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Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:12-18
1. We understand and stand upon the truth that the church belongs to Christ, Matt. 16:18. Purchased with His blood, Head, Savior, High Priest and Intercessor. Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23; Heb. 3:1; 7:25
2. Yet, throughout history people have developed the view that the church belongs to them: “Our” church; “My” church.
a. Demonstrated by its deconstruction and reconstruction by the organizations, doctrines, creeds, dictates of the human heart, 2 Cor. 11:1-4; Gal. 1:6-10. (Catholicism, Protestantism, etc.)
b. Demonstrated by false and sinful attitudes among Christians of the local church, 3 Jno. 9-10.
3. Is this church “my” church (selfish people) or “Christ’s” church? What markers can tell us which is the prevailing attitude?
I. IS THIS CHURCH MY CHURCH OR THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?
A1. “I Sacrifice My Time for this Church...It’s ‘My Church’”.
1. The sacrifice of time is indeed good and necessary for any church to thrive, Eph. 5:16.
2. Time is an opportunity, and faithful Christians devote their time to study, to teaching, to helping with the physical and spiritual needs of the church, Gal. 6:9-10.
* 3. But, to conclude that sacrificing our time for the church grants us some special ownership/authority/prerogative in the church is sinful, self-serving, misguided conceit! Gal. 6:3
A2. Sacrifice Your Time Out of Devotion to Christ and Christ’s Church.
1. The servants in Acts 6:1-6 (cf. deacons).
2. cf. Timothy, Phil. 2:19-23.
B1. “I Sacrifice My Effort for this Church...It’s ‘My Church’”.
1. Faithful work is essential for the body to function and grow, Rom. 12:3-8; Eph. 4:15-16.
* 2. There is a warning in Rom. 12:3 (16): Avoid conceit borne out of too high of an opinion of ourselves as we do our part in the church. cf. Elders, 1 Pet. 5:2-3; Preachers, Phil. 1:15-16
B2. We have a Duty to Give Our Effort for the Good of Christ’s Church, Luke 17:10.
1. cf. Paul, Acts 20:18-20, 31. Without boasting, cf. 1 Cor. 9:16.
2. cf. Phoebe, Aquila and Priscilla, Rom. 16:1-4.
C1. “I Sacrifice My Money for this Church...It’s ‘My Church’”.
1. It is right to give our possessions to advance the work of the local church, 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 4:34-35.
* 2. But, one does not purchase the right to have a greater say in the church based on the amount of money he/she contributes! 1 Tim. 6:17; Jas. 2:1-6
C2. Our Faith Should Compel Our Generous Giving to Help Christ’s Church, Acts 4:36-5:4.
1. We must first give ourselves to the Lord, 2 Cor. 8:1-5.
2. Liberality (2): “Singleness...subjectively...sincerity (without dissimulation or self seeking)...objectively...generosity...bountifulness” (Strong).
3. Honesty and sincerity of faith without hypocrisy produces generous giving in God’s sight (Mk. 12:43-44).
4. Contributed funds are a bounty that bears righteous fruit, 2 Cor. 9:6-11.
1. The idea that the church belongs to any person is repulsive to every faithful Christian!
2. We bear a duty to Christ to serve Him by serving one another.
3. Never seek lordship over each other, but always look for opportunities to humbly serve one another, just as Christ serves us, Matt. 20:25-28.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: May 29, 2014