Highly Committed Participants
By Bobby Blakey on September 14, 2014
1 Thessalonians 1:1-3
Highly Committed Participants
By Bobby Blakey on September 14, 2014
1 Thessalonians 1:1-3
Grab your BIBLE once again here at Compass BIBLE Church and open up to the book of 1 Thessalonians. Welcome to week #2. Wow, what an exciting 1st service we had last Sunday! We had 480 people show up, a lot of them friends from Compass Bible Church down in Aliso Viejo. It was an overwhelming experience to set it all up and see all the preparation actually happen. I was exhausted afterwards. And I woke up on Tuesday morning and thought, ‘Whoa, were going to do that again!” Who is here for the first time this morning? Can we welcome these people? We are so glad you are here. Like I said last week, I moved here. I’m ready to be here for decades. I’m excited to see us start here in this little, hot melting pot of a bowl and see where the Lord takes us over the years to come. A lot of us are coming from different places here today. We’ve got a lot of maybe past church experience. Maybe some of you haven’t been to church that much and you come with expectations today. There are a lot of different ways we could decide how to do church. Some people may say we’ve always done it this way. Some people they just make up how they want to do it because they know people will like it. The great thing is, as we are starting out, we don’t have to make up how to do church. God gave us a book that says exactly what he wants us to do. In fact, Jesus Christ gives us commands he wants us to follow. We’re not doing anything based on our own personal experiences or expectations. We are going to follow the example that we have here in the Bible of the church. Specifically we are going to study 1 Thessalonians, this letter written to a church that is called an example to us. Last week we got an introduction to this book, but we’re just going to look at the first 3 verses here this morning. If you could follow along with me as I read here:
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ
Now that’s Paul, he’s writing a letter. He’s got Silas & Timothy next to him and they are writing to this church in Thessalonica. You can read about how this church got started in Acts 17. Paul comes into the city and he starts preaching the gospel and people start getting saved. He is ‘constantly” giving thanks to God for these people. But he says something specific, the phrase we want to focus in on here this morning, look at verse 3: “remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” When he thinks about them, something specific comes to his mind: they were workers. He mentions it 3 different ways: work, labor, steadfast. Work = they were really doing things. Labor = they were expending effort, they were sweating, they were toiling. Steadfast = they stuck with it, they persevered, and they endured. When he thinks about this church he says, “I thank God so much for you” and here’s something that sticks out about you: you were hard workers. Unfortunately people who go to church in Orange County, in the day we’re living in, are not known as hard workers. We live in a culture where it seems its tough to just get people to church, and if they go to church, they act like “I went to the service, what more do you want from me?” What we will see here is our experience we’ve had with church in Orange County today is not the same as example of the Thessalonians. This church, they were known for people who wanted to do work. That’s a distinctive. If you’ve got your bulletin, flip it over. We’ve got 8 Distinctives of Compass Bible Church. 8 things we want to be known for. 8 ways in our culture we want to stand out. And if you look at them, there’s 8 we could have talked about, but we’re just following along with Thessalonians and it starts us out at number 6. Take your eyeballs down to number 6 there and you’ll see that one of the distinctives, something we want to be different about our church is, we want to have Highly Committed Participants. When we say we need help with something, or we need some people to show up here and do some work. We want to have a group of people that’s like, “Yeah, I am here to serve.” If you know the statistics about this, “20% of the people do 80% of the work.” Yeah, even the attitude people have when I say, I’m moving to Huntington Beach and I’m going to plant a church, they look at me like “How big is your family? How many kids do you have? I hope you have a lot to set up the chairs, because I don’t think anybody else is going to. Is your extended family coming with you?” They don’t expect people at church to do work. That’s not the expectation of our culture. That’s the expectation here in the Scripture though. Which one are you? Now, I definitely understand the desire to work not coming naturally. I want to make this very clear right now in case we haven’t met and you haven’t got to know me yet. I come up here and seem like I’m into it…So you’re thinking this guy’s just a hard worker, that’s his personality. If you had known me growing up, you would realize hard work was not exactly what you would associate with Bobby Blakey. Actually, I had a nickname growing up, that my own father gave to me: Half-A-Job Bob. That was the nickname I had. Half-A-Job Bob. That was how I grew up. Kids were expected to do chores. And one of the very strenuous tasks I was given to do was take out the trash. I don’t know if anybody else here has been burdened with that? So here I go taking out the trash, I’m kind of lethargic about it. And there’s this trick, a sneak attack, they get you from the back, because not only do you take the trash out, but apparently you are supposed to put a bag back in the trash can. And next thing you know, here comes dad throughout the whole house and says, “Half-a-Job Bob strikes again, just threw my trash into an empty can!” That’s how I grew up! One of my least favorite chores was cleaning up after the dogs. The “scoop of the poop” is what we used to call it. And for some reason, I don’t know why, I would always miss a poop here and a poop there, and dad would be out throwing the ball with one of my bros and you could literally hear it throughout the entire neighborhood, “Oh, stepped in it everybody, Half-A-Job Bob strikes again!” Now if my dad was here, and he heard me tell this story, he would apologize for calling me Half-A-Job, but the truth is, that helped me grow up. I matured from a boy who wanted to play games to a man who does work. Being called Half-A-Job Bob was very motivating for me. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be a hard-worker. So I just want to say, if you have a hard-time working hard, I understand. That’s where I came from. However, I have been convicted by the Scripture, that being Half-A-Christian is not acceptable before God. Turn to James 1 and let’s look at an important passage that goes against the way a lot of people think about church today. James 1:22-25 reads like this:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Here’s a warning in the scripture, that if all you do is go to church and hear the word, but you don’t do the word, that’s a dangerous place to be! You are actually deceiving yourself! You might be thinking that just because cause you heard it, therefore you get it, and you’ve arrived at some kind of level. But that’s not the test that God’s going to evaluate you by. You’re not going to go to heaven and get some sort of test of how much of the Bible do you know. Here’s the test: Are you a doer of the word? Here at Compass Bible Church, we’ve even structured our church like this. We’re going to come here and hear from the word, whether we are meeting outside here or we find a place with air conditioning. Wherever we are at, we will be hearing the word and here’s the idea: Let’s go do it! That’s going to be the point of this church. That’s even why we have these Home Fellowship Groups. Now we’re all sitting face forward, the Holy Spirit preaching through me straight to you. We’re all hearing it. But later we want to sit in a circle and we’re going to talk to each other about how we’re going to go and do it in our lives. That’s why everyone needs to be a part of a Home Fellowship Group. Think about it. People are patting themselves on the back saying “I went to church, I’m good.” Actually the bible is saying “No! You just heard it. That’s just half-a-job. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you’re good because you heard it. Do you do it? Do you do the work?” That’s what Jesus Christ is looking for. He’s not looking for if you know the commands, he’s looking for if you obey the commands. Turn with me to Ephesians 2. One of the most helpful passages in all of the Bible. Because there’s something I need to make clear, especially because we are just beginning here at Compass HB. I’m not trying to say that by doing good works you get into heaven. That is heresy. We do not believe that here at Compass Bible Church. You cannot do enough good things to please a holy God. Look at Ephesians 2:8-9.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
I hope and pray no one will ever come to this church and hear a message about “Let’s go do it!” and think, “Okay, I’m just going to try harder to be a better person and if I do this I’ll get to heaven.” We don’t believe that here at Compass Bible Church. That’s not what the Bible teaches. If you actually think that by doing something good you as a sinner could somehow merit favor with a holy God, that just shows you don’t really understand how salvation works. Nobody here can do good things that impress God. And Ephesians 2 has already set that up, look back at verse 1. Here’s a verse that really will help your self-esteem. Look at Ephesians 2:1, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins.” Does that make anyone feel good? Here’s how you are without Jesus Christ: You’re dead! How many good works does a dead person do? Zero. As a sinner before a holy God, you can’t do good things. But, we get the good news here in Ephesians 2:4. Look at this: “But God“ Lot’s of bad news in verses 1-3, but here’s the good news: God didn’t leave us in our sins but steps in to save us:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
You don’t get saved by doing good things, you get saved by admitting you can’t do good things. You need God to save you. You need God to do a supernatural work, we call it salvation, where he makes you alive in Jesus Christ. That’s the gospel we talked about last week. Jesus is the Christ, he died and he rose again. That’s the gospel. And when you put your trust in that, God raises you up to a new life. So, the kind of work, the hard work we’re talking about today is not a work to earn salvation. We need to be very clear about that. So, point number 1, let’s put it down like this:
#1) Thank Jesus for doing the work for you
We’re here to say: Jesus Paid it All. We already sang that here this morning. Jesus Christ he died for 100% of your sin, and if you put your trust in him, you will be 100% forgiven. All of your sin, done with, erased, and then you will be raised with Christ, given a new life. That’s the gospel that we preach! We didn’t come up here and say: Jesus met me half-way, I met him half-way too. We met on a bridge of love. I’m a heretic. That’s not what we came here to sing this morning. We came here to sing Jesus Christ paid for every single one of your sins. Everything you’ve ever thought, said, or done against a holy God, Jesus erased it all. You had a bad stain, it was crimson, and Jesus, he washed you as white as snow. Can I get an amen from anybody on that?! That’s what we’re here to talk about! I don’t want anybody here at this church to think, “Hey, I’ve done some good works, look at me, I’m impressing you, I’m impressing God. “ That’s not how it works. We are here to be impressed with Jesus Christ and to give him all the glory! But, the logical conclusion, if Jesus paid it all, then I should give a half-hearted effort back to him? Is that the logical conclusion? No, if Jesus paid it all, then what do I want to give back to him? All to him I owe! I want to give him 100%. I want to give him everything I’ve got! Romans 12:1 puts it like this: I want to lay down my life as a sacrifice, and offer myself completely to Jesus Christ. The only reasonable response is to say: If Jesus would do that for me, then I’m ready to do anything for him. Now, unfortunately, that is not the reputation people at church have today. Were known as people who are barely going to show up, if maybe it works out in our schedule. But 1st Thessalonians today is saying no, we need a church that’s like this: we do “the work of faith.” Faith produces good works in our life. And we do these good works because we love Jesus Christ for what he has done for us. We labor. We sweat. We strive. And when it gets tough, when it gets hard, when we don’t feel like it, guess what? We stick with it. Because I believe love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment. That’s the kind of church I want here this morning. Anybody want to be like a church like that? When you say, “I’m moving.” or “My wife’s having a baby.” When something is happening at your house and you need help, you’ve got some friends from church who are going to show up at your house and do work to help you. Before we move on, we can’t forget this lonely verses here in the Bible. Look at Ephesians 2:10. Everybody knows verses 8-9. But then you got little old verse 10. Can you even find that verse? See verse 11 way down there, separated by spaces and a whole new heading. Verses 8 & 9 are this clique and then you have lonely verse 10.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Here’s what salvation is about. God does a work in you. He makes you a new person in Jesus Christ. And actually, the reason God saved you is he’s already planned out a path of good works for the rest of your life to go and do. Why did God save you? So you could do some work for him. Just think about that right now. For the rest of your life, God already has laid out a path and he’s just wanting you to walk down it in obedience. He’s already prepared the way for you. It’s a beautiful word here, this workmanship; it’s the word poiēma. It’s the word that we get poem from. It’s like everybody here; your life story is a poem. Like, handpicked phrases put together and you’re going to walk down this path and God’s prepared you to do good things. Not the person next to you, not somebody else, there are good things that God saved just you do to. And you should want to run and do those things for God with all that you have got! Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 15:58. Now this chapter is one of the longest in the New Testament. It starts out with the gospel of Jesus Christ, it says in verses 3-4, I want to tell you the gospel, that Jesus is the Christ, he died for your sins as it says in the Old Testament, he was buried, and he rose again as it says in the Old Testament. So the whole chapter’s about the gospel, how Jesus rose from the dead, how that now gives you a new life, gives you a hope of heaven after you die. This powerful chapter on the resurrection and it ends like this: if you really understand the gospel, here’s the conclusion that you should be coming to at the end of it.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
That’s a 100% statement. Always, that’s 24/7, 100% of the time abounding, that’s all that you’ve got on the inside, 100% of your heart. If you understand what Jesus Christ really did for you, the sacrifice he made on the cross to die for you, the power he has in this resurrection, then the only response that makes sense is always abounding in the work of the Lord. And it gives you a great encouragement here: knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. You’re going to toil, strive, you’re going to sweat. (Can I get an amen on the sweat right now? I’ve got 100 SPF all up in my eye right now. Just going to our church is work in this heat!) Well, it’s not in vain. The verse you could write down is Mark 9:41, where Jesus says an amazing statement. He says, if you give somebody a cup of water in Jesus’ name, you will not lose you reward. Here’s how much Jesus cares about the things you do for him, even handing somebody a drink of water, he’s keeping track of that. He’s going to reward you for that. Anything you do that’s really from your heart for Jesus Christ, here’s a promise from scripture, that was not worthless, that was not wasted time, that mattered to him. And he’s going to reward you, and he’s going to use it here in this life, and give you a reward in the next life. That’s who Jesus Christ is. And so, are we really living with this full-time for Jesus mentality I like to call it? This 24/7 Christianity? That now, I’m not trying to fit Jesus into my week, I’m not looking into my calendar thinking, how much time can I give to Jesus and the church? I’m looking at my calendar thinking, this whole thing is for Jesus Christ. From when I wake up, to when I go to sleep, and maybe I even need to adjust those times to serve Jesus Christ. I want to always abound in his work! I can clearly remember the day when this verse convicted me to my soul. And I was a guy who already at that time in my life worked full-time at a church. This was up in northern California after I had graduated college and got married to my wife Christa. We started doing high school ministry at this church. I was paid full-time. And I remember I was walking through the parking lot, and this verse pierced my soul. And I thought, “If I’m going to do youth ministry, something at church and it’s going to have Jesus’ name on it, it needs to be the best youth ministry that has ever existed if it’s for Jesus Christ.” I was so convicted because I worked full-time at a church, but I did it in a part-time way. When I was done at the church, it was like I clocked out and went home and it was Bobby time. It was me-time. If I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do at the end of the day, I had an attitude, I had this grumpiness that would come out because I needed time for me to do what I wanted to do. I remember walking through the parking lot one day, and I just got convicted in my heart and I prayed to God. ‘God if I’m going to do this, I need to do it all in. I can’t be clocking in and out for you.” I don’t think I got saved that day, I think I was already saved. But I think that’s the day that I went full-time for Jesus Christ. And changed in the youth group. We had this small little youth group, wasn’t really going anywhere. And we started reaching high school campuses and seeing God do exciting things. From there God led me to Compass Bible Church. And really, I think that thought I had in that parking lot one day is where this church came from. Because I realized that there was nothing that I could ever do that would outgive what God has given me. Everything I could ever give to him for the rest of my life, it’s worth it! And I decided I was going to go and give everything I had. And I started filling that time that I would save for myself, I started filling it with other people, filling it with time with the Lord and my life got better. The busier I got, the better my life got, because I was working for Jesus Christ. If you had that moment in your heart where you’ve realized, “I’m here to serve?” I’m talking to everybody here today. What’s been your commitment level so far to Jesus Christ? Would you describe yourself as someone whose doing the work of faith and the labor of love and steadfastness of hope? Or would you describe yourself as a half-a-Christian? That doesn’t make sense because there’s no such thing as half-a-salvation so how can we have half-a-Christians. God didn’t forgive half your sins! God didn’t give you the power to rise halfway to a new life! Jesus went 100% for you. We need to check ourselves here today and ask ourselves, “Am I really ready to give 100%? Always abounding in the work of the Lord?”
2) Don’t just spectate, but participate
When we come to church here, we’re not going here like an angels game. We’re not talking about going to an event where we will watch a show at Disneyland or SeaWorld, where everybody says at the end, “Good show Pastor Bobby. Good show Ryan Pierce.” That’s not what we are here to do. This isn’t a spectator sport! If you feel like you are sitting on the sidelines watching church happen, let me officially in the name of Jesus Christ invite you to get off the bench and get into the game here today. This is a participation sport. There’s no cheerleading. There’s no sidelines here in the game for souls. In lifting high the name of Jesus Christ, there’s workers and there’s people who are not workers. There’s only two categories! I just want to encourage you as we start a new church, this could be an exciting new season for some of you to stop spectating and start participating. And I know what some of you are thinking right now. Because whenever I give this kind of a sermon or have this kind of conversation people say, “Well, I’m just not in a good season of my life right now to serve the church. “ I don’t know if I just pulled anybody’s thought out of your head right now, sorry if you feel a little awkward. I’ve just heard it many times. And I hear that from every single possible season of life. Because college is really a terrible time to be involved in church. College, you’re away from home maybe, and you’re just so busy with school and then you just got so much going on at the campus. It’s really a once in a lifetime experience. So you can’t really get involved in church in college, especially if you are only somewhere during the school year and gone during the summer. And then I talk to people who get married and they say, “I’m in the honeymoon stage and trying to figure marriage out. And we’re both working to make money because our careers haven’t really taken off yet.” They feel busy and they’re madly in love, and its hard to not be looking in each other’s eyes for a few minutes, so the honeymoon time, that’s not really the season. So when you start having kids, that’s going to be the season to really start serving the church! I mean, throw them in the baby bjorn and let’s go! Everybody when they start having babies says, “All-right, sign me up now, I can really do some work.” No, that’s not what’s happening either. Having kids, it’s a full-time job right there. Well, once these kids get a little bit older, then it will be fine right? Well, no, then these kids go away to college and then I hear, “You don’t understand how hard it is to put these kids through college. It’s so expensive these days…” So eventually we are going to get to retirement where we can all serve the church. Am I right? NO, because then we’ve got to go on the trip we’ve been saving up for and we’ve got to see the grandkids. And then, our bodies might stop working like we would want them to and that can make it harder to serve the church. So, let me ask you my friend, when is the season of life where you are going to start serving? This is it! Whatever season you are in right now, this is the day the word of the Lord came to you. Why? Because here’s what we believe: Jesus paid it all, and so we should give it all to him. No matter what season I’m in, how busy my life is, there’s nothing more important to me than Jesus Christ. It’s hard to say that Jesus Christ is the number one priority in your life if his people at church are the least priority in your life! He’s not going to accept that. Jesus is going to want everybody here to do something here to participate, to help make this happen. So the question that’s coming to you today is, “What are you going to do as a part of planting a new church?” For the sake of the sports analogy, if I’m the coach, I’m clearing the bench right now. All players on the field. Maybe you’ve never stepped into the game before, we’ll take you! We will equip you! We will encourage you! We want you to do work with us! Now go back to 1 Thessalonians 1 and let’s just look at this phrase here again. Let’s just see how we are doing here, because we’ve emphasized the work part, but it also gives you a motivation here of why you would want to do this. It’s not just work, labor, and steadfastness. Look at it again. As he’s praying and thanking God for these people, “remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now you may have heard these three words before if you are familiar with the Bible. Faith, love, and hope or maybe you’ve heard it in a different order of faith, hope and love. These are like the trinitarian Christian virtues right here. 1 Corinthians 13:13 is a cross-reference. Maybe you’ve seen somebody have a bumper sticker before that says, “faith, hope, and love.” These virtues are what a Christian is all about. So now we are getting into the heart issue here. The heart issue is why do you do work at church. I’m not trying to bully anybody into doing work. I’m not trying to make anybody feel guilty. I’m hopefully appealing to the fact you have already in the past put your faith in Jesus Christ, in the present you’re living out of love for Jesus Christ, and as you look to your future all of your hope is in Jesus Christ. I’m hopefully appealing to the fact you have faith in Christ, love for Christ, and hope in Christ. THAT’s why you would want to do work for Christ! We do things on the outside, not to put on a show, or not because we are forced to. We do things on the outside, because hopefully they are an accurate reflection of what’s inside. Hopefully these three words describe you, faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love. Go to Revelation 2:2-5. Because we can do all the work we want. We could set-up as many EZ ups as possible and we could hand out a lot of free ice cream. But the point is not to do work for work’s sake. Look at what Jesus Christ says to this church in Ephesus, “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance,” Does that sound familiar to anybody right there? Work, labor, steadfastness. Those are the same exact, three Greek words in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, I know you works, your toil, and your patient endurance, “and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.” Wow! What a great statement about a church! Can you imagine getting that affirmation from Jesus right here. But then he says this: “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” Lampstand, that’s the analogy here in Revelation of a church. We had a commissioning service back at Compass Bible Church Aliso Viejo, and afterwards, our pastor back there, Pastor Mike Fabarez said, a lampstand had been lit!. And here’s Jesus Christ saying, you guys are doing good work, but here’s the thing, you’re not doing it out of love for me. And I’d rather have no lampstand at all then a lampstand that doesn’t love me. The question is do you love Jesus Christ? Now the practical application is: Will you sign up to serve? But the real heart question is: do you love Jesus Christ in your heart? In fact, Jesus says “if you don’t love me like you did at first, you need to repent!” He says it is a sin to love Jesus less than you used to. The only acceptable thing is to love Jesus more. So I want to talk to some people maybe who have been loving Jesus for a long time. I mean some of you, when I talk about faithful service, you’re saying “amen” because you have been faithfully serving Jesus Christ for decades. Well here’s a question for you this morning: Can you tell me here today that you love Jesus now as much as you have ever loved him? BECAUSE if you can’t, he says to you, “Remember the heights from where you have fallen. Repent and get back to what you used to do at first.” Let’s put this thought in a human relationship. We have someone here celebrating their 27th anniversary this weekend. Can you imagine if you are sitting down at your 27th anniversary dinner and you say to your spouse, “Wow, those first 10 years were really awesome weren’t they? Last 17, kind of mediocre. But those first 10…love those.” That would be kind of a bad dinner I think. I don’t think that chocolate fondue would go down so well. Or could you imagine if one of your kids came up to you, and you say, “You used to be really cute, I used to just want to give you kisses, but now, you’re kind of a punk. “ Can you imagine saying that to your son or daughter or spouse? “I used to love you more.” That wouldn’t be acceptable if you did that to your spouse or to your children, so let me ask you a question, “Why is it acceptable to do that with your Lord and Savior?” Surely Jesus has loved you more than any person ever has. Why is it acceptable among Christians to think of, like that time when we were new Christians, our first love, like that’s a unique time, and then we kind of become normal Christians. I’ll tell you what, if that is what it means to be a normal Christian, that you love Jesus less, than I don’t ever want to be one.. I want to be an on-fire Christian. I want to have a passion for Jesus Christ. Because that’s how he was for me, I want to be that way towards him. Turn to Galatians 6:7-10. Let me encourage those of you who have been serving Jesus Christ for a long time. Let me just tell you, if you have experience serving Jesus Christ you are a valued commodity here at Compass Bible Church Huntington Beach. We need every seasoned saint, every experienced prayer warrior, everyone who knows how to lead a small group bible study. We need you! Here’s another excuse I get from people why they can’t serve the church right now, “Well, I already had a season of service. For a while I was really doing everything I could.” People look at me and say, “I was really serving! I even did youth ministry for a while! I was really in the trenches. I went to summer camp one time! I really went all out for Jesus Christ then.” And sometimes the excuse I hear is we’re bringing out our resume, looking at our past and saying, “you might not know this, but back in the day I did quite a lot of service for Jesus Christ.” We need you if you’ve done service in the past. We need you to do it right now, especially as we are trying to get a church started. If there was ever an all-hands-on-deck, let’s all get in together as a team, it’s when you are starting a church right. And Galatians 6:7-10 has some words of encouragement for those of you who have been serving for a long time. It says:
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
You want to talk about the “household of faith!” That’s what God is starting right here at Compass Bible Church Huntington Beach! We have such a great opportunity before us right now and if you’ve been serving at other places, we need you to serve here now! Don’t grow weary in doing good! Don’t clock out from the church now! We are going to reap a great harvest here in Huntington Beach if we commit ourselves to the work of Jesus Christ. So I want to speak to some of you because I know you’re thinking, “I’ve had times where I’ve really served, but right now, it just feels tough, it just feels hard.” That’s what it means to be steadfast. That’s what it means to persevere. Maybe you’ve heard that Greek word before “ὑπομένω (hupoménō)” It’s a compound word: ménō means to abide, to remain, to stay and hupó is a prefix which means under. This is what it’s like to serve Jesus. There’s this pressure. It feels like you’re trying to care about people’s souls and that’s like carrying a burden on your back. It feels like work as you’re trying to get to church early to set up. That’s what it means to be steadfast, you remain under that pressure. When the going gets tough, you don’t get going. No, we’re looking for Christians who when the going gets tough, they stay right here. They will be here when Compass Bible Church Huntington Beach has its 10th anniversary, when we celebrate 1 decade of ministry. And if Jesus doesn’t come back, if that is what the Lord will, I would look forward to that day and I hope to see you there my friend. I hope we will be able to say a decade from now, we are still here, always abounding in the work of the Lord. And we’ll be able to look around and see the harvest that God has reaped and we will be excited for even more work, not less! So I just want to encourage those of you who have experience in serving the Lord Jesus Christ, we need you here at this church!
#3) Check your church motives.
So, you need to ask yourself, am I really doing this out of a love for Jesus Christ? And really, if you love Jesus Christ, the secondary question that’s going to come along is this: “Do you love his people?” Do you see people like Jesus saw them, as souls who need to be saved? A lot of people today say their love just goes upwards, that they love Jesus Christ. But Jesus is always going to challenge us horizontally, “If you love me, then love the least of these.” In fact, when it says labor of love it’s probably not just referring to our love for Christ, it’s actually probably referring to a love for one another as our motivation for church ministry! You could write down 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, where it says that they know how to love one another. So that’s why we are having a cold sandwich BBQ after the service, because we want to get to know people, we want to love them. That’s what I’m appealing to, to come and do work, not just for the sake of the church, but for the sake of the other people who are here today. Cause we need each other! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt exhausted and I’ve been like, “Oh no, small groups are tonight!” Or “I’ve got that meeting with so and so.” And I’m thinking “I’d rather go home and lie in bed.” I’m thinking, “I’m tired.” And I suck it up, and I go not for my sake, but for so and so’s sake. I’m going to go for somebody else. I’m going to go to small groups tonight because I’ve got to see so and so, and I’ve got to make sure that they are encouraged. What’s going to happen to them if I don’t go and encourage them? So I go to small groups. I go to that meeting. And how do I come home every single time? Pumped up! I have new energy! I am full of the life of Jesus Christ. I’ve been renewed in the power of the Spirit. BECAUSE here’s the truth: “It is more blessed to give, than to receive.” Stop thinking about yourself. Stop thinking you need more time for yourself.” You know what you need? You need to give more of your time to other people. That’s a more blessed way to live, that’s what Jesus Christ says in Acts 20:35. It is an interesting statement of Jesus Christ because it doesn’t come to us in the midst of the gospels, but Paul quotes it in the book of Acts. It says, remember what Jesus says: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Well you can’t find that in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. But it’s like this little secret that Jesus would say. And it’s definitely a secret that Paul knew, I mean these guys, they loved people, they did a lot of work. What was the secret? The knew it is better to give your life away than to try to receive it for yourself. Let me just promise you this, cannot out give the giver. You cannot be more generous and gracious than God will be to you. I promise you that. Go to Matthew 20:28. I want to end with another statement here from Jesus Christ. We’ve got a major problem in the church today that we’re trying to correct with this sermon. The major problem is when people hear church service, they think of something to go to, rather than something they need to go do. Does that seem like something that going to happen Sunday at 11, or is that something that sounds like you want to sign up for other hours of the week. We can’t have people coming to church in Jesus’ name if they are coming to be served. Jesus Christ did NOT come to be served, but to serve: “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” What a legacy Jesus left to all of us. Not only the example, but in his name, we actually have the power to live this way. In Jesus Christ we can come to this church, not to be served, but to serve others. So many churches are going to give you 10 reasons why you should come, for your benefit. Here’s one reason why you should come and be a part of this church: to serve. So you can give your life away to the other people here. Now, obviously, we’ve got very practical ways we can use some help around here. Because we literally have to set up our tent church that we’re putting on here every week. So, we’ve got a really practical application. I have a friend named Dan Lauder. He’s sitting there in the back. Can we just clap for Dan Lauder? He is the leader of our set-up/tear-down crew and I think they’re doing a great job so far! And here’s the exciting thing if you are just joining us in this church. We have a group of highly committed participants that are here to plant this church. I don’t know if you‘ve got to meet some of the people that moved here to Huntington Beach to plant this church, but these people are devoted servants of Jesus Christ. They’re here to serve, not to be served. Dan Lauder is one of the many that I could refer to right now. When I heard that we were going to plant a church and I was going to be the pastor, first thing I’m doing is getting Dan Lauder on the phone and saying, “Bro, are you in?” Because we need a team of people, if we had a team of people always abounding in the work of the Lord, can you imagine the work we could do here for Jesus Christ? So to start with we need people to set up the church. I mean, we want shade, can I get an amen? We need some people to come early and help set it up, and afterwards we need some people to stick around and tear it down. And I can just tell you, from week 1 to week 2, we had some more hands show up, willing to serve, and many hands make light work. Many hands make work much more enjoyable, it’s actually an encouraging time of fellowship. So that’s Dan Lauder, maybe you can just go to him right after the service and say, “Sign me up!” That’s the first step: come early, stay late. Even today, we’ve got to take these EZ ups down, we want to get over to the park for some lunch. So if you want to help tear down, that would be a very practical way to apply this message and talk to Dan Lauder. God, We thank you so much that Jesus Christ really did pay it all for us. We look at him on the cross as our hope. We put our faith in him. And we love him for what he has done for us. And I pray as we sing here today “Jesus paid it all” that we could really respond by saying “All to him I owe.” That we would want to do good works for Jesus Christ because we love him. And that when it gets tough, when it is hard, that we will love Jesus by remaining steadfast and keep going. I pray we will see a great harvest here at Compass Huntington Beach. We thank you that Jesus is worth giving our entire life for. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.