Summary: This was sermon No. 49 in a series called, "Route 66: A Road Trip Through the Bible," preached in 2016-2017.
Ephesians: It’s Not About You
by, Tony Thomas
Sr. Minister, Woodland Heights Christian Church, Crawfordsville, IN
No. 49 in a series called, Route 66, a Road Trip Through the Bible
In 2003 and our church read a book by Rick Warren titled, The Purpose-Driven Life. Warren begins by writing: “It's not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment … your peace of mind … and your happiness.”
Christie and I raised three girls – and I’m happy to say we are survivors (the verdict is still out on the kids). We raised them by repeating things our parents said, and when we got desperate we used our own creativity.
One of the things I constantly said to our girls was, “We don’t need no stinkin’ men!” The other phrase was, “Who are you thinkin’ of?”
I thought about that when our middle child invited me to speak to her English class in Brownsburg. Her room was decorated w/a Michael Jordan cutout, and she hung a Chicago Cubs flag above her desk. But my favorite thing in her classroom was a large sign that read: “Who are we thinkin’ of?”
When your kids repeat your words, you know you’ve done something right (or warped the next generation)! Rick Warren’s book was the best-selling book for 90 weeks and he sold 30 million copies. Why? Putting others first contradicts everything the world has taught us to believe!
Individuality thrives in our society! We are born and bred to believe that we all have an inherent right to be our own person, make our own rules and pursue our own dreams.
Frank Sinatra used to sing, “I did it my way!” But … we all believe it, even those of us in the church. We shop for a church like we’re shopping for a car. We look around, survey the models and compare the costs.
Finally, we settle on a model we like. We choose based on how it fits/meets our needs. How could it be otherwise? After all, it's all about me!
That whole process assumes that church is about me: my needs, my wants and my desires. Most of us are so deep into self that we can’t even conceive of a different perspective. Worship is about my fulfillment, not what God desires. Worship is nothing more than what I want and expect!
Church consumerism has doctrinal consequences, as well. We treat the Bible like a smorgasbord. We feast on the desserts and do w/o the fruits and vegetables. We pick and choose what’s easy and overlook the difficult. And when disaster strikes we are ill-equipped to survive.
Consumerism also affects how we relate to God’s people. We attend church b/c of what we get instead of. what we give. A small minority lead, teach and serve, but everybody else thinks the church is like the gov’t: everything else is provided. It’s all about me, right?
But it isn’t – and that’s what Ephesians is all about. We’re in a series called Route 66, and we’re going book by book through the Bible. Paul is the author of 13 letters and Ephesians is No. 5 of 13 letters. And in every chapter, Paul reminds us that it’s not about you! If it’s not about you, then who’s it about?