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Summary: The followers of Jesus are called to go to the world with the hope of Jesus Christ.

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Going Out To Bring Them In

Mark 1:14-20

Along time ago in a land far away there was a church. The church had been

founded by a handful of men and women who wanted nothing more out of life

than to make a difference in their community for the Kingdom of God. They

had read the Word of God and been gripped by the simple, yet profound

message of grace that raced throughout its pages. They had been captured by

the heart of God and by God's call to establish a house of worship where all

people could come to find healing, hope, salvation, biblical counsel, and

the encouragement they needed to begin to catch a vision of God's plan for

their life. These committed men and women made a covenant together that the

church God had birthed through their prayers would forever remain in their

neighborhood as a sign of God's love for all of the people in that

community.

Over the next several years these men and women saw hundreds of people,

young and old alike, come to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They

didn't stop there they set up small Bible studies where these new believers

could meet on a weekly basis with those who had matured in their walk with

the Lord. They set up opportunities for regular prayer where those who were

sick with physical ailments, those who were emotionally distraught, and

spiritually struggling could bring their brokenness to God with His people

supporting them. Their little church became a Holy Hospital where people

could come for healing, restoration, and renewal.

As those original founders of the church began to age, a new generation of

leaders came on to the scene. They had watched for years as their parents

and grandparents had sacrificed weeknights away from home to disciple new

believers. They had seen how their elders had gone out of their way to

reach out to people that other churches really didn't care too much about.

They had watched their families do without the extras so that they could

give their money to the work of Christ in reaching those who didn't know the

Lord.

Those, who were younger, didn't possess the passion to reach people for the

Lord like their elders had and as a result the church began to make

decisions that were very different than the decisions made years earlier.

Those who had founded the church found great excitement in partnering with

another person and leading a Bible study or visiting the widows in the

church. The younger folks wanted fellowship opportunities that were simply

fun. Their plans for the church began to reflect what they wanted instead of

what God desired for their community. Their money, they felt, was their

money.

With each new generation a little bit of the fire and passion faded. The

fire that once drove the people to commit themselves wholeheartedly to

reaching out with the gospel to those who were lost and hurting evolved into

nothing more than a struggle to make it to church on Sunday.

The church that I am speaking about this morning is not a church unknown to

us. We, in the United States, have witnessed an evolution of the church

that is more than sad, it is tragic. We have more churches in America today

than we have ever had in our nation's history. Don't let that fact lead you

to conclusions that are untrue. The impact that our churches are having

pales in comparison to the little group of believers who came out of the

upper room in Jerusalem and took the world by storm shortly after Jesus'

resurrection.

Today, the church has redirected its attention and energy from winning

people to Christ and discipleship to packaging the best entertainment for

our people that we can muster. I would challenge you to take a look at the

churches around you, take a look at Britton Christian Church while you are

at it. Ask the questions, "Where is the money going? Is it being used to

reach out to those who are not seated in the pews each Sunday or is it being

used to make the pews more comfortable for those who are already present?

Are the programs of the church designed to help people grow in their

relationship with the Lord or are they designed to allow the members to

simply have fun?

Some people would say, "But why would I want to join a church that spends

so much time and energy on reaching people who don't even belong to our

church?" Why wouldn't I want to join a church that makes it fun to go to

church? Why wouldn't I want to be a part of a church that makes social and

recreational opportunities for me and my family a priority?"

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