Summary: Sermon to motivate congregation in doing their part in church growth.
• For many years the Ocean View community has not had a good reputation.
• Many in our city would not consider Ocean View a Great place to live.
• When I was a young sailor, it had a reputation of being the place where people picked up prostitutes and they remain to this day.
• There is rampant drug abuse and drug dealers are commonplace.
• There is an overwhelming concentration of broken and hurting people and families in this area.
• In order to make Ocean View into a “Greater Community” it is going to take “Greater Churches” impacting the community.
• In order to have “Greater Churches” they need to be full of Greater Christians.
• To have Greater Christians in Greater Churches we will need a Greater Grace from God.
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."
This Greater Grace empowers us to engage in three ongoing actions that will build a Greater Church:
1. Step down. (v. 7a) [Use steps as a prop.]
a. From your position as CEO of your life.
b. You will never be effective as a Christian until you settle the Lordship issue.
[A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.
Salvation is free, ... but discipleship will cost you your life.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer]
c. It’s not all about you; it’s all about Him.
d. Make a conscious decision daily to submit your life to the rule of Jesus Christ.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
2. Step up. (v. 7b) [Use sword or some kind of weapon as a prop.]
a. To the frontlines and fight the devil.
2 Cor 10:3-4
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
b. Refuse to be intimidated by his activity.
[The story is told of a wonderful, elderly, christian lady. She had very little money and lived in a rundown house, but she was always praising the Lord. Her only problem was with the old man who lived next door. He was always trying to prove to her that there was no God. One day, as the old man was walking by her house, he noticed the woman through an open window. She was kneeling down in prayer, so he crept over to the window to see if he could hear. She was praying, " Lord, you’ve always given me what I’ve needed." She prayed. "And now you know that I don’t have any money, and I’m completely out of groceries, and I won’t get another check for a week." She continued, "somehow, Lord, can you get me some groceries." The man had heard all he needed. He crept away from the window and ran down to the grocery store. He bought milk, bread, and lunchmeat. He ran back to the woman’s house carrying the groceries. He set the bag down on by her door, rang the doorbell, and hid beside of the house. You can
imagine how the woman reacted to seeing the bag of groceries. She threw her hands over head and began praising the Lord. "Thank you Jesus," she shouted. "I was without food and you provided the groceries." About that time the old man jumped out and said, "I’ve got you now." She was too busy shouting thank yous to Jesus to pay any attention. "I told you there was no God," the old man said, " it wasn’t Jesus who gave you those groceries it was me." "Oh no," the woman said. "Jesus got me these goroceries and made the devil pay for them." She had the right attitude for God.] This woman was obviously not intimidated by the devil’s activity.
c. If we put up an active, ongoing resistance, the devil will flee!
d. If we refuse to fight, he will continue to hold us and the community around us captive.
3. Step in. (v. 8-10) [Use box labeled “Closer Relationship with God as a prop.]
a. To a closer relationship with God.
[Help me to realize that it was not the healthy who reached out to you. They bunched up in crowds, but it was those who suffered greatly who reached out to grasp you. It was the people in the streets, not in the sitting rooms of society that groped for your garment. It was needy people. People with out stretched arms. People with empty hands. People who had nothing to offer but the faith that you could make them whole. I confess, O Lord, how often I have followed in the crowd pressed around you. Yet how few times have those brushes with you changed my life? I have touched you, but only in the rush hour of religious activity. Sunday after Sunday I take my part in the crowd as I sit through the service. I sing the hymns, hear the sermon. I read my Bible, say my prayers, give my money. I attend the right seminars, tune in to the right programs, read the right books. How could I be so close your presence yet so far from your power? Could it be that my arms are folded? Could it be that my hands are full? I pray that if my arms are complacent, you would unfold them in outstretched longing for you. And if my hands are full, I pray that you would empty them so that I might cling only to you. (“Intimate Moments with the Savior”; Ken Gire)]