Purpose Driven Life (part 10)

PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE (Part 10)

Protect Your Church

(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

I)             INTRODUCTIONIT IS ALL OUR JOBS TO PROTECT THE INTEGRITY AND THE UNITY OF OUR CHURCHNOTHING ON EARTH IS MORE IMPORTANT TO GOD THAN HIS CHURCH.  IF YOU ARE A PART OF GOD’S FAMILY IT IS YOUR JOB TO PROTECT THE UNITY OF YOUR FAMILY AT ALL COST. THIS REQUIRES HUMILITY AND LOVE FOR OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

 

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE HIGHTEST EXAMPLE OF HUMILITY AND SACRIFICIAL LOVE: Phi 2:5 – 8 “ LET this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 WHO, being in the form of God …made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 AND being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.

THE BIBLE ALSO SAYS IN EPHESIANS 4: 3 “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH THE BOND OF PEACE.” (NIV)  HOW DO WE DO THIS?  LETS READ THE ENTIRE TEXT: EPHESIANS 4:1 – 7 THE QUESTION AGAIN IS “HOW DO WE DO THIS?”

II)    FOCUS ON WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON, NOT OUR DIFFERENCES. 

A)   PAUL TELLS US, Rom 14:19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  tHE pHILLIPS TRANSLATION RENDERS THIS: “LET US CONCENTRATE ON THE THINGS WHICH MAKE FOR HARMONY, AND ON THE GROWTH OF ONE ANOTHER’S CHARACTER.”

B)   AS BELIEVERS WE HAVE MUCH IN COMMON, ACCORDING TO EPH 4:

1)    WE SHARE one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

2)    WE HAVE one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in US all THROUGH HIS HOLY SPIRIT .

3)    WE SHARE THE SAME SALVATION, THE SAME CHURCH AND THE SAME FUTURE; WE ARE ALL MEMBERS OF GOD’S FAMILY.

C)   THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT WE SHOULD FOCUS ON, NOT OUR PERSONAL DIFFERENCES. REMEMBER THAT IT WAS GOD WHO CHOSE TO GIVE US DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES, BACKGROUNDS, RACES, AND PREFERENCES.

D)   WE SHOULD TREASURE, VALUE AND ENJOY OUR DIFFERENCES, NOT MERELY TOLERATE THEM.  GOD WANTS UNITY NOT UNITFORMITY OTHERWISE HE WOULD HAVE MADE US THE SAME.

E)   WE MUST STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT MATTERS MOST – LEARNING TO LOVE EACH OTHER AS CHRIST HAS LOVED US.

F)    CONFLICT IS USUALLY A SIGN THAT THE FOCUS HAS SHIFTED TO LESS IMPORTANT ISSUES, THINGS THE BIBLE CALLS “DISPUTABLE MATTERS”.

G)   WHEN WE FOCUS ON PERSONALITIES, PREFERENCES, INTERPRETATIONS, STYLES, OR METHODS, DIVISION ALWAYS HAPPENS, BUT IF WE CONCENTRATE ON LOVING EACH OTHER AND FULFILLING GOD’S PURPOSES, UNITY AND HARMONY RESULTS.

H)   PAUL PLEADED 1 COR 1:10 (NLT) “LET THERE BE REAL HARMONY SO THERE WON’T BE DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH.  I PLEAD WITH YOU TO BE OF ONE MIND UNITED IN THOUGHT AND PURPOSE.”

III)   BE REALISTIC IN YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF OTHERS.

A)   ONCE YOU DISCOVER WHAT GOD INTENDS REAL FELLOWSHIP TO BE, IT IS EASY TO BECOME DISCOURAGED BY THE GAP BETWEEN THE IDEAL AND THE REAL IN YOUR CHURCH.

B)   WE MUST PASSIONATELY LOVE THE CHURCH, IN SPITE OF ITS IMPERFECTIONS; JESUS GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT; THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT WE QUIT STRIVING FOR PERFECTION, WITH GOD’S HELP.

C)   LONGING FOR THE IDEAL WHILE CRITICIZING THE REAL IS EVIDENCE OF IMMATURITY.  ON THE OTHER HAND, SETTLING FOR THE REAL WITHOUT STRIVING FOR THE IDEAL IS COMPLACENCY.  MATURITY IS LIVING WITH THE TENSION.

D)   OTHER BELIEVERS WILL DISAPPOINT YOU AND LET YOU DOWN, BUT THAT’S NO EXCUSE TO STOP FELLOWSHIPING WITH THEM.   THEY ARE YOUR FAMILY, EVEN WHEN THEY DON’T ACT LIKE IT!

E)   EPH 4:2 (NLT) “BE PATIENT WITH EACH OTHER, MAKING ALLOWANCE FOR EACH OTHER’S FAULTS BECAUSE OF YOUR LOVE.”

F)    PEOPLE BECOME DISILLUSIONED WITH THE CHURCH FOR MANY REASONS:  CONFLICT, OFFENSES, HYPOCRICY, NEGLECT, PETTINESS, LEGALISM, AND OTHER SINS.

G)   RATHER THAN BEING SHOCKED AND SURPRISED, WE MUST REMEMBER THAT THE CHURCH IS MADE OF SINNERS, SAVED BY GRACE, BUT WE OFTEN LET OUR OLD CARNAL NATURE GET THE BEST OF US AND WE HURT EACH OTHER,  SOMETIMES INTENTIONALLY, SOMETIMES NOT.

H)   WHEN SOMEONE OFFENDS US, INSTEAD OF LEAVING THE CHURCH, WE NEED TO STAY AND WORK IT OUT, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE.

I)     RECONCILIATION, NOT RUNNING IS THE ROAD TO STRONGER CHARACTER AND DEEPER FELLOWSHIP.  DIVORCING YOUR CHURCH AT THE FIRST DISSAPPOINTMENT IS A MARK OF IMMATURITY.

J)    THERE IS NO PERFECT CHURCH TO ESCAPE TO AND IF THERE WERE IT WOULD NOT BE PERFECT AFTER YOU BEGAN ATTENDING. WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE’RE ALL IMPERFECT AND NEED GOD’S GRACE AND FORGIVENESS.  THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF REAL COMMUNITY.

K)   EVERY CHURCH SHOULD PUT OUT A SIGN: “NO PERFECT PEOPLE NEED APPLY.”

IV)  CHOSE TO ENCOURAGE RATHER THAN CRITICIZE.

A)   IT IS ALWAYS EASIER TO STAND ON THE SIDELINES AND TAKE SHOTS AT THOSE WHO ARE SERVING THAN IT IS TO GET INVOLVED AND MAKE A CONTRIBUTION.

B)   GOD WARNS US OVER AND OVER NOT TO CITICIZE, COMPARE, OR JUDGE EACH OTHER. (ROM 14:13, JAMES 4:11, EPH 4:29, MATT 5:9, JAMES 5:9)

C)   JamES 4:11 (NASB)  Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 THERE is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor? (NASB)

D)   WHEN YOU CRITICIZE WHAT ANOTHER BELIEVER IS DOING IN FAITH AND SINCERE CONVICTION, YOU ARE INTERFERING WITH GOD’S BUSINESS. ROM 14:4 (CEV) “WHAT RIGHT DO YOU HAVE TO CIRITICIZE SOMEONE ELSE’S SERVANTS?  ONLY THEIR LORD CAN DECIDE IF THEY ARE DOING RIGHT.”

E)   PAUL ADDS THAT WE MUST NOT STAND IN JUDGEMENT OR LOOK DOWN ON OTHER BELIEVERS WHOSE CONVICTIONS DIFFER FROM OUR OWN: ROM 14:10 (PH) “WHY THEN, CRITICISE YOUR BROTHER’S ACTIONS, WHY TRY TO MAKE HIM LOOK SMALL?  WE SHALL ALL BE JUDGED ON DAY, NOT BY EACH OTHER’S STANDARDS OR EVEN OUR OWN, BY BY THE STANDARD OF CHRIST.”

F)    WHEN I JUDGE ANOTHER BELIEVER FOUR THINGS INSTANTLY HAPPEN: 1) I LOSE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD, 2)  I EXPOSE MY OWN PRIDE AND INSECURITY, 3) I SET MYSELF UP TO BE JUDGED BY GOD, AND 4) I HARM THE FELLOWSHIP AND UNITY OF THE CHURCH.

G)   A CRITICAL SPIRIT IS HARMFUL TO THE UNITY OF CHURCH.  THE BIBLE CALLS SATAN THE ACCUSER OF THE BROTHERS. (REV 12:10) IT IS THE DEVIL’S JOB TO BLAME, COMPLAIN AND TO CRITICIZE MEMBERS OF GOD’S FAMILY.  ANYTIME WE DO THE SAME WE’RE BEING DUPED INTO DOING SATAN’S WORK FOR HIM.

H)   THE TIME WE SPEND COMPARING AND CRITICIZING ONE ANOTHER IS BETTER SPEND BUILDING THE UNITY OF OUR FELLOWSHIP.

I)     THE BIBLE SAYS IN ROM 14:19 (MSG)LET’S AGREE TO USE ALL OUR ENERGY IN GETTING ALONG WITH EACH OTHER. HELP OTHERS WITH ENCOURAGING WORDS; DON’T DRAG THEM DOWN BY FINDING FAULT.”

V)   REFUSE TO LISTEN TO GOSSIP.

A)   GOSSIP IS PASSING ON INFORMATION WHEN YOU ARE NEITHER PART OF THE PROBLEM NOR PART OF THE SOLUTION.

B)   YOU KNOW SPREADING GOSSIP IS WRONG, BUT YOU SHOULD NOT LISTEN TO IT EITHER, IF YOU WANT TO PROTECT YOUR CHURCH.

C)   WHEN SOMEONE BEGINS TO GOSSIP TO YOU, HAVE THE COURAGE TO SAY, “PLEASE STOP.  I DON’T NEED TO KNOW THIS.  HAVE YOU TALKED DIRECTLY TO THAT PERSON?”  PEOPLE WHO GOSSIP TO YOU WILL GOSSIP ABOUT YOU.

D)   THE BIBLE SAYS:

E)   IF YOU LISTEN TO GOSSIP, GOD SAYS YOU ARE A TROUBLEMAKER. (PROV 17:4, 16:28, 26:20, 25:9, 20:19)

1)    Pro 16:28  A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends.

2)    Pro 20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. (niv)

3)    “TROUBLEMAKERS LISTEN TO TROUBLEMAKERS.” PROV 17:4 (CEV)

4)    “THESE ARE THE ONES WHO SPLIT THE CHURCH, THINKING ONLY OF THEMSELVES.” JUDE 1:19 (MSG)

F)    PAUL WARNED IN GALATIANS 5:15 ABOUT CANNIBAL CHRISTIANS WHO “DEVOUR ONE ANOTHER” AND DESTROY THE FELLOWSHIP:  If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. (Gal 5:15 niv)

G)   THE BIBLE SAYS THAT THESE KINDS OF TROUBLE MAKERS SHOULD BE AVOIDED.  “A GOSSIP REVEALS SECRETS; THEREFORE DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH A BABBLER.” PROV 20:19 (NRSV)

H)   THE FASTEST WAY TO END A CHURCH CONFLICT IN THE CHURCH OR A SMALL GROUP IS TO LOVINGLY CONFRONT THOSE WHO ARE GOSSIPING AND INSIST THAT THEY STOP IT!  SOLOMON POINTED OUT, “FIRE GOES OUT FOR LACK OF FUEL, AND TENSIONS DISAPPEAR WHEN GOSSIP STOPS.” PROV 26:20 (LB)

VI)  PRACTICE GOD’S METHOD FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION.

A)   JESUS GAVE US A SIMPLE THREE-STEP PROCESS FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION: “IF A FELLOW BELIEVER HURTS YOU, GO AND TELL HIM – WORK IT OUT BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU.  IF HE LISTENS, YOU HAVE MADE A FRIEND.  IF HE WON’T LISTEN, TAKE ONE OR TWO OTHERS ALONG WITH YOU SO THAT IN THE PRESENCE OF WITNESSES WILL KEEP THINGS HONEST, AND TRY AGAIN.  IF HE STILL WON’T LISTEN, TELL THE CHURCH.” MATT 18:15-17A (MSG)

B)   DURING CONFLICT IT IS TEMPTING TO COMPLAIN TO A THRID PARTY RATHER THAN COURAGEOUSLY SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE TO THE PERSON YOU ARE UPSET WITH.  THIS MAKES MATTERS WORSE.  YOU SHOULD INSTEAD GO DIRECTLY TO THE PERSON YOU ARE UPSET WITH.

VII) SUPPORT YOU LEADERS AND PASTORS.

A)   THERE ARE NO PERFECT LEADERS, BUT GOD GIVES LEADERS THE RESPONSIBILITY AND THE AUTHORITY TO MAINTAIN THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH.  DURING PERSONAL CONFLICTS BETWEEN MEMBERS THIS IS A THANKLESS JOB.

B)   PASTORS OFTEN ARE CALLED TO SERVE AS MEDIATORS BETWEEN HURT, CONFLICTING AND IMMATURE MEMBERS.  THEY’RE GIVEN THE IMPOSSIBLE TASK OF TRYING TO MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY, WHICH EVEN JESUS COULD NOT DO.

C)   THE BIBLE IS CLEAR ABOUT HOW WE ARE TO RELATE TO THOSE WHO SERVE US: “BE RESPONSIVE TO YOUR PASTORAL LEADERS.  LISTEN TO THEIR COUNSEL.  THEY ARE ALERT TO THE CONDITION OF YOUR LIVES AND WORK UNDER THE STRICT SUPERVISION OF GOD.  CONTRIBUTE TO THE JOY OF THEIR LEADERSHIP, NOT ITS DRUDGERY.  WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO MAKE THINGS HARDER FOR THEM?” HEB 13:17 (MSG)

D)   PASTORS WILL ONE DAY STAND BEFORE GOD AND GIVE AN ACCOUNT OF HOW WELL THEY WATCHED OVER YOU.  “THEY KEEP WATCH OVER YOU AS MEN WHO MUST GIVE AN ACCOUNT.” HEB 13:17 (NIV) BUT YOU MUST ALSO STAND BEFORE GOD TO GIVE AN ACCOUNT OF HOW WELL YOU FOLLOWED YOUR LEADERS.

E)   THE BIBLE GIVE PASTORS VERY SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO DEAL WITH DIVISIVE PEOPLE IN THE FELLOWSHIP.  THEY ARE TO AVOID ARGUING, GENTLY TEACH THE OPPOSITION WHILE PRAYING THEY’LL CHANGE, WARN THOSE WHO ARE ARGUMENTATIVE  PLEAD FOR HARMONY AND UNITY, REBUKE THOSE WHO ARE DISRESPECTFUL OF LEADERSHIP, AND REMOVE DIVISIVE PEOPLE FROM THE CHURCH IF THEY IGNORE TWO WARNINGS. 2 TIM 2:14, 23-26,; PHIL 4:2, TITUS 2:15-3:2, 10-11.

F)    WE ARE COMMANDED TO HONOR THOSE LEADERS WHO WORK SO HARD FOR YOU, WHO HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE RESPONSIBILITY OF URGING AND GUIDING YOU ALONG IN YOUR OBEDIENCE.  OVERWHELM THEM WITH APPRECIATION AND LOVE! 1 THESS 5:12-13A (MSG)

VIII)       CONCLUSION:  THIS MORNING, I WANT TO CHALLENGE EACH OF YOU TO ACCEPT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT AND PROMOTE THE UNITY OF OUR CHURCH.  BE PASSIONATE ABOUT IT.  GOD WILL BE PLEASED.  AT SATTLEBACK CHURCH, WHERE RICK WAREN PASTORS, EVERY MEMBER SIGNS A COVENANT THAT INCLUDES A PROMISE TO PROTECT THE UNITY OF THE FELLOWSHIP. BECAUSE IT IS A LOVING, UNIFIED FELLOWSHIP PEOPLE WANT TO BE A PART OF IT.

WHEN GOD HAS A BUNCH OF BABY BELIEVERS HE WANTS TO DELIVER, HE LOOKS FOR THE WARMEST, SAFEST INCUBATOR CHURCH HE CAN FIND.  WHAT ARE YOU PERSONALLY DOING TO MAKE YOUR CHURCH WARM AND LOVING?  THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITIES SURROUNDING Faith Family Worship Center WHO ARE LOOKING FOR LOVE AND A PLACE TO BELONG.  THE TRUTH IS EVERYONE NEEDS AND WANTS TO BE LOVE.  LETS WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE Faith Family Worship Center THAT KIND OF CHURCH GOD HAS CALLED US TO BE!   

TEXT:

Eph 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Eph 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Eph 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Eph 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called–

Eph 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Eph 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Eph 4:7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (NIV)

Rom 14:1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

Rom 14:2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

Rom 14:3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

Rom 14:4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Rom 14:5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

Rom 14:6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Rom 14:7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.

Rom 14:8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Rom 14:9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Rom 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

Rom 14:11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'”

Rom 14:12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Rom 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

Phi 2:1  If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Phi 2:2  Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Phi 2:3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Phi 2:4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Phi 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Phi 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Phi 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Phi 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Phi 2:9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Phi 2:10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

 

Your Support is Greatly Apreciated

Speak Your Mind

*