Summary: As we gain a right understanding of how much worth and value each person has, as we come to see each other the way God sees us, then we will gain an appreciation for one another that will strengthen love and build community.
This is the fifth and last message in our series on Building Community. In a society that is becoming increasingly fragmented, in which people seem more and more separated from one another, the church can be a refuge. More than a building, more than a Sunday morning meeting, more than an organization. A community. A place where people come together. A place where people care about, and take care of, one another. A place where every person matters. A place where, if you don’t show up, somebody notices.
At WestShore Community Church, that’s what we are; that’s what we aspire to be. A community. And we don’t just hope to be that, we take practical steps to make it a reality [Examples: nametags, greeting time, open mike time, small group ministry, service projects]. Why? Because it says something important about who God is and who we are. We believe there’s a problem with this world, and the problem is called “sin”. People who go their own way, with no interest in God. People who do things that are contrary to God’s design; hurting others, hurting themselves. People who do not worship or obey God, even though He created them, even though He created all of us and everything around us. That’s sin. And sin separates. It separates us from God, and it separates us from one another.
But those who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior have their sins forgiven. They receive power over sin, power to live according to God’s design. And so, instead of being alienated from God, they are brought into fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ. Their shared relationship with Jesus Christ brings them into relationship with one another. And so our community as a church demonstrates that what we claim to believe is true. That where sin has broken relationships, Christ restores them. Where sin has pulled people apart, Christ brings them together. That’s what the church is, or should be. A living portrait of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s why community is so important.
This morning, we look at one last component of community, “Valuing One Another.” The main idea that I’m going to present is that as we gain a right understanding of how much worth and value each person has, as we come to see each other the way God sees us, then we will gain an appreciation for one another. We will be thankful for one another. We will view one another as precious gifts from God to us. And that will strengthen love and build community.
1. We have value because of what God has given for us
As an illustration, in April of 1996 an auction of Kennedy memorabilia was held. Dubbed the “ultimate garage sale” in the press, it grossed $34.5 million. JFK’s rocking chair sold for $442,500. Fake pearl necklace sold for $211,500. A set of golf clubs (just the woods): $772,500. Thirteen pairs of salt and pepper shakers sold for $11,500.
If the value of something is what someone is willing to pay for it, then we are of great value, because Christ gave His own life for us.
“Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” – Acts 20:28
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.” – Galatians 1:3-4
“I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
Sometimes the value of something is determined by the appraisal of an expert. Recently, I was watching the Antique Road Show, and saw an Alaskan whale hunting cap appraised at $50,000. Who is more of an expert than God? Yet he considered us to be worth the cost of His own Son. He exchanged His Son’s life for ours.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:32
If one of your children were kidnapped, what would you pay to get them back? (I know, there are some days you would pay to have someone take them off your hands, but I’m talking about most days). You would sell your house and car, cash in your life insurance, empty the 401K, borrow money from friends and relatives – in short, you would give everything you own for your son or daughter. And yet God gave that which was most precious to Him, his own Son, for us. What does that say about your value and worth? What does that say about the value and worth of your husband or wife? What does that say about the value and worth of the person sitting next to you, or in front of you? It says that you, and I, and every person who trusts in Christ, are worth more to God than we can possibly imagine.