Faithlife Sermons

This is Personal

This is Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:13
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Introduction

In many conversations with many different people about why they aren’t part of a church, I have heard many different responses. But often, there is a common thread that connects them all: the church isn’t personal to them—it’s not connected with “real” life.
An institutionalized church stuck in a bygone era and focused on maintaining the status quo.
An industrialized church that tries to bulk-manufacture disciples by pressing everyone through a one-size-fits-all discipleship assembly line.
A commercialized church selling Jesus as product to make you healthy, wealthy, and happy, where the leaders are little more than sleazy used-car salesmen just waiting to take advantage of an unsuspecting person who walks through the doors.
The church as a corporation following the latest business models, implementing the newest trends in programming, and competing with all the other corporation-churches in town to see who can get the greatest “marketshare” by reaching the most “customers.”
The church as a humanitarian non-profit agency for social justice, like the Peace Corps or the Boys and Girls Club only with a Jesus-spin on it.
The church as an entertainment agency, constantly trying to be bigger, better, louder, flashier, trendier; working hard to keep people entertained with a myriad of services, programs, and events that may be fun, but lack substance.
What about you? Do you feel like the church is an impersonal institution? Do you go through the motions, but wonder what the point is? Does the church seem to you to be out of touch, stuck in the past? Or maybe a commercialized Jesus-infomercial that overpromises and under-delivers? A bunch people whose faith is about as deep as a mud puddle? Is that what church is supposed to be like?
Biblical
The last chapter of 1 Corinthians gives us a glimpse that the church is not any of those things. What we have in our Bibles as the Book of 1 Corinthians is actually a personal letter written by the Apostle Paul to a specific Christian church in the ancient Roman city of Corinth. And as he was drawing his letter to a close, Paul threw in a whole bunch of random thoughts and personal comments. “Remember this… Oh, yeah, don’t forget that...”
While some of these personal comments about mutual acquaintances and travel plans may not seem directly applicable to us today, one thing we can take away from this chapter is that the church is not business—it’s personal.
Subject
How can church be personal? How can we be the family of God?

Main Points

Church becomes personal when we give. We become family when we contribute.
Exposition
Read vv. 1-4; explain famine and poverty in Jerusalem, Paul’s collection, practical instructions
When people start giving to their church, something changes in their perspective. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” When you give, you begin to love the church in a whole new way—it becomes personal to you.
Illustration: Giving at LakeView is getting healthier. Last year we gave 98% of our budget! And this year, we’re currently ahead of budget… Good job! Let’s keep it up and pay off that mortgage!
Application: Giving will not only change your perspective of church, it will also change your heart toward God. Are you giving?
Church becomes personal when we encourage one another. We become family when we support one another.
Exposition
Read vv. 5-14
Especially in 13-14, Paul is encouraging them after saying some pretty challenging things in this letter.
Illustration: I once heard a pastor say that God never intended anyone to be a Lone Ranger Christian. We need the support and encouragement of the church to make it.
Application: Life can be tough, and we don’t get a pass just because we worship Jesus. We get sick, we lose loved ones, we hurt, we’re lonely, we lose jobs, we fall into sin, we question whether we’re on the right track sometimes. That’s why God created the church! We’re a family who sticks together.
Church becomes personal when we work together. We become family when everyone does their part.
Exposition
Read vv. 15-18
There’s a definite change in how you feel about the church when you invest some time to the service of the Lord’s people.
Illustration: The difference between a hotel and a home…
Application: So many people feel disconnected from the church, and they want to feel like part of the family. Yet, they never pitch in to help with family chores. They treat the church like a hotel, not a home. If you want church to be personal, start helping out around the house, and watch how your heart changes.
Church becomes personal when we belong. We become family when we go deeper than just attending events.
Exposition
Read vv. 19-24. Can you feel the warmth in these words?
It’s not about checking “Go to church” off your “Be a Good Person” list; it’s about being a member of this family.
Illustration: Matt Chandler, pastor at The Village Church, says this: “We don’t just attend. We belong.”
Application: If all you do is come to a Sunday service 1.7 times a month and attend the occasional fun event, LakeView will never feel like home. It won’t be personal because you’re just attending. But if you go deeper; if you join a Life Group or a Bible study; if you contribute your time, talents, and treasure; if you serve on a ministry team; and if you walk through life with those around you, encouraging and praying for one another, then you will belong. You’ll have people who will cry with you when you’re hurting and laugh with you when life is good. They’ll pray for you when you have no hope and be there for you when you have no one else. And you will do the same for them because it’s not business; this is church, and this is personal.

Conclusion: Personal Words from Our Elders

From Gary Cook

My prayer for you comes straight from this chapter:
1 Corinthians 16:13–14 NIV
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.
Not only do I pray this regularly for you, but I encourage you to memorize this simple, but powerful prayer and pray it over one another.

From Ryan Horrisberger

In a world ever more more connected by technology, people have never been so alone. That can be just as true amongst believers. How can we as a body be a family characterized by brotherly love, or as some put it, "the love which Christians cherish for each other as brethren”? My continued prayer is that we’d be utterly dissatisfied with the idea of church as a place we go for an hour a week and instead pursue the idea that the church is something we are, something that characterizes every aspect of our lives; and that we’d be continually be looking to care for one another, serve one another, pray with one another, cry with one another, study with one another, and celebrate with one another.

From Mark Krizan

I am grateful to those at LakeView who work tirelessly for the kingdom. God bless them. May you show them your appreciation and respect. Copy them—not so much what they do, but their attitudes and self-sacrifice. Guard yourselves against being LUKEWARM like the church in Laodicea John talked about in Rev. 3:14-22. Dig into God's word, know what you believe, talk with Him often (in prayer) and follow hard after Him.

From Kevin Louis

I continue to be encouraged with your desire to reach the lost, your desire to be a prayer-centered church, your giving spirit, your desire to serve, your faith through hardships, and your desire to not waiver from God's word. I encourage you to continue to be faithful in prayer, being filled with the Spirit, seeking out Godly, authentic, and accountable relationships. Continue to pray and seek spiritual wisdom, desiring unity among diversity, while committing your thoughts and desires over to God. May you have a hunger for his word, and remember above all to love as Christ loves us. I remind you that we have victory in all things through Christ, so do not be disheartened by the world and events around us. Continue to stand firm in your faith, giving glory and thanks to God for all things.

From Tom Roe

I would thank this special gathering of people for persevering while we didn't have a lead pastor, being faithful to make people feel welcome, teaching children, students, men and women. For taking care of the building and shoveling snow. For feeding people, for caring for people who are struggling, for praying for each other as the journey of our lives is challenging. For being examples in worshiping God, in marriages, in generosity. For watching our tongues and watching out for each other. For being intentional about loving each other, the Church, our towns. For being sensitive to God's leading, God's rebuking. For being kind, for being gracious. For hoping for revival and being bold to share Jesus. For the joy of laughing together, the comfort of being held while crying. Thanks for being together, faithful and faith-filled.

From Mike Moll

We are in a season of seeking direction from God. I encourage you to pray daily for Andy and LakeView leadership, asking God to show us what changes need to be made and what next steps are as we seek to follow Christ as Head of the church. As you pray for LakeView, we will pray for you; that in the spirit of 1 Cor 16:13-14, you will be watchful, standing firm in the faith with courage and strength, while doing everything in love. If we diligently seek God while standing firm in the faith with love, He will surely direct our steps and bless us!

From Me

Do you want to be part of a church like this? A church that is not some impersonal, institutional, manufactured going through of the motions; nor a commercialized, entertainment-driven corporation, but the loving family of God who will stick by your side through thick and thin? How do you belong to this family?
You’re born into it through faith in Jesus Christ.
John 1:12–13 NIV
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Believe and receive, and be born again.
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