Summary: To be a biblical church we have to stop making excuses for not serving and just get involved.
FOCAL POINT: A BIBLICAL CHURCH
ME: It has been about 10 years ago since I took a speech class in college. At that point in time, I really hated standing up in front of people and talking about anything. In fact, I even skipped class once so I did not have to give a speech. I never would have thought that I would be giving a speech every single week just a few years later. The reason I tell you all of that is because one week when we had to give speeches, a young man who was an orthodox Jew, gave us a speech on the importance of one of the religious elements they use during their times of prayer. They are called “Tefillin” or phylacteries. They are small leather boxes that contain parchments with specific verses from scripture written on them, and they have leather straps that run through the leather boxes. One of the leather boxes is worn on the head between the eyes. The other box is worn on the arm, opposite the heart. Tefillin are worn on the head to remind Jews to subject their thoughts to God’s service, on the arm to remind Jews to subject their deeds to God’s service, and opposite the heart to remind Jews to subject their hearts’ desires to God’s service. And one of the verses contained in their phylacteries is our memory verse for this week. Take a look at Deuteronomy 11:18. Lets read it together with great excitement. “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.” Go ahead and underline the words, commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine.
WE: How committed to God’s word are you? What do you do to help remind yourself to carry out with all your heart everything that God speaks through the Bible? Do you memorize scripture? Do you maybe write scripture down on 3X5 cards and tape them up around the house? Do you carry Scripture in your wallet or your purse so you can pull it out to remind yourself to live according to the word of God?
GOD: When we commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the word of God, we remind ourselves to subject our entire lives, our minds, our hearts and all of our desires to God’s purposes. And when we subject our entire lives, minds, hearts and desires on God’s purposes, our focus should be on serving God and the best way we can serve God is by serving each other. That is you first fill in. John 15:12-13 in your notes says, “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
So, if we are to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the words of Christ, what are we to committed to doing? We are committed to showing love by supporting, comforting, and assisting others in ways that help them experience, understand and get acquainted with Christ better. So to be a biblical church we must come together to support, comfort, and assist others, not to be supported, comforted and assisted. Now maybe you are thinking to yourself that just seems wrong. Shouldn’t we come to church to find help? Shouldn’t we come to church to find assistance? Shouldn’t we come to church to find comfort? Take a look at Acts 20:35 in your notes. Lets read it together. It says, “Remember that our Lord Jesus said, "More blessings come from giving than from receiving." The apostle Paul is telling us that Jesus said, if we want to live happier, more contented, more joy filled lives, if we want to have our needs met, we must be on the giving side more often than the receiving side. More blessings come from giving than from receiving.
I want you to turn to your neighbor and say, if you want to have your needs met, serve more often.
But you know what I have noticed, we are really some pretty selfish people. I mean, lets be honest. When we come to church, we want to walk away feeling like our needs are met, and we aren’t really all that concerned about one another’s needs. And when opportunities arise to serve, comfort, support or assist someone else, we have many excuses about why we can’t serve. Lets quickly take a look at 3 excuses we often give for not serving.
1. I am too tired. Have you ever used that excuse for not taking an opportunity to serve at church? The disciples used that excuse one time. They had been on a missionary journey, they had went out each with a buddy and healed people, met people’s needs, preached, cast out demons, and just laid down their lives for the cause of Christ. They committed themselves wholeheartedly to their task. And when that task was over, they were tired, worn out and hungry. So Jesus called a local retreat center, with a spa, so they could get away and get some much needed rest and relaxation, but people found out where they were and followed them to their little getaway, and Jesus saw that they were a bunch of hurting, hopeless, wounded people, and He went to them and supported, comforted and assisted them. And the disciples got angry. Their like, you know Jesus, we just wanted to have one day off from this whole serving thing. We have spent our selves for days now, we are tired and worn out, and we just want to be comforted. We want to spend some time with you and get spiritually fed.