Summary: One law professor said that without lying and bragging, half the pickup lines in bars across the country wouldn’t exist. Churches are deliberately places where bragging is non-existent (about ourselves) and where grace is paramount.
Today is Super Bowl Sunday. CBS is hoping for more than 100 million people watch the game today. The Super Bowl represents the best two teams and the best 106 players competing for bragging rights. There is little humility on the field today. They’ll talk about thankfulness and offer moderate words of humility in post-game interviews. Yet, today is a day of achievement. It’s a day to watch for who is the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and you don’t receive the MVP by virtue of meekness and grace. Today is a day of boasting and bragging…. Today is a day of chest-bumping and finger-pointing… There’s not a lot of room today for humility. Actually, there is not a lot of room for humility on any day for most American.
Recently, one law professor said that without lying and bragging, half the pickup lines in bars across the country wouldn’t exist. Churches are deliberately places where bragging is non-existent (about ourselves) and where grace is paramount. Repeat for emphasis: Churches are deliberately places where bragging is non-existent (about ourselves) and where grace is paramount.
Today’s Big Idea: I want you to see Three Ingredients for a Healthy Church
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)
Imagine people sitting around a someone’s dinner table. The guest comments how wonderful the food is and wonders if the cook will share her recipe. What is the recipe for healthy church? If we’re going to rethink church, then what are the ingredients that make a good meal?
1. Thank God for Relationships at Every Opportunity
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus…” (1 Corinthians 1:4)
We give thanks to God for His gracious actions toward YOU. Most of the time, if we think about what WE are thankful for, it’s for what God has done for us. But watch these verses closely… Paul is giving thanks not for his personal benefits, but for what God has given to others. Paul’s gratitude is because of the transformation of the people in this church. Paul’s goal for his life was to see the Gospel of grace extend throughout the world. His thankfulness is an extension of the goal God had place on His life – to see people transformed by God’s grace.
“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” (Romans 1:8)
“For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.” (1 Thessalonians 1:8)
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:3-5)
This is the second time we see the word “grace” as we begin reading this letter. “Grace” is used in verse three as well. Grace is basic to Christianity. You might say the word is identical to the Gospel itself. The Gospel is not a good idea… The Gospel is not good advice… It’s not even God’s instructions for how to live… The Gospel is what God has done for you in Jesus Christ. Grace is the undeserved kindness of God. You might think of this word as God’s opening His door to you. If you get anywhere with God, it’s because of grace.
The word “always” in verse four carries the idea of every opportunity. A healthy church will make a habit of giving thanks for others. Why Be Continually Thankful? Everything in these verses is aimed at a remarkable tendency in the Corinth church to congratulate themselves. Gifted people tend to think of themselves as a cut above others. …to think of themselves as self-sufficient. It’s the person that says, “I would love everyone except I am surrounded by morons.” The Bible is TNT for people who fill their lives with mirrors to admire themselves. The Bible is aimed to implode anyone who is full of egotistical spiritual pride. And grace is especially important here. Remember, Grace is the undeserved kindness of God.