Summary: There are two main climates I want to preach on today, the first an atmosphere in our church that is conducive for a move of the Spirit of God, and the second is an atmosphere in our church and our personal lives that is attractive to the lost.
Spiritual Climate Change
The basic premise of global warming is that certain things done over an extended period of time will heat up the earth. Our message today is about improving the spiritual climate in our lives. There are things that we can do that effect our spiritual climate personally, in the church, in our families, and in our business lives.
Besides the environment all kinds of things have a climate or atmosphere about them:
We can talk about the Corporate Climate. Is your workplace a pressure cooker? A business in a growth and prosperity season? Is it down sizing? Is it hostile to workers? All these things affect and define the corporate climate.
Likewise the business climate reflects the overall mood of the economy.
Here is our scripture for today and in it notice the different atmosphere Jesus had about Him as contrasted with the Pharisee's.
Mt 9:10 And it happened that as He was reclining [at the table] in the house, behold many tax-gatherers and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.
Mt 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw [this,] they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners?"
Mt 9:12 But when He heard this, He said, "[It is] not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.
There are two main climates I want to preach on today, the first is that we have an atmosphere in our church that is conducive for a move of the Spirit of God, and the second is that we have an atmosphere in our church and our personal lives that is attractive to the lost.
1. Creating an atmosphere/climate that is conducive for a move of the Holy Spirit.
Did you know there are professionals whose job it is, is to advise churches on how to make a church visually attractive and appealing? They will give advice on the arrangement of the facility, the deportment of ushers/greeters, the color scheme of the building etc. There stated goal is that there is a look and feel that a church can have that will be very appealing to visitors.
I believe the scriptures give us some keys that we can continually apply that will make our church very appealing and welcoming to the Spirit of God. Very simply they are:
1. Welcome Him
2. Worship Him
3. Work with Him
There is a spiritual truth that God is a gentleman, that He doesn't usually force His way into our lives. We read in Revelation of Jesus standing at a door and knocking, not of Him taking a sledge hammer and breaking it down.
Here is an old chorus that we used to sing, and would do well taking it back up again.
Holy Spirit thou are welcome in this place (2x)
Omnipotent Father of mercy and grace
Thou art welcome in this place
I have always sensed when I sang that song, that God was pleased when we express to Him that we want Him to be near us. How do you respond when a salesman comes to your door? How about your best friend. When we smile and say, "come on in God, you are welcome here." He feels and appreciates that. Everyone likes to go into a welcoming environment.
2. Worship Him.
I won't spend long on this one, but the scriptures teach that God inhabits the praises of His people. There is something about genuine worship that causes God to show up in a very powerful way.
3. Walk with Him.
John 3 describes the Holy Spirit as wind like. You can't see Him but you can sense the effect of His presence. I think we do that text no harm if we were to suggest that we should be like sailboats and flow with the wind, as opposed to fighting the wind. When we move in the same direction as the wind is moving it speaks of a much better relationship with God, than if we were moving in the opposite direction. Specifically we should be involved in evangelism, talking up our cross, submitting our will to His etc.
If we will continually work on these three areas we will have a church that God is pleased with. I thank God for all the bible believing churches in America, but isn't there something inside of you that wants our church to be God's favorite house? Somebody say Amen!
Let's shift gears just a little bit and talk about having an climate/atmosphere that is attractive to the lost. I am not talking about watering the gospel down so that the world likes us I am talking about having an air about us that is welcoming, loving, and redemptive.
All people have a climate or atmosphere about them. Some people are debauched. You can sense it when you are near them. Others are sports nuts, health nuts, gambling nuts, malicious gossips, some people have an atmosphere of kindness about them, others an atmosphere of friendliness. This atmosphere radiates from them in the same way that perfume does from a woman, or cologne from a man.