Summary: From the life of Christ we learn how to grow a church family. 1- the method 2- the motivation 3- the means
INTRO.- ILL.- A father who didn’t exactly resemble Atlas or perhaps Samson said, “My little girl was sitting on my lap facing a mirror. After gazing intently at her reflection for some minutes, she said, ‘Daddy, did God make you?’
“’He sure did,’ I told her.
“’And did He make me too?’ she asked. ‘Yes, He did. Why?’
She said, ‘IT SEEMS TO ME THAT HE’S DOING BETTER WORK LATELY.’”
Aren’t children wonderful? If nothing else, when they are little they are wonderfully frank and honest!
Perhaps you have heard of the Jim Bob Duggar family of Springdale, AR. Jim Bob and his wife, Michelle, have 15 children (10 boys & 5 girls). Now that’s how to grow a family!!!
Jim Bob said, “We searched the scriptures and found that God says, ‘Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them’ (Psalms 127:3-5).”
Jim Bob said, “Dr. Ed Wheat counseled us before we married and encouraged us to not have a T.V. the first year of marriage. We took his advice. Then after the first year we hooked up a T.V. with cable. We could not believe how bad it had gotten. Our communication quickly dropped off as we both sat staring at the screen. After 3 weeks we agreed to pull it out of our home. That was one of the best decisions we have ever made!
“Our children have grown up not watching broadcast television. This has been a great protection and time saver. We occasionally watch an educational video or a Christian movie, but only on a limited basis.
“We also have 7 computers, which are wonderful, but we try not to allow them to devour our time. As parents we are responsible for every influence we allow in our children’s lives.”
How do you grow a family? Well, it’s a lot easier to give birth to a family than to raise a family. Raising children is the tough part.
Gal. 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
The church is described in scripture as a family. How do you grow a church family? Both the giving birth and the raising are hard to do.
ILL.- The Southeast Christian Church of Louisville, KY, is one of our largest, non-denominational Christian Churches in the U.S. They started over 40 years ago with 53 members. They now average somewhere around 18,000 people each weekend in five services. It’s not easy to grow a church like that. If it were, there would be more of them.
Large or small, however, the church belongs to the Lord and He wants His church family to grow.
PROP.- In our text from the life of Christ I think we get something of an idea as to how to grow a church family.
1- the method
2- the motivation
3- the means
I. THE METHOD – PREACHING AND TEACHING
Matt. 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.”
A method for our madness. There is always a method for a person’s madness, whatever that madness is.
ILL.- When Benjamin Franklin was 27 years old, he decided he would take control of his life. He selected 12 virtues he wanted to acquire, and kept a daily chart of his progress in the development of each one. Whenever he missed the mark, he put a black dot beside that virtue. His goal was to ultimately have no dots on the chart. This method contributed to Franklin’s success as an inventor, publisher, and statesman. That was Franklin’s method for his madness.
Everyone has a method for their own personal madness: fishing, hunting, cooking, cleaning, shopping, gardening, etc. BUT WHAT ABOUT GROWING THE CHURCH? Is there any good method that we can use to make the church grow?
ILL.- When preacher Dwight L. Moody was criticized for his evangelistic methods, he replied, “I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.” And that’s the problem with most of us. We have no method at all.
Teaching, preaching and healing. Those were the methods that Jesus used to reach people.
What’s our method for today? Well, I haven’t healed anyone lately but I have preached and taught a lot. But even then, not much outside the church and that’s the key. When it’s done outside the church it must be done on a low-key basis.
The days of standing on the street corners and preaching the gospel are long past. Today, if you did that someone might spit on you or worse, or else you might be thrown in jail.