Summary: We please God when we work together as part of His team – the church!
Three weeks ago, I quoted Rick Warren who said, “You were made for a mission. God is at work in the world and he wants you to join him. This assignment is called your mission…” “Your life mission,” he goes on to say, “is both shared and specific. One part of it is a responsibility you share with every other Christian, and the other part is an assignment that is unique to you…”
Then I said that I would be addressing the specific part of that mission in a few weeks. Well, that “few weeks” is now here! We conclude our current series, Ways We Please God, by learning that we please God when we work together as part of His team – the church!
As a final review, here is a listing of the ways we please God presented in this series: (overhead 1)
We please God by examining (and allowing the Holy Spirit to examine) our motives and standards against God’s standards. We looked at some churches in the opening chapters of Revelation who were in various states of spiritual growth or decay and who God was both pleased with and concerned about.
We also please God by following God’s plan of salvation. We preach Christ and the Gospel at our church not some current philosophy that changes tomorrow!
We please God by putting the Bible into practice. The Bible stands at the center of our congregational and personal lives. We teach and study the Bible, the true and infallible Word of God. It is the heart of our message and mission. (Overhead 2)
We please God by allowing Him to make us “new creatures in Christ.” We must be “born again.” We must be changed by the work of the Holy Spirit into people that are different and more like Jesus as the years go by.
We please God by cooperating with and proclaiming the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works to filter out the impurities in our lives so that we are better able to serve God.
We please God by doing our part in fulfilling the Great Commission. The Christian faith is a global faith and each of us has a role in fulfilling Christ’s command to “go and make disciples.”
We please God as we live in peace and harmony with each other. We examined Romans 14 in which Paul wrote, “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Our final stop today touches on the last way we studied two weeks ago because it addresses the need to work together. We please God when we work together as part of His team – the church!
There is so much that I want to share in this sermon this morning because I believe that this way of pleasing God is critical for the long-term life and health of our congregation and ministry. But, we can only take in so much in one sitting and so I am going to give us three or four bites that I believe are important.
Bite number one is what our main text says to us about being a team.
The overall theme of our text is unity, a key ingredient in being a team. East Noble’s football team played like one this year. Granted, there were those who scored more points than others did and one member of the team broke some running records, but everybody pulled together and everybody did his job and the entire team had a great (albeit shortened) season.
Someone has written, “There is no I in team.” Paul says as much in this passage.
The first thing he says in the opening verses is “patience, patience, patience.” When any athletic team, including a pro team, starts practicing together, there is a period of time when they are learning about one another and the plays that they will run during the season. Patience is a necessity during these times. This is especially important when there is a coaching change or a key position has a new player.
For a team to “jell” requires patience, time, and encouragement. The same holds true for the church, “Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults (not sin but faults) because of your love.” We are still learning together and learning how to work together, (that is an on-going process). But, to please God, we must be patient, patient, patient. Love helps here.
Paul also encourages us to be unified. As he says in verse 5, “There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all.”