Summary: Here's a sermon to preach if your church is losing people to the bigger churches.
Are You Leaving too?
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Now, look back here in Chapter 6 to Verse 2.
John 6:2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.
Jesus drew big crowds to see His miracles.
They came in big numbers when they had diseases
or body problems and wanted to be healed.
They came in big numbers when they wanted to be fed.
Big crowds gathered around Jesus for the excitement.
Then, one day, the numbers began to fade.
Many walked away from Him.
How sad and brokenhearted Jesus must have been
when the crowd started to walk away?
All the miracles?
All the LOVE and time invested,
and the crowd is going to walk away?
After all Jesus has done and the crowds are leaving?
I think I know how Jesus felt.
This past week, I received an email from Brother Harold Taggart.
He was the pastor here in 196__
when this was a Methodist Church.
The Lord has used Brother Harold to encourage me many times.
He must have sensed that I needed some encouragement.
I've seen people start coming to church,
some claiming to have been saved,
and then they quit coming to church.
I've seen others come to a small church like Gospel Chapel
and then leave to attend a larger church
where there are more activities and entertaining services.
I must admit to you all.
My heart is very heavy as I wonder,
ARE YOU GOING TOO?
When things are hard, do we quit?
When things go different from what we expected
are we going to quit?
Point #1. WHEN THE CROWDS START TO LEAVE IT IS EASIER FOR THE INDIVIDUALS TO WALK AWAY.
Perhaps you've heard of the words: MOB MENTALITY.
That happens when the crowd forgets reason and becomes violent.
We've seen examples of it in race riots.
But when each person that chooses to walk away,
did it make it easier for others to walk away?
What are "THEY SAYING?"
What are you hearing?
Doubt and counting yourself so unimportant
causes us to believe that what you do...or don't do
does not matter very much.
Doubt is a parasite that is destructive
and slowly fades away our joy and victory.
Doubt is a killer.
Doubt breeds worry and fear.
There is a snowball effect.
To doubt ourselves and then doubt others,
we breed more and more doubt.
Fear, depression, discouragement and worry
are types of personal doubt.
Where is the JOY?
Where is the PEACE?
Where is our HOPE?
What are you expecting?
ARE WE WALKING AWAY WITH THE CROWD?
ARE OTHERS DICTATING OUR ACTIONS?
God's plan doesn't always walk away with the crowd.
Hear again the sad words...
John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples WENT BACK,
AND WALKED NO MORE WITH HIM.
WE DON'T HAVE TO WALK WITH THE CROWD!
Each step away from doubt will release the plan of God more ...
each baby step away from doubt, every thought,
every word, every deed for Jesus and the church
can carry you away from doubt and discouragement.
Jesus said in Matthew 17:20
I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
We have a tendency to reverse the Scripture.
We insist that we need faith as big as a mountain
to move the mustard seed.
JESUS MEANT WHAT HE SAID!
If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, say to that MOUNTAIN ...
Why give doubt any ground upon which to grow?
Why worry that this church is going to die?
Can we afford to walk away?
Point #2. THINKING YOUR PRESENCE DOES NOT MATTER VERY MUCH CAN BREED DOUBT.
In Luke Chapter 9 we find an interesting story.
Luke 9:59-62 Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God." 61And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house." 62But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
I've told this story before in a sermon...
but I believe it's worth repeating.
A king wanted to show his people how much he loved them.
So, he decided to pay for a great feast for his kingdom.
He decided to have a great meal and invite every family.