Summary: Those people out there without Christ are not going to break down the doors of this church to get here and learn about Jesus. We cannot be complacent until someone has shared with them like somebody shared with us.
Please open your Bibles to Romans, chapter 9. Today I am going to preach to you. You say, “Well, I thought that’s what you did every Sunday.” Actually, those of you who hear me Sunday after Sunday realize about 90 percent of the time I am a pastor-teacher. That’s what I’m called and gifted to do, to be a pastor-teacher and I am an encourager. But, today I’m going to preach to you and it’s more than just encouraging you. It is challenging you and admonishing you. It’s a lot more fun to encourage folks as a pastor-teacher, but get ready, because today I’m going to preach something God has laid very strongly upon my heart.
Green Acres Baptist Church is a growing church. As you know we are one of the largest churches in America, but our church is woefully inadequate when it comes to having a true evangelistic zeal. That means a real burden and concern for lost people all around us. You say, “Why do you say that, pastor?” Well, a rule of thumb among all churches is that you ought to baptize about 10 percent of your attendance every year. Now, you know we have over 3,000 people who attend every Sunday, but our church has never baptized 300 people in one year. We, generally, in one year baptize about 200. Now, I thank God for every one of those, but I am serious when I say we are falling behind when it comes to that one area. I thank God we are a church that leads Texas and is number two in all of America in the financial support of giving to missions, but we have to ask ourselves are we sort of salving our own conscience by giving money away for missions instead of being personally and corporately involved in reaching lost people.
A church grows three ways. A church grows by what we call “transfer growth” when people who are members of other churches come and join our church whether they are members of local churches or they have moved into town. We thank God for every single person who unites with our church by transfer of their membership. There’s another kind of growth called “biological growth” in which the children of current members come to know the Lord and are baptized, and I thank God for every precious child who learns about Jesus and is baptized. The third kind of growth is the one where we are lacking. That’s called “true conversion growth.” That’s where children, teenagers and adults who really have no church background are brought to Christ by their loving friends and relatives and they are one to Christ and they become a part of the body of Christ. We just don’t have a lot of those people who are coming out of a purely pagan background coming to know Christ.
When I think about our church in 1999 and I think about the church in the book of Acts there’s a terrible contrast. We do so little with so much and that early church in the book of Acts they did so much with so little. They didn’t have padded pews. They didn’t have microphones. They did not have television. They didn’t have beautiful buildings. They didn’t have buses and vans. But, I’ll tell you what they did have: They had the power of the Holy Spirit and they had a concern for lost people. The Bible tells us that there were only 120 of them who gathered in the Upper Room for Pentecost. Jesus was crucified, Jesus went up, the Holy Spirit came down, the Christians went out and the lost came in. How many? 3,000 of them were saved in one day on the day of Pentecost. Then the Bible tells us again the number of the disciples were multiplied, then it says again another 5,000 were brought to Christ. Our problem is growing by the addition method and the church in the book of Acts grew through multiplication. There’s a difference there. Our church is growing by additions which means Sunday after Sunday we have several added here and several added there. But, multiplication means when everybody goes out and they take their faith and share it with others. That’s how a church multiplies. That’s how the church in the book of Acts multiplied. Now, I’m not all that smart in mathematics, but something tells me that if every one of you in this room right now went out and brought somebody with you next Sunday, we’d have approximately twice as many people here next Sunday. That’s multiplication where every person realizes the importance of reaching people for Christ. If I have any “preach” in me whatsoever, I’m going to ask God for me to lay this on your heart today the way it has been laid on my heart. I pray it will be etched upon your soul. It will reverberate in your spirit and yes, I pray God that it will even torture you somewhat. Because, as a pastor it’s my job to comfort the afflicted but sometimes as a preacher it’s my job to afflict the comfortable when you become so self-satisfied and complacent you can’t be moved into action for Jesus.