What If Everyone Cared?
A. Paul’s Desire – “…to be of good comfort when I know your state.”
Paul wasn’t looking for problems; he was looking for comfort!
Paul loved this church! SEE 1:3-8
B. Paul’s Delegating – “…I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus unto you…”
Paul wanted to know how they were doing so bad, that he sent Timothy to go find out their state.
C. Paul’s Dilemma – “For I have no man likeminded…”
Paul struggled to find anyone that cared about the spiritual state of the church.
He could not find anyone that had his mind about church matters.
One of the greatest needs of a pastor is to have likeminded people.
One of the greatest assets to a church is a group of likeminded people.
- Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
- Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
- Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
- Philippians 4:2 I beseech Euodias and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
In this passage, the Apostle Paul needs a very specific type of man.
NOTE: There are three types of people here this morning: Natural, Spiritual and Carnal.
The Natural man is an unsaved man.
A Spiritual man is a Spirit-filled believer.
A Carnal man is a fleshly
The man that Paul needed someone that spirituality came naturally.
NATURALLY SPIRITUAL – Think about that!!
Paul needed to know the spiritual state of the church.
He wanted to know how the church was doing spiritually.
He wanted an accurate report of the STATE OF THE CHURCH.
To do that, he needed someone that cared. NATURALLY.
Not shot up with hormones; sprayed with pesticides; cooked up in a lab, hybrid; but organic; natural; real.
How many men only care because they have been forced to, or are expected to, or paid to.
How many NATURALLY – organically have a passion and a love for the church to the point that they actually care???
The music ministry; the youth department; the outreach; the stand; the spiritual temperature.
He needed someone that could discern it; understand it; get an accurate read on it.
And Paul made a very bold, broad statement that lets me know that he had pastored Baptist men.
He said, “All men seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”
All men – think about that.
Not a majority of the men, or most of the men, but ALL MEN.
Why did he say that? Why would he write that?
Because experience in ministry had taught him this simple but sad fact: Most people just simply do not care.
What If Everyone Cared?
I want to notice several aspects of the church – the state of the church – that most people just do not care about.
What if everyone cared about…
I. The HOLINESS in the Church
Churches are full of fleshliness and carnality.
Sin all over the place. Wickedness, iniquity, perversion, and ungodliness all through the church.
The pastor won’t preach on sin every service. He won’t list sin every message.
But when he does, don’t shrivel up and die on him!
Don’t go quiet. Don’t clam up, and whatever you do – don’t get up and go to the bathroom!
You stand up and help your preacher keep the church clean!
You don’t want to eat in a filthy restaurant!
ILLUSTRATION: Golden Corral hadn’t wiped off any of the tables.
You don’t want to sleep in a filthy bed!
ILLUSTRATION: We made reservations at a hotel in Florence SC last week. It was so filthy we cancelled our reservations and stayed at another hotel. It was beyond belief.
You don’t want to be operated on in a filthy hospital.
You shouldn’t want to worship a thrice-holy God in a filthy church!
ILLUSTRATION: Bro. Watson sweeping out the foyer as everybody was tracking in dirt and grass.
Trying to keep it from getting into the sanctuary.
If you’ve got a pastor standing at the door, trying to keep the dirt out – thank God for him!!
If you’ve got a pastor – a man of God that loves you enough to deal with flesh from the pulpit – HELP HIM OUT!
Paul’s experience had taught him that most men just don’t care about the sin in the church.
ILLUSTRATION: I Corinthians was a letter of rebuke.
The church was split 4 ways. Fighting, divisions, strife, schisms, you name it.
How did Paul find out? The household of Chloe – a woman – wrote him and told him.
None of the men seemed to care.
Chapter 5 – a man was committing fornication with his father’s wife. Their reaction? They were puffed up (vs. 2)
Vs. 9, 10 – Paul had to write and tell them to stop fellowshipping with fornicators and idolators!
They didn’t care about the sin in the church.
What if everybody cared about the holiness of the church?
Notice Paul’s emphasis on Holy Living in this epistle:
- Verse 6 – he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it
- Verse 10 – that ye may approve things that are excellent; without offence until the day of Christ
- Verse 11 – Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ
- Verse 20 – that in nothing I shall be ashamed…also Christ shall be magnified in my body…
- Verse 27 – Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ…
- Vs. 12 – work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
- Vs. 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
- Vs. 16 – Holding forth the word of life…
- Verse 2 – beware of evil workers.
- Verse 3, 4 – no confidence in the flesh.
- Verse 15 – let us be thus minded…otherwise minded…
- Verse 17 – Mark them that walk wrong…
- Verse 18 – they are the enemies of the cross of Christ
- Verse 19 – who mind earthly things…
- Verse 20 – for our conversation (lifestyle) is in Heaven
- Verse 21 – who shall change our vile bodies
- Vs. 5 – Let your moderation be known
- Vs. 8 – whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue, think on these things…
What If Everyone Cared about the HOLINESS in the church????
What if everyone cared about…
II. The HOMES in the Church
The Bible is filled with examples of the spiritual, healthy interaction of God’s people in the church.
The church is made up of many members, all fitly framed together to form one body.
Without the families, there is no church.
The church is not the building – it is the people that make up that church.
Nowhere in the Bible do I find a separate list for the pastor and the members when it comes to loving the church.
The man of God is described as “caring” for the church in at least two places.
Paul described his persecutions and perils in 2 Corinthians 11. Notice what he said in verse 28:
- Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
Then in his list of qualifications for the pastor, he said this:
- 1 Timothy 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
BUT WHAT IF EVERYONE CARED??
But notice how many times the Word of God commands the believer to care.
- 1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
- Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
ILLUSTRATION: Look at Titus 2 – it was a GROUP EFFORT.
Titus couldn’t do it all. He needed the involvement of the entire church!
The aged men, the aged women, helping the young women and the young men.
Imagine if the pastor could ask you and your wife to do marriage counseling?
Imagine if the pastor could tap you to go counsel a man struggling with pornography!
Imagine if the pastor could recruit you to disciple a new convert!
Most pastors are stretched and overworked because they are doing in many cases what the men in the church ought to be doing!!
They are the only one that seems to care if that couple’s marriage stays together or not.
They are the only one that seems to care if that family stays in church or not.
They are the only one that seems to care about praying with that person in the altar.
They are the only one that seems to care if the new family gets plugged in.
What If Everyone Cared?
What if everyone cared about…
III. The HEARTBEAT of the Church
Across this nation, churches are closing left and right.
The morale of God’s people is at an all-time low.
Christians are quitting church and quitting on God.
Pastors are discouraged and resigning their churches.
Missionaries are coming off the field.
Baptismal pools are dry rotted.
Tract racks are empty.
Salvations are scarce as worm knuckles.
And the worst part is – Most People Just Don’t Care.
I’m grateful for a church where we have a solid nucleus of people that care about souls.
But what if everybody cared??
What If Everyone Cared if there are any visitors this Sunday.
What If Everyone Cared that God gave your pastor a salvation message but there’s no lost people there.
If someone new shows up, most men won’t bother to shake their hand.
Most people doesn’t care if anybody joins the church.
The future of the church is in the hands of a bunch of people THAT JUST DON’T CARE.
But What If Everybody Cared?
If you are not involved in soul-winning – stop lying to yourself. You don’t care about the future of your church.
If you are not passing out tracts or sharing the gospel – you don’t care about the future of your church.
If you’re not preparing yourself to teach a class or disciple a new convert – you don’t care about the future of your church.
If you’re not willing to drive a bus, or knock a door, or check on an erring brother, or visit a shut-in, get honest – you don’t care about the future of your church.
Some of you men can round up a group to go golfing in a matter of minutes.
You can organize a hunting trip or charter a fishing boat at the drop of a hat.
You can book a chalet on the slopes to go skiing or pack out a van to go to a gun show.
But when have you personally brought somebody to church?
When have you offered to give someone a ride that can’t drive themselves?
When is the last time you took it upon yourself to grow your church numerically?
When was the last time a family joined your church that YOU BROUGHT?
When was the last time a person walked the aisle for baptism because YOU LED THEM TO THE LORD?
When was the last time you took a visiting family out to eat or invited them over to your home?
What If Everyone Cared?
The secret to naturally caring for the church is found in this very text.
If you want to NATURALLY CARE, look at these three ways to develop a NATURAL CARE for the state of the church.
A lot of things that are not natural at first become natural over time if you do it enough.
ILLUSTRATION: We had to drive a stick shift in South Africa with the steering wheel on the right side of the car. We drove with our right hand and shifted gears with our left hand. That took a while before it felt natural.
Practice makes perfect.
Batting practice is to get a natural swing.
Shooting free-throws until it feels natural.
So how does a person get to the place where they naturally care for the state of their church?
Paul give us three clues as to how Timothy got there.
I. Be a Seeker – vs. 21 “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”
Let me ask you a question: What are looking for?
Are you a seeker of the things which are Jesus Christ’s?
- Matthew 6:32, 33 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Paul said, “All men seek their own…”
Notice verse 4 of our text:
- Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Seeking the things that are Jesus Christ’s means seeking what is of importance to Him.
- 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
- 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
- 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Spending all your time pursuing earthly things is a waste of time – FOR YE ARE DEAD!
II. Be a Son – vs. 22 “But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father…”
Paul referred to Timothy several times in the Scriptures as his “son in the faith.”
- 1 Timothy 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith.
- 2 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son:
Paul said, “ye know he proof of him…”
PROOF: experienced; tried and tested; approved experiment
I’ve had a lot of sons in the faith, but not too many have reached this level of proof.
Some were failed experiments. They didn’t pass the test.
They were not teachable.
A father is to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Timothy had Paul’s spiritual DNA.
He resembled; favored his spiritual father.
Timothy saw things like Paul; thought like him; discerned like him.
Paul was the teacher; Timothy was the student.
Paul was the father in the faith; Timothy was the son in the faith.
He had been taught by Paul, and Paul expected him to be practice what he’d been taught.
- 2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
- 2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
The key to NATURALLY CARING for the church, is to learn from someone else that does.
Sons ask their dad’s questions.
Sons share the passion of their dad.
Sons watch their dad. They watch to learn; not watch to be entertained.
ILLUSTRATION: Some of you sit and watch me walk around and shake people’s hand, introduce myself, ask them for their name, where they are from, etc. But you have never done that one single time.
I had a man accuse me one time of “not caring about people.” But he came in late and left early every service. Never spoke to anybody. He even called our missionaries in Mexico and told them that I didn’t know how to love people. The missionary said to him, “We’ve been on the field for ten years, and this is the first time you’ve ever called us. Pastor Shiflett and his wife Facetimed us for an hour last week.”
- Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
I’m talking about watching and learning from someone that is successful; someone that God is blessing.
Watch and learn. Watch and imitate. Follow their faith.
I’m grateful to hear that some are starting to invite others into their homes for a meal. My wife and I have been doing it for over 20 years. Almost weekly.
III. Be a Servant – vs. 22 “…he hath served with me in the gospel.”
The secret to developing a NATURAL CARE for the church is to serve with your pastor in the gospel.
It will be impossible to care until you get some skin in the game!
Notice how the book of Philippians starts. See verse 1:
- Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
The best way to cultivate a natural care for the state of the church is to be involved.
The Month of April will be GET PLUGGED IN month.
Get ready to get plugged in!
Eliminate that distant, detached spirit, and embrace become a member that is fitly framed together.
Participate; becoming actively involved in your church will cause you to NATURALLY CARE.