Summary: This message looks at the expansion to the great American west and compares it to taking new territory for God.
“Go West Young Man, Go West”
It was Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune who coined the phrase "Go West, young man, go West." For those brave individuals that weren’t afraid of new challenges and opportunities the advice was taken to heart and the expansion into the great American west was well underway.
After sending thousands of people west, he took a trip west himself. He was so impressed with Illinois in 1859 that he wrote back to the Tribune: "Doubtless the child is born who will see here a State of ten millions of people, one million of them inhabiting her commercial emporium (Chicago)."
People wanted to see if there was more, they were not satisfied staying where they were if there was more out there. It was this desire for more that caused people to go west in droves. This desire also caused Columbus to sail the unknown seas, and astronauts to venture into space and even walk on the moon.
As people journeyed west they faced sickness’ disease, hostile Indians, wild animals, horrible weather conditions, a lot of dust, and raging rivers to cross.
I want us to take a journey West, not in the physical sense, but in a spiritual sense. There should be the desire in every believer to experience all the exciting things God has in store for those who love him. Every Bible believing church should have a desire be all that God wants them to be, to experience all God wants them to be. In every church there should be a passion to go forward and see growth.
10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.
I. Going West was a journey
a. We are on a journey.
i. Journey’s are not about a single event, journeys have a beginning, and an end, with many life changing events in between.
ii. Being a Christian is not only about an event, it is a journey. Salvation was the greatest day of our lives, however this is only where the journey begins.
iii. One thing you need to know about a journey, it requires movement no one ever took a journey with out moving.
II. First that had to see the benefits of and the need to take the Journey.
a. The journey began with a vision.
Pr 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish…
Over 350 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness.
In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?
Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome great hardships to get there. But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision. With a clear vision of what we can become in Christ, no ocean of difficulty is too great. Without it, we rarely move beyond our current boundaries.
Do you still have your vision? Does Calvary Fellowship still have it’s vision to go west.
b. I believe God expects us as a church to buy into his vision for growth.
i. The entire Bible is about church growth. What do I mean by that. The Bible in a nutshell is that God sent his son Jesus, to seek and save that which was lost. In other words the entire Bible revolves around growing church through reaching the lost.
ii. Some say that numbers aren’t important, and the size of the church isn’t what matters. I understand that and I agree with it to a certain point.
1. However let me point out a few things that leads me to believe that both spiritual and numerical growth matter to God.
2. God counted people because people count.
a. A book in the Bible called Numbers
b. We know how many were fed with 2 fish, and 5 loaves. How? Some one counted.
c. When Peter preached after Pentecost. How many were saved? How do we know someone counted.
d. Growth is so important to God that every time a new member is added, they start a party up in heaven. All the angels rejoice.
e. Throughout the NT we read reports of daily growth, addition and even multiplication.