Summary: Missions are the life blood of the local church.
Church of Excellence: Missions!
Acts 13:1-3 1 & Corinthians 16:5-9
Third in a Series
We have the last two weeks been looking at how we can become a church of excellence
How can we move from being a "nice" church…to a church that makes a difference?
A couple of weeks I shared that I have heard from people…even those who don’t attend church…that we are a "nice" church
Can you imagine the church in Jerusalem being called "a nice church"
NO…THEY WERE EFFECTIVELY CHANGING THEIR WORLD
THEY WERE CAUSEING CONFLICT WITH AUTHORITIES
THEY WERE CAUSING PROBLEMS IN FAMILIES
THEY WERE TURNING THEIR WORLD UPSIDE DOWN!!!
This is the role of the church in the world…to challenge, to call people to follow Jesus and change
Last week we saw we’re to be a church at prayer…to bring revival…that is radical, life changing, Holy Spirit lead revival…the kind that changes communities
Another thing God is calling us to is MISSION
A LOCAL CHURCH THAT IS NOT MISSION MINDED IS BY DEFINITION NOT A CHURCH!
It’s a religious club that makes little or no impact on the world
When you read the book of Acts we see a church of action and one that was concerned with the spread of the word of God and Gospel of Jesus Christ
This is one of the keys that made them effective…this why they made so many lives miserable…This is why the world was changed!!!!
We read this morning the section from Acts when the church at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas out….launching Paul’s first Missionary journey
NOTICE TWO THINGS ABOUT THIS CHURCH….
1. They had people working under the leadership of the Holy Spirit
…they had prophets and teachers
2. they were praying and fasting….seeking God’s will for them
I THINK TO MANY TIMES WE MAKE A DESCISION, MAKE THE PLANS AND THEN ASK TO BLESS IT….
Here they are seeking God’s will for them…God’s command…. Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
THIS LAUNCHED THE CHURCH INTO THE WORLD
THE SECOND READING THIS MORNING PAUL IS WRITING THE CORINTHIANS ABOUT HIS THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY
1Cor. 16:5-9 After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you —for I will be going through Macedonia. Perhaps I will stay with you awhile, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.
DO YOU HEAR WHAT HE IS SAYING?
He’s tired…he’s been on 2 other missionary journeys with no break….he’s been preaching, starting churches, facing opposition, sometimes even having to flee from those wanting to kill him
He’s hoping to take that break and come to Corinth to rest for a while….HOWEVER, notice what he says "a great door for effective work has opened to me,"
What happens is Paul stays here for another 3 years…the longest he was anywhere!
Not only did God use Paul to start a great church in Ephesus, but while he was there many more churches were started all around…Ephesus became a major Christian Center
NOW THE POINT I WANT TO MAKE IS THIS:WHEN PAUL SAW THE GREAT DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY HE SAW IT AS A DOOR OF OBLIGATION AND A DOOR OF OPPOSITION…
I. A DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY
A. Ephesus was not where most Christians would want to settle…it was a big city, a major financial and commercial center and a rich city….BUT IT WAS HOME TO THE TEMPLE OF DIANA…one of the seven wonders of the ancient world
This was a place of immorality and legalized prostitution
It was a city full of superstitious people
BUT WHEN PAUL SAW THE CITY AND SAW ALL THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THERE HE SAW OPPORTUNITY TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL!
The difference between a pessimist and an optimist is that a pessimist sees a problem in every opportunity…and a optimists sees an opportunity in every problem
Do we have a door of opportunity….YOU BET WE DO!!!!
In the history of this area we have an opportunity to touch so many people with the Gospel of Jesus
New people moving in…the race track…the new high school…we did a mailing last year to all the folks in two postal routes…just within a small area around us were over 1,500 houses…and we didn’t even go into the Lebanon zip code…IMAGINE HOW MANY PEOPLE THIS REPRESENTS!
WE DON’T EVEN HAVE TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE…THEY ARE COMING TO US!