Sermons

Summary: Getting back to basic gospel preaching

Are Churches Nurturing

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

As we read through Paul’s epistle today, and dwell on just what he is trying to tell us, we find some areas of the church that just might need a little work. You see whether overtly or not churches for the most part are viewed in terms of success by head count in the number of members and attendees.

As a pastor in a very small church, I see and understand this. I also would like to see our numbers increase (I would be lying to state otherwise), but not at the expense of the gospel message; not at the expense of offering ongoing encouragement and nurturing to newer Christians and seekers’ early exposure to church fellowship.

Long time members are the “backbone” of most churches. Along with that goes a sense of entitlement that says these senior members of the church direct the overall church direction. Give that some thought as you look back through the years and see church boards, Deacon Boards, and Elders, etc. The same names appear year after year. When by-laws direct term limits, the board simply rearranges the members and their titles, but the overall controlling board remains the same.

Paul tells us that we (church) are entrusted with the gospel. V-4. It is God’s message that Paul extends, not that of man. This word tells us that not getting away from God’s biblically grounded message, assures us that we don’t get off on some man induced philosophical message.

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:11-12

That may not be a current popular concept as so many very popular churches offer more entertainment than back to basics gospel truths. I’ll say it again: entertaining and emotionally charged messages are often fleeting. Solidly digested gospel truths become imbedded in our spirit and very being. Why is that? Well beloved, it just might be because that’s the way God designed it and that’s why The Holy Spirit of God dwells within us. The Holy Spirit is not within to entertain or conjure up emotions; the Holy Spirit is within to encourage and teach us.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

And Eternal:

“…how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14

What I am trying to relate is that these basic truths must be paramount in the church. New Christians and seekers NEED truths and an understanding of those truths. Basic truths, that may appear mundane to the pew warmer who has heard them over and over and over through the years. Well, you know what? Rather than scoff, criticize or even depart, how about taking the TRUTHS that we know and practice and share them. Why not invite that newcomer to lunch and ask questions and invite questions? Spend some time away from the bricks and mortar of the church and be “church” at the lunch counter, on a fishing trip, a shopping trip, etc.

Beloved, we are called to build and grow the Kingdom of God not churches. If we are obedient and faithful, God will take the church to the level that He deems, which may be way smaller or way larger than we would want or expect.

It isn’t easy. Do a quick study of Paul or any of the disciples and you will soon learn that there are many hardships and heartaches that are discouraging but there is that GREAT BLESSING at the end.

Let us pray.

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