Summary: Let’s look at the early church to find some great expectations for our church.
Great Expectations for God’s Church
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - June 20, 2007
“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” You’ve probably heard that quote before. It’s one of my favorites. Mary cross-stitched it for me years ago, and it’s hanging on the wall in my office.
“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” William Carey said that in a sermon in Nottingham, England on May 31st, 1792. Then he lived it for over 40 years as the father of modern missions in India.
*What are you expecting for our church? What should we expect the Lord to do here? Let’s look at the early church to find some great expectations for our church.
1. First of all, expect new strength.
*Church, we can find new strength! The kind of strength we see in vs. 32, when the prophets Judas and Silas “exhorted the brethren with many words and strengthened them.” God will give us all the strength we need. And we need it.
*David White compared us to weightlifters and said, “The weight lifter who regularly lifts 500 pounds can’t lift his own 250 lbs. You cannot lift yourself. That’s true physically and spiritually.” (1)
*We need strength from above. And there is a lifetime supply of strength for us here in the Word of God. But we have to seek His strength.
*James Wilson pointed out, “If you ask the young children in our Sunday School, ‘How can I be a better Christian?’ They are likely to respond, ‘Go to church, read your Bible and pray.’ Even the youngest among us know the value of doing these things.”
-Yet, he says, “Every week there are empty pews at the church, and dusty, unread Bibles in our homes.” (2)
*There is a lifetime supply of strength for us in the Word of God. So seek it.
2. You can expect new strength, and expect new support.
*Silas showed up to give it in vs. 32-34:
32. Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted the brethren with many words and strengthened them.
33. And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles.
34. However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there.
*Silas was a great guy. Back in vs. 22, the Jerusalem church sent Silas to Antioch. They trusted him to help clear up the confusion the legalists had created, because as vs. 22 says, Silas was one of the leading men in that church. Then in vs. 32, Silas helped strengthen the church, and when Paul needed a new partner, in vs. 40 Silas stepped in to help.
*God gave Silas to help with His church. And He will give us new partners too. I cannot begin to count all of the people God has sent into my life to bless me: People here and at Emmanuel.
*Just one example is a guy named Richard Mencer. Today he is the manager of the Lifeway store over in Shreveport, but ten years ago, he owned a kiosk Christian Bookstore at the mall in Hot Springs. He was also serving on staff in a church up there. I got to know Richard through his in-laws at Emmanuel.
*A little over ten years ago, I was at the absolute lowest point in my ministry. I have never been close to being that discouraged before or since. Then one day out of the blue, Richard called to tell me that he was going on a mission trip to Ukraine that summer with David Guinn. He said that they needed another pastor to go with them, that they had prayed about it, and that they felt like the Lord was leading them to ask me. Then he told me that he had shared all of this with the city-wide singles group he was leading, and that they had volunteered to pay the $3,000 cost for the trip. I couldn’t believe it!
*God did a lot of great things on that trip. But on top of everything else, He used that trip to give a brand new birth to my ministry. And I will always be grateful for that. God gave Silas to help Paul. He gave Richard Mencer and David Guinn to help me. And He will keep giving us new partners for His work.
-You still haven’t met some of the favorite people you will ever know.
3. You can expect new support, and expect new opportunities for service.
*New projects, new places to go, new things to do for the Kingdom. We see this happening in vs. 35&36, when Paul and Barnabas were teaching and preaching in Antioch. Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.”