That Church Isn’t Doing Anything!
Text: Philippians 1:24-30
I. Periodically criticism is leveled at a church – not just this church, I’ve heard it said against many churches – “That church isn’t doing anything!”
A. I will admit that there is always room for improvement.
1. There are many things I wish we had accomplished.
2. I sure there are many things in any church where things could have been done better.
B. But when people are upset with a church, they rarely think about specifics which need improving. Instead, they paint their condemnation with a broad brush.
II. By necessity, it is a statement founded on ignorance
A. Only God is everywhere and knows everything - Psalm 139
B. But we are not God. We aren’t everywhere and we don’t know everything.
1. Job came to see this the hard way - Job 42:1-6
2. We ought to have a proper view of our place - Psalm 131
C. Does any one of us know of everything this church and its members are doing for the Lord?
1. It is impossible for a mortal man to have complete knowledge of every good deed done by every Christian, even in this small congregation
2. If done properly, most of us should see only a tip of what is happening - Matthew 6:1-4
D. A person might not know ...
1. That a marriage was saved because a preacher or elder helped a couple work through their problems in private
2. That a sister wrote an encouraging note to someone undergoing difficulties
3. That a family is making sure that someone who doesn’t have transportation has a way to services
4. That sisters are bringing food to someone who is ill
5. That a young person is visiting the elderly and reading the Bible for them because their eyesight isn’t what it used to be
6. That a family is giving clothing and other items to another family that isn’t well off
7. That a brother or sister has taken on the task of helping another learn how to keep books, keep home, find a job, or countless other basic tasks.
8. That a brother or sister spends time visiting nursing homes to bring some cheer into their lives
9. That a brother is studying with someone weak in faith
10. That teens are tackling hard issues and leaving their friends examples of how to live like a Christian and not like the world
11. That someone shared the gospel message with a neighbor
12. Or, all the prayers being lift up to the Almighty on behalf of the brethren
E. There are countless acts of love and service that people do day by day that are not broadcast from the housetops, nor should they be.
III. The person making such a statement is often projecting his own lack of involvement onto the church and his brethren
A. We tend to see the world around us in the way we behave - Titus 1:15
1. William Thackery, an English novelist, wrote, “The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own.”
2. This is so often true of the critic who finds his brethren complacent or inactive. That brother is seldom involved in works of the church or opportunities for fellowship
B. It is judgment made without first examining self - Matthew 7:1-5
IV. Those making such complaints usually mean that the church as a collective isn’t involved in something in a highly organized manner
A. Of necessity, large congregations do things with great orchestration.
1. It is about the only way to make sure things don’t slip through cracks
2. It is necessary to keep people going in the same direction
B. But organization for organization’s sake is worthless
1. We do need some basic level of organization
2. But every Christian is a living stone - I Peter 2:5
3. An individual doesn’t have to be told when or even what to do in order for things to be accomplished
C. The “organized” work is not the only work being accomplished - Matthew 5:13-16
D. You may not know all that is going on, but God does - Hebrews 6:10-12
V. Often people making this criticism is unjustly comparing congregation to congregation
A. Commonly assumptions are made based on a single visit to a congregation
1. The visitor may be impressed by the activities going on at that time
2. Or he might be unimpressed because he doesn’t see an activity happening at that moment.
B. We have to realize that in a large congregation there will be many activities going on – more than what a single person can attend
C. The mixture of the group -- youngsters, college age students, older folk – will often influence the type of activities going on
D. It might appear that a large congregation with multiple things happening every week is more active than a small rural congregation, but it might be percentage wise that a small congregation is doing more things with its limited members than a large congregation with its abundant members.
E. Each congregation has its own distinctive personality and variety of opportunities
1. But we are to make use of the opportunities that we have - Galatians 6:10
VI. Zeal is contagious
A. If there is an opportunity that you see overlooked, do something!
B. For example, you really wish there could be time for your children to get together and play with other children in the church
1. But you just don’t have the room to have people over
2. Then ask around. “Would you mind hosting an get together for the kids, if I did the organizing?” I know there would be several here thrilled to have such an event at their home.
C. Or, you wish there we could study a topic more in depth with other members, but you don’t want to do the teaching
1. Ask! There are a number of men here who would be honored to asked to do a series of lessons on a topic
2. Focus on what you can do – inviting people, providing space – and recruit people to do what isn’t your talent
D. Instead of griping, so something and watch it spread - II Corinthians 9:1-2
1. Not everything tried will take root
2. But what is important is that you are opening your eyes to opportunities and getting involved!
3. And it will inspire others to do the same