Raising the Standard in our Total Church Conduct

Bible Book: 2 Timothy  3 : 1-16
Subject: Church Life; Christian Living
Series: Raising The Standard

Have you sensed how easy it is to let our guard down – rather than raise the standard?

Did you practice raising the standard this week? Remember as a church family we don’t want to compromise and lower our standards to follow the world. We do want our lives to be so transformed by the Word of God and Spirit of God – that others will be drawn to genuine faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Let’s review what we learned last week about “Raising the Standard In Our Total Church Conduct.”

I. There Must Be Biblical Leadership In This House

For our church to succeed in the Lord – we’ve got to have Biblical leadership that is sold out to Jesus Christ as Lord. As pastor – I must stay close to God through prayer and study of the Word of God.

I came across a passage of Scripture recently that I want to share with you. Honestly, it frightens me because I’m realizing more and more what I’m required to do as Shepherd of CWBC. Listen, "The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them." Jeremiah 34:4

If you want to know what God expects His pastors to be doing, here’s a job description: Strengthen the weak – Heal the sick – Bind up the broken – Bring back those who were driven away – Seek the lost. The only way I can do this is through prayer and also with your prayers and obedience. Now, here’s a good promise from the Word of God concerning shepherds – "I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge (of God) and understanding (of His ways)." – Jeremiah 3:15

I want to be a shepherd with God’s heart in me! Last week, we also mentioned the importance of deacons in our church and their responsibility to lead faithfully. It brings me joy to know God has given CWBC deacons according to God’s own heart. These are men who love God and love you.

II. There Must Be Biblical Loyalty In Our Habits

Here’s the key verse we are focusing on the next few weeks as we head into revival. It’s 1 Timothy 3:15, “…I write so that you may know how to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar of ground and truth.”

He’s speaking of Christian conduct here. Did the way you conduct yourself this week remind demonstrate to others you belong to God? A lady told her pastor after his sermon that she was convinced now and ready to follow Christ. He asked her what it was about the sermon that made her desire to give her life to Christ? She said, “Oh, it wasn’t the sermon. I saw someone blow up at you – yet you responded to them with love and kindness. That’s when I knew what you preach about must be real.”

Let’s quickly cover those four loyal habits again: The Loyal Habit of (1) Reverence for our God (2) Respect for our guests (3) Recognizing our gifts (4) Restoring our garrison. If we conduct ourselves like this, we’ll have a little slice of heaven on earth together!

III. There Must Be Biblical Love In Our Hearts

A. Biblical Love Is Horizontal

We receive love from God. At the time Martin Luther was having his Bible printed in Germany, a printer's daughter encountered God's love in a unique way. You see, no one had told her about Jesus and the only emotion she felt toward God was fear. Well, one day as she cleaned, gathering the pieces of fallen Scripture from the floor of the print shop she found a piece of paper with these words written on it, "For God so loved the world that He gave..." That's all; the rest of the verse had been torn off.

Still, those nine words were enough to move her. Just the thought that Almighty God would love, love enough to give anything moved her from fear to joy. Her mother noticed the change of attitude and when she asked her daughter to explain her happiness, the little girl produced the crumpled piece of partial verse from her pocket. The mother read it and asked, "What did He give?" The child was perplexed for a moment and then answered, "I do not know. But if He loved us well enough to give us anything we should not be afraid of Him." redlandbaptist.org

It’s God’s love for us that causes us to know and follow Him. “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:6-8

Do you ever doubt God’s love for you? The look at the cross! God’s love has gone beyond what is expected. "God sent His Son to the cross because He loves you. God knows every evil, unkind, foul, and embarrassing sin in you entire history. The bloody scarred cross is proof of God’s love for you. There is no sin that you can commit that the Son of God did not atone for on the cross.” (Dr. Ralph Wilson, Joyful Heart - Romans 5:6-8)

B. Biblical Love Is Vertical

We release love to one another. A few weeks ago, I bought a book at Wal-Mart that is called Love As A Way of Life by Dr. Gary Chapman. After I paid, the Wal-Mart greeter stopped me, looked at my book, and then said, “Do you know what love is?” I said, “Absolutely. People can talk about love all day – but the greatest love than has ever been expressed is that God so loved you and I that He sent His one and only Son to give His life sacrificially on the cross to take away all our sins.” He did not know it, but I was thinking of 1 John 4:10 – “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." He then said, “Well, do you see love?” Again I said, “Absolutely. I see love when people are kind to each other instead of hateful. When people forgive one another instead of condemning each other; When people encourage those who are downhearted and troubled; When people give to each other so they can have a better life. Love is all around us if we look for it.” He looked at me like he’d never thought of this before.

Here are three N.T. pictures of what it means to love one another.

1. Family Factor

Picture #1 is the “Family Factor.” Christians are part of the “house of God.” We belong to each other – because God is our Heavenly Father. Sometimes I hear people say, “Well, I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” While that might be a true statement, it shows their spiritual condition. One sign that you are walking in fellowship with God is that you begin to love the things He loves. Listen to Ephesians 5:25-27, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”

How much does Jesus love the church? He loves the church so much that He was willing to die a sacrificial death so His people could be presented before Him clean, set apart, glorious, holy and without blemish.

2. Fellowship Factor

Picture #2 is “Fellowship Factor.” God did not design you to live as a lone ranger Christian. When you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you automatically belong to the fellowship of believers. Fellowship is not just eating cookies and ice cream and talking about the Bulldogs. Fellowship is sharing our lives together in Christ. It means I take time to get to know you – minister to you – serve alongside of you in the building of God’s kingdom together. You don’t have to live the Christian life on your own – God has given you a great family to love and serve with!

I see fellowship taking place at CWBC when ladies take meals to the shut ins; As young and old get out and clean up Lester Road together; As we sit down and talk about our differences respectfully; As we go to see each other during sickness; As we celebrate each other’s good times and lend a shoulder as we face the tough times. Listen to Eugene Peterson from the Message Bible – “Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.” – Romans 12:15-16

What builds the church is a strong fellowship of believers who are committed to one another and committed to doing the will of God together. What divides the church is when believers lose sight of their common faith and purpose in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I read about two congregations of different denominations that were located close to each other in a small town. They realized that they would be more effective if they joined together, but they couldn’t agree over something. What was their disagreement? They couldn’t agree over how to recite the Lord’s Prayer. One congregation wanted to say, “forgive us our trespasses”, and the other wanted to say, “forgive us our debts.” They ended up not joining together. The newspaper in the town reported that one church returned to its trespasses, and the other returned to its debts.

3. Freedom Factor

“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use your liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another." - Galatians 5:13-15

Everybody needs somebody who's willing to deflate their egos from time to time—even movie stars like Denzel Washington. While promoting 2007's The Great Debaters, Washington was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. Midway through their conversation, Washington noted the encouragement his mother had given him throughout his life. He also shared this story of his mother's reproof over his budding pride: "I walked in the house one day and—feeling full of myself, a movie star—I said to my mother, "Did you ever think this was all going to happen?" She was like, "Please. First of all, go wash the windows for me. You have no idea how many people have been praying for you when you were being a knucklehead."

Let’s remember as Christians, we are at our best as we live out the great commandment. Through Christ’s work on the cross – He has freed us serve one another in love. One simple way to do this is to see if you asking what others can do for you or are you asking others what you can do for them? Do you want to live a more happy, joyful, contented Christian life? Help others succeed. Get involved in ministering to others in even the smallest of ways.

IV. There Must Be Biblical Lordship As Our Head

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory." - 1 Timothy 3:16

Recently deceased, Dr. D. James Kennedy once visited in the home of a certain man and asked him said who he thought Jesus was. The gentleman replied, “Oh, He’s a wonderful man. He was the greatest man who ever lived, the most loving and gracious person who ever walked upon this earth.”

Kennedy replied, “Let me tell you something I believe will startle you. According to the Scriptures and the historic Christian faith, Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter of Galilee was and is the eternal Creator of the universe, the omnipotent, omniscient, and Almighty God.”

Kennedy said that the man’s eyes filled with tears and he said, “I have been in church all my life and I never heard that before. But I have always thought that is the way it ought to be.” - donelson.org

Jesus is Lord. The Bible teaches that Jesus is fully God and fully human. Through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, He can freely offer salvation to all that accept Him as Lord and Savior. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, every area of the church’s life and the individual believer's life ought to be subject to our great God and Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ.