Faithlife Sermons

UNCOMFORTABLE #1

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American culture is a culture of comfort. It’s being sold to us everywhere we look. We’re encouraged to do what we want, when we want, with whomever we want. If something is uncomfortable, we want to avoid it at all costs. The Christian faith, though, is just that: UNCOMFORTABLE This series will help you embrace, understand, and see the beauty and hope in the challenging realities of being part of God’s people.

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Intro:

Options
I was at a shopping center, Cheryl was exercising her spiritual gift - shopping...
Personalization
Hold book up, Uncomfortable (Slide Please) and talk about inspiration. So over the next several weeks I want us to take the Bible and hold it up to our community. I want to ask some awkward questions some uncomfortable questions. Question one, what would your dream church look like?
Convenience
Repent
Baptism
Share
Give = Akward
Me - My dream church…
Weekend services are EPIC!!! They last anywhere from 8 to 10 hours, depending on how the God/Spirit is moving. At least 100 people ask Jesus to be the forgiver of their sins and the leader of their lives at every service. We add at least 3,000 new covenant members a month.
Speaking of covenant members, everyone in our church gave all their money to the poor. Brevard and surrounding cities have zero homeless or hungry people thanks to our congregation’s on-site food pantry and homeless shelter. (Most of our members became homeless after giving all their money to the poor - they simply bunk at the shelter).
We have prayer teams that intercedes 24 hours a day for the church and for one another. They don’t eat. They don’t sleep. They just pray!
Our pastors and directors are amazing. Their person lives are exemplary. They are never hypocritical, pray and read the scriptures 10 hours daily and personally disciple every person in our church. They have all memorized the entire Bible, not only in English, but also in the 3 foreign language.
All staff members have been marries at least 20 years. They have an average of 23 children. Most are adopted.
Our family ministries are outstanding. Kids meet anywhere from 4 to 5 hours, most of it in deep Bible study with the occasional Coptic worship chant. The High Schools just got back from a 6 week mission trip to Afghanistan.
I didn’t talk about the worship and singing. Wow, it is amazing. It’s both load and soft. We would always do more fast songs and slow songs. All songs would flow quickly into each other and have long periods in between for reflection. More repetition of songs so they can be learned and meditated upon and less repetition of songs because it gets boring signing the same songs. It’s hard to explain you are just going to have to experience it.
We - America has become a culture of consumerism. Fast food, drive ups, Netflix…
We - America has become a culture of consumerism. Fast food, drive ups, Netflix…
We - America has become a culture of consumerism. Fast food, drive ups, Netflix…
As consumers we desire -
Options
Personalization
Convenience
Ill - Dad and whatchamycallits - Peace’s Grocery. Always having to have options, personalization and convenience leads to cronic dissatisfaction. It the grass is greener mindset.
If we are not careful this can crept into our church experience. We enter into a community of Christ-followers with certain expectations and the minute they are not met we will find another group of Christians. The point of this message series is to debunk and destroy the toxic consumerist approach. It is not healthy.
If we are not careful this can crept into our church experience.
Ill - Man on deserted island with three huts. House, church, my old church.
What We Want Most Of The Time Is Not What We Need
That is why one of our values here at BCC is -
SERVING OTHERS (show value slide)
We are called to be spiritual contributors, not spiritual consumers. We believe the church does not exist for us; we are the church and we exist for the world.
Christian community is not about going to get. It’s about gathering to give. That needs to tip in our lives. As you check out church you are not going to really experience dynamic community until you get out of your comfort zone and make next moves that move you into a more dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ.
If I had never joined a church till I had found one that was perfect, I should never have joined one at all; and the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us. - Charles Spurgeon
God - So real authentic community is not about my dream church it is about God’s destiny. It seems to me that God uses the discomfort and awkwardness for me to get to know Him and people better.
When I study the life or Jesus his life was anything but comfortable. So here is what I know, the more comfortable I become the less I’m like Jesus and the more I feel at home in a place that is not my home. The more uncomfortable I become the more I’m like Jesus and the more I realize my hope of an eternal home. My mindset and attitude shifts from play now pay later to pay now play later. When I follow Jesus I do things that require me to depend on him and His spirit.
Jesus first followers also struggled with these misconceptions. BACKGROUND
John 14:16–18 KJV 1900
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
John 14:16
The Holy Spirit is no mere shoulder for us to cry on but the sustainer of our faith and courage in the darkest of times. The Comforter comes alongside us to give us strength and courage as we follow Jesus in a place this is not our home.
Two Misconceptions About Christian Community
Fit, Foundation, Focus
McCracken, Brett. Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community (p. 24). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
What is your dream church? We all have one, and there’s a good chance the church you’re in now doesn’t check all the boxes on your list. This is the focus of our new four week series “Uncomfortable”—based on McCracken’s book. What are we to make of the fact that following Jesus often leads us into uncomfortable and awkward situations? What does the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus tell us about embracing the challenge of living in Christian community?
Misconception #1: Christian Community Is Going To Meet All My Preferences
1 Peter 2:4–5 NLT
4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. 5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.
1 Peter
1 Peter 2:9 NLT
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Ex: Peter, while writing to various churches that are experiencing forms of persecution, shares what it means to be the chosen people of God. Just like Jesus was “the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him” (v. 4), Christians are called to be “living stones” that are “being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (v. 5).
Peter is presenting an image of a community that is focused entirely on Jesus. It’s a community that puts aside preferences, quarrels, and comfort zones for the sake of becoming “living stones.” The entire purpose of this community, this “holy nation,” is to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (v. 9). It’s all about knowing God and worshipping him as king. This is contradictory to a consumerist approach to Christian community, which places our personal desires for what church should be like on the throne and tempts us to walk away from communities that don’t meet all our standards.
The reality, of course, is that the “dream church” we long for is a myth. It doesn’t exist. The reign of King Jesus, however, is real and eternal, and becoming “living stones” that are “acceptable to God” should be our ultimate aim.
App: It’s easy to have a consumerist approach when it comes to committing to a church. Do I like the worship style? Is the preaching entertaining enough? Is that church down the street a better fit? But when we allow a market mindset to influence our spiritual lives, our faith can become less about knowing and serving God, and more about finding a community that serves us and our desires. Rather than trying to form communities around our own preferences, we must allow ourselves to be formed by God and his people.
the Lord’s people. … As I have already said, the church is faulty, but that is no excuse for your not joining it, if you are the Lord’s” (Charles Spurgeon, “The Best Donation” [sermon, Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, April 5, 1891], http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols37-39/chs2234.pdf).
The purpose of Christian community is to focus on God and others.
Application: It’s easy to have a consumerist approach when it comes to committing to a church. Do I like the worship style? Is the preaching entertaining enough? Is that church down the street a better fit? But when we allow a market mindset to influence our spiritual lives, our faith can become less about knowing and serving God, and more about finding a community that serves us and our desires. Rather than trying to form communities around our own preferences, we must allow ourselves to be formed by God and his people.
Misconception #2: Christian Community Is Never Going To Be Awkward
Luke 9:23–25 NLT
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?
John 12:25 NLT
25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.
Luke 9:
Ex: While predicting his own death, Jesus tells the crowd that following him requires dying to ourselves (). These are challenging, countercultural, and seemingly not very comforting words! What he’s saying is that if you love the comforts of this life above all else, you’ll miss out on the comforts of eternal life in heaven. This life is not all there is, and we must live with that eternal perspective in mind.
Ex: While predicting his own death, Jesus tells the crowd that following him requires dying to ourselves (). These are challenging, countercultural, and seemingly not very comforting words! What he’s saying is that if you love the comforts of this life above all else, you’ll miss out on the comforts of eternal life in heaven. This life is not all there is, and we must live with that eternal perspective in mind.
Illustration: McCracken writes, “Following Christ is not one’s golden ticket to a whitepicket-fence American dream. It’s an invitation to die, to pick up a cross” (McCracken, Uncomfortable, 36). Similarly, C. S. Lewis writes, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity” (C.S. Lewis, “Answers to Questions on Christianity,” God in the Dock [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970], 58.)
What McCracken and Lewis are both getting at is that it’s easy to find basic happiness and comfort, but living the Christian life and being part of a church community requires making sacrifices that may feel uncomfortable but ultimately help us to become more like Jesus. It’s a trade-off that’s always worth it.
Salvation
Ephesians 1:7 NLT
7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
Baptism
Baptism
Acts 2:41 NLT
41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.
Community
Hebrews 10:25 NLT
25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Service
;25
Community
Matthew 20:28 NLT
28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Sharing
Service
1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT
18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.
Sharing
Ill: Most of us have seen the time-lapse photography of a lowly caterpillar becoming a butterfly. The footage usually starts with a ponderous little worm inching its way along a leaf that it devours. It looks silly and awkward as it labors to cover short distances.
When it gets to about two inches in length, it takes a break from stuffing itself, finds a protective branch, and rigs up a silk thread by which it fastens its tail to that branch. Once secured, this little caterpillar begins to contort its body, gyrating in curious ways. At first, it's unclear what is happening. Then suddenly, the outer skin of this worm seems to unzip revealing a green chrysalis within. Minutes later, the molting is done and the green pod that is left becomes motionless for about 14 days.
Nothing seems to be happening for awhile. But then on about day 12, the walls of the greenish cocoon become transparent. For the first time we can see that something dramatic has happened inside. But it's not until a day or two later that the full story is told. All at once, the little creature within begins to struggle and push until finally the shell of its miniature incubator cracks open.
Pushing itself out of the impossibly small pod there comes a Monarch butterfly. Wet, trembling, and dark, it takes a few minutes to unfold itself, opening its collapsed wings for the first time. It forces them outward to their full capacity, spreading patterns of color and symmetry on this new canvas. And then this ex-earthbound caterpillar seizes the wind and lifts off, delicately managing the currents like a poem set in motion.
App: Jesus tells us what it will cost to follow him: our lives. We grow by leaving our comfort zones and entering into the challenges and discomforts of our faith. Instead of avoiding this truth, we should embrace it and press into the joy of dying to ourselves and living for God and neighbor.
App: Jesus tells us what it will cost to follow him: our lives. We grow by leaving our comfort zones and entering into the challenges and discomforts of our faith. Instead of avoiding this truth, we should embrace it and press into the joy of dying to ourselves and living for God and neighbor.
Conc: What if we gave up the “dream church”? What if we stopped trying to find fault with our Christian community and instead embraced the discomfort? In order to know God and be known by his people, we must reject the consumerist church-hunting mindset, lay our preferences down, enter into the awkwardness, and die to our own desires—just like Jesus did. We’ll dig into Jesus’s example next week.
Questions:
Where do I fit?
How can I build on the foundation?
I’m I focused on Jesus and others?
Do I short cut my formation by not pushing through?
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