OceanSide church of Christ

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Seven Rules for Improving the Church
by: Dalton Gilreath

I.              Introduction

A.   We spend a lot of time improving our homes

                                          i.    We mow the lawn, paint, decorate, etc

                                        ii.    We always try to upkeep and improve our houses

B.   Shouldn’t we spend as much and more time improving our spiritual house? (1 Tim 3:15)

                                          i.    Here are seven rules for improving the church

                                        ii.    You will notice that these have to do with improving yourself and not trying to improve others

II.            Remind yourself no perfect congregation exists

A.   Some church hop for the silliest reasons

                                          i.    I am not talking about public sin or vain worship but minor issues that all congregations deal with from time to time

                                        ii.    If you are looking for a congregation without flaws you will never stop looking

B.   Consider the seven churches of Asia

                                          i.    Which church would you have attended?

1.    Ephesus was diligent but had lost their zeal

2.    Smyrna was faithful but poor and were persecuted

3.    Pergamos was in a bad part of town

4.    Thyatira had a false, female teacher

5.    Sardis looked strong but were dead

6.    Philadelphia was faithful but weak

7.    Laodicea was rich and arrogant

                                        ii.    Every church had at least one flaw

                                       iii.    You may change churches but you will swap one problem for another when you do

III.           Focus on the “good” members and not the bad

A.   Some might complain about a congregation because of one member who complains, sins, or is just plain annoying

                                          i.    We can focus on that one person or focus upon all the faithful members who help us to grow

                                        ii.    Whatever you are looking for you can find (Tit 1:15)

                                       iii.    If you are searching for issues you will find them

B.   Paul said to hold on to the good not the bad (1 Thess 5:21)

                                          i.    He also mentioned a focus upon following the faithful and not the unrighteous

                                        ii.    Who do you focus your attention on in the church?

IV.          Live by the golden rule

A.   The church would be improved if everyone always put themselves in the shoes of their brethren

                                          i.    We must love our neighbor as our self (Matt 22:39)

                                        ii.    We must do to others as we want them to do to us (Matt 7:12)

B.   Sometimes there is a divide between the young and the old

                                          i.    Older members but not despise their youth (1 Tim 4:12. 1 Cor 16:10-11)

                                        ii.    Sometimes there can be jealousy or a despising over pride

                                       iii.    Youth need to also respect and submit to their elderly (1 Peter 5:5)

1.    Their gray hair is a crown of glory to them (Prov 16:31)

2.    Their age gives them wisdom and understanding (Job 12:12)

V.           Help instead of criticize

A.   It is easy to sit back and criticize and not offer a lending hand

                                          i.    We need to help those who neglect their work or fail to do a good job

                                        ii.    Criticizing them does not help them become better or set a proper example

B.   Nehemiah went to search our Jerusalem and determined they could rebuild it with God’s help (Nehemiah 2:12-17)

                                          i.    Sanballat and his friends mocked Nehemiah and the work needing to be done (Neh 2:18-20)

                                        ii.    Who are you more like in the work of the church? Nehemiah or Sanballat?

VI.          Never blame others for your own mistakes

A.   No one can force you to make a mistake

                                          i.    Sure some can lead you to sin but the decision is yours

                                        ii.    Blaming others seems to make you feel as though you did nothing wrong

B.   Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent (Gen 3:12-13)

                                          i.    God held all three of them accountable

                                        ii.    Notice Adam nor Eve was innocent in God’s eyes

C.   Esau exchanged his birthright for Jacob’s pottage (Gen 25:29-34)

                                          i.    However, he later blamed Jacob even though he had willingly made the decision (27:36)

                                        ii.    Esau still did not get his birthright or blessing back

                                       iii.    We must bear our own burdens (Gal 6:5)

VII.         Focus on the good qualities of your brothers and sisters

A.   David prayed that he could do just that (Psalm 106:4-5)

                                          i.    Everyone is human and makes mistakes

                                        ii.    Focusing on those mistakes will lead to discontent and distrust of your brethren

B.   Focusing on bad qualities also changes how you speak to others

                                          i.    We need to focus on saying positive things (Prov 12:25)

                                        ii.    Kind words are healthy to the bones (Prov 16:24)

                                       iii.    Isaiah discussed knowing how to speak kindly to those who were weary (Isai 50:4)

VIII.       Am I part of the problem or the solution?

A.   We can easily make things better or worse based upon our deeds when those issues arise

                                          i.    When I know to do good do I neglect the opportunity to help solve the problems (Jam 4:17)?

                                        ii.    Do I hear the word of God and forget it rather than apply it (Jam 1:25)?

B.   If we focus on these seven things and apply them to ourselves the church is bound to improve