In All My Remembrance Of YouSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
IN ALL MY REMEMBRANCE OF YOU
Sermon By Terry Siverd / November 04, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
Larry & Linda Siegle are now in transit by auto from Phoenix to Warren and are due to arrive sometime this week.
Please call others to invite them to join us next Sunday (11/12) for Larry's first sermon here at Cortland.
Following next Sunday's AM worship our covered-dish luncheon will provide an opportune time to meet and greet.
This morning is my last sermon in my capacity as your full-time minister.
I graduated from Edgewood HS in 1971 and then worked for a year before enrolling at Harding College in the fall of '72. During my early days at Harding University, I spent three summers ('72, '73 & '74) in an internship with the Ashtabula church. Jeannie and I married in May of '75 and then in the fall of '76 we moved to Ashtabula where I began work as a gospel preacher with the West Avenue congregation. These were four delightful years, serving as a teacher in the NEO Bible Institute;
assisting with a vibrant bus ministry; and, in '77 organizing the start of our annual Camp Judson summer youth retreat.
We loved our time with the Ashtabula church and have great memories of working with the youth and the adults.
In November of 1980 we moved to Warren where we enjoyed 16 years working with the Parkman Road church of Christ.
In May of 1996 we accepted the invitation to begin work with a new congregation - - the Cortland church of Christ.
And now as we come to the cusp of 2024, it is time for me to step down in my role as your minister.
I might add that we're not leaving, except for an upcoming winter get-away down south and out west.
Jeannie and I are planning to depart in mid-December with plans to return in late March.
Lord willing, we anticipate being with you for several years to come as regular members of our Cortland Church Family.
Frequently the apostle Paul would begin and/or end his epistles with words of thanksgiving.
e.g., Rom.1:8 & 16:24; 1Cor.1:4f & 16:24; Eph.1:15f; Col.1:3f; 1Thess.1:3; 2Thess.1:3; 2Tim.1:3 and Phe.4f.
GRATITUDE is the wellspring for the full development of the fruit of the Spirit.
Gratitude works as a catalyst to stimulate the cultivation and maturation of scores of other virtues.
This morning I want close our current sermon series and my full-time ministry with a note of gratitude.
I am confident that God will bless all of us abundantly when possess an attitude of gratitude (Col.4:2).
I've borrowed the title for today's sermon from Paul's opening comments to the church in Philippi (Philp.1:3-5) - -
I thank my God IN ALL MY REMEMBRANCE OF YOU, always offering prayer with joy in my
every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
To have been able to work with the Cortland Church for the last 28 years has been one of my life's greatest privileges.
As I step into full retirement, I want to express my appreciation to you.
It's hard to boil down into a few words my overall sense of gratitude, but let me try with four brief couplets.
THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME UNREMITTING PATIENCE
We spoke recently about the importance of bearing with one another. Bearing with one another is a phrase that sometimes becomes a euphemism for putting up with one another. It is something we are required to do in all realms of life: children grow up with siblings who often irritate; a good marriage entails taking the good with the bad - -
Jeannie deserves multiple medals; our jobs demand that we learn to get along with our workmates;
friendships are lubricated by forbearance. And patience is also a vital ingredient in the work of the church.
In the church more than anywhere we come to know that synonym for patience know as l-o-n-gsuffering. Showing patience to one another is not always easy and the absence of such has translated into disaster for many congregations.
Throughout the Bible unremitting (continual) patience has been extolled as an admirable and irreplaceable virtue.
Paul speaks of this in 2Thess.5:12-14 - -
We request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patience with all men.
A preacher speaks often, sharing lots of words. A multiplicity of words increases the odds for offense.
As Solomon notes in Prov.10:19, When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable.
Thank you for your many years of patience: brushing aside my idiosyncrasies; disregarding my quirks; tolerating my weaknesses, suffering with my shortcomings, forbearing my faults and, most of all, forgiving my transgressions.
THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING ME WITH EMPLOYMENT STABILITY
It's rare to work with a congregation for 28 consecutive years. Actually, if we combine my time at Warren with my time at Cortland it totals 44 years. Quite a few of you helped start this newest edition of the Cortland congregation in 1996.
Not many preachers have had the opportunity to remain with a core group of believers for over four decades.
At the start of my senior year at Harding University, the head of the bible department sternly warned me:
unless you change your views I will see to it that you never get a pulpit. He was wrong to do that, but God provided.
Thank you for defying his “edict” and giving me a pulpit that has come to span almost half a century.
Nothing will undermine a preacher's task more than the constant threat of always being on the chopping block.
If you want to wreak havoc on a preacher's psyche and production, put him on a short leash with constant pressure.
THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME SCRIPTURAL FREEDOM
One of the most important tools in a minister's satchel is the freedom to study sacred Scriptures with an open mind.
Our fellowship is part of a band of disciples who claim to have no creed but Christ, no book but the Bible.
Such a boast is not always easy to actualize. Unwritten creeds sometimes seem to abound.
The apostle Paul highly commended a virtue that he observed in the church in Berea (Acts 17:11) - -
they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.
The apostle Peter wrote commenting on some of Paul's writings (2Pet.3:16/some things hard to understand).
He urged his readers to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pet.3:18).
Growth comes not just by a rehearsal of things we've already learned, it comes as we plumb the depths
and dig deeply to discover truths that have always been there but have often been sorely misinterpreted.
Never once, in all of my preaching have I been told that a certain Bible subject is out of bounds or off limits.
Thank you for granting me the liberty to study and seek the truth without a fear of retribution.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS PARTNERSHIP
Long-time friendship is delightful. Fellowship in the body of Christ is sweeter still.
Fellowship is not just “Christian friendship”. It runs much deeper and can only be truly defined by partnership.
Fellowship implies a joint participation among those who are bound together.
Our work here at Cortland has been a true partnership that has weathered many storms.
Some of us have been working side by side - - knitted together in love (Col.2:2) for almost five decades.
This partnership for the spread of the gospel is a costly grace.
Literally, the joint fundage (monies) that has been contributed over the many years is quite astounding.
It's sad when a church is comprised of ones who want fellowship, but only if it's not going to cost them too much.
When that happens, little of significance will happen.
Compare that with Paul's exhortation in 2Cor.8:1-5, where he notes that the church in Macedonia was
begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints.
When I was a young preacher I often referenced Phlip.4:13 - - I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
I still like that verse but I keep wanting to tweak it - - WE can do all things through HIM who strengthens US.
A bit later Paul affirms (Philp.4:19) - - My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Your generosity has gone beyond your wallet to include verbiage - - ongoing words of encouragement that inspire!
Our new preacher will need the same. So let's all determine to not be stingy with our compliments.
A preacher is to be commended not just in delivering an occasionally superb sermon, but for his many good sermons.