Summary: This sermon helps us understand why people drop out of church. The story of a man and his foxhounds is the illustration tool.

Why Do Some People Quit on the Church?

Matthew 13:45-46

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.

46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he

had and bought it.

Have you ever wondered why some people quit coming to church?

We’ve seen it happen here at Gospel Chapel.

It happens in all churches.

It’s wonderful when someone begins to attend regularly!

We welcome them into the congregation.

We look forward to seeing them each Sunday.

Then after a period of time, they quit coming!

Why?

I suppose there are a number of reasons.

When we contact these people and ask why they quit coming…

We usually hear all kinds of excuses.

However, I believe today’s Bible text tells us why they quit.

Jesus gives us the main reason why people quit on Him.

Today’s story is about a man named Homer McCoy. Homer lived alone in a

shack in the hills of Tennessee. His favorite thing to do was going fox

hunting and his most prized possession was his 10 foxhounds. Homer’s

favorite hound was named "Zeke". Early one evening, Homer’s neighbor

came over for a visit. The two men sat down on Homer’s porch. Both men

grabbed a small piece of firewood, took out their pocketknives and began to

whittle. As they whittled, these two men talked and watched the evening

turn to darkness.

We’ll get back to that story a little later!

Point #1

The Church Is A Treasure of Great Value

Matthew 13: 45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking

for fine pearls.

It does you no good to find a treasure

if you don’t know its value.

The Church is a Treasure.

But it does you no good if you don’t see its Value.

I was talking to a lady recently

who was lamenting the fact that her grandchildren

have no interest in the Church.

They were raised in Christian homes.

They went to church as children and teenagers.

But now they don’t see the Value of Church

in their busy adult lives.

Why?

When someone grows up in church,

they often see the bad things that can happen in the church.

They see fights between members.

They see power plays among church leaders.

They see cliques and other kinds of exclusion.

They see church folks living in sin.

They see hypocrites!

Some even witness major traumas like church splits.

When people see those kinds of things happening in a church

many decide that if that is what church is all about

they want no part of it.

Jesus taught the Parable of the Wheat & Tares.

The enemy sows weeds in with the wheat.

It is those counterfeit Christians who have no conscience

when it comes to causing trouble in the flock.

In fact, they seem to enjoy the tension and turmoil they cause

because they aren’t connected in any real way to Christ.

To them…Church is just another organization to belong to.

In the light of the moon, Homer and his neighbor saw a coyote sneaking

up to Homer’s chicken pen. Zeke had been lying on the porch next to

Homer’s chair. When that old hound saw the coyote, he jumped to his feet

and barked. The big coyote turned and ran off in the direction of the woods.

Zeke dashed off the porch to chase the coyote, barking loudly. Soon

Homer’s other foxhounds heard Zeke barking and joined in the chase. Soon

the hills were echoing the sounds of their pursuit.

More of that story a little later!

Point #2. The Church Is A Treasure that

requires Great Sacrifice

46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he

had and bought it.

What value does Jesus place upon the church?

Ephes. 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave

Himself for her,

Jesus was willing to suffer and die on the cross for the church!

He loves the church!

Notice that the man who found the pearl

sacrificed everything he had to obtain the Treasure.

The man had already sacrificed just in his search for the Pearl.

Pearl hunting involved great danger.

You don’t just walk along a beach to find them.

Oysters generally thrive at a depth of about 40 feet.

Back in Jesus’ day, a pearl diver would tie a large rock to his body

and jump over the side of a little boat,

allowing the weight of the rock

to pull him down to the oyster beds.

He risked danger from sharks and other sea creatures

to scour the mud for oysters.

An average of only 1 in 1,000 oysters contains a pearl.

All the while, he had to hold his breath

and hope he wouldn’t drown.

But if you found a Pearl, especially if you found The Pearl,

you had it made.

Pearls were perceived in the first century

in much the same way we view diamonds today.

They were the most valuable gem in the world at that time.

If you owned a pearl, you owned a fortune.

The Egyptians actually worshipped the pearl.

And the Romans copied that practice.

So when Jesus compared His Church to a Pearl,

this is the point he was making.

The Church of Jesus is THE most valuable commodity on earth.

But again, you have to believe that the Treasure

is worth the sacrifice…or it does you no good.

The Church may not look like much,

but if you know its value,

it is worth any price you have to pay.

In order to see the church as a treasure,

you have to be able to see her the way Jesus does.

He sees the church as his precious bride!

He loved her so much he died for her…

to make her pure and spotless

and to prepare her for the day He would wed her to Himself.

We have to see the church,

not just as another organization like the Ruritan club,

Rotary Club, etc.

As valuable as they may be,

they cannot compare with the value God has placed on his church

The merchant who found the Pearl took a huge Risk

by selling everything they had in order to obtain the Treasure.

If we are going to be part of His Church

we have to be willing to take Great Risks.

Homer grabbed a jug of moonshine and invited his neighbor to sit with him

and enjoy the sounds of his hounds doing the thing they were bred to do.

The chase went on into the night. After a little while, many of the dogs grew

tired, dropped out of the chase, and came home. A few chased the coyote

until the night was nearly spent. By morning, only one dog continued the

hunt. Old Zeke could still be heard in the distance following the scent of that

fast running coyote.

Point #3 The Church Needs People With A

Vision

Matthew 13:45-46

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,

46who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he

had and bought it.

In 2 Timothy 1:12 the apostle Paul said,

"I know whom I have believed & I am convinced that He is able to

keep that which I have entrusted to Him until that day."

Then just 2 verses later, Paul tells the young preacher, Timothy,

"Guard the treasure which has been entrusted to you."

In both of those verses,

Paul uses a very special Greek word, "paratheke."

It means "a treasure or a deposit left with someone you trust

completely."

There were no banks back in Paul’s day.

So what did you do with your wealth when you went on a journey?

If you were to die,

who could you trust to be executor of your estate?

How could you be sure that your family

would receive what was rightly theirs?

The person you ask to take care of your possessions

must be someone you know very well.

It must be someone whom you trusted completely.

And that is what Paul is saying about Jesus is in that verse.

He said, "I know whom I have believed & I am convinced that He

is able to keep that which I have entrusted to Him until that day."

Paul is not saying, "I know about Him as an historic figure,"

Or, "I know about Him as a name that appears in the books."

Paul says "I know Him as my Savior, as my friend.

I know Him as one who walks beside me & guides me.

I know Jesus!

I know He is able to keep that which I have entrusted to Him."

"I know Jesus Christ, & I want you to know Him, too!"

You see, the greatest news is not that Paul knows Christ –

or that John knows Christ –

or that Peter knows Christ –

but that we can know Jesus Christ, too.

That is the greatest news of all.

When we accept Him as our Savior,

repenting of our sins,

He takes our sins away,

forgiving us & forgetting our sins.

When we keep His commandments we show our love for Him.

He becomes the Lord & the Master of our lives.

We receive the gift of His Holy Spirit to live within us

and give us guidance & strength & direction for every day.

Do you know Him?

Can you stand with Paul & John & Peter

& all of the others who say, "I know Jesus?"

The Homer’s neighbor was impressed by old Zeke’s unwillingness to quit.

He asked, "How come old Zeke is still after that coyote? All your other

hounds quit and came home." Homer stood up, stretched and yawned, then

explained to his neighbor why Zeke had not given up the chase. "It’s

simple," said Homer, "Zeke saw the coyote."

CLOSING:

That’s the reason why many people quit the church!

They haven’t seen Jesus!

If you’ve seen Jesus, you won’t quit on His church!

You’ll stick with us no matter how rough the trail gets!

Now, I’m not talking about seeing Jesus like you see me.

I’m talking about having a personal relationship with Jesus

I’m talking about seeing Him in your heart!

I’m talking about having a vision of Christ in your soul!

In Matthew 5:8 Jesus said:

Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus…

I invite you to come give your life to Him…

As we sing our hymn of invitation.

Open our eyes, Lord

We want to see Jesus,

To reach out and touch Him,

And say that we love Him.

Open our ears, Lord

And help us to listen.

Open our eyes, Lord

We want to see Jesus.