Summary: What is the difference between a church and a social club? A church family and a group of independent believers who converge in the same location? A church that hits God’s mark and one that misses it? Three principles nurture an “on the mark church wher
An On the Mark Church Where Love Abounds
1. Our lives are constantly hanging by a thread.
2. The horrors of the Asian earthquake and tsunamis have shocked all of us.
3. When human lives are on the line, other things fade in insignificance.
4. And so we pray and give to help rescue and relief efforts, but our efforts cannot bring back the dead, nor can they offer long term comfort to the many people who have lost loved ones.
5. But there is something we can do that makes a lasting impact on lives, and that is to reach people with the Gospel, disciple them to maturity, and glorify God by loving one another.
6. An although we are not working at a feverish pitch as relief volunteers do, we are to consistently moving toward reaching, connecting, and deepening.
7. But it is so easy for the church to get sidetracked.
Main idea: What is the difference between a church and a social club? A church family and a group of independent believers who converge in the same location? A church that hits God’s mark and one that misses it? Three principles nurture an “on the mark church where love abounds.”
I. The Principle of CONSIDERATION (1-6)
1. It means we do not merely seek to advance our own AGENDAS, but that we look out for others as well, as Christ did (1-4); we seek to sustain others, give room for others to be different, and show a spirit of concern…just as a gentleman should get the door for a woman or a man carrying a heavy box, so the strong must look out for the weak…
(1) note: Paul is not afraid to label people weak….
(2) these people are not ready to be confronted (that will drive them away)
(3) people that are weak in the faith do not understand stronger believers; strong believers do not make sense to them…so if you are well grounded in Scripture and have tried to make Christ the Lord of your life, you need to remember what it was like when you were a new or weak believer…
· We are to do this to help edify (build up) others!
· Please understand: if we were to put into one word what church gatherings are about, it would be edify… Christ set the example: He came to bless others, not to please Himself…edification includes worship, as we will see in a few moments, but it is the broad term that encompasses what a church is supposed to do when it gathers…
· The Scriptures nurture us privately so that we may strengthen others; if we do not
take in, it then becomes hard to dish out; the well runs dry
· The implication is that all Scripture is profitable for us to study, even the Old Testament, because we can find principles there to apply to the church age…
2. Consideration is AMPLIFIED by: (verse 5)
(1). ENDURANCE…you are there for others and they are there for you; you are serving the Lord faithfully for the long haul; it demonstrates that we need to be patient with people and take the time to explain and lead them along…
(2). ENCOURAGEMENT…you are seeking to build up others with positive, appreciative, and affirming words…
The famous stock broker, Charles Schwab, once said, "I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism." (Source: Neal Gray, Sermoncentral)
(3) UNITY…unity not based on race, politics, education, or income levels, but a common faith and love for Jesus Christ
3. Notice here how much God is pleased when believers of different races and cultures unite their voices in praise to God, rejoicing in Him; in a similar way, God is pleased when His children gather together to praise His Name in song from the heart. The issue here is not how complicated or simple the music is; the issue here is that people who would not normally be together are together because of Christ, and they unite their voices in heartfelt song. It is beautiful in its simplicity. This is the type of worship that pleases God.
(1) true worship requires both the heart and the mouth
(2) that is why we can plan music (for the mouth), but we can’t plan worship
What is the difference between a church and a social club? A church family and a group of independent believers who converge in the same location? A church that hits God’s mark and one that misses it?
Churches that hit the mark embrace the principle of consideration.
II. The Principle of MISSION (7-12)
1. The church: a COMMUNITY of believing Jews and Gentiles