Main Idea: Healthy churches are those that fulfill their biblical purpose.
Introduction: (Duct tape illustration using a roll of tape) Many of you here are very familiar with this product. You have probably used it many times for many different purposes. Years ago, thousands of dollars went into research to develop this product – it is the invention of two men.
Today, we use it on tons of things...to temporarily fix pipes…If you get a hole in your pants while you are out hunting, you can use it to tape up your pants…If your children get out of hand, you can always use it to tie ‘em up…it is even used on the space shuttle to temporarily fix problems…I used to have a friend that swore up and down that the world was held together with duct tape and bailing wire.
Duct tape was created with a purpose in mind – it is designed to be used in heating and air conditioning applications -- to seal up the joints on metal duct work. Has any of you in here ever tried to use it on duct work? This is some of the sorriest tape for duct work I have ever seen! You try to use it on the insulation around the duct and it sticks for about two minutes. It doesn’t really stick to the duct either.
It was created for a purpose, but it does everything but what it was designed to do!
There are plenty of churches that are just like duct tape – They do everything under the Sun except the very thing which they were created to do. The Question before us this morning/evening is this: Is ________ a duct tape church? Is this church fulfilling the purposes for which God created it? Healthy churches are those that fulfill their biblical purpose.
This message is not just for the leadership of the church, it is for every person who is a baptized member of the church because ALL members of the church have a part in helping it fulfill the purpose for which it was created…Let me say that again….ALL baptized members of the church have some part in fulfilling it’s purpose…CHURCH IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT! Even though some people think it is…(Football Illustration?)
Many people have their opinions as to why the church exists and what it’s purpose is. Now if you ask church members just what the purpose of the church is, you will probably get five dozen answers!...Church is for...fellowship......win souls...good answers, but not the whole answer. Sometimes you may even hear some people make the audacious statement that “the church exists to meet my needs.”
In order to get a true picture of what the church was created to do, we need to go to the Bible and not the opinions of man. I believe that there are 5 Biblical purposes for the church. These are all based on the GC and the GCO. Healthy growing churches will strive to fulfill all of these purposes in a balanced way. Let us look at them together now.
Healthy churches are those that…
I. CELEBRATE GOD’S PRESENCE IN WORSHIP -- (GC Mat. 22:37)
1. Worship is a personal encounter with God in which one expresses their love for God and surrenders completely to Him. (Not just a mental thing…love doesn’t flow from the mind - flows from the heart)
(1) Roy T. Edgemon – The Doctrines Baptist Believe – “True worship includes the total person, both mind and emotion. In a way that calls him or her to praise God for who He is and what He has done and, in so doing, to reach new awarenesses, to learn more about God.”
(2) Worship does not have anything to do with style or form, but with the attitude of our hearts.
2. Worship - not only accomplished thru acts – but also accomplished thru godly living/service (Rom. 12:1)
3. Any church that places very little emphasis on worship is going to experience very little of God.
Healthy churches are those that…
II. SHARE GOD’S LOVE IN MINISTRY -- (GC Mat. 22:39)
1. Ministry is meeting the needs of the total person (Spiritual and Physical) – not just to the members of the church either! Our problem is that we want to limit the definition of who our neighbor is.
(1) I believe the bible would define a neighbor as anyone whom God loves.
(2) Since God so loved the world, that would make our definition of neighbor invalid.
2. The world outside these four walls doesn’t care how much you know! They do want to know how much you care! (First thing an unsaved person can tell about you within 10 min. of meeting…)
3. Jesus looked on the crowds and had compassion and took action! We are living in a day when there are a lot of hurts out there that we can mend…we need to do the same thing that that Jesus did!