Summary: Church is not about having our way. We need to approach church with a servant attitude and the mind of Christ. Based on the chapters of the book, I Am A Church Member by Tom Rainer
Introduction: This morning, we as a church are going to take an "I" test. Not an e-y-e test, but a capital letter "I" test. You see "I" troubles have plagued many a church for years keeping them for experiencing the fullest blessings of God and from making the deepest impact in a lost world. So listen closely to these diagnostic questions which will help us determine if we have "I" troubles at Bailey Baptist Church.
If you have ever said, "I didn't get anything out of that sermon," you might have "I" trouble.
If you have ever said, "I know that Bible says this, but...," you might have "I" trouble.
If you have ever said, "Excuse me sir/maam, But I usually sit there." you might have "I" trouble.
If you have ever said, "I sure wish we would sing more __________." you might have "I" trouble.
Or, If you have ever said, "I wish we wouldn't sing so many songs." you might have "I" trouble.
If you have ever said, "I hope the pastor doesn't go overtime again this Sunday." you might have "I" trouble.
The problem with "I" trouble is that it is often contagious and leads to other troubles such as, "This building is a sacred cow syndrome," "Inwardly-focused budgetitus" or "Uncommitted Committee disease." When there is more concern about having to "change" than about converting the lost, then it is clear that there is a full infection. One thing we need to understand is that church membership is not about us - our preferences and desires - but about doing His will.
There is a cure for "I" trouble. It is found in the passage that we just read this morning. The cure is for us to change our way of thinking to think like Christ thought.
I. A STRANGE WAY OF THINKING (V. 5)
a. Paul urges believers that they ought to think the way Jesus thought - which in my experience is contrary to our natural way of thinking.
i. Due to sin, our fallen nature causes us to think selfishly most of the time. (Illus. Ever heard anyone say, "Only God can judge me?" Translated = I live life my way instead of God's way!)
iii. Many believers have a Burger King mentality - they think the have a right to have it their way. instead, we ought to adopt a Chick-fil-a way of thinking that says - It's my pleasure to serve!
b. Even among the disciples, Jesus had to deal with the petty and worldly thinking of his disciples. (Mark 9:33-35)
c. Thinking the way that Jesus thought - with humility - about our interaction with fellow believers and about the church is the path to harmony in the body of Christ. (Read vv. 3-4)
II. A SELFLESS WAY OF THINKING (V. 6)
a. Verse 5 is a strong statement of the divinity of Christ - Paul says he was "in the form of God."
i. When we think of form, we often think of the shape of a thing- that is not what Paul meant here - Scripture says that God is a Spirit.
ii. Form means the "outward expression of the inward nature." Essentially, what Paul is saying is that Jesus is God, has always been God, and always will be God. Jesus is equal with the father and the Spirit in person.
b. However, Paul wrote that he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (to be selfishly held on to). i.e. He didn't think of himself, he thought of you and me...and he humbled himself.
c. When Jesus came to this earth - he didn't give up his divinity - his personal equality with God - he did give up his positional equality with God to become a man.
d. When redemption was needed, He forsook the comforts and the joys of heaven for you and for me. he was willing to endure the contradiction of sinners against himself - to be spit upon, beaten and crucified - to endure cruelty at the hands of the very ones he had created so that you and I could be forgiven. That is the epitome of selflessness...
e. When we think selflessly, we do not think any less of ourselves, we simply don't think of ourselves at all! (illus. Hymn I stand Amazed in the Presence: "He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.")
III. A SERVANT WAY OF THINKING (V. 7-8)
a. Thom Rainer points out in his book, I Am a Church Member, that the word servant occurs 57 times in the New Testament - sometimes referring to an official role in a household, but most times referring to the role that all Christians are to serve. plus, the word serve also occurs 58 times.