A Series of Messages on What a Church IS and DOES
July 25, 2021 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction and Review (Ephesians 4:11-16)
A. Ephesians 4:11 And he [JESUS] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
B. Ephesians 4:12 [WHY?] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
C. Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
D. Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
E. Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
F. Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase OF THE BODY unto the edifying of itself in love.
G. Did you notice four important things?
1. God refers to something called “the whole body” – “the body of Christ”. That means we born again believers represent the body of Jesus Christ alive and active on earth today
2. That every joint of the body is supposed to be supplying the needs of the rest of the body
3. Every part of a body, doing its part, makes for growth and increase of the entire body
4. And the body is supposed to edify itself in love – build, improve, mature. We are supposed to treat each other BETTER than we deserve, because of Jesus!
H. We only get into the body of Christ by a new birth – not just by going to a church meeting – you must be BORN AGAIN into the family of God
I. We as a church are Christ’s body on earth right now – not a political body but something far more powerful!
II. Some Hard Truths
A. Not every church is actually a real church
B. Not every Christian is a member of a local church body (Acts 2:46,47)
1. Act 2:46,47 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
2. Just because you attend a church does not make you a bona fide committed member of that church – you have to ask to be a member of a church
C. And not every Christian cares for other Christians like Jesus intended them to. So few every mature to the point where they are edifying each other in love
III. We Are All Gifted with Ability to Edify (Romans 12:6-8)
A. We have all been specially, spiritually, supernaturally gifted to do a special function in a church – it is our calling
1. Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
2. 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
3. 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
B. All the abilities we all have are for a high purpose – to minister to and help and care for the body of Christ here on earth today – to edify each other in love
IV.Here in Romans 12, Paul shows us how we should treat each other as His body here on earth today
A. It is a list of 13 ways that we show love to each other as Christ loved us
B. I wish it was all
normal and natural for us to do these things, but we don’t.
That’s why God put these lists of instructions, commandments into Scripture
C. Lists may not be the most entertaining way to learn the Bible, but they are the simplest, and God gave us this list to review and ponder and obey!
V. Message - How The Members of a Church Are Supposed to Treat Each Other (Romans 12:9-16) Using our gift(s) we should…
A. Love the Brethren Without Hypocrisy (Romans 12:9)
1. Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation...
2. All of MY body gets along quite well with every other part – shouldn’t it be the same in the body of Christ?
3. So, Love as family – closer than friends
4. Without Dissimulation
a. That means, not simulated, or fake, or hypocritical – robotic, mechanical
b. We all know how to love someone that loves us – someone that we WANT to love and be around
c. But we often refuse to love those who are a bit harder to love – that is hypocritical
5. God tells us to show real love towards everyone in the body
a. 1John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
b. You know there is a difference between loving in word only, like a machine, and loving in truth!
c. Your kids want to see REAL, passionate, committed love today by us adults! They only see fake love in the movies – acted out scenes – not the real deal – and they don’t know that it is ALL FAKE!
d. REAL love, enduring, active, enjoyable love ought to be going on right HERE, every time we meet each other!
6. Do WE have that kind of affection towards each other? Jesus did towards US
7. It is our first task as believers towards each other! To show love
B. Have Right Attitudes About Good and Evil (Romans 12:9)
1. Romans 12:9 ... Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
2. This one is so important as well!
3. Have the right way of thinking about what is going on around us
a. No fear, or panic, or anger
b. Just right responses based on the Bible
4. First part… Abhor evil
a. Abhor means reject, hate, puke at, throw up at the sight of sinful acts and sinful words, run away from things that are clearly evil
1) Lying is an abomination
2) Mocking God is evil
3) Mocking people and being hyper critical is evil
4) Homosexuality is evil
5) Abhor ever mistreating someone older than you, or someone of the opposite sex than you
b. We are so good at noticing evil and wrong in other people – and that is right
c. But don’t tolerate evil in yourself, or in your actions!
5. Second half of the command is Cling to the things that are good to do as a Christian
a. Cling means hold firmly to doing the right things among ourselves
b. Join yourself to things that are good – to good men – godly women
1) Like the Bible, and this church
2) Like the pro-life movement
3) Like soul-winning, and discipling new believers
4) Like to hard work, and a job, and your education – hold to it!
6. Other people can do as they please – but we must cling to doing the good things
C. Show Kind Affection / Brotherly Kindness to each other (Romans 12:10)
1. Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; …
2. What does it look like when Christians show affection for each other?
a. It looks like Family love – so natural, and without embarrassment
1) That’s why Paul said to greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16) Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
2) That is a family greeting – very Middle Eastern style, but a good thing!
b. It also is Protective love – protecting each other from hurts on bad days
c. And Cherishing love – enjoying each other’s presence – cherishing each other as more important than normal stuff
3. So, Love AS brethren/family - like families are supposed to! Love each other like they are a brother, or a sister, a Mom, or a Dad
a. 1Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous
b. Maybe you never experienced brotherly love when you were growing up
c. Maybe your “brothers” were mean and cruel
d. Maybe your parents never showed much affection
e. Well, that’s okay. Jesus says that He has made up for that loss by being our example HIMSELF “…as I have loved you” (John 15:12) This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
f. THAT is extreme! Don’t love any old way you feel like, or that you are comfortable with, but in the very same way as Christ Jesus has loved you!
4. Loving each other is Our Greatest Testimony to this world! (John 13:35)
a. John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, IF ye have love one to another.
b. All people, everywhere, no matter the culture, no matter the differences, will notice Christians loving each other like a family should!
c. It proves to the world that we are living like Jesus taught us to live
d. And that we are loving each other as Christ taught us to love!
e. It proves that Christ’s way to live is the best!
D. Honour and Prefer One Another (Romans 12:10)
1. Do you see a pattern here? A repetition of love, honour, prefer, cherish, cling to?
2. Romans 12:10 … in honour preferring one another
3. Prefer over what?
a. When you have to choose between sports & the people of God, I know MY choice
b. The Bible believing Christian prefers other Christians, and church and preaching and soulwinning over the entire world!
c. Not that you can’t go to the beach, or be in sports
d. But that when there is a choice to be made, the Bible believing Christian chooses one another!
4. Moses made that choice (Hebrews 11:24-27)
a. Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
b. 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
c. 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
d. 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
E. Fervently Serve the Lord Jesus as we serve each other (Romans 12:11)
1. Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord
a. Not talking about having your own business
b. But being busy – always busy serving the Lord
2. Ever seen a sloth? Too lazy to pick up a finger and help someone
3. Are you personally LAZY? Constantly complaining about things? Just watching others do all the work, and you doing nothing?
4. Or are you fervently serving God?
5. How does a Christian serve God?
a. By doing His will for your life, with energy and enthusiasm
b. Caring about other believers no matter what it costs you – meeting needs and just being a benefit to other people
c. And you do it to people AS if they are the Lord Jesus Himself!
d. Colossians 3:23,24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
F. Remain Thrilled and Expectant of the Future – be full of hope (Romans 12:12)
1. Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; …
2. What does hope look like?
3. This word is full of diseases, quarantines, storms, disasters, hospital beds and graves
4. We have HOPE - some things we look forward to beyond the troubles!
5. We don’t let DESPAIR and DISAPPOINTMENT and DEPRESSION, or ANGER or FRUSTRATION fill our thoughts and hearts
6. We see what the
world cannot see
– a perfect day coming
(Proverbs 4:18) But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
7. We are still in this world, with all its twists and turns, and upsets and confusion, and abuses and troubles… but we have a sure hope!
a. We know we are heading in the right direction as we follow Jesus
b. Every page of this Book that I read, points to something coming that is going to be awesome!
8. If you are full of doubts and fears, and unbelief, then you are not following Jesus!
9. We may lose everything along the way, including our lives, but we still get excited about what is up ahead of us! (Luke 21:28) And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
G. Be Patient in Suffering (Romans 12:12)
1. With such hope and soon expectation, we can be …patient in tribulation
2. Putting up with all the wrongs against you – way too much bitterness
3. All the pains – they will not be forever
4. All the tears – God promises that joy will come in the morning!
5. Just keep going for the Lord, patiently waiting either for a miracle, or for heaven!
H. Continue in Prayer (Romans 12:12)
1. Romans 12:12 … continuing instant in prayer
2. Prayer is not just a small part of our life, but a constant communication with God
a. Walking with God – not just a brief encounter
b. Constantly praying for the people you meet, the hardships you face, the pain you may be suffering
c. So, Be Instant – be spontaneous – don’t wait to be reminded to pray
3. PRAYER binds believers together like few other things can
4. If we are not close to each other, it can be helped if we would start praying FOR each other and WITH each other! It is impossible to hate someone that you are praying for!
I. Take Care of Each Other (Romans 12:13)
1. Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; ...
2. My right hand cares for the left hand
3. My feet and legs constantly carry the weight of my entire body
4. My eyes watch for danger
5. My ears listen for someone sneaking up behind
6. My tongue senses toxins and poisons before swallowing
7. The tiny hairs on my skin sense the smallest of bugs crawling around so I can get rid of them before they bite!
8. Isn’t the human body wonderful in its care of itself? AMAZING!
9. SO SHOULD A CHURCH TAKE CARE OF ITSELF!
a. Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
b. If you notice a need in the body – meet it
c. If you hear of a hurting brother or sister in the Lord, you should act as if they are your own flesh and blood
d. This is NOT socialism
e. It is like passing a broken down car on the side of the road, and stopping and getting out of your car, and getting dirty by helping them change their tyre, or put petrol in their tank
f. Fixing a meal
g. Mowing someone’s grass
h. Paying off someone’s electricity bill when they have no money that month
i. THAT is not the job of the government… it is OUR job!
J. Be Hospitable to the Fringe (Romans 12:13)
1. Romans 12:13 … given to hospitality.
2. Given means ADDICTED to
3. It means go out of your way to find the weak and infirm and timid and ashamed, (maybe embarrassed being around such ‘holy’ people) and bring them in to your home and befriend them – like befriending a shy kid at school
4. Actively go out of your way to
a. Minister and bless and encourage those that are barely here
b. Invite the quiet, standoffish person to your home for lunch and fellowship!
c. Get addicted to making people feel wanted and loved and prayed for!
d. Don’t wait for someone else to do it – YOU do it!
e. You will be so blessed (Luke 14:12-14)
f. Luke 14:12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
g. 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
h. 14:14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
K. Bless the Troublemakers (Romans 12:14)
1. Romans 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
2. Oh this is hard - It seems like Paul keeps pushing the limits!
3. It is hard to pray for and bless troublemakers / persecutors from outside our church
4. But when part of the body starts acting up – what do you do?
a. If it is your physical body (pains, shakes, weakness, etc)
b. You bring all your attention on it to correct and fix it – not by rejecting it and cutting it off, but by doing good to it
5. The same needs to be true with the body of Christ
a. Individual Christians mistreat each other horribly sometime (Galatians 5:13-16)
b. We have had some troublemakers here
c. We need thick skin so that we don’t end up destroying ourselves when someone offends / upsets us
d. I am careful about how fast I may have to react to people’s shenanigans
e. I do deal with dangerous people and dangerous doctrines – but not before I have gone way overboard to bless and love those that have turned against me and against this church
6. I have to do all these things – not just the ones I feel like doing
L. Share Emotions (Romans 12:15)
1. Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
2. Still talking about Christians
3. Many Christians are afraid of shoing emotions, and especially sharing them
4. Their heart is grieving and broken, but can’t show it
5. They bottle up anger and bitterness until they explode
6. And when they are excited and happy, they refrain from smiling and laughing and singing and rejoicing
7. But emotions are okay to share
a. We are supposed to Rejoice with the joyful when things are going good for them
b. And we are supposed to Weep with the broken and sorrowful when their life is caving in
8. The whole body needs to react to the feelings of each other – we are way too hard and cold, and we need to repent of that, and become real!
M. Last thing…Have the Same Mind (Romans 12:16)
1. Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
2. It is all about our attitude about ourselves and OTHERS in a church
3. Condescending to men at the bottom (men of low estate, low value) means:
a. It means Lowering yourself to the level of those around you – not ever acting like you are above them, but becoming LIKE them
1) Don’t seek high things, like political power, or popularity
2) Take off your royal attitude
3) And put on the towel of a servant, like Jesus did, and start serving
b. It means losing your rights so that someone else may enjoy freedom (1Cor 9:19-22)
1) 1Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
2) 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
3) 9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
4) 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
4. This is the mind of Christ – GOD amongst dirt, and God loved being with us (Emmanuel)
a. Rejecting our own prideful ways of acting around people – self conceited
b. And taking up the call to humble ourselves constantly as Jesus did
c. Looking at others always as more important than ourselves!
A. That is Quite a List!
1. By Loving the Brethren Without Hypocrisy
2. Having Right Attitudes About Good and Evil
3. Showing Kind Affection / Brotherly Kindness to each other
4. Honouring and Preferring One Another
5. Fervently Serving the Lord Jesus as we serve each other
6. Remaining Thrilled and Expectant of the Future – be full of hope
7. By Being Patient in Suffering
8. Continuing in Prayer
9. Taking Care of Each Other
10. Being Hospitable to the Fringe
11. Blessing the Troublemakers
12. Sharing Emotions
13. Striving Have the Same Mind as Christ – under His headship, leadership
B. Being part of a local church is a lot of work – having to deal with people
1. But ALL THAT and more is how the Body of believers treats itself
2. Not everyone who is sitting in a church is actually part of that church
3. You must be born again
4. And you have to request membership!
5. Everyone is welcome to come and see, and hear and learn and test what they hear
6. But there are people who will have spent years in a church, and will miss heaven
7. Don’t be that one who stays at a distance – not from us, but from Jesus Christ who loves you and wants you and will save you if you just ask Him today!
C. Are you a member of this church?
1. Do you like what you see?
2. This group of born-again believers wants to be like Jesus!
3. Would you like to join us?
4. Are you qualified to be a member of this church?
5. Starts in your heart – will you be saved today?