Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This is the first message in our Living Beyond Myself series. It looks at the fact that if we want to live beyond - we have to get past "Me."

This week we are starting a new series of messages based on Ephesians 4:11-13. Let’s look at it together.

This passage is one of our favorite passages because it looks at the church. The church is a body of believers, and this passage talks about the roles we have within the church, the purpose of the church, and I think the power of the church as well. Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at all the different facets - but this week, I want to focus on you! You like that right?

Most of us like to be focused on...not preached at, right? But focused on... I can still remember my first church. It was a country church. Good people, small congregation. I pastored there while I was in seminary. I could always tell with them when I had preached a good message, because one or two of them would come out of church saying their feet hurt. They liked having their toes stepped on by the preacher - they liked a good challenge... Most of us don’t necessarily want that, but we don’t mind being applauded - being recognized and having some attention lauded our way!

Well this morning, I want to focus in on you - you see in this passage it mentions that the church has a purpose. It has a reason for existing... Have you ever thought about that? What’s the purpose of the church? Why do we come here every Sunday? Why do we exist? There are probably several reasons in fact:

One purpose is to glorify God - that’s why we worship and lift up God’s name in prayer

One purpose is fellowship - In Hebrews it reminds us to keep meeting together - there’s something important that comes from us being together, growing in Christ

Discipleship is another purpose - We gather here so that we can grow closer to Christ and line our lives up with him...

In Ephesians 4:12 it says “Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” The church - the body of Christ is supposed to be equipped to do works of service...

What if the church was a place where God’s people served and made a difference in their world? What if we understood that our mission was to add value to this world - by serving...

Jesus says in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

We are supposed to be like that, right? Our works of service, our good deeds are supposed to bring God glory - but I have to tell you, that often we are more concerned something gets in the way! That something is ME! We can’t serve our world, we can’t serve anyone else, because we are too busy focusing on me - mine - ours... A few months ago, we built a new playground here at the church. It’s a beautiful playground and it cost a lot of money. It’s been interesting though the questions I’ve been getting. “When are we going to put the lock on it Pastor?” “Is that thing for just anyone?” “If we let just anyone use that playground, it will be all torn up!” And I do understand your concerns... But we didn’t build a playground for just us, ours, my kids only, for Crestview - we built a playground for kids... All kinds of kids. Kids in our neighborhood. Kids that need to know the love of Jesus. Kids that need to know they are welcome here. Kids that need to know we care about them... Do you see that if we are not careful - we begin to function out of selfishness rather than service? We begin to say it’s all about me, rather than it all being about the glory of God...

Where do we get that from? Well, it comes quite naturally! You don’t have to teach children how to be selfish - and if you stop and think about it, one of the very first stories in the Bible is about selfishness...

Listen to Genesis 3:1-7 - Did you catch that in verse 6, “...She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her...”

It’s natural for us to put ourselves, our wants, our desires, above everything else - but if we want to live beyond ourselves then we have to learn to listen to God... There are three thoughts that I have of how we can break the cycle of selfishness that comes so naturally.

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