Enter to Worship, Depart to Serve

Series: Who Moved My Cheese?

August Series: Lesson 1 – JULY 28-AUGUST 3, 2021

AIM:  After studying this series, it is hoped that students will know how to ANTICIPATE change; ADAPT to change quickly; ENJOY change and be READY to change quickly, again and again!

INTRODUCTION:

Who Moved My Cheese? is a simple parable that reveals profound truths.  It is an amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy.  Cheese is a metaphor for what we want in life:

  • House/home
  • Health
  • Financial Security
  • Good job
  • Loving relationship
  • Recognition
  • Spiritual Peace of Mind
  • Church
  • Freedom

And the maze is where you spend time looking for what you want – the organization you work in, the family you are connected to, the community you live or the church you attend!

All of us have an idea of what our cheese is, and we pursue it because we believe that it will make us happy. If we get it, we often become attached to it, and if we lose it then we can become traumatized because of the loss.

Luke 15:8-9 (MEV) 8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins and losing one, does not light a candle and sweep the house and search diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’

  1. The coin was lost!  It didn’t matter to her how it came to be lost – IT WAS LOST!
  2. She diligently searches for the coin until she FOUND IT!

The four imaginary characters depicted in this story are intended to represent the simple and the complex parts of ourselves, regardless of our age, gender, race, or nationality.

  1. The Mice
    1. The Mice:
      1. Sniff – Sometimes we may act like Sniff who sniffs out change early
      1. Scurry – Other times we may scurry into action
  • The Little People
    • The Little people:
      • Hem – who denies, and resists change as he fears it will lead to something worse, or
      • Haw – who learns to adapt in time when he sees changing can lead to something better!
        • Whatever part of us we choose to use, we all share something in common: a need to find our way in the maze and succeed in changing times.

BACKGROUND

Have you ever seen a church that was dead and dying, completely lifeless?  A church that was satisfied with itself, with keeping things the way they had always been?  A church resting on its laurels and past history that just reveled in what used to be? This was the church at Sardis.  Sardis pictures the church that has an excellent reputation and is highly respected by the community but is dead and lifeless.  You know of some churches right here that was the “BIG SHOT” church in the city, and everyone who thought they were someone went to that church!  But where are they now?  What happened?  They failed to notice the changes in the air and wanted things to remain the same for them and they did not adjust to the change.  Here is a true saying – things change whether you want them to or not! 

Too many of our churches and believers are complacent!  We are not living up to the mission that God has given us. 

John 20:21 (ESV) – Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If I Can Help Somebody

God sent the pandemic, I believe, to get us out of our comfort zone.  Many of us are complaining about being in isolation, hibernation, and social distancing!  But, haven’t we being practicing that for years?? The most segregated time for the church is when the church is in worship!  We are more concerned about getting certain people in our congregation, then getting all people! AND them that got are not sharing or helping them that have not!

Acts 4:32-35 (MSG)

32   The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything.

33   The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.

34   And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale

35   to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.

This congregation was:

  • United
  • Unique
  • Upright
  • Upholding

You remodeled your church?  Give the pews, furniture, etc. to a church that is struggling!  Send some volunteers to the Westend to help some struggling church in cleaning the building, cutting the grass.  Give them technical assistance to learn how to stream their services.  After all, we have the SAME enemy! The Church was not called to be competitive but be a community!  The early church in Acts 4 is a community!

Our Mission The Great Commission!

The father of modern management, Peter Drucker, once said, “Every business needs to constantly ask themselves two questions: What is my business and how is my business?” If these two questions were applied to the church, the answer would be:

  1. The business of the church is The Great Commission.
  2. How the business is doing can be judged by how the Sunday school ministry is functioning.

 

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The Sunday school is the church organized and mobilized to do Great Commission work.  The Great Commission is Jesus’ last words before He ascended into heaven.  For many, it is the great omission.

The church is. . .

  • The Lord’s Unlimited Power
  • Notice that all power is given to Jesus in heaven.  That means the invisible world of the heavenlies; demonic forces, angels, cherubim and seraphim.  Notice that all power is given to Jesus on earth.
  • This should serve as a source of comfort to know that all power and authority belongs to Christ.  The Lord’s prayer ends with. . . “For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13b KJV)
  • The Lord’s Unhindered People “Go ye therefore. . .” If you believe that Jesus has power and authority over the heavenlies and the earth, it should make us bold.
  • The last verse in the book of Acts says – “Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 28:31)
  • Why do missionaries take the gospel to dangerous places? Because they believe Jesus has all authority.  “Go Ye therefore.”
  • The Lord’s Unchanging Program
  • Make disciples              è        Evangelism
  • Mark disciples                è        Assimilation
  • Mature disciples           è        Discipleship

At St. Stephen, each Sunday school class has not only a teacher and co-teacher but. . .

  1. Prayer leader to keep the class in prayer for one another and the community
  2. Evangelism Coordinator – to keep evangelism in front of the class and ideas of what the class can do.
  3. Missions/Ministry leader – to lead the class to go out into the community and assist the lest, the last and the lost!
  4. Fellowship Coordinator – to lead the class in fellowshipping with one another, as well as coordinate fellowship parties in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
  5. Care Coordinator – to send out cards to sick, shut-in, birthday cards, and send condolences.
  6. Class Administrator – to keep contact with present members, visitors and be central command to assist Care Coordinator.

Point to Ponder:  The cheese has moved. . .what are you going to do about it?  How will you carry out the Great Commission?

Point to Ponder: Our method may change but our message has not!

Let us take a look at the church in Sardis. . .

Revelation 3:1-6 (NLT)

1 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars: “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. 3 Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief. 4 “Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine. 6 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

I. Reputation of Life

This church had all sorts of programs, ministries and activities.

Other churches looked up to this church as being progressive, alive, well liked, prosperous, busy, and full of good fellowship.

It had ministries for every age group and for every area of need throughout the community.

The church had the services, meetings, and ministries that were needed.

Point to Ponder: The church was doing the very things that it was supposed to be doing.  What was wrong?

Point to PonderWhat signs may have been present to indicate that the “cheese pile” was running out and should have indicated to them that change was in the air?

II. Reality of Death

Jesus is interested in a relationship NOT religion!

What was wrong was the spirit of the people.  Their spirits were not focusing upon Jesus Christ and His cause.  They were. . .

Sitting in the services half asleep and allowing their thoughts to wander about instead of hungering for the Word of God.

Holding and attending activities for the sake of fellowship and because it was the thing to do.

They came to church to see and be seen.

They were attending and participating because it was the thing to do and because it gave them a sense of religious security.

They did not want to do evangelism. 

They needed to recall, remember, rethink why they and the church were on earth, what there calling was, and why they were meeting together as a church.

John 15:16 (NCV) You did not choose me; I chose you. And I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name.

III. Recapture of Spirit

Remember

They were to remember what they had received and heard.

They were to remember to keep the truth they received and heard.

Remembering is more than just thinking; it involves doing!

Repent

He called for a decisive change of mind and attitude that would set them on the right course toward recovery.

They had done wrong and sinned against Christ by losing their fervor and becoming lethargic.

They desperately needed to confess their wrong and repent: they needed to turn away from their error and turn back to Christ.

IV. Remnant of Life

God always has and will always have a group who will “stay the course.”  This means there were a few faithful believers in the church.

They are the ones who did not use the church. . .

as a religious salve for their conscience

as a social activity

as a place for social and business contacts

as a place for fellowship alone

as a place to build their public image

They focused on Christ and His purpose: they were still growing spiritually and reaching out to share Christ with a needful world.

But the faithful believer walks in victory and purity with Christ forever and ever.

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                        Ask God to help you to remain a faithful believer so that others may be drawn to Christ through your witness.

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:           Assist others in accepting the changes necessary in their life for a productive and progressive life in Christ.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:                Share with others how your relationship with Christ changed your life.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:               Changes in your lifestyle will help you to become a faithful and consistent giver.

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:                    As you find yourself needing to make changes but are reluctant, keep a steady prayer life to know when to make your move.

NEXT WEEK’S SERIES: Who Moved My Cheese

NEXT WEEK’S LESSON: Move On!

NEXT WEEK’S READING: Exodus 14:10-15; Joshua 3:13

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