6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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Summary: This sermon and series is based from the "I Love My Church" series from Outreach Ministries. It has been heavily adapted to fit our context as a rural church

I LOVE MY CHURCH

WEEK 1

Scripture John 13:33-34

Projected Aim: To introduce the concept that loving the church means loving the people.

Key Passage: John 13:34-35

There are different places, locations, buildings that we eventually have to visit in life.

I’m not talking about some exotic destination, or a beach somewhere way south of our location- that’s a “want to” visit place. I’m talking about the places we need to go to just because they are necessary in life: school, for example, or the doctor’s office.

Some of these necessary places will invoke a variety of responses in us.

We feel different about going to the mall compared to say going to the doctor.

Let’s talk about a few of the necessary places

I’m going to put an image of a place up on the screen, and I want you to say the first word that comes to mind about how people typically feel in regard to having to go to these locations.

Give me a word.

• 1st image: DMV

• 2nd image: Dentist’s office

• 3rd image: Grocery store

***Have a dry erase board or something of the sort and write down the words that people say for each one.***

Not the most rave reviews, right? Some worse than others, but in all three of them you can see that we go to these places in most cases because we have to, not necessarily because we want to. And look at our list of words. No one said, “Love it!” did they?

(***Make sure this is true obviously, ad lib as necessary.***)

You’ll occasionally hear someone say they love their grocery store if a comparison with other places is going on, and the same for the doctor’s office is possible. But if anyone ever says they love going to the DMV, you’re going to assume they need help.

I wonder what people in Whitehall would say if we put a picture of our church up on the screen.

Now don’t say anything out loud for that one, but let’s think about it honestly. Do we think about church the same way we think about going to the DMV, the dentists office, or the grocery store?

Is this just a place that we feel we “have” to go to or is there more to it?

Think about people who aren’t here with us today or maybe people who haven’t stepped into a church in a long time or ever. I’d be willing to guess that some of them would describe coming to church like we describe going to the DMV, and based on their experiences with some church’s, they probably wouldn’t be far off from the truth.

Now the important question for this morning-

Is that what God intended when He created the church? Was that His idea about this community of people? I believe the Bible tells us – NO! That wasn’t nor is God’s plan for the church.

***God never intended any church to be a museum that showcases saints. The church is not somewhere you can look and not touch- cold and barren where the past is the only thing people talk about; because there is not any exciting future being put before them.

Has anyone been to the Field Museum in Chicago? It’s a great experience and you will learn a lot. They have a hall with full size dinosaurs that’s pretty impressive. One thing about The Field Museum- it’s a huge stone building with marble floors. While it’s very clean it’s also a cold place- everything echoes around the displays of the past, and the only life there is people who come to gaze at the things of the past.

I think that describes a few church’s I have known in my life. But that was never God’s intention nor His design.

I believe that God wants us to love the church.

Not love what we see in the news sometimes or maybe have experienced in the past, but love the church as He intended it to be.

That’s what this series is going to be about—that we’d learn to be the community God intended us to be.

Before we jump into this, I’d like to pray and ask God to speak to our hearts from His Word.

Let’s turn to John 13 and read verses 34-35 together. (***You could also have someone else read this out loud, an adult or a child.***)

John 13 34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

***PRAY***

This verse is a prophecy and a description of this beautiful expression of God’s love and His grace to the people who will come to know and love Jesus as Lord and Savior.

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