Summary: Having a grateful attitude helps make the church great.
A Great-full Church
I have a method to my madness. My message title of
A Great-full church. English teachers please know, I can spell.
First of all when I think of the word grateful, I think of an attitude. A way of living that we are grateful for our salvation, grateful that Jesus Christ would die for me.
But what does it mean to be grateful? Dictionary.com says
To be grateful is:
1. warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful: I am grateful to you for your help.
2. expressing or actuated by gratitude: a grateful letter.
3. pleasing to the mind or senses; agreeable or welcome; refreshing: a grateful breeze.
Listen a grateful attitude affects us and others. What about a church? How can you tell the difference between a grateful church and ungrateful church?
In his book, When God Builds A Church, pastor Bob Russell makes the following observation. “Many churches in America are dead. They aren’t evangelizing, they’ve quit sending missionaries to the field, and they’re having financial problems. Their leaders aren’t humble people with vision and a desire to change, the congregation doesn’t get along, they don’t worship God, they don’t give generously, they don’t care about evangelism, they don’t do things with excellence, or God’s truth isn’t being spoken from the pulpit.” (pg.10)
He then outlines ten principles for a Growing Dynamic Church. As much as I agree with his assessment I believe the Apostle Paul who wrote this letter to the church at Colossae determined that a Great church is one that is built on 4 pillars and a purpose.
I. The Pillars of a Great church (v.3-5)
Paul speaking to the church says that we give thanks to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ for you church. You are a great church and then he he lists the four pillars this great church was built upon.
A. Prayer (v.3) They prayed for each other. It wasn’t something they did every now and then they prayed continually. The Bible says in 1Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” The Bible also tells us to, “Pray without ceasing.”
It’s an attitude of continual prayer and church family the ministers of the church need your prayers.
There have been times as a pastor that I wanted to just quit. The enemy had me right where he wanted me and then some dear saint reminds me in church, or sends me a card, or calls me just to tell me they are praying for me. We must always remember to pray for one another.
B. Faith (v.4a) their faith was known. Paul heard about their faith from prison. Folks when a church is Great for God people hear about it in the community. The community will see great things form this kind of church because the church has placed it’s faith in Christ alone for its every need.
The preacher’s outline Bible says it this way, “Faith in Christ is like a sphere, an area, a territory, a world in which the
believer lives. He believes in Christ Jesus; therefore, he lives within the sphere or world of that belief. He governs his life by Christ. He does nothing that his faith in Christ forbids. He has accepted the sphere and area and territory of Christ as the world in which he is to live. Therefore, the believer lives and moves and has his being in that world, in the faith of Christ. Again, his faith in Christ becomes his very world, the great pillar of his life.”
The church that lives within this sphere of faith does great things for God. When that church accepts its assignment in the kingdom it can touch the world from wherever it exists in the world.
C. Love (v.4b) They had great love for one another. They loved the saints and their love spilled over into the community. The reputation of the church is a church of brotherly love.
The Apostle Peter described Christian growth, spiritual maturity with seven virtues in 2 Peter 1:5-7. Listen to v.7, “And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
Add to our godliness, brotherly kindness, literally in the Greek, Philadelphia, brotherly love, and add to that love, the agape love of Christ. That is how the church is to love one another.
When we honor others we find out what it takes to make them feel loved...Lost people in the community, need to know the church cares more about them, then just getting them in church.
The church gets the honor of being a blessing to other churches and the community. The Bible says, Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10