(Please see note at the end of this message)
REMOVING OUR RELATIONAL ROADBLOCKS
Colossians 2:8,21-23 / 1 Corinthians 13:31
OPENING ILLUSTRATION: When Sherry and I lived in Pottstown, we shopped at the ShopRite Supermarket I town. In fact I would say that at that time it was probably the most popular of the Super Markets. Well there was really only one easy way to get to ShopRite, and that was to cross a small bridge. Well, the time came after we left and moved on to our first ministry that the bridge was scheduled to be repaired and renovated. It was to be a rapid job, to be completed over the period of a couple of weeks. Well, as you can guess, NOTHING moves fast politically speaking. What ultimately began as a few weeks stretched into about 6 months. This ShopRite was effectively cut off from the town. The only way to get there was to go through the High School, winding your way from one campus entrance to another campus exit. The result was that the ShopRite could not stay in business and closed down!
While we were in Clearfield, we came across a mountain mentality. People did not want to go “over the mountain”. So as a result, most of the shopping was done at one of two Ames stores in Clearfield and Phillipsburg, or at the JC Penny store in Clearfield. People did not go “over the mountain” to Dubois, where there was a mall with a variety of stores, and to travel to Altoona – “over the mountain” in another direction was a once or twice a year trek.
What these two illustrations tell us is that roadblocks whether real or perceived block us from a variety of experiences, and will ultimately bring about our downfall. In order to function effectively, roadblocks, and in our case prejudices MUST be removed from our life!
INTRODUCTION: Last week we began to look at the effect that relational roadblocks or prejudices can have on our ability to dream for Christ. We identified two different types of relational roadblocks or prejudices. The first of these roadblocks was those that affect my relationship to those needing Christ. What we saw from the Scripture was that Jesus made removing these types of prejudices a priority in His ministry, a command in His ministry, and a key of our Christian life. The answer to dealing we these types of roadblocks is to change where we look. We need to look at people the way God looks at people – not on the outside so as to notice their differences, but on the inside so as to notice our similarities. For as different as we are on the outside, we all either have a heart that needs Jesus, or we had a heart that needs Jesus. Now we turn our attention inside the church, and to those relationships and prejudices that affect the ability of the body of Christ to function effectively and accomplish what it is meant to do.
PROPOSITION: Internal Roadblocks and Prejudices in the body of Christ will effectively shut down our ability to worship and fulfill our God ordained purpose!
I WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE
A Before we can see the roadblocks and prejudices we have to see what we are first!
B Our purpose is to bring Glory to God!
1 Isaiah 43:7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
2 1 Cor. 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God
INTERNAL PREJUDICES AND ROADBLOCKS KEEP THIS FROM HAPPENING!
INTERNAL PREJUDICES AND ROADBLOCKS DRAW AWAY MY PASSION, ENERGY, AND FOCUS FROM:
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
ULTIMATELY – PREJUDICES AND RELATIONAL ROADBLOCKS ARE FORMS OF WORLDLINESS …
II WHAT IS WORLDLINESS
A WORLDLINESS DEFINED: Col. 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Col. 2:21-23 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
1 Worldliness believes that you are what you do.
2 Worldliness believes that you are what you know.
3 Worldliness believes that you are what you have.
4 Worldliness believes that you are what you look like.
5 Worldliness believes you are what people say and think about you!
B How We Got This Way …
1 When God created everything He created everything – GOOD!
2 Satan cannot create, he can only pervert
3 What Satan is successful in perverting ceases to give glory to God
4 When Satan perverts what is good he does it by moving it from a position of balance – off center so to speak!
III THE CENTER?
A CENTERING ON SALT
Matthew 5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
1 What Salt does
a As salt is to meat, so we are to PRESERVE what is good in the world around us.
b As salt is to a wound, so we are to offer PURITY and HEALING to the world around us.
c As salt is to taste, we are to IMPROVE the flavor of our world.
2 We are warned NOT to become saltless
a Saltlessness – blending with society
1) Protection in blending
2) Looks to everything around to determine what we will do or be.
b Saltlesssness adapts the message and belief
1) Theology that goes against society is downplayed
2) Ethics and morality that are not the trend are avoided
3) Areas of conflict are let alone.
SALTLESSNESS SEARCHES FOR COMMON GROUND AND COMMON GROUND IS ALWAYS AT THE LOWEST POINT
SALTLESSNESS IS ACCOMMODATION!
Accommodation within the church builds a relational roadblock and a prejudice towards the gospel.
Accommodation lets the SEEKER, not the SCRIPTURE control our activity
Accommodation lets the inmates run the asylum!
3 Saltiness is maintained when we
a Stand on the Word of God
Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
1 Kings 18:21 Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing.
ACCOMMODATION IS UNACCEPTABLE – EVEN IF IT WORKS!
1) Knowing what is wrong and standing against it
2) Knowing what is right and standing for it
c Pointing out the need of the gospel, not promoting “feel good” Christianity
Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mark 8:36-37 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
B CENTERING ON LIGHT
1 What Light Does
a Light PUSHES darkness away
b Light INVADES its world
c Light REVEALS what is hidden or lost
2 We Are Warned not to become HIDDEN light
a Hidden Light is Tribalism – Our own way of doing things
b Hidden Light is an attitude of superiority
c Hidden Light is self-imposed ISOLATION
1) Non-biblical prohibitions are added
2) We look to rules rather than discernment
3) Isolation is preferred over involvement (stretching too thin, not enough time)
4) We become judgers rather than lovers
5) We push conformity over acceptance
6) We look to indoctrinate rather than educate
Once Again – Worldliness is:
Worldliness believes that you are what you do.
Worldliness believes that you are what you know.
Worldliness believes that you are what you have.
Worldliness believes that you are what you look like.
Worldliness believes you are what people say and think about you!
3 Light is restored when we conform to the right thing
a Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
1) We are not to be conformed to the world
2) The word conform here means to conform ones self to the pattern of another
b Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
1) We have been predestined (limited in advance) to be conformed (sharing the likeness, similarity in form) to Jesus
SALTLESSNESS – ACCOMMODATION SAYS, “PEOPLE WILL TELL US WHAT IS RIGHT”
Problem#1 - People without Christ are dead
Problem#2 - People love darkness more than light
ACCOMMODATION PUTS A ROADBLOCK AND A PREJUDICE BETWEEN THE GOSPEL AND PEOPLE
HIDDEN LIGHT – ISOLATIONISM SAYS, “WE WILL TELLS US WHAT IS RIGHT”
Problem#1 – Acceptance is based on conformity
Problem#2 – Preferences become the standard
ISOLATIONISM PUTS A ROADBLOCK AND A PREJUDICE BETWEEN ME AND PEOPLE
IV OUR GOAL – FRUITFULNESS (not accommodation or isolation)
A Fruitfulness is repentance -- Matthew 3:8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
B Fruitfulness is Living the Truth -- Col. 1:10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
C Fruitfulness is Giving -- Romans 15:28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.
D Fruitfulness is Understanding Doctrine -- Romans 1:13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
E Fruitfulness is Converts -- 1 Cor. 16:15 You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts (firstfruits) in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers,
F Fruitfulness is Changed Lives -- Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
How will we know we have arrived – Nobody says it better than Jesus:
1 Cor. 14:24-25 But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"
NOTE: I am tremendously grateful for the ministry of Pastor Randy from the First Baptist Church of Perkasie Pennsylvania. Much of this material comes as a result of his ministry at a men’s retreat. Though reworked, and revamped, without the previous study and diligence of Pastor Randy, this message would not have been possible.
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