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Summary: Inspired by several resources. Gene Mimms’ books "The Kingdom Focused Church" and "Kingdom Principles for Church Growth, Rick Warren’s "Purpose Driven Church and Thom Rainer’s "Simple Church."

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EXPOSING THE KINGDOM FOCUSED CHURCH

Matthew 16:18-19 / Matthew 28:18-20

> Have you ever taken a picture, taken it to be developed, and it came back “out of focus?” Do you remember your frustration? And do you remember that your frustration was control somewhat by basically 2 factors; how personal the picture and the cost of the picture. For instance, a picture of a house, car, or a tree probably evokes a different response than one of your “grand-kid” or “girlfriend”. Additionally, one that was taken by a pro-fessional in a studio would have a high frustration level.

> Now, please remember this about the frustration level as for the next four week, our time in God’s word will be centered about the focus of the Church.

> Did you also know that every church has a focus? Did you know that the focus of any body is not necessarily determined by what they say, but rather what they do? Did you also know the FOCUS of the church IS its PURPOSE?

> Let me illustrate. We can “say” that the purpose of HBC is “changing lives for time and eternity” or that the motto is “touching Hueytown with hope,” but in point of fact does our schedule; our budget, our ministries, & our actions affirm our statement? Or does our emphasis give evidence that we say ONE thing but do something else? I begin with this penetrating question; where is our focus?

> Deep in my heart I believe it goes without saying that since the church is not “OURS,” but “HIS”, that the focus of the church is NOT ours to make up but rather, ours to obey.

> It is my deeply held belief that the focus of the church is to build of the Kingdom. As your pastor, I have attempted to lead us down this road on this journey for almost 2 years. Last year, the “To Be or Not To Be” series of messages covered our statements, core beliefs and functions. This year, we expanded to our “Purpose Statement” (of “changing lives for time and eternity”) and then called us to “Just Walk Across the Room” and make an eternal difference in someone’s life. For the next 4 weeks we will discover the Kingdom Focused Church.

> It is my deep prayer that with every series of messages that we lay back another layer of skin in the process of seeing the plan and place God has for us to take part in the building of His Kingdom. To do this is to become a KFC.

> In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus introduces His Church by saying “I will build MY church, will give it the keys to bind and loose in heaven and on earth—and don’t worry, hell itself cannot overpower it.” As Jesus left this earth, He gave the church her marching orders in Matthew 28:18-20.

> Why “the Kingdom Focused Church?” Why not the Jesus focused or the God Focused or ever the Soul Focused church? It’s a matter of perspective. When John the Baptist introduced Jesus, his words were about the Kingdom. When Jesus introduced His own ministry, He brought attention to the Kingdom.

> So what exactly IS the kingdom of God? Most think it’s heaven, eternity, or even the millennial reign at the end time, but what Jesus repeated teaches us is that the Kingdom is a great deal more personal than that. Look at the screen; The Kingdom of God is; “The reign of God in the lives of His people, enabling them to serve Him whole-heartedly and to live the kind of life Jesus died to give us.”

> Gene Mimms breaks this truth down to a more simple form when He says, “The Kingdom is the rule and reign of Jesus Christ as Lord and King of our life.”

> So now, we can understand that the church is to be focused on the Kingdom, like John was, like Jesus called us to be.

> But isn’t every church a Kingdom Focused Church? The answer is a bit harsh, but it is “Obviously Not.” Because of the promise of Christ (that the gates of hell will not overpower it) it is reasonable to assume that many are not. So how can “I” tell if a church has a Kingdom Focus or not? For the remaining time this morning, please let me expose such a church.

1) THE KINGDOM FOCUSED CHURCH HAS ONE PRIORITY.

> Our Lord Christ had full knowledge of both time and eternity as He departed this world & His words were clear and carefully thought out.

> The KFC has as its number one priority to reach people. That is number one. In his book, Kingdom Principles, Dr. Gene Mimms teaches us that the ONE DRIVING FORCE in every church is the Great Commission. If we are not reaching people we are not KF, rather we are like a café which has prepared food for hungry people and then has no one to feed. Or it’s like planning a party and then inviting no one. There is nothing we can do in a church body which overcomes our refusing to reach people. Without this characteristic there is no way to be a KFC.

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