Summary: Is your Christianity getting old and stale?
When the Tank Says "E"
1. How fresh is our Christianity? Howard Hendricks said, "In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering."
2. Has your faith become stale? Webster defines stale as, "tasteless or unpalatable from age
3. I have talked to many a believer and asked them, "so what are you doing for God these days?"
4. And sometimes I hear, "well, I used to work with Children’s Church and the youth a few years ago; right now, I attend church on occasion, tithe and try to live right."
5. "Are you spending time with God and His Word?" "Maybe once in a while."
6. "How are you serving others?" Well, my family keeps me busy. And besides, I served in the past. Let other people serve now.
7. Like every other believer, I struggle with my faith becoming stale. Sometimes I feel like a car sputtering along on its last few drops of gasoline. I get to where I feel as though my tank is empty.
8. As much as faithfulness and an ability to serve consistently and reliably is crucial to the Kingdom of God, every one of us needs time to recharge. We need to spend some informal time with God, and then we need to get busy serving God’s people.
Main Idea: Is your Christianity getting old and stale?
I. Signs of An EMPTY Spiritual Tank (13-15)
A. First Sign: We Become TIRED of Serving (13)
1. εγκακεω means to be behave badly, act cowardly, lose courage, faint
2. It is related to the Greek word, κακos, which means "bad," so there is a moral issue involved here -- it is bad to get tired of doing good, because then it becomes all about you!
3. Selfishness and selfless are, in a sense, a habit. This is why we have so many Christians who used to serve, who used to make a difference, but now feel free to pull back & watch.
4. In Luke 18:1, it is used as follows: "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up."
5. Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
6. I Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
B. Second Sign: We Become Tired of COMPLETE Obedience (14-15)
1. Few tests like CHURCH DISCIPLINE
Wall Street Journal
Banned From Church
Reviving an ancient practice, churches are exposing sinners and shunning those who won’t repent.
By ALEXANDRA ALTER
January 18, 2008; Page W1
On a quiet Sunday morning in June, as worshippers settled into the pews at Allen Baptist Church in southwestern Michigan, Pastor Jason Burrick grabbed his cellphone and dialed 911. When a dispatcher answered, the preacher said a former congregant was in the sanctuary. "And we need to, um, have her out A.S.A.P."
Half an hour later, 71-year-old Karolyn Caskey, a church member for nearly 50 years who had taught Sunday school and regularly donated 10% of her pension, was led out by a state trooper and a county sheriff’s officer. One held her purse and Bible. The other put her in handcuffs.
The charge was trespassing, but Mrs. Caskey’s real offense, in her pastor’s view, was spiritual. Several months earlier, when she had questioned his authority, he’d charged her with spreading "a spirit of cancer and discord" and expelled her from the congregation. "I’ve been shunned," she says.
Her story reflects a growing movement among some conservative Protestant pastors to bring back church discipline, an ancient practice in which suspected sinners are privately confronted and then publicly castigated and excommunicated if they refuse to repent. While many Christians find such practices outdated, pastors in large and small churches across the country are expelling members for offenses ranging from adultery and theft to gossiping, skipping service and criticizing church leaders.
2. The world says judging others is WRONG
3. Stressed out, burnt out believers are less likely to OBEY
4. Believers under church discipline must be TAGGED
• The reason for marking him out is so that he will feel ashamed and repent…other purposes for church discipline include the reputation of the church and to help prevent similar occurrences in the future…
• This is a positive use of peer pressure -- pressure to do right
• Problem: modern church relationships are so disposable that there is little peer pressure…people often do not bond closely with the other folks in the church