Summary: There are people who seem to say, “Well, here I am. Everybody notice me!” And there are others who say, “There you are. I’ve noticed you.” (*Powerpoint Available - #202)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
(Changed e-mail address: PowerPoint slides used in this sermon are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request - #202.)
ILL. I came across a little ditty that went something like this:
Some go to church to laugh & talk, & some go there to walk the walk.
Some go to church to meet a friend, & some go there an hour to spend.
Some go to church to find a bride, & some go there a fault to hide.
Some go to church to celebrate, & some go there to agitate.
Some go to church to doze & nod, but the wise go there to worship God.
A. Several times we have talked together about worship, & as we did we saw that worship includes many things.
But this morning let’s look at a dimension of worship that is often overlooked. Most of what we usually call worship could be described as “vertical” worship, where we lift up our voices together in praise & prayer to Heaven. But there is also a “horizontal” dimension to worship in which we reach out in fellowship to those around us.
Acts 2:42 says about the early Christians, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching & to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread & to prayer.”
Now the word “fellowship” has as its basic meaning the idea of sharing with one another, of serving one another, of our relationship with one another. And there are many “one another” passages in the Bible.
But this morning I particularly want to call your attention to Romans 16:16 where the Apostle Paul says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” And in this chapter he mentions a number of people to be greeted.
B. Now you realize, of course, that there are some people who expect, even demand, the attention of others.
In Luke 11 Jesus discusses the Pharisees. And if you ever want to find out how not to do it, just study the Pharisees. It seems like those guys never got it right. Jesus is talking about the Pharisees, & He says, “They walk around the market place all dressed up in fine robes. They look so dignified, & they expect a greeting,” He says.
You see, there are people who seem to say, “Well, here I am. Everybody notice me!” And there are others who say, “There you are. I’ve noticed you.” The Pharisees were “Here I am” people. And Jesus is a “There you are” person who really is concerned about others.
In Matthew 5, Jesus said, “Don’t just love your own kind. Don’t just love those who love you & who are nice to you. Why, even the pagans & tax collectors do that.”
And James said, “Never show partiality. When the rich come, don’t just automatically give them the best seats in the house. Treat everybody the same.” In fact, James even said, “If you show partiality to people, then you sin.”
PROP. So let’s consider for a few moments this horizontal aspect of worship as we greet one another & fellowship with each other. We are to reach out to one another - take the initiative - & be generous with our greetings.
PROP. When you do that there are at least 4 things that happen.
I. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE PEOPLE
A. First of all, you acknowledge people. In Romans 16:3 Paul says, “Greet Priscilla & Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.”
Then the goes on to say, “Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. Greet Andronicus & Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, & they were in Christ before I was” [Romans 16:4-7].
Do you feel it? Paul is saying, “Reach out. Extend generous greetings to these people.” Someone has pointed out that about half of the people in this list are either slaves or women, people who had very little influence or power in the community. So Paul is not name-dropping here.
He’s not saying, “Here are all these important people that I know, & I want you to be nice to them.” He’s naming common, ordinary people. He’s saying, “You make them feel welcome. Reach out to them, & communicate your love to them.”
B. That’s exactly what the church needs to do. Maybe we need to do it more now than at any other time in the history of the church. We’re living in a society where families have changed so much.