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Summary: A True Priority

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Leading People to Christ

January 30, 2005

Center Point Baptist Church

Introduction

Present the following illustration on “priorities:”

A man scrimped and saved and followed his dream to go to the Superbowl. He could only afford the cheap seats though – so at about $500, he purchased a seat high up, far away from the field. During pre-game, he noticed a seat open close to the sidelines, right on the 50-yardline. It took him almost the entire 1st quarter to make his way down there. He asked a man, “is this seat open?”

The man explained it was his wife’s seat, but that she’d recently died…that they’d always gone to the Superbowl together, and this was the first time she hadn’t attended with him. He asked the man if there weren’t any relatives or close friends that could have come, and the man replied, “nah – they’re all at the funeral!”

*Sometimes we get our priorities all mixed up!

• In our personal lives…

• In our families…

• In our church…

Relate the question asked on Wednesday night: What should the number one priority of our church be?

• worship of God

• edification of the saints

• spread of the gospel

In our church life and in our personal life, what is the actual priority given to the cause of evangelism?

1) The “Dying Church”

Read John 12:24-26.

*Describe what happens when a seed is planted successfully.

But what happens when that seed remains in its container – unplanted – not having been destroyed?

*It’s the same in the lives of Christians –

• To do what God has asked of us, we must die to self!

• If we refuse to die to self, we cannot fully live for Christ – and we cannot grow!

Mark 8:34-35 – If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it.

Read again John 12:24.

*What we must do is eliminate the “if” in our lives – and what growth we would have!

• Growth in the knowledge and understanding of God

• Growth in the number of people being discipled.

2) Claiming This “Death”

*Through the death of self, we are freed to tell the world about Christ – the apostle Paul claimed this kind of discipleship of Christ:

• shipwrecks

• beatings

• floggings

• prison

• threats of death

Philippians 1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

What things block us from living the sacrificial life?

Materialism – the influence of wealth upon our culture blocks us!

• Things are meant to be used – not worshipped.

• God is never to be used – but worshipped!

*We must die to self!

Hardship – we attempt to avoid it at all costs.

• We need comfort & convenience – this attitude is why church visitation programs are on the decline!

*Many times, the fear of possible troubles tends to impede progress altogether.

• We forget about our faith in an all-knowing God – if we have to have all the answers before ever moving, we are paralyzed…

• …and will not advance the cause of faith!

*It’s a question of finite minds attempting to understand an infinite God!

2 Timothy 1:12 – I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Indifference – the "I don’t care" attitude keeps us from dying to self.

• lack of prayer

• lack of concern toward godly growth

• lack of concern about the eternal destiny of the lost

John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

3) Spiritual Bankruptcy

So, what does it take to “grow the church,” anyway?

• good Sunday School & Discipleship training

• good music

• good youth programs

• a preacher who cares

• good personal attendance

But are these things enough?

Matthew 5:1-3 – Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

*This passage speaks of spiritual humility – in effect, “humility of spirit.”

• Many of us live spiritually proud – puffed up church lives.

• This prevents us from going to the altar.

1 Peter 5:5-6 – “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

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