Summary: Here are some things we can do to make church worship gatherings more up-building.
A. We are taking a break this week from our sermon series on the life of Peter.
1. Today’s sermon is going to be one of the more unique sermons I have ever shared with you.
2. This sermon is going to be very topical and practical.
3. Rather than preaching on a chapter or paragraph, I am basing this sermon on only one verse from Romans 14:19, where Paul says, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.”
4. What I want us to wrestle with today is the notion that our actions can have a negative impact on others.
5. Our actions may not lead to peace and mutual edification, and that’s why we have to examine our actions and see if they are being helpful or hurtful.
B. I did a little internet search in preparation for this lesson and I was amazed at how many resources there are for etiquette.
1. In the olden days, Emily Post was the etiquette guru.
a. In 1922, she published a book called “Etiquette in Society.”
2. More recently, Judith Martin has become “Miss Manners.”
a. She published her first book in 1982.
b. That book has been revised and reprinted as “Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.” It is 864 pages long.
3. But you don’t have to buy any books on this subject, there are websites dedicated to all kinds of etiquette situations.
4. Here are some of the subjects I found being covered: Business etiquette, table manners, Net etiquette (email, chat), beach etiquette, flag etiquette, tea time, ballroom dance etiquette, dating, boat ramp etiquette, cell phone and camera phone etiquette, Bridal, funeral, gym, golf, men’s room, and even pizza delivery etiquette.
C. But, one of the things I didn’t find in my internet search was worship assembly etiquette.
1. I started to call this sermon “The Ten Commandments for Church Assemblies,” but I thought that sounded a bit too presumptuous! (don’t want any lightening strikes)
2. So, I settled in on this title: “Etiquette for Edification.” (Edification means “to build up”)
3. I want us to talk about some guidelines for our gatherings that will make for more up-building church gatherings.
4. Please know that these are not “written in stone” (like the 10 Commandments), but are just some suggestions.
5. Etiquette simply means “the practices and forms prescribed by social convention or by authority.”
6. Most of these things are simply “common sense,” but as you know, “Common sense is not so common.”
7. They are not designed to offend or point to any single individual, but will hopefully be something that all of us try to keep in mind.
8. I want to try to take a bit of a humorous approach to them, and yet at the same time realize that there is a serious side to this.
9. Are you ready for the “Big Ten?”
I. The first etiquette for edifications is: BE HERE
A. A husband and wife arose one Sunday morning and the wife dressed for church. It was about time to leave for service when she noticed her husband hadn’t moved a bit toward getting ready.
1. Perplexed, she asked, “Why aren’t you getting dressed for church?”
2. He replied, “I have three good reasons for not going. First, the congregation is cold. Second, no one likes me. And third, I don’t want to go.”
3. She replied, “Well, honey, I have three reasons why you should go. First, the church is warm. Second, there are a few people there who like you. And third, you’re the preacher! So get dressed.”
4. See, sometimes it’s hard even for preachers to get up and get to church!
B. Ultimately, being present for congregational worship is not optional, that is...
1. Not if we want to please God.
2. Not if we want to take care of our responsibility to our church family.
3. Not if we want to grow in Spirit and pass on our faith to our children.
C. Any of us can come up with all kinds of excuses for missing, but most of them are just excuses, they are not good reasons.
1. Consistent attendance has been a problem more recently for our congregation, and I’m not sure the real reasons for it, but I know that God is not pleased and the congregation is harmed.
2. There is many good reasons why the Hebrew writer told us to not give up meeting together (Heb. 10:25).
3. I realize that in many respects I’m preaching to the choir, so to speak.
a. Those who are most often absent need to hear this more than those who are regularly here.
4. Yet, many who are here today could be among those who only come once or twice a month, you just happened to be here today.