It’s not uncommon to hear people say things like, “I want Jesus, but not the church.” “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” “I’m interested in the Bible, but not in organized religion.”
One of the goals of this sermon is to help you grow in your love for and commitment to the local church. Why is this difficult? Because sometimes, the church doesn’t meet our expectations. Sometimes, our brothers and sisters in Christ disappoint us.
The church and her leaders should be willing to ask the tough, honest, revealing questions that are raised when criticism is leveled about being unloving and unconcerned:
- Do we personally know “the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made us overseers”? (Acts 20:28)
- How are we doing when it comes to recognizing and responding when a member of the flock is showing signs of weakness or has wandered away altogether? (Matthew 18:12)
- How can we confront and dispel cliquishness within the local church? (James 2:9)
- Have we communicated to the shy, the non-go-getters, the more reserved that we value them and want them to get involved? (1 Corinthians 12:21-22)
- Is it possible that we are more at fault than we think? (James 1:19)
So also, the hurting and the disappointed, before they criticize, should ask themselves some tough, honest, revealing questions.
- Am I adorning the gospel by my manner of life? (Titus 2:10)
- Am I nurturing the familial aspect of congregational life? (Ephesians 2:19)
- Have I yet to ask for help? (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
- Have I overlooked opportunities to become more connected? (Proverbs 18:24)
- If I really want to be loved and noticed, is creating distance between myself and my brethren the wisest course of action? (Hebrews 10:24-25)
- Could I be more at fault than I realize? (James 1:22-24)
Disappointment in the church is bound to happen from time to time because every single member of the church is a justified sinner. And yet, the church is an indispensable part of God’s eternal plan for mankind. This study is about how we, as justified sinners, can continue to grow closer together and closer to God’s ideal, for God’s glory.
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