Summary: building a community of faith
Intro: ILL. A youth minister was attending a Special Olympics where handicapped children competed with tremendous dedication & enthusiasm. One event was the 220-yard dash, Contestants lined up at the starting line, & at the signal, started running as fast as they could.
One boy by the name of Andrew quickly took the lead, & was soon about 50 yards ahead of everybody else. As he approached the final turn he looked back & saw that his best friend had fallen & hurt himself on the track.
Andrew stopped & looked at the finish line. Then he looked back at his friend. People were hollering, "Run, Andrew, run!" But he didn’t. He went back & got his friend, helped him up, brushed off the cinders. And hand in hand, they crossed the finish line dead last.
But as they did, the people cheered, because there are some things more important than winning.
My goal as your Pastor is to develop not just a winning attitude, but a caring attitude. Because if we care, we win.
Developing a Church that Cares
I. Love must be real—v.9 Paul encourages the church to have genuine love for each other. A church that cares is a church that loves.
· D. Singer John Charles Thomas, at age sixty-six wrote to syndicated columnist Abigail Van Buren: "I am presently completing the second year of a three-year survey on the hospitality or lack of it in churches. To date, of the 195 churches I have visited, I was spoken to in only one by someone other than an official greeter and that was to ask me to move my feet."
· Real love is more than a handshake and a smile. Real love costs, it is willing to get involved.
· When we get real with each other, we take off our masks, we share at deeper levels, we connect to each other.
II. There is devotion to each other-v.10
· The church is a place where people really care about each other. They are devoted to each other. They are accountable to each other, they call each other, do things together.
· They want everyone to be accepted into the family. They are happy when others are honored or do well. There is no clicks or schisms in the body of Christ.
III. People are Excited about Belonging—v.11
A church that cares is a church that is excited about it’s mission and purpose. It has big vision and dreams of reaching others.
People aren’t slack, but zealous for the things of God.
· Serve the Lord enthusiastically—it isn’t a dread to be part of the church, it is the most exciting thing to be in fellowship and harmony with other believers. The church is a haven, a refuge, a sanctuary.
IV. Positive Outlook—v.12 A church that cares is always abounding in the Lord. It has a great and earnest expectation for the future. There is joy, patience and prayer in the house of God.
A caring church is full of people looking for an opportunity, not an excuse.
V. Giving, Helping, Sharing—v.13 a caring church is a giving church. A church that cares wants to reach out and touch someone. A place of fellowship and hospitality. People who are lonely, discouraged, afraid, can come to church, and find help in their time of need.
VI. Sympathetic-v.15—caring is sharing with others in hurts and pains. We rejoice with those who rejoice, but we weep with those who weep. The caring church is a great place to be when you are suffering or going through loss.
VII. Humble—v.16-a caring church cares for everyone. It isn’t a church of the high and mighty, but the meek and lowly. If you will take care of the least of these, Jesus will take care of you.
Close: for us to be community, we must be a church that cares, a church that shares, a church that loves. Paul gives an outline of a caring church.