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Sermon Central Staff
Unity is not simply an intellectual exercise. We can believe the same things, recite the same creeds, belong to the same denomination, but that does not mean we have unity.
In his book Soul Talk, Larry Crabb writes:
"Which is worse? A church program to build community that doesnít get off the ground or one person sitting every Sunday in the back of the church who remains unknown? A Sunday school class that once drew hundreds but has now dwindled to thirty or a Sunday school teacher whose sense of failure is never explored by a caring friend? A family torn apart by the fatherís drinking, his wifeís frustration, and their third graderís learning disabilities or a self-hating dad, a terrified mom, and a lonely little boy, three human beings whose beauty and value no one ever discovers? A national campaign that fails to gain steam for the pro-life movement or a single woman on her way home from an abortion clinic in the backseat of a taxi, a woman whose soul no one ever touches?"
We may notice the unknown pew sitter, we wonder how the teacher of the now small class feels, we worry over each member of the torn-up family, and we feel for the guilt and pain of a woman who has ended her babyís life. But we do whatís easier. We design programs, we brainstorm ways to build attendance, and in our outrage over divorce statistics and abortion numbers we fight for family values.
These are all good things, but we donít TALK to the pew sitter; we donít ASK the teacher how heís feeling; we donít INVITE the dad to play golf, the woman to lunch, or the little boy to play with our children; we donít let the aborting woman know we CARE about her soul.
That response to hurting people, I would label disunity. Disunity is not just fighting over personal preferences. Itís not just leaving the church because someone hurt your feelings. Itís not just gossip that tears down other members of the body. Itís leaving needs unmet. Itís failing to love people the way God would have us love. Unity is lived out in caring concern for others.
(From a sermon by Bret Toman, Unity For the Glory of God, 1/3/2011)
Sermon Central Staff
I like the way songwriter and worship leader, Brian Doerksen, puts it. He says, "Becoming a worshipper means becoming a warrior... And by toning that down...we have sent men and women away from the church in droves. It's time to call them back," Doerksen says, "as worshiping warriors." That is as "warriors who are surrendered to God, warriors who know that their authority comes because they are under authority, warriors willing to wait even when everyone else is rushing ahead, or [warriors willing to] act decisively...in obedience" to their commanding officer, Jesus Christ, even when everybody else is lagging behind in disobedience.
(Brian Doerksen, Make Love, David C. Cook, 2009. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Take a Risk, 5/25/2012)
THE PERSON OF THE BOOK
GENESIS: Promised Seed
EXODUS: Passover Lamb
NUMBERS: Brazen Serpent
DEUTERONOMY: Great Lawgiver
JOSHUA: Prophet, Priest and King
JUDGES: Judge of All the Universe
RUTH: Kinsman Redeemer
SAMUEL: Anointer of Kings
KINGS: King of Kings & Lord of Lords
CHRONICLES: Great Historian
EZRA: Rebuilder of the Temple
NEHEMIAH: Rebuilder of the Wall
ESTHER: Saviour of the Jews
JOB: Friend that Sticketh Closer than a Brother
PSALMS: Song of the Ages
ECCLESIASTES: Great Preacher
SONG OF SOLOMON: Wonderful Lover
ISAIAH: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and The
Prince of Peace
JEREMIAH: Weeping Prophet
LAMENTATIONS: Street Preacher
EZEKIEL: Rebuilder of the Kingdom Temple
DANIEL: Stone Cut Out Without Hands That Will Someday Come Back to
Earth and Establish a Kingdom as Supreme Ruler and King
HOSEA: Forgiving Lover
JOEL-MALACHI: One Coming in Bethlehem Judea
MATTHEW: King of Kings
MARK: Suffering Servant
LUKE: Son of Man
JOHN: Son of God
ACTS: Power of the Church
ROMANS: Dynamite of the Gospel
CORINTHIANS: Restorer of the Carnal Nature
GALATIANS: Rent Veil and Overcomer of the Schoolmaster
EPHESIANS: Heavenly One
PHILIPPIANS: Our Sufficiency
COLOSSIANS: The Shadow
THESSALONIANS: The Great Coming Christ
TIMOTHY: Our Great Appearing God
TITUS: Blessed Hope
PHILEMON: Great Master
HEBREWS: Best of All
JAMES: Fulfiller of the Law
PETER: Rock of Ages Cleft For Me, Let Me Hide Myself in Thee
JOHN: Assurance of our Salvation
JUDE: One Able to Keep Us From Falling and Present Us Faultless
Before Christ in Glory
REVELATION: One Saddled on a White Horse Coming Back to Set Up His
HEíS THE PERSON OF THE BOOK!!
JESUS DIED FOR MARY TOO--Communion Meditation
Mark Lowry, a Christian comedian observed that Maryís silence at the cross always amazed him. If he were being crucified in the middle of town, his mother would have "Pitched a fit", but Mary never said a word. Lowry wondered if maybe what made the difference for her was remembering back to that 1st Christmas. Remembering touching his little hands and feet and counting his fingers and toes.
On a serious note, Lowry says:
"I wonder if she realized then that those were the same fingers that
had scooped out the oceans and formed the seas.
Mary probably counted those little toes- I wonder if she realized
that those were the same feet that had walked on streets of gold and
had been worshipped by angels.
Those little lips were the same lips that had spoken the world into
When Mary kissed her little baby, she wasnít just kissing another baby - she was kissing the face of God.
33 years later sheís standing on a hillside watching blood pour from His veins, from the side of her own son... and she didnít open her mouth. What a great testimony to the fact that
Paul Powell wrote in his book The Complete Disciple:
"Many churches today remind me of a laboring crew trying to gather in a harvest while they sit in the tool shed. They go to the tool shed every Sunday and they study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and then get up and go home. Then they come back that night, study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes and grease their tractors and go home again. They come back Wednesday night, and again study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and get up and go home. They do this week in and week out, year in and year out, and nobody ever goes out into the fields to gather in the harvest."
HIGH ON THEIR HUDDLES
One of my favorite preachers is Dr. Tony Evans in Dallas. Some years ago I heard him give the following description of the purpose of the church service. He said, "In football they have a huddle, the goal of the huddle is to give you thirty seconds to call the play; that is why they give you a huddle. (At a professional football game there may be) sixty thousand people watching you huddle, they donít mind you taking thirty seconds to call the play. They under-stand that you have to get organized, you have to know where you are going to go, the ends need to know where they are going to go, the quarterback needs to know where he is going to go, and the backs need to know where they are going to go. A huddle is a necessary part of the game.
But let me inform you if you do not already know, sixty thousand people do not pay $40 a ticket to watch you huddle. They want to see if their team can overcome the opposition who is daring them to snap the ball and move the down the field to score. What they want to know is does your practice work?
Now what Christians often do is get high on their huddles. We gather together on Sunday morning...and we go nuts over the huddle! We say, "Boy did we have a huddle!!! My quarterback can call plays better than your quarterback." And boy do we go off on the huddle. But what people donít seem to understand is; that the huddle is so that we can play the game. The effectiveness of your church cannot be measured by how well you do on Sunday morning...The test of the church is what it does in the marketplace. What we need today is churches that are representative of Jesus Christ not only when gathered but when scattered. (disseminated).
[Dr Tony Evans. ďThe Power of Godís People.Ē (Sermon, 1987 Ė Church Growth Conference Ė Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX)]
“In football they have a huddle, the goal of the huddle is to give you thirty seconds to call the play, that is why they give you a huddle.(At a professional football game there may be ) Sixty thousand people watching you huddle, they don’t mind you taking thirty seconds to call the play. They understand that you have to get organized, you have to know where you are going to go, the ends need to know where they are going to go, the quarterback needs to know where he is going to go, the backs need to know where they are going to go. A huddle is a necessary part of playing the game. But let me inform you if you do not already know, sixty thousand people do not pay $20 a ticket to watch you huddle. See, people don’t come to football games to watch the huddle. They want to see if their team can overcome the opposition who is daring them to snap the ball and move down the field to score. What they want to know is does your practice work? Now what Christians often do is get high on their huddles. We gather together on Sunday morning and Sunday nights and Wednesday nights and we go nuts over the huddle! We say, “Boy did we have a huddle!! My quarterback can call plays better than your quarterback. And boy do we go off on the huddle. But what people don’t seem to understand is, that the huddle is so that we can play the game. The effectiveness of your church cannot be measured by how well you do on Sunday morning. … The test of the church is what it does in the marketplace. What we need today is churches that are representative of Jesus Christ not only when gathered but when disseminated.” (Dr. Tony Evans. “The Power of God’s People.” (Sermon, 1987 – Church Growth Conference, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX)
HOTTUBS AND JESUS
ďThe other day ...as I sat there savoring hot tubness, cracking small jokes and adjusting to the feel of being bubbled over from all angles, it struck me that the hot tub is the perfect symbol of the modern route in religion. The hot tub experience is sensuous, relaxing, floppy, laid-back: not in any way demanding ...but very, very nice, even to the point of being great fun.
Many today want Christianity to be like that and labor to make it so. The ultimate step, of course, would be to clear church auditoriums of seats and install hot tubs in their place; then there would never be any attendance problems.
But if there were no more to our Christianity than hot tub factors-a self- absorbed hedonism of relaxation and happy feelings, while...
SPURGEON was once invited by a wealthy man to come down and preach in a country church in order to help them raise funds to pay a debt. The man told Spurgeon he was free to use his country house, his town house, or his seaside home. Spurgeon wrote back and
declined coming and said, ‘Sell one of your homes and pay the debt yourself’.
THEY'VE ALL BEEN WRONG
Looking back at how Christians have viewed Christ’s second coming in the past, we find many people obsessed with figuring out all the details and making predictions.
Here is a quote: "The last days are upon us. Weigh carefully the times. Look for him who is above all time, eternal and invisible" That statement was not made by a modern prophecy expert. That statement did not come religious TV. It was made by a Christian named Ignatius, who lived in 110 AD, just a few decades after 1 John was written.
Here is another quote: "There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power" That statement wasn’t made by a radio prophecy teacher. It was written by a Christian leader named Martin living in 375 AD.
In the year 236 AD a church leader named Hippolytus predicted that Christ was sure to return by 500 AD.
The years between 999 and 1030 AD were characterized by excessive speculation about Christ’s second coming among Christians, so much so that it led to social chaos as farmers didn’t plant crops for the next year, buildings weren’t repaired, and the details of daily life were neglected because they thought Christ would return in their lifetime.
In the 1500’s the Protestant reformer Martin Luther said, "We have reached the time of the white horse of the Apocalypse. This world will not last any longer… than another hundred years."
Christopher Columbus said he was sure the world would end by 1656. The year 1666 saw an explosion in end time speculation, so much so that one pastor wrote in his journal that every time a storm hit, people would go to church to await Christ’s second coming.
In the 1800s a Christian named William Miller said, "I am fully convinced that somewhere between March 21st, 1843 and March 21st, 1844 Christ will come." When Miller’s date came and went, hundreds of people walked away from the Christian faith. If their pastor was wrong about that, what else was he wrong about?
In our own generation, many modern day prophecy experts guessed that 1981 would mark the rapture of the church and the beginning of the terrible seven year tribulation period that would culminate in the battle of Armageddon. Now as we near the year 2000, dozens of prophecy experts on Christian TV, radio, and in books are making new predictions related to the year 2000.
Christian historian Richard Kyle cautions us, "Through two thousand years of Western history millions of…sincere, devout, and knowledgeable people have seen the end as [about to happen in their own lifetimes]…But they have all been wrong."
SOURCE: Timothy Peck. Citations: Richard Kyle, "The Last Days Are Here Again," pages 27, 55, 87. Abanes, "End Time Visions," pages 337-338.