Last Sunday evening, Pastor Ken Furches delivered a message challenging our congregation to look to God’s Word for encouragement. Our fellowship is in the midst of a staff transition and this was a timely message. I believe this teaching can be edifying to all church leaders. (Note- the italicized comments under each “habit” are my commentary.)
“Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. 2 Each one of us must please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even the Messiah did not please Himself. On the contrary, as it is written, The insults of those who insult You have fallen on Me.”
1. The habit of considering one another.
This is not our default mode. Consumerism is a dangerous and destructive attitude when it enters the church. The healthy church focuses on building each other up, as the Holy Spirit has gifted each member to do.
For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.
2. The habit of expository preaching.
Faithfulness to the accurate teaching of God’s Word will define a church that is following Christ. This includes the pulpit, the classroom, and the living room (the personal time spent by each member studying the Bible).
3. The habit of endurance and steadfastness.
Difficulties and trials test the Christian’s faith. A healthy church has a relentless resolve to keep their focus upon Christ. She learns from hardships rather than allowing despair to grow.
4. The habit of hope.
What does the church have if it lacks hope. Hope is the essense of the Christian faith. Yet, this hope is much more than wishful thinking or relying on man’s ability. It is founded on and constructed upon the promises of Christ.
Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, 6 so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.
5. The habit of harmony.
The Early Church was known for its unity. The modern church is humiliated publically for its division. Which do you think glorifies Christ?
6. The habit of worship.
Worship extends far beyond the 11AM hour on Sundays. Worship of God is the lifestyle of the Church.
7. The habit of imitating Christ.
Christians are disciples of Jesus. When we obey what He commands and live out the example of His life before others, we reflect His glory. When others see Christ in us, they are drawn to the life-changing power of the Gospel rather than repelled from our hypocrisy.
Where does a local church begin to form healthy habits? Pastor Ken gave us a simple beginning point:
Prayer is foundational to all these habits.