It is a Social Club?

Balance is a difficult thing for anyone, but especially a Christian.  A narrow path, is by it’s nature, difficult to stay on.

Synopsis:

Humans are extremists… Especially Christians.  Either the church is a social club, or it is a social wasteland.  It is clear that the soul purpose of a church is not to be a social club, just like you are not saved by following the law? Can you be saved if you don’t follow the law? At the same time,  can you be saved by being anti social within the church?

Hebrews 4:12-13 (KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [13] Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

If this message doesn’t offend every one in the church, it is likely the Holy Spirit isn’t working in your life.  So if you are offended, praise the lord for your infermities.  If you think I’m directing this at you, you are wrong.

I am naturally incredibly antisocial… I never ring people, if it wasn’t for youtube, Leah, Facebook and church, it is unlikely people would be aware I exist.  And my flesh thinks I could live happily that way.  But the heart is deceitful above all things.

Blessings Lost by Selfish Exclusiveness— God is displeased with the selfish interest so often manifested for “me and my family.” Every family that cherishes this spirit needs to be converted…

But the family is the first mission field right? First yes, only no.

 … by the pure principles exemplified in the life of Christ. Those who shut themselves up within themselves, who are unwilling to drawn upon to entertain visitors, lose many blessings. [4] – {AH 447.1}

Ellen Whites house always had visitors, how many of us are willing, at inconvenient times (or seemingly at our own peril) to allow for the social needs of our church family, or people outside the church for that matter?

Angels are waiting to see if we embrace opportunities within our reach of doing good—waiting to see if we will bless others, that they in their turn may bless us. The Lord Himself has made us to differ—some poor, some rich, some afflicted—that all may have an opportunity to develop character. The poor are purposely permitted to be thus of God, that we may be tested and proved and develop what is in our hearts. [5] – {AH 447.2}

When the spirit of hospitality dies, the heart becomes palsied with selfishness. [6] – {AH 447.3}

Was there even an atom of selfishness in Christ’s character?  Did Christ ever consider “is this crucifixion best for me and my family”

No he always though “what is best for this person who needs my help”

What about kids, i need to protect them right? As parents we may need to work a bit harder, yes.

 While you should treat your visitors kindly and make them feel at home, you should ever remember that you are a teacher to the little ones God has given you. They are watching you, and no course of yours should direct their feet in the wrong way. Be to your visitors just what you are to your family every day—pleasant, considerate, and courteous. In this way all can be educators, an example of good works. They testify that there is something more essential than to keep the mind on what they shall eat and drink and wherewithal they shall be clothed. [9] – {AH 450.1}

Like all God’s rules, there are benefits if we trust him instead of our flesh.

 The Blessings of Christian Sociability —Christian sociability is altogether too little cultivated by God’s people…. Those who shut themselves up within themselves, who are unwilling to be drawn upon to bless others by friendly associations, lose many blessings; for by mutual contact minds receive polish and refinement; by social intercourse acquaintances are formed and friendships contracted which result in a unity of heart and an atmosphere of love which is pleasing in the sight of heaven. – {AH 457.3}

Do we actually want to go to heaven?  What is required?

John 17:20-23 (KJV) Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; [21] That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. [22] And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: [23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

We need to be careful who we or our children associate with right?

If the youth could be persuaded to associate with the pure, the thoughtful, and the amiable, the effect would be most salutary. If choice is made of companions who fear the Lord, the influence will lead to truth, to duty, and to holiness. A truly Christian life is a power for good. But, on the other hand, those who associate with men and women of questionable morals, of bad principles and practices, will soon be walking in the same path. The tendencies of the natural heart are downward. He who associates with the skeptic will soon become skeptical; he who chooses the companionship of the vile will most assuredly become vile. To walk in the counsel of the ungodly is the first step toward standing in the way of sinners and sitting in the seat of the scornful. [5] – {AH 456.2}

But this person is too “this”… Or they don’t do “that” or I have this rule with my                    child that that sop or the bible is silent on.  If you have a legitimate rule from Spirit of Prophecy fine… But explain in it in a social context.  If we can’t talk about what God says, I’m sorry to say, we aren’t Christian, we are petty spies an pharisees.

 The effort to earn salvation by one’s own works inevitably leads men to pile up human exactions as a barrier against sin. (For us and our children) For, seeing that they fail to keep the law, they will devise rules and regulations of their own to force themselves to obey. All this turns the mind away from God to self. His love dies out of the heart, and with it perishes love for his fellow men. A system of human invention, with its multitudinous exactions, will lead its advocates to judge all who come short of the prescribed human standard. The atmosphere of selfish and narrow criticism stifles the noble and generous emotions, and causes men to become self-centered judges and petty spies. – {MB 123.1}

Ok, so if I have a rule with me or my family that isn’t in the sop or bible, what do I do?

If you err, let it not be in getting as far from the people as possible, for then you cut the thread of your influence and can do them no good. Better err on the side of the people than altogether away from them, for there is hope in that case that you can carry the people with you, but there is no need of error on either side. – {CD 211.3}

In otherwise, if it weans the affections of people from you or your family (and if it is a non-sop or bible rule, it most certainly will) you are best to leave it alone.

God Made Provision for Our Social Needs—In the arrangements for the education of the chosen people it is made manifest that a life centered in God is a life of completeness. Every want He has implanted He provides to satisfy; every faculty imparted He seeks to develop. – {AH 455.1}

The Author of all beauty, Himself a lover of the beautiful, God provided to gratify in His children the love of beauty. He made provision also for their social needs, for the kindly and helpful associations that do so much to cultivate sympathy and to brighten and sweeten life. [1] – {AH 455.2}

God has provided us with food.  Can we gain a blessing if we don’t eat it?

To the Denial of Reasonable Privileges—If fathers and mothers have not themselves had a happy childhood, why should they shadow the lives of their children because of their own great loss in this respect? The father may think that this is the only course that will be safe to pursue; but let him remember that all minds are not constituted alike, and the greater the efforts made to restrict, the more uncontrollable will be the desire to obtain that which is denied, and the result will be disobedience to parental authority. The father will be grieved by what he considers the wayward course of his son, and his heart will feel sore over his rebellion. But would it not be well for him to consider the fact that the first cause of his son’s disobedience was his own unwillingness to indulge him in that in which there was no sin? The parent thinks that sufficient reason is given for his son’s abstaining from his indulgence since he has denied it to him. But parents should remember that their children are intelligent beings, and they should deal with them as they themselves would like to be dealt with. [18] – {CG 285.2}

Denying things (that are not a sin) is never the answer it will simply create more of a problem.

What provision has God made for unruly children or getting to people who are seemingly impossible to get through to?

Talking of why they couldn’t cast out the demons:

Matthew 17:20-21 (KJV) And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. [21] Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

But Ellen white said not to hang around with bad kids right?… Some in the church aren’t very disciplined.

Yes, some in the church have more obvious tendencies to evil.  But if you are noticing, to be anti social is just as evil as any discipline problem.  Most serial killers, drug addicts or the like are introverted anti social people.

Perfect kids? There has only ever been one.  The worst of our kids is a saint compared to the world.

Our issues: hugging, pushing, tickelling, being noisy, being silly, accidentally causing injury …

The worlds issues: dressing like prostitues, swearing, pornograpy addiction, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, smoking, paint and glue sniffing, pregnancy at 9, shooting their school mates, murdering their parents, gang violence.  Yes I am talking about 5 year olds.

Will our kids hurt each other, will they annoy each other?

Be pleasant, kind, and affectionate toward your children, but not foolishly indulgent. Let them bear their little disappointments, as every one must.{AH 222.1}

 Do not encourage them to come to you with their petty complaints of one another. Teach them to bear with one another and to seek to maintain each other’s confidence and respect. [8] – {AH 222.1}

Of course, they are learning, and are getting practical examples for why gods law is right. A butterfly if prevented from spreading its wings dies.. Smother with affection. Smother with sympathy.

BUTTERFLY  Or if we try to spread the wings for it. Force it to do things ahead of time.

 Many parents deny the children an indulgence in that which is safe and innocent, and are so afraid of encouraging them in cultivating desires for unlawful things that they will not even allow their children to have the enjoyment that children should have. Through fear of evil results, they refuse permission to indulge in some simple pleasure that would have saved the very evil they seek to avoid; and thus the children think there is no use in expecting any favors, and therefore will not ask for them. They steal away to the pleasures they think will be forbidden. Confidence between parents and children is thus destroyed. [17] – {CG 285.1}

 

Perfect love casteth out all fear.  So if you are afraid and using your own means to protect your children, and fear is caused by satan.  Who is doing the activation… Christ or satan?

What is Gods method?

 Neglected Opportunities and Privileges—“A lover of hospitality” is among the specifications given by the Holy Spirit as marking one who is to bear responsibility in the church.

Phew, it’s all up to Paul and tee and John right?

 And to the whole church is given the injunction: “Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” – {AH 445.4}

These admonitions have been strangely neglected.

IT is very strange to god that we would avoid something for our own benefit.

 Even among those who profess to be Christians true hospitality is little exercised. Among our own people the opportunity of showing hospitality is not regarded as it should be, as a privilege and blessing. There is altogether too little sociability, too little of a disposition to make room for two or three more at the family board without embarrassment or parade. [2] – {AH 445.5}

 

Inadequate Excuses—I have heard many excuse themselves from inviting to their homes and hearts the saints of God: “Why, I have nothing prepared; I have nothing cooked; they must go to some other place.” And at that place there may be some other excuse invented for not receiving those who need hospitality, and the feelings of the visitors are deeply grieved, and they leave with unpleasant impressions in regard to the hospitality of these professed brethren and sisters. If you have no bread, sister, imitate the case brought to view in the Bible. Go to your neighbor and say: “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.” – {AH 446.1}

So if I have to go out of my way to help someone…

With my wife, when I first met her, I drove her to work, which was 50km out of my way, just so I could spend time with her.  This is what love does, it seeks any excuse to talk with or to help our fellow man.  If you won’t do this, do you really love souls? Or are you just pretending?

Did Jesus go out of his way for us?  Was it convenient for him to die on the cross?

 Revelation 3:14-21 (KJV)  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; [15] I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. [16] So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. [17] Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: [18] I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. [19] As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. [20] Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. [21] To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

If this was hard to hear, then I have done what I was told to do. There is not a single person in the church this doesn’t effect.  But remember what we are fighting for:

 We all went under the tree, and sat down to look at the glory of the place, when Brethren Fitch and Stockman, who had preached the gospel of the kingdom, and whom God had laid in the grave to save them, came up to us and asked us what we had passed through while they were sleeping. We tried to call up our greatest trials, but they looked so small compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that surrounded us, that we could not speak them out, and we all cried out, “Alleluia! heaven is cheap enough!” and we touched our glorious harps and made heaven’s arches ring. – {CET 61.1}

After I came out of vision, everything seemed changed; a gloom was spread over all that I beheld. Oh, how dark this world looked to me! I wept when I found myself here, and felt homesick. I had seen a better world, and it had spoiled this for me. – {CET 61.2}

Do you want this dark world or heaven? Do you want to fulfill you selfish desires or be like Christ? Do you want the blessings that unity in the church will bring?
Prove it by living the truth.