1. Have a Blessed Day --
A Walmart Greeter in Georgia was censored by his employer when ONE customer complained about his greeting of, "Have a blessed day." Customers overwhelmingly came to his defense and Walmart backed down.
a. I realize Wal-Mart is not church but this Greeter was practicing a way to be a blessing to others
b. Shouldn't that be a practice for us as a community of God's people?
2. Ephesians 4.11-16
3. Consider two directions of Worship:
I. A Vertical Vision:
Looking Up to God, the Object of Worship -- Isaiah 6; Ephesians 3.20-21
Back during the days of the sailing ships, a young boy was traveling with his father. The boy was amazed at all of the activity and work that was required on the ship.
He watched everything the sailors did. He noticed that every night the captain would stand on the deck and point a funny looking instrument at the sky.
When he asked his father what the captain was doing, his dad replied, "That funny looking instrument is called a sextant. The captain is able to use it to shoot the stars and determine our bearings. He can then see where we are and find out if we are going in the right direction."
A. Our Recognition of God
1. The Bible assumes the existence of God -- never seeks to prove it
2. Psalm 14.1; 53.1 -- The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.
B. Our Reliance on God -- 1 Corinthians 2.3-5
3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
C. Our Response to God
1. Directions: God comes down to man; Man goes up to God
Mt. Sinai; Incarnation; Return of Jesus
2. Dedication --
a. Worship God just because he is worthy -- "Holy, Holy, Holy"
b. Anything else is an attempt at manipulation
["If spiritual sacrifices are a means to a selfish end, they are no longer spiritual. If they are an end in themselves, they are empty ritual (i.e., superstition)."
II. The Horizontal Hold:
Looking Out to People --
A. We are a Community of Believers -- Matthew 16.18
1. Ekklesia and Edah -- a witnessing community as a participatory action group, not a group of spectators
2. We are witnesses to the reality of God and his mighty acts
3. We are not alone in our journey -- nor should we be -- even the Patriarchs traveled in community
B. We Care for Other Believers -- One Another passages -- Galatians 6.1-2, etc.
2/3 of the 59 NT passages deal with unity and loving one another (15 times)
Someone has composed the following list of "Cards You'll Never See at Hallmark":
* "Looking back over the years that we've been together, I can't help but wonder What was I thinking?!"
* "You look great for your age....Almost life-like!"
* "We have been friends for a very long time....What do you say we call it quits?"
* "I'm so miserable without you....It's almost like you're here."
* "You are such a good friend that if we were on a sinking ship and there was only one life jacket....I'd miss you heaps and think of you often."
The apostle Paul didn't have the benefit of going into a card store, but many of the words he wrote to congregations and individuals are filled with sentiment and worded in such a way that perhaps they should be used in greeting cards. Listen to these words written to the Christians in Philippi:
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always with every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy....it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart....For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:3-4, 7, 8). They were in his Mind; Heart; and Prayers
1. Jesus teaches us not to be self-serving -- worship is for God and others
2. We serve one another by ministry -- in and out of the assembly
3. Assembly time can encourage -- Ephesians 5.19
a. Reminder of each of our value to God
b. Reminder of each of our value to the body -- Hebrews 10.24-25
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
c. Place to receive blessings from the LORD -- Thomas missed out on seeing Jesus when he was absent
d. Place to Give blessings -- Lord's Supper is a memorial
(23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11.24-25)
And a place to discern the body of believers
(29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 11.29)
e. The Reason to make things right before worshiping -- Matthew 5 and 18
1. LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Jesus stated that we are to be the "Light of the World", and that a city set on a hill cannot be hidden. In the Canadian province of New Brunswick there is a church building on Deer Island that for many years has served as a physical light house to the fishermen of that community. It is not that the building has any unique architectural design that would resemble a nautical lighthouse. It fact, it resembles the style of many church buildings built a century ago.
It is the location of the building that makes it ideal as a lighthouse. The Worship House for the Church of Christ in Lord's Cove is elevated a few hundred feet higher than the Cove below.
For many years the fishermen returning to port could see the steeple of that Church building for miles from the water. In days before electronic equipment to guide them home the fishermen would aim for the Church building when returning to port. From miles away, the men would aim for the church, or the light in its steeple. That course of direction would guide them past all the ledges and shoals, and safely back to the home port.
In the 1960's the government installed navigational lights for the fishermen, but prior to that the church building had served as the Lighthouse. Just as the physical light of that building was a light that led many safely home, so also the Light of Jesus Christ leads all who will follow his light to their heavenly Father.
2. A Powerful Challenge:
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13.34-35
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." 4 For whatever was written in former days, was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15.1-7