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I Will Not Let My Church Be About My Preferences or Desires

Posted on September 23, 2018

I Will Not Let My Church Be About My Preferences or Desires

Mark 10:35 – 45

Testimony: Josh Barnes

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX_0-SoMDcg – Finding a Church on Vacation

Scripture Reading

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Children Dismissed for Children’s Church


Week #1 I Will Be a Functioning Church Member

Week #2 I Will Be a Unifying Church Member


Purpose: Every Christ Follower who is a member of a local church must support, encourage, and work in unity with the direction of the Spirit and the leaders in their decisions to further God’s kingdom work within the church family.

Transition: The leaders have to understand the culture of the church but also the culture of the community and develop worship services and ministries that will minister to both. Evangelism and discipleship are not an either or but one in the same. We are careful as leaders to listen to the people of the church and their desires, preferences and concerns but we also have to balance that with the culture of our community in order to Connect – Grow – Serve. The leaders of our church are not just called to shepherd and minister to the church family but also to reach out to those in our community and draw them to Christ. The message will stay the same but the methods may change. YFC motto: Anchored to the Rock (Christ) but changing with the times (methods). In order to do that we have to continue to develop the attitude of a servant and remember that it is not all about us in the church family but about others around us as well. Let’s look today first of all at;

We are called to serve the church family as Christ exemplified – Mark 10:35 – 45; John 13:1 – 15; Philippians 2: 5 – 11

  • We just read from Mark 10:35- 45
    • Explain the passage
    • We are dealing with pride, selfishness, and self- promotion here
    • Jesus did not come to be served but He came to serve and give His life as a sacrifice to buy us back to a relationship with God.
    • Paul says we are not to compare ourselves with others.

2 Corinthians 10:12

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

Mark 9:33 - 37

33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

  • Those who serve others will be considered important in God’s eyes

John 13: 1 – 15 (Summarize)

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

  • How do we serve others?
    • Helping Hands ministry
    • Serve list of jobs and people willing to serve those in need
    • Serve Sunday / Serve Fest with our other churches
    • Awana, Youth Group, SS, Children’s Church
    • Those who serve who very few know that they serve
    • June Swanson – lap blankets ministry to those in nursing homes and newborn babies
    • Are you willing to pick up the towel and serve? That is where it all starts. Having that attitude to serve others

Illustration: Cheryl A. Bachelder, the CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, turned her company around with a focus on serving others. A committed Christian in the workplace, Bachelder is also the author of Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others. In a recent interview, she shares her thoughts on servanthood:

The Bible verse that's on my calendar every day is Philippians 2:3. Because I haven't found one that's more paramount to how I want to lead in my family and in my work. And that is, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." I really like the choice of words around counting others more significant than yourselves. I believe we're all born with an inner 2-year-old. And we'd really still like to be laying on the floor, kicking and screaming because we didn't get the candy bar we wanted. It's pretty hardwired that we're self-absorbed little people. And we learn to fake it well, but we're still pretty much that 2-year-old on the inside.

I find that biblical perspective really challenging in every aspect of my day—how I'm spending my time, the decisions that I make. To put them through a filter of whether I'm thinking about myself or whether I'm thinking about others. Am I doing this because I'll get a bigger bonus check? Or am I really thinking about the long-term interest of this company? Am I doing this truly for my franchise owners, or am I getting some personal benefit that I haven't been willing to acknowledge?" Those kinds of provocative self-mirror questions hold you to a higher standard. I always say servant leadership is an aspiration, because you can really never claim you've arrived. Because as soon as you do, someone will find you—and in a trap of self-interest. It's something you're always working toward.

Philippians 2:3-5

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus

Romans 12:3

3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment,

each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Application: What will you do with your towel?

Transition: Who will you serve this week? Are you and I even willing to go so far as to have the attitude that I would be willing to wash someone’s feet? You must have a servant’s heart and attitude in order to deal with your preferences and desires.

We are called to respect others perspectives in the church family – I Corinthians 9:19 – 23; Romans 14 & 15

  • In scripture, when it comes to our preferences and desires, we need to keep it all in perspective.
  • A command is when God tells us to do something. He demands our obedience – no questions need to be asked but just do it.
    • Ten Commandments
    • Put on the armor of God – Ephesians 6
    • Flee from the devil and he will flee from you - James
    • A conviction is God speaking to your heart through the Holy Spirit about what you should or should not do in an area that is not a command. A conviction is based on principles of scripture
      • Alcohol – moderation verses abstinence
      • Movies – G/PG/ PG-13/ R / X rated – I Thessalonians 5:22; Psalm 101
      • Tattoos
      • Piercings
      • Jewelry – balance of outward adornment
      • Hair Length for men and women – I Corinthians 11
      • Woman wearing pants or a just skirts – Deuteronomy 22
      • What you should or should not do on Sunday – Romans 14/15
  • Eating meat offered to idols / Is Sunday a sacred day or just another day equal to all others from God’s perspective
    • Meat offered to idols could go either way
    • Sunday as a special day could go either way. Is this the same as the OT Sabbath?
    • One is not right or wrong but according to the conviction each believer decides
      • We are not to impose our convictions on others
      • We can agree to honor one another’s convictions with your spouse / family
      • We are not to look down on those who may or may not share our conviction

Romans 15:1

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

  • We are not to be a stumbling block with our freedoms in Christ

Romans 15:2 - 3

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

Romans 14: 13

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

  • A preference is what you like or feel will help you in your spiritual growth and worship of God
    • An organization can have these preferences for housekeeping reasons.
      • Liberty Way at Liberty University
        • Hair length / No beards
        • Movies
        • Tattoos
        • Piercings
        • Dress Code
        • Brigham Young – recent protest due to restriction of beards
        • Military
        • Pleasant View Baptist Church policies – could be changed, not commands or convictions. It is how we believe God wants us to carry out ministry
        • The person voluntarily submits to these things as established by the organization and the leadership. There is an agreement
  • Personal preferences and desires
    • Style of worship
      • Should our worship be to draw outsiders or is it primarily for the church family to worship and be equipped
      • Types of music
        • Contemporary
        • Traditional Hymns
        • Cowboy
        • Southern Gospel
        • Ways of carrying out certain ministries
          • Rules and policies are often someone’s preferences and desires and we follow them for the common good
        • Food choices at the Fellowship Lunch
  • Some group or individuals or leaders have to make decisions based on the culture of the church and the culture of those who are not a part of the church family in order to draw them to Christ.
    • As a church family, we must share our preferences and desires but be willing to accept when our preference or desire is not fulfilled, that the leadership has listened and prayerfully considered what you shared and trust that the leadership made the decision that was best for the church family’s greatest good. That is where trust must come in.
      • If the leadership is not trusted with these decisions based on discussions many times with the church family, then we have a serious problem just like if trust is questioned in a marriage or in a child / parent relationship.
  • We cannot just say, this is who we are and those outside the church must just accept us as we are. Take it or leave it.
    • We have to listen and do things that would draw people to Christ as long as it does not compromise the message of the Word of God, and it does not take away from glorifying God.
    • All of us in this room cannot agree on our preferences and desires
      • Think about how many different radio stations there are in the QCA
      • Think about how many satellite radio stations there are, TV stations there are.
      • We as a group could not agree on a station we would all watch or listen to.
      • We all could not agree on what should be served at the Fellowship Lunch.
      • So we have to respectfully trust the leadership and agree to disagree.
      • Again, these are not matters of doctrine, that needs to be something we all agree upon (Statement of Faith)
      • These are not convictions which are based on principles that are found in God’s Word
      • These are preferences about what you like or feel will help you in your spiritual growth and worship of God
      • But just like convictions, it is ok to share them, but be careful about imposing them on others or making your preferences equal with scripture or acting as if your way is the only way to do something. That is where we cross the line of suggestion into becoming demanding or judgmental

I Corinthians 9: 19 – 23

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

Application: How important will you make your preferences and desires?

Transition: If you want more scriptural support for this and study it more, please look at Romans 14 and 15 and places in I Corinthians.  

We are called to look outward to others in the world instead of inward to ourselves in the church family - Acts 1:8


  • In the Book we are reading, the author listed 10 things that were dominant behavior patterns of members in churches that were inward focused. I share them as follows
  1. 1.    Worship Wars
  2. 2.    Prolonged minutia meetings – Great Commandment / Great Commission are rarely topics of discussion
  3. 3.    Facility focus
  4. 4.    Program driven vs. people driven
  5. 5.    Inwardly focused budget
  6. 6.    Inordinate demands for pastoral care
  7. 7.    Attitudes of entitlement
  8. 8.    Greater concern that change is occurring than the gospel
  9. 9.    Anger and hostility

10. Evangelistic apathy

  • We should view the church like we would if we worked in the ER at a hospital.
  • Our church should be a hospital where all who are hurting can come and be welcome and find healing
  • We should be concerned for the lost because there is a real hell where people will spend eternity
  • We should view our church as a battleship destroyer not a cruise ship. We are in a spiritual battle for the souls of men and women, boys and girls, teenagers and college students. Married couples and families.
  • We overcome these things by being others focused in our church family and others focused outside the doors of this church.
  • Jesus First
  • Others Second
  • Yourself Third

Application: Are you willing to be a servant to those who may not want to be served?

Key Thought: Honor others in the church family and in the world by putting their interests before yours.

 Philippians 2:19 – 21

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.


I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires. That is self – serving. I am a member in the church to serve others and to serve Christ. My Savior went to the cross for me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that just aren’t my preference or style.

Illustration: Rick Warren notes the mark of spiritual maturity occurs when a believer "takes off the bib and puts on an apron." Immature children wear bibs and expect others to meet their needs. Those who don aprons have learned the joy of serving others. Which attire are you wearing?

Questions to Ponder This Week

1.    Do I think of myself more highly than I ought to think?

2.    Is the Golden Rule something I live by?

3.    Am I comfortable with agreeing to disagree with someone?

“The measure of a man’s greatness is not the number of servants he has, but the number of people he serves.” – John Hagee

“You can always give without loving, but you can never love without giving” – Amy Carmichael

Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together. ” – Katherine Walden


Let’s Pray