Summary: A church that is to be used by the Lord must be united in spirit and mind.
May 3, 2015 Morning Service
Immanuel Baptist Church, Wagoner, OK
Message Point: A church that is to be used by the Lord must be united in spirit and mind.
Focus Passage: Philippians 2:1-5
Introduction: In the past 50 years, I have been a member of 9 different churches. I only “changed” churches when I changed cities (or countries) to live in. Only once did I leave a church over a disagreement, and it was when I changed denominations to become a Southern Baptist. In those 50 years I’ve seen a lot of church people do and say a lot of very ungodly things, including in this church. I do not, however, ever recall even toying with the idea of leaving a church over a disagreement or even being angry over a disagreement. You see, church isn’t about us. We, however, should be about the church for that is the same sentiment that Jesus answered Mary when He went missing in Jerusalem at age 12, “Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?" (Luke 2:49b) If we are to be about our Father’s business, we simply cannot have different goals nor get upset every time there is a disagreement. There are some, in this congregation, who do not agree with some of the things we are doing. Some do not like the food pantry ministry. Some do not like the plans to build a children’s ministry center. Some do not like me. I want to tell you a story about something that happened here. 7 years ago, our church had an outdated sign at the street. The paint was faded and may of the removable letters had been stolen. We decided to look into getting a new sign, the one we have now. Many people were in favor of it, but there were a few who were not. Brother Willie was one of the ones who didn’t think we needed a new sign. In fact, he voted against it. However, when he saw that the overwhelming majority of the church wanted to do it, he put away his own feelings and volunteered to lead the crew to install the new sign. He worked on it faithfully until it was properly installed. That is a case of putting away your own feelings for the preference of the majority. We must be able to do that. In cases of great theological differences, we would go about things a different way. But in the doing of the work of the church, we must trust the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us. Satan will do anything and everything he can do to divide us. We must remember: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12 NASB)
(Intro – Continued) Here is the same Scripture in the paraphrased version (The Message):
If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care-- then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. (Philippians 2:1-5 MSG)