Summary: Stop just GOING to church and start BEING the church.
Focus Passage: James 1:22-25
Supplemental Passage: “Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.” 1Cor 12:27
Introduction: Read excerpt from Letter to the Editor of a local newspaper: “I’ve gone for 30 years now and in that time I have heard something like 203,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”
It wasn’t 203K. 1x=1560, 2x=3120, 3x=4860 Church is not to remember the sermons, because the sermons are not the subject. The Subject is God and our relationship with Him. The point of sermons isn’t usually to be remembered for 30 years. They are meant to be digested, internalized, and incorporated into life. Going to church to listen to sermons is a total waste of time. Going to hear the music is a total waste of time. Going to church to see and be seen is a total waste of time and worse. Going to church because it’s the “thing to do” on Sunday is even worse. Going to church because my parents did is preposterous. Going to church for any of these reasons… total waste of time. I would recommend that this person stop going to church immediately. It’s all useless and pointless. Sleeping in on Sunday is better for you than any of those things.
I. “Hearers-only” deceive themselves
a. They hear but do not apply
b. It’s like “going to church” but not being changed in your regular life
II. “Doers-of-what-they-hear” will be blessed in what they do
a. They hear AND apply what they’ve heard and live it out.
b. It’s like being the church to/for others.
III. Why attend the gathering of the saints?
i. “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Heb 10:24-25)
b. Stimulate one another to love and good deeds
c. Encouraging one another as the day draws near
Invitation: If you wanted to learn how to perform surgery, would you take a correspondence course or stay at home (in home) and try to do it yourself? If you want to learn how to live according to what God wants you to be, you need to go to where you can do that. We learn theory while gathered together, but living our lives is putting that theory into practice.
“Being part of a church to hear and explore God’s Word and put it into practice is life-sustaining. Being part of a church where the faithful gather to sing songs and hymns and psalms to the God who made everything is a joyful and wonderful way to live. Being part of a church where all are welcome to love God and love each other in real authentic community is being part of God’s mission in the world. It’s amazing. Being part of a church where, if your life turns into junk suddenly, there will be people around you who will lift you up, share God’s love in tangible (sometimes financial) ways, and when you’re on your feet you can do the same for someone else… is the best. Being part of a church where people’s lives are really and truly being changed and transformed by the Gospel of Christ, and more people want to know God because of it… that’s totally worth every bit of time you spend at it. Being in a true friendship, ongoing and two-way, with the God who is there is what life was designed for.”