Summary: An examination of what it means to bear one another’s burdens, and how to do it
Title: God Wants Us To Be . . . A Church That Becomes A Community That Cares
Series: The Church God Wants Us To Be (Sermon # 6)
COPYRIGHT © Joe La Rue, 2008
February 17, 2008
A. Max Lucado, in his book In the Eye of the Storm, tells the story of Chippie the Parakeet. He writes:
Chippie the Parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, blown over.
The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said ‘hello’ when ‘sssopp!’ Chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie—still alive, but stunned.
Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. “Well,” she replied, “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore—he just sits and stares.”
It’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . that’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.
B. I suspect that all of us here this morning have felt like Chippie at one time or another. Our dreams have been dashed, our spirits have been shattered, and our world has been turned upside down. And just like Chippie, we never saw it coming. One minute we were just singing away, and the next we had been blown over by one of life’s many storms. In spite of all our pious platitudes, the plain truth is this: life can be very, very difficult at times. And sometimes it can be more than we can bear alone.
C. Perhaps that’s why the Bible says in Gal 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2, New American Standard Bible).
God knows that we need each other, to help us make it through this life. He knows that none of us is strong enough or self-sufficient enough to make it totally on our own. We might like to think that we are; but, when we are honest about things, we recognize that we are not that strong. And so the Bible tells us to help each other along, by bearing each other’s burdens. Or, as the New Living Translation version of the Bible words it, “Share each other’s troubles and problems.”
D. For the past several weeks we have considered what the Bible teaches us regarding the type of church God wants us to be. We began this series five weeks ago by noting that, when it is functioning properly, the church is the hope of the world. It is in the church that the sinners are saved, the lonely find friendship, and the outcasts find acceptance. It is in the church that hearts and lives are shaped for God’s glory. It is in the church that we find and live out our true life’s purpose. When it is functioning properly, the church is the hope of the world. And so we took the past four weeks to consider what type of church God wants us to be.
1. We saw that God wants the church to be a body of worshipers, who worship God in spirit and truth, which means with the right attitude and focus.
2. And God wants the church to grow in their faith and knowledge of Christ, asking “what would Jesus do?,” and then trying to live as He would.
3. We noted that God wants the church to be fully engaged in service, with every member using his or her spiritual gifts for kingdom-ministry purposes.
4. We saw last week that God wants the church to reach out to the world and share the good news of Jesus with others.
5. Today, we are going to talk about how God wants us to be a church that becomes a community. We are called to live in fellowship with one another. We are called to be a family. We are called to bear one another’s burdens.
E. Trans: This morning we are going to talk about how we can do that. First, we need to acknowledge that