Summary: God wants our church to grow! 1. So He stresses that no one is saved without Jesus (vs. 1-2). 2. He seeks to save the lost (vs. 3-8). 3. He stretches us to reach new people (vs. 9-16). 4. He sets-up divine appointments for us (vs. 17-23).
God Wants Our Church to Grow!
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 16, 2014
*Does God want our church to grow? There is no doubt about it. The Scripture makes this truth clear in many places. For example, 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says that: "God our Savior" desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
*God surely wants our church to grow, and He gives us some strong evidence in tonight's Scripture.
1. First, He stresses that no one is saved without Jesus.
*Faith in Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation, and God's Word reminds us of this in vs. 1-2:
1. There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,
2. a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
*If there was ever anyone who could be saved without faith in Jesus Christ, it would be someone like Cornelius. He was a good man, a generous man, a religious man, a reverent man, and a praying man. But Cornelius still needed to be saved.
*No one is good enough to go to Heaven on their own goodness. The nicest people you have ever known will spend eternity in hell, if they don't receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
*One of the most difficult things for us to do is to come face to face with the reality that people are hopelessly lost without Jesus. People we know and love. People we've never met. People who have never heard the good news are hopelessly lost without Jesus.
*Some church people want to think that somehow those other people will be okay. But the Bible is very clear on this matter. The Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:18-20. There God's Word says:
18. Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20. teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'' Amen.
*Think about the Great Commission. If people could be saved without Jesus, the Great Commission would be: "Shhhh! Don't tell anybody about Jesus, because then they will be responsible for rejecting the Lord. Just keep quiet, and God will make another way to save them."
*But there is no other way. As Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. And listen to Jesus speaking about Himself in John 3:18: "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
*We must believe in Jesus to be saved. We must receive Him as our personal Lord and Savior. We must be born again by believing in Jesus Christ.
*Brian Bill connected this vital truth to the Christmas story in Luke 2 and said: "Christmas is real history but it must become your story." Corrie Ten Boom once said: "If Jesus were born one thousand times in Bethlehem and not in me, then I would still be lost." (1)
2. God wants His church to grow, so He stresses that no one is saved without Jesus. And He seeks to save the lost.
*Jesus Christ is always seeking to save the lost. Think about how the Lord sought to save Cornelius. We begin to get an idea in vs. 3-8, where God's Word says:
3. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!''
4. And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?'' So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
5. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.
6. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.''
7. And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually.
8. So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.
*How far did God go to save Cornelius? -- God was willing to send an angel to Cornelius. Then in the following verses, God was willing to give a vision to Peter, and willing to repeat it 3 times