Summary: Examining how we are to act as members of the body of Christ.
How To Act In Church
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At Sunday school, the teacher asked Little Johnny, "Do you know where little boys and girls go when they do bad things?" "Sure," Little Johnny replied. "Their daddy takes them out behind the church"
Six-year old Angie and her four-year old brother Joel were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had had enough. "You're not supposed to talk out loud in church." "Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked. Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, "See those two men standing by the door?...they will... they're hushers."
Even children know that there is a certain way to act in church. And they know that there are consequences when you act up. The only way that they will be know the proper way to act in church is for them to be taught. Even if it is done by a "husher"! But there are many adults that need to learn how to act in church as well. And in our selected text the Apostle Peter gives some very clear instructions as to how God's people are to act toward one another. If you were with us this morning then you saw the first part of a sermon entitled "How To Act In Church". we saw that:
a. There Is To Be Unity In The Church - We are to be likeminded with one another. The only way for us to achieve "like-mindedness" is for us to all have the same focus... and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. We also saw that:
b. There Is To Be Sympathy In The Church - This literally means that we are to sympathize with each other. The Greek word used here means to "suffer with someone". When our brother or sister has reason to rejoice, we should rejoice with them. And when they are hurting we hurt with them. - Verse 8 also reveals the fact that:
c. There Is To Be Charity In The Church - We are to have love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to love them when it is easy and love them when it is difficult. In fact, charity or love is essential, with out love we will not have unity, sympathy, pity, courtesy, integrity or consistency.
Let's pick up where we left off this morning and continue to examine "How To Act In Church". As we continue in verse 8 we see that:
d. THERE IS TO BE PITY IN THE CHURCH - "be pitiful"
Peter says "be pitiful". The word here literally means to be tenderhearted. The idea here is that we should have compassion for those in need. We are not just to notice that someone is hurting. We are not just supposed to see the need We should care enough to meet the needs of others.
Consider the story of the Good Samaritan: There was a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was attacked, beaten, stripped and left for dead on the side of the road. A priest came along, saw him and walked by on the other side of the road. A Levite came along, walked over to the man and looked at his condition and just left him there. Then a Samaritan came along put ointment on his wounds, bound them up, put him on his donkey and took him to an inn and cared for him. Notice that the religious men saw the need. But they did not have time... or they refused to take the time to help this man. Then comes the Samaritan who was tenderhearted and compassionate and he met the needs of this man who was left for dead.
There are hurting people everywhere we go. There are even hurting people inside the church. Will you have a tender heart? Will you have enough compassion to help others in their time of need???? It is easy to make excuses. It is easy to ignore people and their problems. It is easy to get so consumed with "life" that you don't even notice the problems. But God has given us eyes to see, ears to listen, hearts to care, and hands ready to reach out to those who are wounded. May we use what God has given us to minister to those in need!
Not only are we to have a tender heart and possess pity, we also see that:
e. THERE IS TO BE COURTESY IN THE CHURCH - "be courteous"
As Christians we are to maintain a humble attitude. We must follow the example of Christ and be humble servants. We must do what it takes to help a brother in need, We are to be courteous toward all men. Whether they are rich or poor, Whether they are polite or rude, Whether they are brethren or pagans, Whether you consider them superior or inferior to you we must be courteous!