Summary: The church is not supposed to mimic other human institutions. It is built up the foundation of never-ending love – supernatural power - unsearchable riches –immeasurable vision.
OPEN: So as we’ve begun exploring the fourth chapter of Ephesians – we’ve been looking at a proper response to the blessing Jesus provides for those who are in the Church. These are all first response issues – these are the baby steps. If we don’t get these first steps down there is little chance that the following steps will fall into place. Scripture teaches principle upon principle – precept upon precept. There is chronological order involved in spiritual formation. There is a progressiveness that is involved. I really believe that part of the problem we face in growing churches – is that many people in our churches have missed development of these early traits but are now trying to lead without them. What do you think the result of that would be? If a person hasn’t grown in humility – or gentleness or patience – what would the result of that be for a person who is a leader in a church? Instead of humility- you would have what? Pride. Instead of gentleness you would have what? People being harsh with one another. Instead of patience – you would have what? Impatience, people expressing how they are irritated over what’s being done – anger.
Paul says walk worthy of the calling you have received. We’re learning how to walk a new way - We’ve thus far covered three of the 5 steps that are given to us. We’ve talked about humility - what is humility? It is dealing with ourselves honestly before God. We’ve been given a high calling, but it calls for a lowly walk. We’ve talked about gentleness: Also called meekness in the Bible. It is power under control. We talked about patience – long wrath – being long-tempered, not short tempered. The ability to face difficult circumstances and wrongs done to you without loosing your gentleness and humility. Today we are going to talk about forbearing love and unity.
- Chapter four of Ephesians is all about the nature of the Church.
How many of us understand that the church is different from every other man made institution? The church is not supposed to mimic other human institutions. It is built up the foundation of
never-ending love – supernatural power - unsearchable riches –immeasurable vision. It’s all beyond humanity. It’s all beyond what the mind can wrap itself around. It goes further. Further than what we can think or imagine. It goes further – further than our own strength and power. It goes beyond the extent of our own resources. It’s not based on rules any man has dreamed up. One of the disconnects, which I struggle with is why so many churches insist on mimicking the world. Ill. - When I first started in ministry I had to start holding church business meetings. There was this guy who always showed up with his with little green book. He’d come to every meeting- always carrying his little green book. “Robert’s Rules of Order” During the meeting – “Point of order Mr. Chairman” He’d open up his little green book. Interestingly enough – his name was even Robert. Never carried a Bible to the meeting. Always carried the little green book. Does it make sense to anyone that God shares the wisdom of his heart and mind – miraculously preserves it through the ages so that we can know it and have it available to us and when it comes to doing the work of ministry, someone wants to consult the little green book and totally ignore the Bible. Does that make any sense to anyone here? The chairman even had a gavel - at times he would use it to bring order to the meeting. In all fairness that’s the way that meetings have to take place in the world – do you know why? People in the world are not characterized by humility – by gentleness – by patience – by forbearing love. They have to have a system that intervenes when conflict arises – that’s the way of the world. They need a gavel to bring order in the middle of disorder. – (somebody might say – “well it sounds like you’re advocating chaos – rules bring structure – and orderliness.” If you are a church and need a little green book at your meetings to accomplish structure and orderliness you are already defeated. If you’re a church and you’re using the little green book instead of using the Bible – you are already defeated. For the Christian orderliness and structure flow out of hearts that have been transformed by Christ not the inside of a little green book. It flows out of humility, and gentleness and patience and forbearing love and unity. If those things are a reality – you can throw the gavel and the little green book away. You carry the little green book to the town hall meeting- they need it there. When you come to church, whether its for worship or any kind of a planning session – bring your bible. The church doesn’t operate like the world.