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Summary: This sermon is the second in a series about true Christian fellowship and community - this one focusing on the call to "love one another."

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Love One Another

Series: One Another

Meridian Church of God Seventh Day

March 29, 2003

INTRODUCTION

Good Morning

Series Introduction

We began a new series last week on “one anothering,” the different commands we have in our interaction with one another.

The commands we have from our Lord in how we treat one another.The Biblical view of how relationships should be in the church. The goal we should press on towards in how we “one another.”

And over the next six weeks or so, we are going to spend time looking at these “one anothers” and examining how we should interact with each other. Last week, we began by looking at two “one anothers” that I think help lay down the foundation for what we are talking about – genuine, sincere, Christian community.

Fellowship that is more than the simple “Hello, how ya doin’? Good. See ya next week” fellowship that is so common in the church today. Shallow relationships that do not extend below the surface, or often times, even under the mask or façade we too often wear.

First, we talked about how we need to be accepting of one another, Paul wrote just as God has accepted you through Christ Jesus. We should accept one another through Christ Jesus. As we recall, this stems from the knowledge that none of us are perfect, none of us can stand on his own – we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. If we have all sinned, we all have fallen short, none of us yet have reached perfection on our own – then we are all really on a level playing field. I accept you, with your failings and your weaknesses, and you accept me with mine. Again, this is not condoning sin, nor is it saying it is OK. It is, though, putting us in the position where the church and our brothers and sisters in Christ can help us overcome our sin in a truly Christian manner. If the church is a place of condemnation, rather than acceptance, who would dare come forth and share their struggles, their weaknesses, their trials? Who indeed.

True Christian community is not a place where sin can run rampant, but rather a place where we can do the second of the “one anothers” from last week. Be real with one another. Be real, share who we really are.

When we have a community that is going to accept us, then we are free to share who we really are, to share the trials that we are facing, the struggles we are going through.

We no longer have to wear a mask or a façade, we can bear our inner soul and truly grow as a Christian individual and as a Christian community.

When facing a trial, the question wouldn’t be “oh, what will the church think – they’ll just say and think terrible things about me – these are the last people I want to know about this” but rather “I can’t wait to share this with my church, boy, I really need their help right now. I could really use their counsel and support and love.”

Which one of those two statements most accurately reflects the church that God intended for us in His Word? Which one most accurately reflects what should be the church of Jesus Christ?

But where are we? Which one do you think is the more common sentiment in this body?

When you are facing a trial, perhaps a sin you are struggling with, which one of those sentiments are the first to pop in your mind?

When we are accepting of one another, and we have the freedom to be real with one another, then the church can start to fulfill one of its functions – these “one another’s” that we are and will be talking about.

Before we move on to today, I want to say to you – I know I sin. I am not proud of it, the Holy Spirit is working in me and I see strides in many areas. One of the things that have helped me, though, is the fact that I have built intentional relationships where I am comfortable sharing those struggles. That has been a great help to me.

I want any of you who need it to know, I consider myself a safe place for you. If you need someone to accept you, not the sin, but you, the sinner, if you need someone to talk to without fear of condemnation or a judgmental attitude, I really try to practice what I preach here.

Together, we can move forward, pressing on towards that goal – to be what God wants us to be.

Together, as real people with real life struggles, we can grow and mature and live in Jesus Christ.

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