How to Not Be a Selfie Church
Excessive self-love is defined in several fields of study as narcissism. It is a generalized personality trait characterized by egotism, vanity, conceit, or selfishness. It is having an excessive self-focus in interpersonal exchanges or being excessively selfishness and self-absorbed. It is one who has a grandiose sense of self-importance, requires excessive admiration, and has a very strong sense of entitlement. The word comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, a handsome Greek youth who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and would spend hour after hour gazing into the pool at himself.
This is the opposite of the Christ-like nature within a true disciple who demonstrates their love for others by their faithful attendance, serving, giving, and sharing of their life. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends John 15:13.” Some count their life too dear unto themselves, too valuable, too precious to lay it down for others. This is unlike the Apostle Paul’s example and messages to the church. Paul’s letter to Colosse had three purposes: to combat false teaching, to make clear the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and to stress the true nature of life in Christ and its fruit in the believer.
Colossians 3:5-15 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
I want to talk about “self”. Self is the mark of the lukewarm church.
Another word for lukewarm would be complacent– showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements. Synonyms include- smug, self-satisfied, self-approving, self-regarding, triumphant, proud, pleased, content, careless, lazy, slack
Seven churches are mentioned in Revelation. The number 7 being the number of completion these were 7 churches all about 30-40 miles away from each other in the Asian province. They not only represented the whole churches at that time, but also are representatives of the entire church throughout the church age. There were many other churches at this time in history, but these represented the spectrum of churches that existed in the first century, but also the spectrum of churches that exist now. There were more well known churches- such as the church of Colosse, but the Lord chose these seven because they represented conditions that have prevailed throughout church history. In other words, there are 7 basic types of churches that exist in any time period of church history. Every church that truly knows Jesus as Lord can be recognized as fitting one of these 7 models at some particular point in history. These letters also serve as a preview of the entire church history, from beginning to consummation- they represent 7 stages or key periods in church history- written in a specific order for a reason and a purpose. Which brings us to the final church of Revelation and church history:
Laodicea- a hard hitting letter God does not do anything arbitrarily- these are written in a certain order for a reason and a purpose
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither [k]cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
Laodicea was famous as a center of wealth, bustling commercial activity, and medical profession. It was the most prosperous of the 7 cities. A textile and clothing industry flourished.
The Lord says, “I know your works” this is not a cause for rejoicing for they are tragically lacking in their commitment. How did they get in this state?
Compromise- to accept standards that are lower than desired
Compromise important doctrine and the truth of God’s Word-
Compromise spirituality for comfort- a Comfortable church– don’t ruffle my feathers or preach to convict me, make me feel comfortable, give me a little bit of truth, but not enough to affect my life; don’t tell me things I don’t want to hear. Don’t tell me what to eat, or what to wear or where to go. Don’t challenge me, correct me or rebuke me- but rather encourage me, stroke me and flatter me.
There seems to be an overemphasis by teachers and teachings that are feeding people with truths that are causing them to be very self-oriented and excessive in their self-love. It is all about them, their God, their time and season, and their thing. Their Christianity becomes self-focused and self-absorbed. They never allow Biblical truth to fit them into something bigger than themselves and for anything beyond personal benefit.
Jesus says, “YOU (emphasized in the Greek) say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing”
They were a self-satisfied church that led to self-deception. It literally reads, “I have enriched myself, by my own wisdom and virtue” This word “rich” has a double meaning and there is an allusion to material wealth, but also that they also boasted as being spiritually rich in and in good works on which she trusts in for salvation, placing her righteousness in them.
“and increased with goods”- with outward peace and prosperity, with much natural and divine knowledge, a new revelation.
“I have need of nothing” they sat down in complacency and self-satisfaction, pride and arrogance. I am rich in spiritual gifts and endowments. I have need of nothing to make me happy and blessed and every day I am growing spiritually richer.
Self-sufficiency is the fatal danger of a lukewarm state. Are we not living in the days of the “selfie” church?
2 Timothy 3 New King James Version (NKJV) 3 But know this, that in the last days [a]perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, [b]unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Jesus says, “know not that YOU (emphatic in the Greek) are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.”
The Laodeans did not see themselves as lukewarm, or indifferent- Jesus had to point it out. Why was their self-appraisal so far apart from the Lord’s? They were measuring themselves by different standards. They were using the standards of the world– their church was a pleasant, respectable, comfortable body of believers. They thought they were doing splendidly.
Ex: I talked to a lady who come to church on average once every 6-8 weeks, I am busy, aren’t you a real estate agent? “I’m saved” We are not good judges of our heart- we need the HS to search our hearts and our minds.
Jesus continues, you are wretched and miserable- a most deplorable condition, one who is sunk into deep distress or affliction, in a state of unregeneracy, in danger of hell and destruction
poor- they did not have the means to produce what they really needed, they did not have the necessities it would take to see them through a calamity
blind- they could not see their state, nor their way, nor the danger they were in
naked- spiritually naked, stripped of righteousness.
The Laodicean period is characterized by the phenomenon of people dictating what will be taught, a church where the people tell the preacher what he is going to preach, rather than submitting to the authority of the Word of God. Laodicea means “the judgment of the people” or loosely “people’s rights”
2 Timothy 4:3-4 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
There used to be a time when the church taught that the old man had to be crucified, denied, kept under careful control. Jesus said, “If a man would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me” Yet, churches are openly advancing self, teaching we should assert self and discover the powers and possibilities of the self, all apart from the necessity of the new birth.
The new man is not concerned with self-realization, but rather is only to be concerned with knowing the Lord. A church ceases to be led by the spirit when it becomes self-seeking.
Back to Paul’s words to the Colossian church and how not to be a selfie church:
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication (sexual immorality), uncleanness (vile and impure thoughts, impurities), passion (pornea, promiscuity), evil desire (desiring only pleasure), and covetousness (greed), which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
Other Scriptures concerning sin include:
Galatians 5:16-21 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [d]adultery (pornea), [e]fornication, uncleanness (following one’s passion), lewdness (no decency), 20 idolatry, sorcery (pharmakeia), hatred, contentions (struggling for superiority), jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions (seeking power or position), dissensions (divisive teaching), heresies (causing splits and division in the church, destroying unity), 21 envy, [f]murders, drunkenness, revelries (a party spirit), and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God
I wish you would get a hold of this tonight—Sin does not just affect YOU, it affects and corrupts the whole Body. You are not your own. You were bought with a price. Whatever you do affects the whole- when you love and serve others, you affect the Body. When you sin, you affect the whole Body.
Running away and hiding during this time is self-preservation. We are never called to self-preservation, but to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Trust me, right now I want to sell everything and move. But God has called me here for such a time as this!
We are called to love the body and seek the good of others above our own self. Jesus came to reconcile man to God and this plan is not only individual but collectively.
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection
When you hold an offense- your interests are selfish.
When you harbor unforgiveness- your interests are selfish.
When you lie to the another, you are lying to the whole Body of Christ, eroding at other’s trust in you.
If I told you all the nastiness that’s been said and done against me, you might ask, “How can you forgive them for that?” To which I answer, “I have no right to hold anything against anyone”. How can I not forgive when I have received such a great gift?
We are not here to just develop a spiritual life of our own, but develop and build up the corporate Body.
Are you concerned with only yourself and your self-interests? Or are you concerned with His Body?
YOU are called to be salt and light. You do not hide a light under a container.
Matthew 5:13-16 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Your calling and mission as an ambassador for Christ does not change in times of persecution and affliction.
Romans 13:11 New King James Version (NKJV)
11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
Hear the words of our Lord tonight: The reality of the indwelling Christ “put on the new man” must be evident in Christian behavior, in our relationships with the Body and spiritual discipline.
Wake up. Rise up out of your selfishness and complacency, Stop sinning. Stop lying. Do not let your love grow cold. Stop being selfish. Stop being rebellious. Forgive anyone for anything. Do not hold an offense. Give more than you think you should.
In case you have not noticed world events, Jesus is coming soon. I will not go back to my sin, I have learned to control my flesh; I am not going to fall into sexual sin nor will I give myself back over to drugs and alcohol. But I will tell you, He will also find me in a position of forgiveness and not holding a grudge. He will find me loving the brethren and not holding onto a fruitless offense. He will find me loving my husband, loving and serving my church, taking care of the children and the sheep God has put into my care. He will find me living in peace and joy, and not in a spirit of bitterness. I am resolved to be selfless.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
If you would like to listen to more sermons visit our SERMONS PAGE
If you would like to contact a pastor visit our WELCOME PAGE
Please subscribe to our YOUTUBE PAGE