Summary: What are the qualities and characteristics of a church God is seeking to bless?
The Church God Blesses: Part Two
Rev. Gary A. Shockley
March 17, 2002
“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
There are churches all over the world. Some have been around a long, long time. Some are brand new and meeting in strange places. But what kind of church does God search for and seek to bless?
1. First and foremost a God-blessed church has a great commitment to the great commandment. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Everything a God-blessed church is and does flows out of a passionate and unquenchable love for God and a desire to be and to grow in relationship with Him.
Last week we talked about Christianity as a kind of renegade faith that is not about religion but about relationship. It’s not about rules, regulations and rituals but about a personal, growing, life-transforming relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
A God-blessed church has a great commitment to the great commandment.
2. A God-blessed church has a great commitment to the great commission. “Therefore, Jesus said, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20) And Jesus said, “in addition to the first and greatest commandment- to love God with heart, mind and soul—is a second and equally important commandment—to love our neighbor as ourselves.”
A God-blessed church is always reaching out to meet people where they are-- to find a need and fill it and to find a hurt and heal it-- and to help others experience God’s love for themselves. A great commitment to the great commission.
3. I want to add what I believe is a third quality found in God-blessed churches and that is a great commitment to a great community—a passionate and unquenchable love for each other as the people of God.
Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples!” (John 13:35) A fighting, quarreling, bickering church, where people are polarized and doing their own thing is evidence that God’s blessing is not there. Have you ever been in a church like that? You can smell it as soon as you open the door. You can feel the ugly vibes in the air!
A God-blessed church has a great commitment to a great community. It we will be committed to these two things:
Cooperation- I heard someone say there are two ways Christians are united together. One is be being frozen together, and the other is by being melted together. Guess which one God wants?
In a peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn’t do it. “What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?” Linus asks. “These five fingers,” says Lucy. “Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.” “Which channel do you want?” Linus asks. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?”
A God-blessed church is filled with people who function as a team. United by a common mission, guided by a shared vision, committed to doing God’s will together.
Listen again to what the Bible says about cooperation in Philippians 2:1-2
There is no room in the kingdom of God—and I would add in a God-blessed church- for lone rangers! We are in this together or we are not in it at all! A great commitment to a great community means cooperation. Secondly, I believe it requires:
Conflict Resolution- conflict is an inevitable part of human relationships. If you don’t experience some conflict in your marriage, your parenting, your work, your family—then you’re probably dead or you’re not being very real with others.
Anyone who knows me well will tell you I am not afraid of conflict. In fact my staff would probably tell you that I enjoy creating a certain amount of conflict. I see that as part of my job. Know why? Because out of conflict comes incredible creativity, new directions, new relationships, new possibilities—if you deal with it properly. That’s the key!
The Bible can inform us here. We read in the book of James chapter one verse 19, “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight.”
Now, does the Bible say, “Never get angry? Never be in conflict with another person?” No, because God knows as emotional creatures that’s going to happen. There are times when we’re going to hurt or be hurt by someone’s words or actions. God’s Word says, in Ephesians 4:26, “Don’t sin by letting that anger you feel gain control over you.” Circle “gain control.” And then it continues, “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.” In other words, when you are angry at someone—and you will be—whether it’s your spouse, child, parent, co-worker, church member—whoever it will be—don’t sit on it—work quickly to resolve the conflict.