Summary: Examining the problem of "professing Christians" that have left the battle-field and the mission-field.
Church... We Have A Problem!
In 1970 the crew of the Apollo 13 moon flight, encountered a major problem, an on-board explosion deprived their spacecraft of most of its oxygen supply and electric power. Captain Jim Lovell radioed the Houston base and said the famous words "Houston, we've had a problem here¨. (The phrase is normally misquoted as "Houston, we have a problem" as in the movie)
I spoke with a pastor earlier this week who had looked over certain records and in 6 years in his current ministry over 100 people had passed through his church that attended regularly (at least for a period of time) .
Some of them passed away (obviously he couldn't do anything about that) ... Some of them moved away... Some of them are homebound or in the nursing home... Some of them have moved on to other churches - But the overwhelming majority of them have just given up on church and worst of all they have walked away from the Lord.
Our church experiences that same problem. We look around on Sunday and if there are more pews with people on them than there are empty then we think we are successful as a church. I want you to understand this, every empty pew that you see represents a church member that has walked away. You have family members that used to fill those spaces. You have friends who used to fill those spaces. You have brothers and sisters in Christ who used to fill those spaces. That empty place next to you doesn't represent a lost person, it belongs to someone who has made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
If they were still here, this sanctuary wouldn't hold them all. Can you imagine what we could do if all of our "inactive" members were to become "active" once again? Just think of all the Kingdom work that could be accomplished if we had our brethren actually attending and serving in the church. I know this may be discouraging but if we don't address the problem we will never fix it.
The crew of Apollo 13 had an intense desire to land on the moon. When the explosion happened they knew that would not be an option. If they ignored the catastrophe and continued on their mission they would have all died.But they took the proper steps to survive:
They realized there was a problem
They called out for help
They received instructions from Houston
They followed those instructions
They made it home alive.
I want us to see the problem in our church and take those steps needed to solve that problem. Let's look to the Word of God and consider the thought "Church... We Have A Problem".
Paul and Barnabas had planned a trip to go and revisit the churches that had been established over the past year. They both agreed that this was a good thing but soon a problem would arise. And as we examine our church today we will see that:
I. CHURCH... WE HAVE A PROBLEM THAT INVOLVES OUR PEOPLE v37-38
This problem that I speak of not only involves those who have left the church, but also those who remain. This was the case for Paul, Barnabas & John Mark as well. - v37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. - There are 2 problems that we see in these verses. Notice: