Summary: People who refuse to attend church often point to the failings of church people as their excuse for staying home. This sermon deals with the fact that church folks are not perfect. An amusing story to illustrate the points is included.
Don’t Expect Church People To Be Perfect!
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
2Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!
3For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,
4though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:
5circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;
6concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
11if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Would everyone who believes he is perfect please stand up!
What? Nobody stood up?
How can that be?
We are Christians! Amen?
We are regular churchgoers! Amen?
We read our Bibles! Amen?
Well then we ought to be perfect! Amen?
No! We are not perfect.
However, that’s what people who don’t go to church expect of us!
They expect us to practice what we preach!
They expect us to act like Christians.
When we don’t, they love it!
They think that gives them an excuse for staying home.
Today’s story is about a man named George Hollister. George was a hog farmer who refused to have anything to do with the church. When Timothy Doran accepted the call to become the pastor of Grace Church, he was determined to increase its size by reaching the lost. He met with the Elders of the church and asked them to make a list of the town’s people who didn’t attend church services anywhere. At the top of this list was none other than George Hollister.
Brother Timothy grabbed his Bible and off he went to the Hollister Farm. Upon his arrival, Brother Tim found George standing in one of his hog lots. After adjusting to the smell, Brother Tim walked over and introduced himself. George was a friendly man and the two men talked casually for a while. When the subject of church attendance came up, the old hog farmer’s attitude quickly changed. George explained in no uncertain terms why he would not go to church. “All ever see is a bunch of hypocrites who belong to your church!” he stated emphatically. He named two men who chased after married women. Then he named a woman who was the town’s worst gossip. He ended his attack on the church by saying, “If that’s the kind of people who go to your church then I don’t want any part of it!” Brother Tim quickly turned the conversation to another subject.
We’ll return to that story a little later!
Church people are far from being perfect.
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected…
The Apostle Paul declares: "I am not perfect”!
He’s being honest!
Paul knows that he frequently sins.
He says in 1 Timothy 1:15
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
1 John 1:8 says:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
So anybody who thinks he is a good person
is only fooling himself.
When we get saved, Jesus does not destroy bodily weakness.
We still have sickness, pain, and many health problems.
It seems as we get older, the more weaknesses we have!
So obviously our bodies are not perfect