Summary: In her biography about her husband, Dr. Adrian Rogers, Joyce Rogers refers to Belleview Baptist in Memphis as a Jesus Church. This message suggests calls the church to display characteristics that will allow her to be called a "Jesus Church." The name J

A Jesus Church

Matthew 16:13-19

* I don’t know whether this morning was difficult for you or not, but I assure you, it was difficult for me. What always amazes me is that after a particularly hard message like that, people say, “That’s what we need” or “I enjoyed that.” Actually, I do believe that I understand what they are attempting to say and am very appreciative for the sentiment.

* Whether you remember or not, on Sunday evenings we have been in a series of messages entitled, “The Truth about Truth” (a series on the Ten Commandments). We will resume this series in a couple of weeks. Although I have that message well prepared, it is my belief, that God is leading me in a different direction for our time together tonight.

* Let’s begin with our scripture from this morning. Turn with me to Matthew 16. One of the ways in which I failed you last year was by not following through on one emphasis which was very important. Last year during the state of the church address and in the weeks following, I called us to be a “Jesus Church”. Please remember that I read this term written by Joyce Rogers (the wife of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers) in the book which was a biography of about her husband. She called Belleview in Memphis a Jesus church. I love that term so for 2008, I want to call us to pray, take action, and yes, change whatever we do that we could be known as a Jesus church. Let’s read the text. (PRAY)

* As today has approached and as this afternoon has passed I have been meditating on this term of “KEYHOLDER.” You know, we have been given the ring of keys to Heaven and Earth or better said, to life and to death. What a responsibility. We are to use our influence and our lives to usher people into the very presence of God.

* It’s my belief that to do this we need to become “Jesus” people. I came along on the back edge of the “Jesus freaks” generation—& whereas some ungodly activity was born in that group, certainly there was a revival at hand.

* What does it mean to be a Jesus person or Jesus church? What are the attribute we are to demonstrate? For the sake of assisting our memory, let’s form and acrostic, which works for us;

J – Represents the word Joy. Nehemiah said it best when He said, “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” God’s people need to be a joyful people. Why? There are so many answers to this question that I don’t even know where to begin. First, believers should be just like “NEW” believers and possess a heart full of joy because of “whose” they are. God has called us to be a joyful people. The psalmist says, “Make a joyful noise to the loud.” Have you ever wondered why? Yes, God loves the praise of His people. But to praise and bless the Lord with your voice touches your spirit and revives the soul. Don’t be deceived; it is easy to get discouraged, distracted, and even depressed. Satan wants to steal your joy. Nothing is a sad as a joyless believer. What does Satan use to steal your joy? He uses sin. A person who is living in sin will find it difficult to be joyful about anything. Additionally, that person will have difficulty in “tolerating” anyone around them who experiences joy. Watch the progress; Satan tempts you and lures you into sin. Now YOUR joy is gone. But Satan is not content, he never is, so since he now controls you (by your sin), he uses YOU to become a joy stealer from someone else. And now, YOU, a believer living in sin, become a powerful weapon in the hands of Satan. Listen, to be a Jesus believer and church means we have the joy of the Lord in our hearts. We talk to Him, with Him, and about Him, and walk with Him every day. And it’s FUN!!! Joy beats misery every time.

E – Represents the word Encouragement. We should be encouragers. 1 Thess 5:11 therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. (HCBS). There is an old country song which says, “Sure could use a little good news today.” Guess What? You have and are the good news that people needs to read. We need to be about encouraging instead of discouraging. Sometimes we need to encourage people to find their correct place in ministry and service, but it needs to be done in a Biblical way.

We should never be about, tearing down the work of someone else. The Bible is replete about encouragement and how much it’s needed. Did you realize that in the first century church one of the reasons they came together every day was to encourage one another in the faith.

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