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               "ATTITUDES NEEDED IN CONGREGATIONAL WORK"


INTRODUCTION

1. As Christians work together in a local congregation, the right
   attitudes are necessary...
   a. All the talent in the world cannot make up for wrong attitudes
   b. With the right attitudes, our efforts in service to the Lord are
      enhanced and live up to their full potential

2. In what areas should we be concerned about our attitudes?
   a. Our attitude toward God
   b. Our attitude toward ourselves as individuals
   c. Our attitude toward our brethren
   d. Our attitude toward the work we do together as a church
   -- In a least these four areas, we must be sure to maintain the
      proper attitudes

[And what are the proper attitudes?  Let's begin with our...]

I. ATTITUDES TOWARD GOD

   A. LOVE...
      1. We must have the right kind of love toward God
      2. Jesus defined that kind of love in Mt 22:37
      -- Do we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind?

   B. FAITH AND TRUST...
      1. Faith is a strong conviction and trust in things one does not
         see - He 11:1
      2. Without faith, it is impossible to please God - He 11:6
      -- Do we have the kind of faith which pleases God?  If not, cf.
         Ro 10:17

   C. THANKFULNESS...
      1. Every Christian should have "the attitude of gratitude" - cf.
         Col 3:17; Ep 5:20
      2. God's righteous indignation is toward those who have become
         unthankful - cf. Ro 1:18-21
      -- An attitude of thankfulness for the blessings we have will
         help allay the bitterness that often destroys the spirit in
         any congregation

[If our relationship with God is right, it increases the likelihood
that our relationship with others will be smooth as well (Pr 16:7).
What also helps are the proper...]

II. ATTITUDES TOWARD OUR SELVES

   A. HUMILITY...
      1. A humble estimation of one's self is very important - Ro 12:3,
         16
      2. Humility includes a willingness to serve, even to do "menial"
         tasks - Jn 13:6-17
      3. "Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I'll
         show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things."
         (Lawrence D. Bell) - cf. Mt 25:21
      -- Are we humble enough to serve your fellow brother?

   B. TEACHABILITY...
      1. To be teachable is to be wise - Pr 15:31,32
      2. Teachability includes:
         a. An eagerness to learn and grow
         b. The ability to learn from correction, to profit from advice
            and criticism
      3. The old as well as the young need a teachable attitude:
         "Education is too good to limit to the young." (Elton
         Trueblood)
      -- How teachable are we, when it comes to opportunities to study
         God's word?

   C. HONESTY TOWARD OUR MISTAKES...
      1. This includes a willingness to admit our mistakes - Jm 5:16
      2. And a willingness to correct them
      -- Everyone makes a mistakes; a congregation that functions well
         and grows is one filled with people who learn from their
         mistakes!

[The attitudes of humility, teachability, and honesty will certainly
prepare us to be useful to the Lord.  They will also have a bearing on
our relationship with others in the congregation.  Let's now focus our
attention on...]

III. ATTITUDES TOWARD OUR BRETHREN

   A. LOVE...
      1. Jesus taught us the necessity of loving our brethren - Jn 13:
         34-35
      2. We have been born again that we might love one another
         fervently - 1Pe 1:22-23
      -- If we truly love one another, how can we not work together?

   B. COOPERATION...
      1. This involves a willingness to work together, as God intended
         - 1Co 12:21
      2. We need to be able not only to work, but to work together!
      3. "It marks a big step in a man's development when he comes to
         realize that other men can be called on to help him do a
         better job than he can do alone." (Andrew Carnegie)
      -- Where there is cooperation, a good way of doing things will be
         more productive than a better way of doing things where
         cooperation does not exist!

   C. APPRECIATION FOR OTHERS AND THEIR WORK...
      1. We need to appreciate what others are doing - e.g., 1Co 1:14;
         1Th 5:12,13
      2. True appreciation for others will eliminate destructive
         criticism, gossip, divisiveness
      -- Expressing appreciation is like grease on the gears of a
         machine...it makes others do their work much better!

   D. SUBMISSIVENESS...
      1. We are to submit to one another - Ep 5:21
      2. And we are to submit to those in positions of leadership
         (e.g., elders) - He 13:17
      -- Too many chiefs, not enough Indians...that is a common problem
         in many organizations!

   E. PEACEABLENESS...
      1. Peace among brethren is something that we should purse - Ro
         14:19
      2. It is part of walking worthy of our calling - Ep 4:1-3
      -- The true children of God are those who are peacemakers, and
         sow their deeds of righteousness in the atmosphere of peace
         - cf. Mt 5:9; Jm 3:17-18

   F. HOSPITALITY...
      1. Christians are to be hospitable - Ro 12:13
      2. This includes both hospitality to strangers and to brethren
         - cf. He 13:2; 1Pe 4:9
      -- A factor in the rapid spread of the church in the first
         century was the hospitality extended by the Christians - cf.
         3Jn 5-8

   G. WARMTH, FRIENDLINESS, OPENNESS...
      1. We see this expressed by those in the church at Jerusalem
         - Ac 2:44-47
      2. It continued with the saints in Antioch - Ac 11:27-30

   H. GENTLENESS, MEEKNESS...
      1. Especially necessary in dealing with the spiritual weak - Ga
         6:1
      2. But also in dealing with those who oppose us - 2Ti 2:24-26

   I. FORGIVENESS, FORBEARANCE, PATIENCE, LONGSUFFERING...
      1. All of these attitudes overlap, and are very important - Ep 4:
         2,32
      2. They help smooth out the bumps and obstacles that Satan will
         put in our way in his effort to destroy the local church

[Finally, let's survey some of the necessary...]

IV. ATTITUDES TOWARD OUR WORK

   A. GRATITUDE FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF OUR WORK...
      1. Paul certainly possessed this attitude - 1Ti 1:12; 1Co 15:
         9,10
      2. Do we appreciate what an honor it is to offer service in
         kingdom of our Lord?

   B. ENTHUSIASM, EAGERNESS...
      1. Remember, God loves a cheerful giver - 2Co 9:7
      2. Nothing is so easy but that it becomes difficult if done with
         reluctance
      3. Nothing is so hard that it cannot be made easier with
         enthusiasm

   C. INDUSTRIOUSNESS, DILIGENCE, ENERGY...
      1. Like those in Nehemiah's day, we need a "mind to work" - Neh
         4:6
      2. If we are to serve men "heartily", how much more the Lord - Co
         3:23
      3. Some people are like blisters...they never show up until the
         work is almost done
      4. The slothful person is just as harmful as the destructive
         person - Pr 18:9

   D. INITIATIVE...
      1. Initiative has been defined as the willingness to do what is
         right without having to be prodded
      2. We should not have to be reminded constantly of our
         responsibilities - cf. 1Ti 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6
      3. When you see something that needs to be done, don't criticize,
         energize! (i.e., do it yourself!)

   E. POSITIVENESS...
      1. We are to do things without murmuring and grumbling - Php 2:14
      2. The chronic complainer and the negative thinker are
         obstructions to the work of a congregation

   F. PERSISTENCE...
      1. We must have the attitude of Christ, not just to do, but to
         finish the work of God - Jn 4:34
      2. We need "finishative" as well as "initiative" - cf. He 6:12
      3. Then we can say with Paul:  "I have fought the good fight, I
         have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 2Ti 4:7

CONCLUSION

1. Ideal attitudes make for ideal working conditions among the members
   of a local church...
   a. Attitude improvement can be compared to the woodcutter sharpening
      his ax - Ec 10:10
   b. If we want the work of the congregation to go smooth, hone our
      attitudes!

2. Certainly the attitudes described this lesson will help the cause of
   Christ in any  congregation...
   a. They will improve our relation with God, ourselves, our brethren,
      and our work
   b. They will make us "useful to the Master, prepared for every good
      work" - 2Ti 2:21

Are we developing the right kind of attitudes that prepare us for the
work of the Lord?

Note:  The main idea and several thoughts from this lesson were taken
from a lesson by Gary Henry.  The URL for his web site containing many
excellent articles and sermon outlines is:  http://www.wordpoints.com
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