Summary: Sixth in a series on the early church. This message focuses on balancing the five purposes of the church.
Balance is really important in our lives:
• When we first learn to walk, the biggest hurdle we face is not usually that we don’t have enough strength; it’s that we have to figure out how to stay balanced
• On our cars, it’s important to keep our tires balanced. Anyone who has ever tried to drive at high speeds with a tire that’s out of balance knows that the whole car can shake violently.
• Right now we’re in the middle of football season, and it seems like every week we listen to football coaches who talk about the need to have balance – a balance among their offense, defense, and special teams, and, on offense, a balance between the run and the pass.
• Most of us make sure we balance our checkbooks each month – except that I am aware of a few bankers here in our congregation that seem to figure that’s not necessary.
This week I heard about a couple who was having a lot of conflict over balancing the checkbook. Tired of having to balance his wife’s checkbook, the husband made a deal with her; he would look at it, but only after she had spent a few hours trying to wrestle it into shape. The following night, after spending hours poring over stubs and figures, the wife said proudly, ’I’ve done it! I made it balance!’
Impressed, her husband came over to take a look. ’Let’s see... mortgage 550.00, electricity 70.50, phone 35.00.’ His brow wrinkled as he read the last entry. ’It says here ESP, $615. What the heck is that?’ ’Oh,’ she said, ’That means, Error Some Place!’
• Even God is a God of balance
God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael, the archangel, found Him resting on the seventh day. he inquired of God. "Where have you been?" God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction, and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look, Michael. Look what I’ve made."
Archangel Michael looked puzzled, and said, "What is it?"
"It’s a planet," replied God, "and I’ve put Life on it. I’m going to call it Earth and it’s going to be a great place of balance."
"Balance?" inquired Michael, "I’m still confused."
God explained, pointing to different parts of earth. "For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, while southern Europe is going to be poor. Over there I’ve placed a continent of white people, and over there is a continent of black people. Balance in all things," God continued pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice."
The Archangel, impressed by God’s work, then pointed to a land area and said "What’s that one?" "Ah," said God "That’s Washington State, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful mountains, rivers and streams, lakes, forests, hills and plains. The people from Washington State are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent, and humorous, and they are going to be found traveling the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, high achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats, and carriers of peace."
Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then asked, "But what about balance, God? You said there would be balance." God smiled, "There is another Washington... Wait until you see the idiots I put there."
Balance is also important for us as a body of believers – both in our individual lives and in our corporate body. And I think that was one of the attributes of the early church that allowed it to be great.
This is the sixth week in a row now that we’ve started our message with this first sentence from Thom Rainer’s book. Let’s see if you can remember it before Dave puts it up on the screen:
“It is a sin to be good if God has called us to be great.”
So far, we’ve looked at several keys to becoming a great church:
• Sometimes we have to wait on God. But while we wait, we continue to pray, study Gods’ Word and carry out the work God has already called us to do.
• We need to plug into the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to make sure that our lives are fertile so that God can fill us with His Spirit.
• We need to keep our focus on the resurrection. Our entire faith rests on that historical event.
• We need to live a lifestyle of repentance. We need to replace our own heart and mind with God’s.
And this morning, as I’m sure you’ve already figured out, we’re going to focus on the idea of balance.
Read Acts 2:42-47
In today’s culture, it’s interesting to ask people, and especially pastors, what their church is like. And the usual response might be something like this: