Illustration results for acts 2
Sermon Central Staff
IS THERE HOPE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF EVANGELICALS?
Russell Moore recounts a conversation with the evangelical theologian Carl Henry. As Moore and some of his friends were lamenting the miserable shape of the church, they asked Dr. Henry if he saw any hope in the coming generation of evangelicals. Dr. Henry replied: "Of course, there is hope for the next generation of evangelicals. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current evangelical establishment. They are probably still pagans. Who knew that Saul of Tarsus was to be the great apostle to the Gentiles? Who knew that God would raise up a C. S. Lewis or a Charles Colson? They were unbelievers who, once saved by the grace of God, were mighty warriors for the faith."
Russell Moore added: "The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with the Darwin Fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynist, profane hip-hop artist right now. The next Billy Graham might be passed out drunk in a fraternity house right now. The next Charles Spurgeon might be making posters for a Gay Pride March right now. The next Mother Teresa might be managing an abortion clinic right now."
(From a sermon by David Ward, Gospel Without Walls, 8/15/2012)
Sermon Central Staff
If the local church is going to develop the kind of beauty that God says is possible, that which will attract others to Christ, we much commit to becoming together, the kind of church Christ calls us to
be. A church that is a biblical fellowship.
In his book, Rediscovering Church, Bill Hybels tells of a message by Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, who said, "The only kind of fellowship many know in church is after a service when men stand around and ask each other superficial questions. Then they find their wives who are having similar conversations, and go home.
But biblical fellowship has the power to revolutionize lives. Masks come off, conversations get deep, hearts get vulnerable, lives are shared, accountability is invited, and tenderness flows. People really do become like brothers and sisters. They shoulder each other’s burdens - and unfortunately, that was something that few of the people today experience growing up in church in America."
(From a sermon by Dave McFadden, A Golden Lampstand, 6/8/2010)
Sermon Central Staff
WHO NEEDS THE CHURCH?
Mark Driscoll stated this about the importance of the church in a person’s life and how he discovered that truth:
"Occasionally, I would drop in to church out of guilt, but always walked away feeling as if I’d just wasted an hour with an ex-girlfriend ... simultaneously. I continued reading the Bible and kept seeing that the New Testament was written by pastors of churches to churches about church life. And, I was convicted that there is no such thing as a personal isolated relationship with Jesus apart from His often ugly bride, the Church. Acknowledging my disinterest in the Church as little more than arrogant judging, I decided to seek out a church where I could obey the Scriptures commands to go to church (Hebrews 10:25), place myself under the authority of pastors (Hebrews 13:17), use my abilities to build up the church (1 Corinthians 14:12), partake of communion in a church (1 Corinthians 11:17-34), and give my tithe to a church (2 Corinthians 8-9). I was finally starting to realize Jesus died not just for me, but for His church, which I was a part of by His death and resurrection (Acts 20:28). I then had to decide where to go, which was a frightening prospect..."(The Relevant Church, page 23).
(From a sermon by Michael, McCartney, Who Needs the Church? 6/20/2012)
During the time of the Second Great Awakening in America, Charles Finney was the foremost among the great evangelists. Many people know him. However few know the name, Daniel Nash.
Nash was a lackluster pastor in upper New York State who, at the age of 48, dedicated his life to prayer. Long before Finney would arrive in a town Nash would be there in an empty cellar or boarding house room praying for the power of God to enter the city. Finney relates:
“When I got to town to start a revival a lady contacted me who ran a boarding house. She said, ‘Brother Finney, do you know a Father Nash? He and two other men have been at my boardinghouse for the last three days, but they haven’t eaten a bite of food. I opened the door and peeped in at them because I could hear them groaning, and I saw them down on their faces. They have been this way for three days, lying prostrate on the floor and groaning. I thought something awful must have happened to them. I was afraid to go in and I didn’t know what to do. Would you please come see about them?’”
“No, it isn’t necessary,” I replied. “They just have a spirit of travail in prayer.”
Within four months of Nash’s death, Finney...
How do you have a loving church? A survey of 8,600 people from congregations in 39 different denominations measured their `love quotient’. The conclusion - growing churches are more loving to each other and to visitors than declining churches. Loving churches attract more people regardless of their theology, denomination or location.
Carlyle Fielding Ste, How Long Will You Limp?: "Too many churches today are devoid of the Spirit of Pentecost because they are dry and stale, where people are in a stupor; where worship services are wooden and so scripted that they are hollow; where the preaching is dull and flat; where the singing is Geritol-tired and without the vim and vigor which speaks of a crucified, died and risen Lord; where if anyone taps his foot and says, "Amen", he is stared into silence, and if anyone shouts, "Thank you, Jesus" the people call the EMS or 911! Too many churches have become mausoleums for the dead rather than coliseums of praise for a living God. They have lost the spirit of Pentecost! They have lost their enthusiasm. They have lost their joy for Jesus and find themselves suffering from what William Willimon calls "Institutional and Spiritual Dry Rot." If the Church is to survive the next millennium it must recapture some of the praise and enthusiasm it had two millennia ago."
Have you ever been to someone’s home for an evening party thinking that dinner was going to be served and you were mistaken? You arrive hungry only to realize it’s an open house with only a few finger foods or desserts on the table. You try to fill up on the finger foods, but they don’t satisfy. You walk away hungry and say to yourself, I need to stop at McDonald’s and get a burger!
*Do you know what is really sad? Many people leave churches all over our city feeling empty every week. They come hungry for the Word of God, but when they aren’t fed, they go empty, hungry, and frustrated. Eventually, unless all they want out of church is the security of tradition (and listen many people are very comfortable at that level) or if they just want an entertainment fix, they will drift away in an effort to find a place that’s offering some substance.
C. Peter Wagner, an authority on church growth, has this to say, “The more deeply I dig beneath the surface of the church growth principles, the more thoroughly convinced I become that the real batt...
Theologians tell a story to illustrate how Christ?s triumph presently benefits our lives:
Imagine a city under siege. The enemy that surrounds the city will not let anyone or anything leave. Supplies are running low, and the citizens are fearful. But in the dark of the night, a spy sneaks through the enemy lines. He has rushed to the city to tell the people that in another place the main enemy force has been defeated; the leaders have already surrendered. The people do not need to be afraid. It is only a matter of time until the besieging troops receive the news and lay down their weapons.
Similarly, we may seem now to be surrounded by the forces of evil?disease, injustice, oppression, death. But the enemy has actually been defeated at Calvary. Things are not the way they seem to be. It is only a matter of time until it becomes clear to all that the battle is really over.
Richard J. Mouw, Uncommon Decency, pp. 149-150.
A farmer noticed a highway department truck pulling over on the shoulder of the road. A man got out and dug a hole, then got back into the truck. Then the other occupant got out, filled up the hole and got back in the truck. Every fifty yards this amazing process was repeated. “What are you doing?” the farmer asked. The driver replied, “We’re on a highway beautification project, and the guy who plants the trees is home sick today.”