Sunday, June 24, 2018
ILL: VP Mike Pence at SBC annual convention in Dallas—SBC force of good since its birth.
The Church has been a global force for good since Jesus created her.
The Church is built on the faith and commitment of believers in Jesus Christ. She is a powerful and offensive force that not even Satan can stop.
Vs. 18 “Gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Gates were essentially used for a city’s security and power against a foe.
The Church is Satan’s foe and we are to be pressing forward in defeating evil.
A lot of people who attend church are passive towards serving, giving and community outreach. Thus the Church becomes weak and passive and allows the enemy to gain a foothold.
In most churches, 80 percent of the work is being carried out by 20 percent or less of the people. We’ve become a church of spectators and the pastoral staff is getting burned out.
I believe that the problems are even bigger than the 80/20 principle.
· Only 39 percent of active believers consider the Bible as the literal word of God.
· Less than 20 percent of professing believers follow the biblical principle of giving.
· Only 5 percent have shared their faith with a non-believer.
· More than half of all church members attend church once a month or less.
· About half of all Americans are biblically illiterate – LifeWay research 2017.
Something has to change.
Casual attendance and the belief that others will serve, give and share the Gospel are tearing down churches across our country brick by brick. As believers, it’s time that we are either all in or we get out.
The solution is simple: Let’s quit!
That’s right – quit! If we quit the casual way we approach God’s principles can you imagine what would happen in our personal walks of faith and in our community of believers?
What if every believer exercised generosity? What if every Christian fought for loyalty in the local church? What if everyone served in their God-given purpose?
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What would happen if we stopped simply believing and started belonging?
If we would only quit the way we approach our relationship to Christ and our local church, the blessing, the reward, the joy, the fulfillment, the purpose, and the increase would radically transform our lives and the world.
Together, we can revolutionize the church!
What does it take? It takes commitment. Godly, biblical commitment is:
· Acting out in faith to the principles outlined in God’s Word
· Trusting that God knows what He is doing
· The Church is God’s—not ours
· An agreement to invest in others
· Living by priorities instead of pressures
· Always looking forward and not backward
But the only way we can do this is if we quit.
Over the past several years, the spiritual habits necessary for personal and church growth have revealed the “why” behind disengagement in the church.
The truth is, if we don’t feel passionate about something we don’t do it. If we don’t like something that happens in the church, we find another one. If the spiritual practices don’t fit our lifestyle, then we don’t do them.
This mindset permeates our “I want it now and I want it my way” culture and is only enforced through social media, website choices, TV options and countless other platforms that have risen in prominence in our lives.
This is not the way God intended the church to live!
The local church isn’t a building – it’s a body of believers fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives.
1 Cor. 12:12-14 “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”
When believers approach their individual involvement and commitment in a casual manner it weakens the entire body of Christ and the impact we are called to have.
As a result, we lose and so does the local church. Critical ministries, like our children and youth, are left without capable leaders stepping up to instruct and lead this next generation. Why?
God wants us to win, to thrive, to fulfill our potential in him. We will not experience the abundance he desires for us until we quit our current approach and we are all-in.
Once we go all-in on generosity, serving, outreach, discipleship and the other biblical behaviors laid out in his word then look out, because God will rain on your life with his blessings like you have never experienced.
Jesus felt the church was worth dying for – it should be our mission as Christians to value living for it.