Summary: What does the perfect church look like?
New Life Church
If you and I were building the perfect church what would it look like? Would it carry the name Baptist or would that even matter?
Would it be involved in missions? Would it be debt free?
Would it have a dynamic Children or youth program? Would it only sing hymns or choruses? Would the preacher be old, young, look like Mel Gibson or Pee-wee Herman? Would that perfect church be KJV only? What would the most important traits of that body of Christ be?
This is what the apostle Paul writes about here in our text. The characteristics of the new life in Christ. If Jesus is first and foremost in our lives then these are the traits we will have. They will be so evident that the lost world will see we have been touched by Jesus and changed forever.
If the church is filled with changed people then the church will change its community and impact the world for Jesus Christ. We know this because that is exactly what the first Christians did.
The tense and voice of the Greek Word for put on therefore is imperative. That means a command. As Christians you and I are not advised to be kind, loving, patient and humble we are commanded to be that way.
And if we live that way then the church can really be a body of Christ because will speak and behave just like Jesus. Remember the principle from lat week. We are to put off the traits of v.8-9 and put on these traits listed in our text today.
Just think what a church could do for the kingdom if it was filled with people who changed their fleshly garments and were clothed with heavenly garments?
Notice with me what this church looks like.
I. We Work Together (v.12-15)
The Bible says here as the “elect” those chosen and called out by God behave this way and then in v.15 we, the called, are to be one body working together.
If we are then the body of Christ then we are to have Christ-like attitudes and Paul list them here.
A. Christ-like Attitudes (v.12-13)
1. Tender Mercies—an attitude of the heart that is tender and compassionate toward others. It is a constant attitude that makes you and I easy to deal with.
2. kindness—According to Eph. 2:7 & Titus 3:4 we have been saved because of God’s kindness toward us. We thenought to be kind toward others.
3. Humility—the person who is humble thinks of others first and not of themselves.
4. Meekness—-Remember meekness is not weakness. The word picture in the Greek is taming a wild horse. The word means power under control.
5. longsuffering, bearing with, forgiving—these go together. They mean to be patient with others to holdup another person like bear one another’s burdens and to forgive an offender.
It is not enough to just not retaliate we have to genuinely forgive someone just like Christ forgave us. He loved us while we were yet sinners the Bible says and we are to love help and forgive just like Jesus.
Just think if these attitudes really were our attitudes today. What difference would that kind of church make in it’s community?
However, how many churches, Christians and communities have been hurt by churches who didn’t possess these Christ-like attitudes?
In 1990, the USA was involved in what was known as the Persian Gulf War. Troops took on the Iraqi forces out in the desert of Kuwait. In those two months, January and February, the USA won an outstanding victory, and had relatively few casualties. One of the interesting things about that war was that the majority of our troops weren’t injured or killed by the enemy. They were the victims of what is called “friendly fire,” from artillery. Friendly fire is where you are hit by ammunition by your own troops. In other words, it’s where your own soldiers become your worst enemy. You can’t prepare for it, and you never see it coming.
Right now in the church today, our biggest enemies aren’t from outside, they’re from within. The weapons that are used aren’t machine guns and missiles. It’s our own words and attitudes. Fellow church members, soldiers in the Lord’s Army, are seriously wounded because the results of friendly fire. Nonbelievers avoid some of our churches because they know they’ll be landing in the middle of a war zone. How many of our church folk become victims of friendly fire? How many times have you been a victim of friendly fire? More important, how many times have you attacked a fellow brother or sister with friendly fire?
B. Christ-like Actions (v.14-15) Here the Bible lists what holds the attitudes together.
1. Love—when the love of Christ Jesus rules our hearts all these attitudes are prevalent. When the Church loves Jesus it will love others.