Summary: In this message as we see Jesus giving his commission to the church, we will look at 6 reasons why we are not doing such a good job.
"ARE WE LOSING THE BATTLE,
5 FAILURES OF THE MODERN CHURCH.."
THIS IS LUKE’S ACCOUNT OF WHAT WE KNOW AS THE GREAT COMMISSION, IT IS WHERE JESUS TELLS HIS FOLLOWERS TO GO OUT AND WIN THE LOST WORLD TO HIM. AND AS WE KNOW THEY TOOK THAT COMMISSION VERY SERIOUSLY, AND STARTING WITH THE EVENT SON THE DAY OF PENTECOST, THEY BEGAN HAVING A TREMENDOUS IMPACT OF THE WORLD. IN FACT, IN ACTS 17:6, EVEN THE EMMIES OF THE FAITH WERE FORCED TO ADMIT THAT THE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST "HAD TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN.."
UNFORTUNATELY THE MOMENTUM THAT CHARACTERIZED THOSE EARLY YEARS DIDN’T LAST, AND OVER THE LAST 2,000 YEARS THE CHURCH HAS GONE THROUGH SOME PRETTY LEAN TIMES. OH YES, THERE HAVE BEEN PERIODS OF STRENGTH AND PROSPERITY. THERE HAVE BEEN GREAT REVIVALS AND SURGES OF EVANGELISTIC ACTIVITY. BUT THERE HAVE ALSO BEEN TIMES WHEN THE CHURCH’S EFFORTS HAVE BEEN PRETTY FEEBLE AND INEFFECTIVE. THE TITLE FOR OUR LESSON TODAY IS "ARE WE LOSING THE BATTLE -- SIX FAILURES OF THE MODERN CHURCH..."
THE CHURCH IS IN A BATTLE, WHETHER SHE WANTS TO ADMIT IT OR NOT.... THE BIBLE CLEARLY SAYS THAT WE ARE IN A BATTLE -- PAUL IN 2 CORINTHIANS TALKS SPECIFICALLY ABOUT HOW WE ARE TO WAGE WAR... IN EPHESIANS HE TALKS ABOUT CHRISTIAN ARMOR AND ABOUT WHO WE ARE REALLY BATTLING AGAINST...(NOT FLESH AND BLOOD -- BUT AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THIS DARK WORLD, AGAINST THE SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS..-- OUR CHIEF ENEMY IS NOT PEOPLE).
AND IN II TIMOTHY HE CALLS US SOLDIERS.... WE HAVE A MISSION - WE HAVE AN ENEMY AND WE ARE IN A BATTLE...
I AM SURE MOST OF US HAVE SEEN WAR MOVIES -- WHERE THE BATTLE IS RAGING AND THOSE IN CHARGE EITHER ROLL OUT A MAP ON A TABLE -- OR LOOK AT THE TROOP AND SHIP PLACEMENT ON A BOARD. AS THEY VERY INTENTLY TRY TO ACCESS WHAT IS HAPPENING, DETERMINE HOW THE WAR IS GOING..... WHAT THE CASUALTIES ARE AND IF ANY NEW ACTION NEEDS TO BE TAKEN..
IF WE WERE TO DO THIS TODAY, ACCESS THE BATTLE OF THE MODERN CHURCH... I AM NOT SURE WE WOULD NOT LIKE WHAT WE SEE.... WE WOULD SEE A WORLD, A COUNTRY, STATE AND A COMMUNITY THAT IS GETTING EVER INCREASINGLY MORE EVIL -- ABORTION, CRIME, VIOLENT, IMMORALITY, DRUGS, BROKEN FAMILIES, PORNOGRAPHY, -- YOU NAME IT... ARE ON THE RISE.
AND IT WOULD ALSO BE QUICKLY APPARENT THAT THE MODERN CHURCH IS NOT ONLY NOT TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN, BUT IS ITSELF BEING TURNED UPSIDE DOWN BY THE WORLD. CHURCH GOERS ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE LIKE THE WORLD THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE TRYING TO CHANGE. CHURCH GOERS CAN LIE, STEAL, COMMIT ADULTERY, BREAK UP FAMILIES, DRINK, DO DRUGS, SWEAR GOSSIP, SLANDER AND TEAR DOWN -- WITH THE BEST OF THIS WORLD.
IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THERE ARE MORE CHRISTIANS THAN EVER BEFORE AND IN SPITE OF THE FACT WE HAVE ADVANCES THAT WERE NOT EVEN DREAMED OF YEARS AGO (RADIO, TV, COMPUTERS, FAX, COPIERS..) THE WORLD STILL SEEMS TO BE GOING DOWNHILL. WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO STOP THIS RELENTLESS MARCH OF EVIL.
MAYBE I AM THE ONLY PERSON WHO FEELS THIS WAY, BUT IT JUST SEEMS TO ME THAT WITH ALL WE GOT GOING FOR US, INCLUDING THE UNLIMITED POWER OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD, WE JUST SHOULD HAVE MADE MORE PROGRESS BY NOW. WELL, I DON’T CLAIM TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS, BUT I DO BELIEVE I SEE 6 FAILURES OF THE MODERN CHURCH THAT HAVE COMBINED TO WEAKEN OUR OVERALL EFFECTIVENESS. AND IN OUR TIME TODAY, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THESE FAILURES IN HOPES THAT WE CAN DO OUR PART IN TURNING THEM AROUND...
I. FIRST AND FOREMOST THE CHURCH HAS FAILED TO UNDERSTAND HER IDENTITY.
FAR TOO ,MANY DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CHURCH IS -- AN SINCE THEY DO NOT KNOW THE TRUE IDENTITY THEY HAVE FORMED FALSE CONCEPTS THAT HAVE SERIOUSLY HURT THE CHURCHES EFFECTIVENESS -- LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THOSE FALSE CONCEPTS OF THE CHURCH AS WE DISCUSS WHAT THE CHURCH IS NOT.
1. The church is not a building -- I think most know this, but many times, churches don’t practice it, because many believe that everything that takes place must take place in their "sacred" building -- and if the doors to the church are closed, that means the church is not functioning...
2. The church is not a consumer based need gratification center -- the world is not to dictate what the church is to be and tell her what she is to say. "We don’t like you talking about service, about giving and commitment if you want us to come then you must give us what we want." No the church is rather to dictate to the world what God says. If people want it their way, they can go to Burger King - BUT in the church it is Gods way, or no way...