Summary: Part one of Worship Series on spiritual growth.
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;” 2 Thessalonians 1:3
Intro: Aren’t you thankful to be part of a great church?
This week, I talked with several people about what this church means to them.
One person said: “I love my church because I am loved and supported by my friends.
I also feel the power of the Holy Spirit. I don’t get emotional but I definitely feel it.”
Another person said: “My church is such a blessing.
This is where I found Jesus and got baptized. I have been a member ever since.”
One more: “I love my church because of the preaching, the singing, the praise music,
leads me to a holy place in my heart.
All of this has helped me to grow in my daily life, not matter what situations I find myself in.
The title of today’s sermon is “Green.”
When we think about the chronology of Jesus
He was born in Bethlehem on Christmas
The next week he is two years old and is visited by the Wise men on Epiphany
The next week he is thirty and is baptized.
And now he is all grown up and begins his public ministry.
The word Liturgy (Greek: ?e?t?????a), (eagle yea a) means "the work of the people"
Or in the church Liturgy are the acts of worship.
The colors of worship are White, Red, Purple and Green
Green represents growth and is used the season after Epiphany and the season after Pentecost.
For the next six weeks we are in the color Green.
We are in the color of Jesus early ministry and the color of growth of the early Christian church.
Teresa had just been informed that she was being let go from her job.
Her superior did not give her any reason.
But rather than be fired and have her work record blemished, Teresa choice to resign.
Losing a job is tough enough
but living with the empty question of why am I being fired was almost more than she could take.
For the next several weeks she struggled more and more
as she was unable to come to grips with her situation.
One weekday she decided to visit the office of her pastor.
She had never been in the pastor’s office before.
The pastor stood and greeted her with a warm and friendly welcome
And asked her, “What brings you into the office today?”
Teresa could not help but feel uncertain as she began to tell him her problem.
After several minutes of explanation about her qualifications, her work skills,
her faithfulness to her duties, her punctuality and ability to do her job well
she continued, “And while I was there I saw plenty of other employees and managers doing things
that I am sure they would not want anyone else to know.”
Punching the time card for people who did not come in to work
and flirting with people who were married men.
And some of my co-workers go to this church.
As soon as those words came out of her mouth
Teresa paused to see what the reaction of the pastor would be.
Had she said too much?
Had her frustration been overly critical and negative?
The pastor leaned forward in his chair and answered.
“Aren’t we all sinners?
And don’t we all make mistakes and bad decisions and hurt people from time to time.”
Would it not be better to pray for those who have hurt us?
And be able to sit alongside those we know are as much in need of forgiveness and healing as we all are?
Those were the words that changed Teresa’s life forever.
To her surprise those words of Grace and Mercy became the foundation for a change in her own attitude a foundation for growth in her spiritual walk with Jesus.
She would never look at herself or never look at another person the same ever again.
From that day forward her faith began to grow and grow and grow.
How have you used the things you experience in your life to grow “Green” in your faith?
Real lasting change happens in your heart when you become a new Christian.
When your belief changes your behavior changes.
The first thing everyone needs after salvation is “Good Advice.”
This is why you need to be in church every week.
You need to be in Sunday School.
You need to get involved in a small group.
You need to make an effort to have a relationship with your pastor.
Psalm 1:1 in the NLT says, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,