Summary: 3 reasons why it is good to be a part of a local church
Sermon for 6/13/2010
You Need a Family
I like the preacher who always started each service with "The Lord be with you." The people would respond, "and also with you.” But, one Sunday the PA system wasn’t working so the first thing he said was "There’s something wrong with this microphone." The people responded, "and also with you."
A. Many people in our day are without a church. “I have no problem with Christ; I just have a problem with the church.”
C. Attendees are spectators from the sidelines; members get involved in the ministry. Attendees are consumers; members are contributors. Attendees want the benefits of a church without sharing the responsibility.
D. One of the biggest hurdles we face is convincing attendees they need to commit themselves to a church family and become members. Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans- “bunny believers,” who hop around from one church to another without any accountability or commitment.
E. Many believe one can be a “good Christian” without being part of a local church.
Thesis: 3 reasons why it is important to have a church family
1. To be challenged in our walk with Christ.
A. The world is not going to encourage our walk with Christ. The world wants us to abandon our walk with Christ. Only a gathering of Christ’s followers will encourage us to keep going on. Only a gathering of Christ’s followers will challenge us to have a more alive and growing relationship with Christ. Only a gathering of Christ’s followers, a church, will seek to confront us with our sins and challenge us to change.
B. Some people don’t like that. They like where they are spiritually. They don’t want to change. They don’t want to go to new heights in their relationship with Christ.
C. Where are we challenged to take our walk with Christ seriously? The church.
E. A preacher went to visit a man who no longer attended church. Sitting by the fire and took out one hot coal and set it off on the side.
C. The church is where we learn how to act in a family. This is where we put the one another passages into practice like being devoted to one another, honoring one another, living in harmony with one another, accepting one another, serving one another, being kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, encouraging one another, spurring one another on toward love and good deeds.. This is where the good manners are learned! Where rough edges are polished off!
D. Most importantly, (John 13:34 NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:35 NIV) By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." This is where we should experience pure love! There are many things in this world called “love” that are not: sex, lust, self gratification, pride, manipulation, covetousness, idolatry, cruelty, etc. But here love should be pure and genuine. (Rom 12:9 NIV) Love must be sincere.
2. To share in the highs and lows of life.
A. (Rom 12:15 NIV) Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
B. The church celebrates in the highs of life. Baptism, babies, graduations, promotions
1. It is sad in our day when a couple wants to get married and they don’t have a church family. How frustrating that is for them!
2. When the church doesn’t celebrate with them like a wedding, then they realize that they need to strengthen those relationships, or they need to become members.
C. The church divides the sorrows of life. Multiplies the joys and divides the sorrows.
1. When a person loses their job.
2. When a family breaks up and there is divorce.
3. When a house is lost in a storm
4. When a person experiences health problems. Larry Morris and his friends at the bar didn’t come to see him but some from a church did.
5. When there is a death in the family. Imagine how hard without church family!
D. Volunteer work with hospice. Many out there who used to be part of a local church but cannot bring themselves to reach out to that church even when tragedy strikes. Sad!
E. Philip Yancey- My wife worked with some of the poorest people in the city of Chicago, directing a program of a church that intentionally seeks out lonely and abandoned senior citizens no one else cares for. Many times I have seen her pour herself into a senior citizen’s life, trying to convince the senior that it matters whether he or she lives or dies. One man Janet worked with, 90 year old Mr. Kruider, refused cataract surgery for 20 years. At age 70 he had decided that nothing much was worth looking at and, anyhow, God must have wanted him blind if he made him that way. Maybe it was God’s punishment for looking at pornography as a youngster, he said. It took my wife 2 years of cajoling, arguing, persisting, and loving to convince Mr. Kruider to have cataract surgery. Finally, Mr. Kruider agreed, for one reason only: Janet impressed on him that it mattered to her, Janet, that he regain his sight. Mr. Kruider had given up on life; it held no meaning for him. But Janet transferred a meaning. It made a difference to someone that even at age 92 Mr. Kruider did not give up. At long last this man agreed to the surgery. In a literal sense, Janet shared Mr. Kruider’s suffering. By visiting so often she convinced him that someone cared and that it mattered whether he lived or died or had sight or not. This is the principle of shared suffering.