Summary: Here’s a sermon that explores the commitment and participation of your church members. The familar illustrates of geese flying south (excluding a false idea about geese) is included.

Are You A Goose?

Acts 2:36-42

36"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

38Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."

40And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation."

41Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

42And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Today’s story is about a man named Donald. He was dissatisfied with the church he had been attending. The music at this church was great, but Donald thought the preacher’s sermons were boring. One day he decided it was time to look for a new church. Donald had been reading in the local newspaper about a nondenominational church. He decided to give it a try. His first visit to this little church proved to be a good experience for Donald. He enjoyed the friendly welcome extended to him by the people. The preacher’s sermon was a little lengthy, but Donald enjoyed listening to it. He went home that Sunday convinced that this was the church for him.

We’ll get back to Donald’s story a little later!

The title of my sermon this morning is: "Are You A Goose?"

This may sound strange, but you should be!

We need more geese in Gospel Chapel.

Why would I say that?

What are some lessons we can learn from a goose?

Point 1

A GOOSE ILLUSTRATES THE CONCEPT OF FELLOWSHIP

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

What is fellowship?

Fellowship is translated from the Greek word "koinonia".

It means "to have in common", "to share", "to participate for a common cause".

What are we doing together other than meeting on Sunday?

Why do the geese get together before they head south for winter?

God made them that way! They do not think about it.

The geese get together because together, the journey is easier.

When you see geese heading south for the winter

flying along in a "V" formation, there is a good reason.

Science has discovered why they fly that way.

Research has revealed that as each bird flaps its wings,

it creates an uplift for the bird immediately behind it.

By flying in a "V" formation,

the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range

than if each bird flew on its own.

Application:

People who share a common direction and sense of community

get where they are going more quickly and easily

because they are traveling on one another’s thrust.

Part of being in fellowship with one another

is making sure that we are going in the same direction

and that we are flying in formation.

Have you seen a group of geese heading out in all directions

as they try to head south?

Whenever a goose falls out of formation,

it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone.

It quickly gets back into formation

to take advantage of the lifting power

of the bird immediately in front.

Application:

When we fall out of formation with God,

we also feel the resistance pull us down

away from our goal of growing closer to Jesus.

If we will embark on our journey to heaven together,

the journey becomes easier.

The geese because of their instinct given to them by God,

get together and head south for the winter for their survival.

As Christians, we need to get together and walk together,

we need to spend time together and grow together.

1 John 1:6-7 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

The geese stay together and head south for their survival,

we too must work together as one body for our survival.

A group that shares common goals

can get somewhere easier and faster...than one alone can.

Of all the things that a church can have

unity is the most valuable.

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Romans 14:19

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

Romans 15:5-6

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor. 1:10

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Unity is one of the most valuable things that a church can have.

If work we can accomplish unbelievable things.

But if we argue and grumble among ourselves

we will destroy all that God wants to do through this church.

It happens to churches that were doing a good work with God.

Someone starts grumbling, and then they choose sides

and before you know it Satan has them tearing at each other,

and all the good that they have done in the past is destroyed.

If we have as much sense as a goose,

we will stay in formation

and so will those who are headed the same way we are.

Donald had been attending worship services at this nondenominational church for several weeks when he decided to apply for membership. After worship services one morning, Donald told the pastor about his desire to join the church. The pastor was glad to hear this and gave Donald a copy of the church constitution and bylaws. Donald took it home and read it over carefully. The constitution clearly stated what was expected of a church member.

More about Donald a little later!

Point #2.

A GOOSE ILLUSTRATES THE CONCEPT OF SHARING THE WORKLOAD

Ephes. 4:15-16

but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Several studies have been made on churches.

In most churches today...

80% of the work and giving

gets done by 20% of the people.

This is true for churches that are not really growing.

Growing churches are active churches.

The more people involved in the work of the church,

the more that gets done.

What happens when 80% of the work

gets done by 20% of the people?

The people who are doing the work become discouraged.

Sometimes they get burned out and quit.

When the lead goose gets tired,

he rotates back in the "V"

and another goose flies the point.

What would happen to the geese

if only 20% of them would take the lead?

The geese would not achieve their goal of survival.

Application:

It pays to take turns doing hard jobs.

Sharing the workload ensures that the work will get done.

Sharing the work makes it easier.

The work of the church is important.

There are many of you with various talents

that could enhance the ministry of this church.

Make sure that you use them.

1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that we are one body with many parts,

If all of the parts are not working in the body,

the body does not function properly.

What if 80% of you car engine decided to quit working?

By instinct, geese share the work load among all the geese.

As a church, we should do the same thing.

Donald called the pastor and stated that he wanted to join the church. However, he would not be able to get involved or anything. He just felt it was important to have some religious affiliation. The pastor advised Donald that this church might not be the best fit for him, but he knew of a place where he would fit in quite nicely. Donald was disappointed, but he asked for a phone number. The pastor only gave him an address.

Point #3.

A GOOSE ILLUSTRATES THE CONCEPT OF ENCOURAGEMENT

1 Thes. 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Have you ever heard a flock of geese flying high overhead?

Sometimes they fly above the clouds and you can’t see them.

But you can hear them!

They are honking at each other as they fly.

Why do they do that?

If you are driving your car,

And somebody behind starts honking at you

someone wants you to speed up or get out of the way.

Why do geese honk as they fly?

Researchers tell us that geese honk from behind

to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

What do we say when we honk from behind?

Hebrews 3:13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

More times than not,

the noise that we hear behind

is not the voice of encouragement.

Instead, it’s the voice of criticism.

These geese are trying to encourage one another

as they are on their long journey south.

As Christians, we should do the same thing.

We are on a long journey to Jesus.

We need encouragers.

In the New Testament,

Barnabas was known for being an encourager.

We need to encourage one another.

On the next Sunday morning, Donald followed the directions and pulled up into the yard of a dilapidated building. The roof was falling in, the doors were locked, and vines were growing into the windows. Monday morning, Donald called the pastor and told him that he had given him the wrong directions. "Oh no," the pastor replied. "That is the place. That church has a membership roll filled with people who did not want to get involved or committed. That is what will always happen to a church whose members do not care enough to get actively involved."

CONCLUSION

It’s obvious that Donald was not a goose!

There are many things that we can learn from geese

that can help make the church stronger.

#1 As a church we must fly together in the formation.

#2 We must share the workload of the church.

#3 When we are honking at each other from behind,

it will always be to encourage.

If the community knows that is the way Gospel Chapel operates,

More people will flock to us.

Are you doing your part?

What are you doing to help grow the kingdom of God?

What are you doing to enhance the ministry of Gospel Chapel?