Summary: The Lord’s church can grow!
INTRO.- ILL.- Many churches are like the church that was going to build a new building. The building committee passed the following resolutions:
1- We shall build a new church.
2- The new building is to be located on the site of the old one.
3- The material in the old building is to be used in the new one.
4- We shall continue to use the old building until the new one is completed.
Obviously, that church was not going to build a new building at all. They talked like they were, but they didn’t act like it.
Many churches today talk about church growth but they’re really not doing anything positive to accomplish their goal.
ILL.- I can talk to you about fishing for largemouth bass all I want, but until I come back with a stringer of largemouth bass you won’t believe that I am a fisherman.
Some people talk a good game, but they don’t play the game. Some churches talk about growth, but they are really not interested in growing. They are really not interested in reaching people for Christ. They are not serious about their Christianity.
Walter Scott was a preacher in the early 1800’s. He didn’t try to reform anything, but he did want to help restore the New Testament church as she was in the beginning. His slogan was “Back to the N.T.” This story is told about Walter Scott.
ILL.- One day Scott rode into a schoolyard on his horse. The children gathered around him and he told him to hold up their left hand. When they did, he said, “Put faith on your thumb, repentance on your forefinger, baptism on your middle figure, remission of sins on your ring finger, and the gift of the Holy Spirit on your little finger.”
THEN HE HAD THEM REPEAT THOSE WORDS. Faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Over and over, they repeated those words. Then he told him to go home and tell their parents that a man would be down at the schoolhouse to speak on that subject that night. They all went home and told their parents about the strange man who would tell them about faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In those days, people didn’t have cars, TV, etc. to keep them away from church so they went to the schoolhouse that night to hear Walter Scott preach.
This was one of those nights, however, when Scott was not up to par. It was said that Scott could be boring as they come at times, and at other times, he was one of the best preachers there was. But this was not one of those times.
The children began to fidget and the adults acted bored. Scott saw that he would have to change his tactics. He abruptly announced, “HOW MANY OF YOU CHILDREN EVER PLAYED THE GAME ‘TOAD SKY HIGH’? Suddenly, everyone woke up. There was nothing like a game to stir up people’s interest.
Scott said, “To play TOAD SKY HIGH, you get a plank (a board) and put it on the ground on a rock like a see-saw. Get yourself a toad and put it on one end and then get the biggest kid you can find to hit the other end of the board as hard as he can. Then you can see how high the toad will fly. MAYBE HE WILL FLY, SKY HIGH.”
Then Walter Scott told how one kid hit the board so hard that the toad went up in the air about 50 or 60 feet. When the toad landed, he went “kerplop” and split wide open. He was bloody and his eyes were bulging out even more than usual. He was in agony.
At that moment, Scott saw that he had their complete attention. He said, “I come here tonight and tell you of the suffering of the Lord and how He was beaten and crucified and you go to sleep. But I tell you about the death of a toad and you are all ears. WHAT MUST YOU THINK OF YOURSELVES?!”
Brethren, can you imagine how those people must have felt? And is there an application for us today?
ILL.- Old preacher Vance Havner used to say, “The same church members who yell like Commanche Indians at a ball game on Saturday, sit like wooden Indians in church on Sunday.”
We need to get serious about our faith in Christ and in reaching people for Christ. I’m not saying that we all have to yell and scream, whistle and shout, jump and jerk, but there should be some sign of seriousness to our Christianity.
Someone once said, “If there’s a throb in the heart there should be a thrill in the step.” Or I would say, at least a smile on the face and a song in the heart.