Summary: A Sermonette during our church's Thanksgiving and 20th Anniversary Celebration
My topic of sharing is on the Present History of RCAC. I struggled with the term “present history”. As we know, the present means now (things that exist now, things that are new) while history means things of the past, things that are old. Almost sounded like an oxymoron.
With help from the dictionary, I looked up the word history. First definition of the word history is “the branch of knowledge dealing with past events.” So things that happened in the past whether good or bad provide us with knowledge. Knowledge is what we have in the present from events that happened in the past. This knowledge can come in the form of memories, lessons learned or uncovered mysteries. But knowledge is useless if it is not applied to guide our next step. Knowledge is powerless if we choose to silence its authority. Knowledge is obsolete if we have it, but ignore its calling.
Now I get it. Present history is what we now know today because of what God has allowed to happen to us yesterday. The present history of RCAC – it’s not something to just talk about but something to ask each other what we are going to do with it. What are we going to do with this knowledge? The Bible clears the way of guessing by articulating what we must do.
Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the LORD is the beginning (chief) of knowledge; but the foolish despise wisdom and discipline.
1. A congregation that fears the Lord.
The word Yirah means (exceeding) fear, terror, and reverence. Let us not be a church that falls in the temptation of promoting fun over fear. We exalt the many gifts from God but one gift we often shun is fear. The more we know how much God loves us, the more we want to fear Him. Fear keeps us focused. Fear keeps us holy. Fear drives our conscience to reflect, respond and repent.
• Reflect – Before you decide, reflect on His Word
• Respond – Before you commit, respond to His Will
• Repent – Before you quit, repent to His Way
2. A congregation after God's wisdom.
There is no shortage of wisdom among our congregation. I’ve heard many guest speakers praise our church for her talents both academically and professionally. All of our young people are fairly well educated. But we’ve got to be a church with a desire to know the thoughts of our Lord. Only by pursuing the knowledge of our Lord will our wisdom be whole. Paul in Philippians 2:2 says, “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”
• Like-minded – Develop an appetite for Truth
• Same love – Loving each other as Christ loves us
• One in spirit and purpose – Working and serving together towards the same
3. A congregation that marches forward.
Minister visited a lady in a retirement home. As she lay in her hospital style bed he spoke with her. Beside her bed was a dish full of peanuts. He ate one and then another and before he knew it he looked down and the dish was empty. ’I am so sorry he confessed, I ate all the peanuts you had beside your bed’. ’Peanuts, I can’t eat peanuts anymore, I just suck the chocolate off of them’. (Sermoncentral.com - contributed by Guy McGraw)
We Christians do the dumbest things. And we are even dumber when we resist discipline.
The foolish despise wisdom and discipline. It means this person considers it insignificant to both wisdom and discipline. Why is that? What types of attitude cause a person to think less the importance of being disciplined? Pride, ego, self-centeredness. These take away the joy of being among God’s people. Discipline starts with me. Be teachable. Come to learn, to be changed, and to be corrected. That’s what discipline means – correction.
Someone made a profound comment last week that we are not to criticize but to correct each other. Criticism passes judgment, to shame or to disqualify. Does that sound like God’s way? It’s easier to criticize than to correct. Something we must all learn.
• Correction not Criticism
• Prayer not Punishment
• Discipling not Damnation
Only then will our history be worthy of celebration. So what are we doing with the present history?