Summary: Serving Others, The Body of Christ, Attitude
I WILL – The “I Will” Church Member
Philippians 2:3-4 (pg. 819) September 27, 2015
Let me ask you a really important question. When it comes to your relationship with Church...and if you’re part of the family here that we call Gardenside, this church...is your main concern, “what do I get out of church...Is this church doing everything I want?”
Because if you view church that way you’re viewing church in the wrong way.
And this series of messages is an encouragement to consider saying “I Will” instead of “I want.”
Philippians 2:3 & 4 jumps out at me when it comes to how we should view our relationship with the Church...it says:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”
You see the “why” you are part of a church will greatly affect your attitude about church.
In the two years I’ve been at Gardenside Christian there is a statement I hear often when I meet people in our community. In fact I heard it so often it kind of makes me chuckle...It’s this statement: “I used to go to Gardenside or my parents or grandparents were members at Gardenside.”
What doesn’t make me chuckle is many times when I ask “where do you go to church now?” And they usually answer “nowhere.” Sometimes I’ve even asked “why?” The answers are varied from a silent smile to “I got hurt, to my life just got hectic, or I went through a divorce.
Many of us who grew up in Church went because we had no choice in the matter...the “why” I went was because Dad would whip my behind if I didn’t...It was part of our family’s lifestyle...Sundays and Wednesday nights were times to go to church .
Or maybe you got married to someone who went to GCC and the natural thing to do was to be part of their church.
[My buddy Ralph, his wife Nancy and their three kids went to Fern Creek Christian together. They were all involved in music, the youth group and different ministries...and then came the divorce...it was devastating for them all. Ralph’s friends, Nancy’s friends, their kids and their friends...After it was final I remember the Church trying to love them all...but Nancy would sit in one pew...Ralph another...and the kids had to choose where and with whom to sit...Finally Ralph moved...and Nancy left...she said “too much past baggage.” The kids stayed...they were teenagers...we had a strong youth group...but I’ve seen Ralph and Nancy’s story over and over again....the pain of staying became much stronger than the pain of leaving.]
Here’s the truth of every single human life...
I. SIN AFFECTS US ALL IN VERY MESSY WAYS
In Malachi 2:16 God says, “I hate divorce!” Why? Not because He hates the people who go through a divorce. He hates divorce because of what it does to people...It’s emotionally shredding...it divides families, friends and churches...And there has never been a divorce without “sin” being involved...and it doesn’t matter if that sin is 99% one person and 1% the other. God hates what all sin does to the hearts of people...especially when that sin flows like acid into the lives of the unsuspecting and innocent.
And on top of this the reaction of some in the Church who treat divorced people as lepers...or judge their situation with the words “I’d never do that.”
Much like the older brother in the story of the prodigal in Luke 15...They judge harshly and refuse to go in because of a false self perceived “righteousness.”
When the Church stops becoming a hospital of grace and becomes a “country club” for only the “right” members the world sees no hope for their messy lives as we sit around and clean our golf clubs and spikes.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or van conceit” is the Apostle Paul’s plea for us not to become self focused and hard of heart...
Lee Strobel wrote a book several years ago called “Inside the Minds of Unchurched Harry and Mary” and he recalls his life before Christ as a big city newspaper investigative reporter...
It was heavy stuff...Being a big city newspaperman can be an ego trip; I stroked mine to the limit.
But after a while, I began to notice that I was becoming increasingly desensitized to other people. I recall interviewing a grieving woman whose young daughter had been raped and murdered. As she poured out her pain, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow! These are great quotes! And I’m the only reporter who’s got them!” I didn’t care about her daughter or her despair; I was after a front-page byline and another bonus from the boss.