people rebelled and they were not punished.

That is why people like the New Testament God and not the Old Testament God – God is God, He is the same in both Testaments. We only see fairness from a negative perspective – we think God is mean in the Old Testament because He holds people to His standards and holiness.

In the New Testament we don’t see any unfairness because we get away with what we have done wrong. The unfairness in the New Testament was done to someone else and we are ok with that.  Jesus took the punishment that we deserved by dying on the cross.  We did the crime and “Jesus did the time.”

 

So, God is not fair and that is a good thing. So, should we be fair? No

Yes, love people like Jesus loved people; but Jesus didn’t love fairly.  Jesus loved people that did not deserve to be loved.  So, love but don’t be fair.

That gives us a brain cramp because we have always been taught to be fair, to share, to be equal and in some situations, that can happen.   What we need to focus on is loving equally; not playing favorites, treating everyone as you would want to be treated, you want to be treated unfairly because you don’t deserve to be loved.

 

Matthew 7:12  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

 

James 2:8  If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9  But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

 

As Christians we must not show favoritism, we can’t treat people differently because of who they are, what they look like or their standing in society. Love them and share Jesus with them equally.

 

Don’t give people what they deserve give people what they need. Be unfair.

 

Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20  On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Treating others unfairly is giving love when wrath is deserved. When someone hurts you, when they commit the crime you do the time; that is being like Jesus.

 

Which means don’t claim to be treated fairly. We cry, “That’s not fair.”  As a Christian you should not worry about being treated fairly.  Sure it would be nice if people were nice to you but that is not what fairness is.

 

We are treated with evil and we respond in love. Fairness says I treat the evil person and the good person the same; someone will be treated unfairly.

 

When you are treated unfairly how will you respond?

Hebrews 10:32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34  You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

 

Accept mistreatment now because you know you will be on the good side of unfair treat when you die.

Unfair now and unfair later – Now it will hurt; later you will rejoice.

 

(Much of the time what we think is mistreatment is that we didn’t get our way. We are acting like the protestors in the streets.)

 

We need an eternal mindset about fairness – we don’t want God to treat us fairly, why should we care if others treat us fairly now?

That is being selfish – being treated fairly now means we get all the benefits and then being treated unfairly by God means we get all the benefits. This attitude shows we are selfish.

Accept being unfairly treated now so we can be unfairly treated later.

 

Luke 18:9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. 12  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13  “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14  “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

“That’s not fair.” My point is that Grace is not fair.

The man who was “good” was not forgiven and the man who asked for grace was given it.

 

Video – Good o Meter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrLzYw6ULYw)

 

That’s not fair – Praise God we don’t get what we deserve

 

Do you want what you deserve from God? NO

Then accept His grace today.

Decide to Follow Him –

Will you accept the unfair treatment of God?

We all deserve to go to Hell but by Jesus dying on the cross we don’t have to get what we deserve.

Accept God’s grace by repenting of your sins and being immersed into Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and the indwelling gift of God the Holy Spirit.