Summary: The Church of Jesus Christ is a Church focused on the wisdom of the Cross.
LET THE CHURCH BE THE CHURCH PART I: SPIRITUAL WISDOM
I CORINTHIANS 2: 6 -- 3: 3
SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER: APRIL 27, 2003
INTRODUCTION: “My Town” as sung by Montgomery Gentry.
There’s a for sale sign on a big ole rusty tractor, You can’t miss it, it’s the first thing that you see, Just up the road a pale blue water tower, With "I Love Jenny" painted in bright green, Hey that’s my uncle Ray there by the courthouse, He’ll be lowerin’ the flag when the sun goes down, Hey this is my town, Well now there ain’t much goin’ on here since they closed the mill, But that whistle still blows everyday at noon, There’s a bunch of us still go down to the diner, And wonder if that interstate’s still comin’ through, But come Sunday mornin’ service at the Church of Christ
Well there ain’t an empty seat to be found, This is my town, na na na na, Yeah, this is my town na na na na na na, Where I was born, where I was raised, Where I keep all my yesterdays, Where I ran off ’cause I got mad when it came to blows with my old man, Where I came back and settled down, And where they’ll put me in the ground this is my town, This is my town, Well I bought and painted up that rusty tractor, You can’t miss it, it’s sittin’ right there in our yard, The county came and took the water tower, And that’s Jenny with the baby in the car, We’re off to Sunday service at the Church of Christ, If we want a seat we better leave right now, Maybe later I could show you around, This is my town, na na na na, Yeah, this is my town na na na na na na, Where I was born, where I was raised, Where I keep all my yesterdays, Where I ran off ’cause I got mad when it came to blows with my old man, Where I came back and settled down, And where they’ll put me in the ground this is my town, This is my town!
Writers: (Jeffrey Steele, Tim Owens, Jeff Bates)
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Today I want us to start on a journey together thinking about what it is to be a real church. As we were journeying together toward the cross, we read Matthew 16: 16ff “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’” Now this is exciting and powerful, but what does it mean to us and are we fulfilling this great promise in our day? Are we really a church who is walking in the command of the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28: 19-20).” Can we hear the words of Montgomery Gentry and sing this is my town; we’re off to Sunday service at the Church of Christ, if we want a seat we better leave right now! The real question is how do we become the church that Jesus has called us to be? The answer is that we must first become the people that Jesus has called us to be. The Apostle Paul addresses this dilemma with the people of the city of Corinth.
THESIS SENTENCE: The Church of Jesus Christ is a Church focused on the wisdom of the Cross.
What kind of people filled the Corinthian church and what kind of people fill the Catawba Heights Wesleyan Church?
SOME STATISTICS THAT JOHN MAXELL SHARES CONCERNING MAINLINE DENOMINATION MEMBERSHIP:
50% are not certain of their salvation.
60% seldom attend church.
70% give 1% or less of their income.
80% have no ministry within the church.
80% do not attend Sunday School or a small group.
90% have not been discipled or trained.
3500 to 4000 churches close each year/ that’s 10 a day.
1900—27 churches for every 10,000 people.
1985—12 churches for every 10,000 people.
The average size of all churches in America is only 75 (100?) people and 85% of them have plateaued or are declining.