WHAT I SEE HAPPENING TO THE CHURCH IN THE 21ST CENTURY
This sermon is the insight that I have about the Church and what is happening to the Church today. Not everything I will say is good, but these are the things I see happening. Many of these things will be for the good of the Church, and many things will weaken the Church. Nevertheless, here is what I see happening in the Church.
Before I begin talking about the Church, I want to remind you what the Bible says about the Church. Jesus said, “I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, I believe the Church was begun by Jesus Christ, the Church will be protected by Jesus Christ; and the true Church will not suffer what people can do to it. There are four things we can know about the Church from this reference:
· Jesus is the Church-planter, He said, ‘I will build the church.” He began the first Church and works through every church-planter to begin every one of the churches that a Liberty graduate has planted.
· Jesus promised a future to the Church because He said, “I will (future tense) build My church.”
· The church belongs to Jesus Christ. Notice Jesus called it, “My Church.” The church does not belong to the deacons, congregations or pastor, but to Jesus.
· The word church comes from the Greek word ecclesia, which means “gathering of people.” To have a church, God’s people must gather. Technically, the word comes from two Greek words. First, ek, which is “out” and kalleo, which means “to call.” God’s people are called out from the world, and called together around Jesus Christ.
The second verse that demands my love and devotion to a church is Jesus’ example. Paul tells us, "Jesus loved the church and gave Himself for the church" (Ephesians 5:25). Some churches don’t look very strong; some are not very separated; and some are not very spiritual. But if Jesus loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that means we must love the Church and give ourselves in service to Christ through the church.
The third verse that means so much to me is, "And the Lord added to the Church daily such as were being saved" (Acts 2:47). Since the Church is a live body--and bodies grow--I love growing churches. Thomas Road has grown from a handful of adults to one of the mega churches in America. After all of these years, I still believe in saturation evangelism,
"Using every available means to reach every available person at every available time." Someone recently told me that they thought I believed in marketing to build a church, and they were against using marketing in the church. Let me tell you this, I didn’t get saturation evangelism from marketing. I got “superaggressive evangelism” from the Word of God.
Listen to what the critics of the early Jerusalem church said, "Did we not straightly command you that you should not teach in this name? And, behold you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine" (Acts 5:28). The early Church was fulfilling the purpose of a church, which is to fill its "Jerusalem" with the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ. That means going to every house, to every person, to every family, trying to get them saved. That means going in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, and in the middle of the night, trying to get them saved. That means using radio, television, bus ministry, soul-winning, mailing; i.e., every available means to reach every available person at every available time.