Summary: A message about the church
Building His Church - His Way
Matthew 16:13-19 (Focus v. 18)
Introduction: Gregory Elder tells of growing up on the Atlantic Coast, where he spent long hours working on intricate sand castles. One year, for several days in a row, he was confronted by bullies who smashed his creations. Finally he tried an experiment: He placed cinder blocks, rocks, and chunks of concrete in the base of the castles. Then he built the sand kingdoms on top of the rocks. When the local toughs appeared (and he disappeared), their bare feet suddenly met their match.
Is your church built upon the rock? Jesus said that when the church was built upon Him, the gates of hell wouldn’t even prevail against it! Let’s look at what we need to do in order to build His church His way!
I. FIX OUR MISCONCEPTIONS
a. Misconception # 1 – The church is an organism, not an organization
b. Misconception # 2 – The church is His body, not a building
c. Misconception # 3 – The church is His people, not just a group of people (Ekklesia)
II. FOCUS ON OUR MESSAGE
a. Jesus stated very clearly that the church would be founded upon his person and the message of who he was: “Peter answered and said, ‘you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”
b. Too many churches have gone astray today proclaiming a message other than the gospel
i. Some say the message of the church is social justice (Emphasize alleviating symptoms rather than curing the sickness that causes the symptoms)
ii. Some say the message of the church is prosperity (Emphasize success and not sacrifice)
iii. Some say the message of the church is pop psychology and self help (Emphasize application and not sound doctrine) (Church looks like Dr. Phil or Oprah Show)
c. Our message is JESUS and our mission is to rescue the lost! Everything else is secondary. (Illus Man rescues jumpers)(C.T. Studd “Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel Bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell.”)
III. FOLLOW OUR MASTER
a. Jesus said, upon this rock, I will build MY church. The Church belongs to Jesus Christ because he shed his blood on the cross for her. Therefore, we must follow him.
b. Many churches today will follow men, but not the Master (Illus. Deacon led churches)
c. What happens when The Church chooses to follow Jesus? Look in Acts 2:40-47
i. (v. 42) Fellowship
ii. (v. 42) Instruction
iii. (v. 46) Harmony – (musical image)
iv. (v. 47) Influence and Evangelism
Closing: Someone once said that today, the church needs, More tithes and fewer drives. More action and less faction. More workers and fewer shirkers. More backers and fewer slackers. More praying and less straying. More of God’s plans--less of man’s. More burden-bearers and fewer tale-bearers.
Have you been a help or a hindrance to building His church His way? Are you like the man building the sand castle, or are you like the bullies that stomped on the sand castle? I can assure you that if you choose to be like the bullies, you are only going to hurt yourself! Whenever you chose to stir up strife and division, participate in gossip, or criticize the Pastor you’re stomping on His church. Whenever you chose to sit back and watch someone else do the work of spreading the gospel while you take up space in a pew, you’re stomping on His church. Whenever you decide to go to a ball game instead of church, you’re stomping on His church! Don’t stomp on His church! If you do, your foot is going to get hurt.
Illus. The Yangtze River bridge, a national landmark in China, is always crowded with traffic including thousands of pedestrians. Because of its busyness, it is a favored spot for people who wish to commit suicide. Since its opening in 1968, over 1000 people have jumped to their deaths into the river 100 yards below.
In 2003, a man named Chen decided to do something about the problem. Every weekend he comes to the bridge looking for Jumpers. So far, he has rescued 42 people. Some he has talked down, others he has wrestled to the ground. 5 people have slipped from his grip during that time and have met their demise. Chen says, “If I save one person, one is a lot!”
Asked how he can identify potential jumpers from the sea of people, Chen answers, "It is very easy to recognize. A person who walks without spirit." Chen has gained some attention in the press and now several college students help him patrol the bridge, as do a few people whom he has saved from jumping. "We have to teach people to love life and treasure life," Chen says.
As the church of Jesus, we need to be like Chen…snatching people from eternal hell at any cost.