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Summary: Pre-Vacation Message. Paul shows the church how to follow God and not man. We should see a summer surge, not a summer slump. No more, "When the cat’s away the mice will play!" Link inc. to text, audio, PowerPoint.

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THOUGH I BE ABSENT

Col. 2; Phil. 2; I Cor. 3

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/ThoughIBeAbsent.html

One of the Apostle Paul’s greatest joys was to hear about one of his churches continuing to grow and serve God…one of his deepest fears was that they would backslide in his absence.

Col. 2:

5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

Whether I’m present or absent, please do the following:

1. Obey much more

Phil. 2:

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence…

We seem to have a tendency to put man on a pedestal (I need that (height)!)…they glorify man…and they’re destined for disappointment (best of men are men at best).

I Cor. 3:1-7 (turn)

The mark of immaturity (perpetual babies) is taking of sides!

Ill.—bring up assistant pastors, teacher, deacon

The church in Corinth was taking sides:

A little group was behind the pastor / assistant (a lot of people could hide there!) / teacher / deacon

Here’s a clue: We’re on the same side! All for 1 and 1 for all! There’s no room for division / sides / competition if the work of God is gonna go fwd.

I Cor. 1:10-16

I Cor. 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, (like “all have sinned…”) that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

We’re all made of the same stuff.

A preacher is just a sinner who’s willing to deliver the mail (the foolishness of preaching)

It’s just one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread (Bro. Jerry is just one little kid showing the other kids what to do!)

Back to Col. 2:

5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

We are to be stedfast—not in the pastor, or anyone else, but steadfast in Christ!

Ill.—Henry Ward Beecher—an incredible pulpiteer—it was said he had a golden throat. One Sunday he had to miss the a.m. service w/ no notice at all…so he asked his brother to fill his pulpit. The bldg was packed and jammed, and about halfway thru the service the people began to realize the pastor wasn’t there…many began to get up and leave. So his brother stood up and said wait a minute, everyone stop where you’re at...I have an announcement: everyone who came this morning to worship Henry Ward Beecher is free to leave…those who came to worship God, please stay! (That’ll stop the exodus really quick!)

We leave this week for a week and a half…but though I be absent, obey much the more!

2. Stand fast in 1 spirit

Phil. 1:

27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…


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