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Summary:

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Thesis: We create community when we restrict our freedom for the sake of others.

Intro.:

1. "I WANT TO DO WHAT I WANT TO, WHEN I WANT TO, AND I DON'T WANT ANYONE TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!"

a. Sound familiar?

b. Words of someone (demanding their rights / expressing their personal freedom).

c. Repeat slowly.

2. Those are sacred words in our culture.

a. Sense of individual freedom deeply ingrained in our national psyche.

b. Declaration of Independence: "Inalienable rights...life, liberty & pursuit of happiness."

c. Early Pioneers: Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett.

d. Movie Stars: John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Arnold S.

1) Do WHAT they want to, WHEN they want to, & they don't want anyone telling them what to do!

2) Pay millions to see it .... even Frank Sinatra does it "his way!"

3. Some of you may be beginning to see the problem:

a. If everyone's "doing own thing" what about: group, nation, church?

b. Illust. A few years ago Habits of the Heart (a book) explored two streams of thought in American life: individualism and commitment. Bottom line: must find a balance between the two.

4. Finding this balance = large part of what it means to be a Christian.

a. Being a Christian means having a individual relationship with Jesus.

b. But it also means belonging to a local body of believers (church).

c. Somehow we've got to find a way to reconcile:

1) Individual freedom with commitment to the group.

2) Essential to having kind of church God intends!

I. WHAT THE INDIVIDUAL DOES AFFECTS THE COMMUNITY HE LIVES IN.

A. This is basic idea of society--why we have laws!

1. Illust. In our society the individual may choose to drink. The individual may even choose to get stoned drunk. BUT, one MAY NOT choose to drink & drive. Many states have stiff "Drinking & Driving laws."

2. REASON: What individual does affects those around him!

B. We can see this principle at work in the Old Testament:

1. ACHAN'S SIN (Joshua 7).

a. God enabled Israel to conquer Jericho--ban on taking spoils; Achan did.

b. 3,000 go vs. Ai; soundly defeated; Joshua prays to God.

c. God answers him (Josh. 7:10-12).

d. ISRAEL had sinned!? Thought it was Achan? What the individual does affects those around him!

2. DAVID'S SIN (2 Sam. 24).

a. David: trouble learning what king does affects others (cf. Bathsheba incident).

b. Near end of his life, David wants to count fighting men. (WRONG)

c. God, thru Gad the prophet, gives David 3 choices:

1) 3 yrs. of famine--3 mos. of enemies pursue--3 days of plague.

2) Read 2 Sam. 24:17.

3) Illust. David's sin = Man is driving drunk. Police stop him. Make him get out of the car, tell him he has 3 choices: 1) He can kill a mother & 2 children; 2) Mother & father and one child; or 3) 3 teenagers. Drunk man: "That's not fair, I made the choice! They shouldn't suffer for what I've done!

d. What I do affects those around me--to think otherwise is incredibly NAIVE!

II. WE BECOME MEMBERS OF ONE ANOTHER WHEN WE RESTRICT OUR FREEDOM FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS.

A. This is Paul's point in 1 Corinthians as he talks about eating meat sacrificed to idols (1 Cor. 8-10).

1. Wrong to eat meat sac. to idols? NO! (8:4-8).

2. Paul's concern ... (8:9) ... (illust.--ch. 9) ...... (10:23-24).

B. The deeper the relationship the stronger responsibility.

1. Illust. A family. What one member does affects the others! Ask family whose son takes drugs; father spends check @ racetrack.

2. The same thing is true in the church.

C. BOTTOM LINE: Am I willing to restrict my freedom for sake of others?

1. Free to come here as little/much as I like.

2. Free to put little or nothing in collection plate.

3. Free to become involved as little/much in the life/work of the church as you'd like.

How often you come to church is not primarily an issue of salvation ... community issue

What you give in the collection is not primarily a salvation issue ... community issue.

Whether or not you teach Bible School, clean building, attend ladies class, turn out for

the road cleanups are not salvation issues ... community issues.

This text in 1 Corinthians is not about TALKING community, it is about DOING community. We can TALK community real well--"The church ought to ..." We DO community when we restrict our freedom for the sake of others.

Conclusion:

1. The individual can say:

a. "I want to be a part of the church here," but it won't mean much!

b. Let me see you restrict your freedom ONE TIME and I'll begin to believe you.

2. Do you NOT want to be a part of the church here? (anon. worshipper).

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