WHEN YOUR NEW IN THE CHURCH
Gal 1:18-24 NASB
{18} Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. {19} But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother. {20} (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.) {21} Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. {22} And I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ;    {23} but only, they kept hearing, "He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy." {24} And they were glorifying God because of me.
 

INTRODUCTION:
Have you had the experience of being new in a church? I have had the experience several times.    While in Seminary we joined 3 different churches. As a pastor I have joined 9 different churches. So I have had the new experience 12 times in 39 years.

In one church a lady was a charter member and I had trouble remembering her name. She let me know it and demanded that I call her by name. On one occasion this lady came up to me and asked "well do you know my name".    I didn't, and she was insulted, and let everyone around her know it.  Then I asked her "do you know my name?"   She stuttered,  and her family laughed,  and she was embarrassed because she could not think of my name.  After that I remembered her name and we were friendly with one another.

There are many experiences to be shared with new members. We should do our best to make them feel welcome. We should help them find their way around the building. We should encourage them every way we can. In the text Paul has an experience similar to joining a new church. Lets look at it together as we notice these points of emphasis as one joins a new church.

1. Allow for . . Acquaintances.

2. Allow for . . Accuracy

3. Allow for . . Applause.
 
 
 

1.    Allow for . . Acquaintances. v 18-19  
18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother.

A. Allow for the . . Moment of Acquaintances.
 

B. Allow for the . . Magnitude of Acquaintances.
 

Illustration # 1
Dale Carnegie once said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one."

G.K. Chesterton used to say, "The truly great person is the one who makes every person feel great."

Jesus said in Luke 6:31, "And just as you want men to treat you, treat them in the same way."

Illustration # 2
The following illustration reveals the accuracy of the above listed statements.

In Queen Victoria's time, a young woman had the good fortune of being escorted to dinner by William E. Gladstone, who was considered one of the most brilliant statesmen of the 19th century. On the following evening, the same young lady was escorted by Benjamin Disraeli, novelist, statesman and twice prime minister of Great Britain.

When asked for her impression of these two great rivals, she replied, "After an evening with Gladstone, I thought he was the most brilliant man I'd ever met. After an evening with Disraeli, I thought myself to be the most fascinating woman in the world!"

APPLICATION

WHEN YOUR NEW IN THE CHURCH be friendly to others as well as thinking people should be friendly to you.

1. Allow for . . Acquaintances.
 
 

 
2.    Allow for . . Accuracy. v 20-22  
20 (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ;
 

A.    Accuracy Regardless of . . Reproach. v 20
        1.    Paul had to convince the people he was not lying.
        2.    Paul at first was looked at with doubt concerning his conversion.

B.    Accuracy Regardless of . . Recognition. v 21-22
        1.    Paul also had the experience of not being known by the church.
                    a.    This can be a strange experience.

ILLUSTRATION
The Scriptures have been translated into more than a thousand languages by many worthy organizations. In fact, the Old Testament books are presently being made available in another hundred new tongues! The Word of God lends itself well to this necessary and wonderful work.

For instance, the American Bible Society reports: "We in the United States love the Lord with our 'heart,' but the Karre people of French Equatorial Africa love Him with their 'liver.' The Conob Indians of Guatemala love with their 'stomachs,' and the Marshall Islanders in the South Pacific with their 'throats.'

But do all these different words in the various languages distort the message? Not at all. In each tongue they are synonymous with the sense of the original. Though we say, 'I press toward the mark (Phil. 3:14) and the Navajo Indians say, 'I run with my mouth open,' it is one and the same truth." (Psa. 68:11)
 

APPLICATION

WHEN YOUR NEW IN THE CHURCH expect to be accepted but give it time.  Some may be hesitant to believe your testimony.   If you know the Lord others who know Him will recognize it so:

2. Allow for . . Accuracy
 
 

 
3.    Allow for . . Applause. v 23-24  
23 but only, they kept hearing, "He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy." 24 And they were glorifying God because of me.

A.    Applause for the . . Report about Paul. v 23
 

B.    Applause for the . . Reverence to God because of Paul. v 24
 

ILLUSTRATION
Miss America, Debbye Turner, says she became a follower of Christ at age 7. Originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas, she is the third black and the first Miss Missouri to wear the crown. Her goal is to become a veterinarian. She credits her parents with much of her success. Her mother, a lay evangelistic worker, kept a marimba in the dining room and encouraged her to master it.

She thinks race relations could be improved if Americans taught their "youth from a very young age to ignore the exterior of a person and look at the substance of that person inside."
 
 

APPLICATION

When we as Christians look at new people in the church we ought to look for the Christ in everyone,  and not judge by the exterior.  Paul was eventual accepted by the church,   and they rejoiced in what God had done.

WHEN YOUR NEW IN THE CHURCH

1. Allow for . . Acquaintances.

2. Allow for . . Accuracy.

3. Allow for . . Applause. "To the Glory of God".
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
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