Uncomfortable People

Introduction

THEME VERSE
1 Peter 2:4–5 NLT -
You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. 5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

  • We’ve all encountered people who make us uncomfortable.

  • But what if this diversity, however uncomfortable, is part of God’s design—part of His plan—and a picture of Heaven?

Revelation 7:9 NLT - After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.

  • The body of Christ is made up of people from all backgrounds and all walks of life, and sometimes that makes living in community difficult.

I. Everyone is Welcome an Has a Part to Play

1 Corinthians 12:12–14 NLT - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.

  • A body is made up of many different parts—toes, arms, legs, a head—and each part has a unique purpose. Every part belongs to the body, and without that part, the body is no longer whole.

1 Corinthians 12:15–21 NLT - If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

  • Paul is emphasizing that each part of the body is important.

  • This is a beautiful perfect of how the church is supposed to function.

  • Yet, our temptation is to downplay our role/our importance to the mission, and feel that the work others do is more important/more influential.

1 Corinthians 12:22–27 NLT - In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

  • The biblical image of the people of God is that we are stones being built together into a dwelling place.

Psalm 133:1 NIV - How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Application: The question we should ask when we’re thinking about our church community, is not “Does this community hit all of my check boxes, my preferences, and my desires?” but rather, “Is this a place I can faithfully serve the community and be a committed part of this body?”

II. Being Part of the Church is Uncomfortable

1 Corinthians 12:13 NLT - Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

  • The reality is that living in community with people, especially people different from ourselves, can be challenging.

  • In our culture and society, our loyalties to groups—even outside the church—have become weak. So we opt to leave and withdraw, rather than stay, press in, and grow.

  • The church is the bride of Christ. And it’s not always easy. It’s often messy. But He has promised to present us—His bride—without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. Holy and without fault.

The church is faulty, but that is no excuse for your not joining it, if you are the Lord’s. Nor need your own faults keep you back, for the church is not an institution for perfect people, but a sanctuary for sinners saved by grace, who, though they are saved, are sinners still, and need all the help they can derive from the sympathy and guidance of their fellow believers. The church is the nursery for God’s weak children, where they are nourished and grown strong. It is the fold for Christ’s sheep; the home for Christ’s family.
— Charles Spurgeon

Application: Rather than searching for a church full of people who look, think, act, and believe like us, we must realize that that church doesn’t exist. And even if it did, it wouldn’t be the church we need. Embracing the tension and struggle of being apart of a church community teaches us how to love others and love God.

III. We Are United by the Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:13 NLT - Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

  • The church is made up of people who have all experienced something life changing—repentance from sin and the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

When you spend hours working hard towards a common goal with someone your differences and your preferences tend to fall by the wayside.
— Chip Gaines
  • The constant bickering throughout the American church over preference and style is because we have lost sight of the mission.

  • God didn’t come to make you comfortable. God came to set you as a city on a hill, as a light that shines in the darkness, calling all men into relationship with their Creator.

Conclusion

It is easy to forget, but the church is made up of people who have the most important thing in common: the forgiveness of sins and our love for Jesus Christ. Because of the work God has done in all of our lives, we can embrace the uncomfortableness and live in community with people with whom we may not naturally connect. We are stones being chiseled and smoothed and refined together, and at times, it’s painful. But the house the Spirit is building through us is beautiful. We are united, and we’re on mission.