Summary: Part 4 in 4 part series on the purpose of the church. This deals with taking Christ to lost people.
A STRONGER CHURCH
Part 4, “Meals on Wheels”
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Pastor Brian Matherlee
As we have gone through this series we have used the table to illustrate 3 disciplines that lend themselves to a stronger church:
• Serving (drop leaf table) means that we have a greater number of souls supporting together an exponentially greater effort.
• Worship is engaging our expressions of gratitude and humbleness towards our Host that we have a place at the table.
• Intercession is talking with our Host about the needs represented in our world. We find our power from the infusion of the Holy Spirit’s presence and gain wisdom and insight necessary for the tasks ahead. Intercession is touching heaven in order to change earth.
A by product of these practices is that we become more and more engaged with our Lord and in so doing we reflect Him more and more. Especially through prayer and worship we find ourselves molded into the image of Christ. True prayer and true worship bind us to God. When these take place our lives cannot help to be transformed so that when we are at the table we realize something very important…there are too many empty chairs.
When we know God deeper than we have ever known Him we find that He desires us to reflect His Spirit when it comes to the gathering around the table...we have to go out. It’s “meals on wheels”-reaching people where they are.
Today, I want the message to dispel some myths and see what we can do to get people to the table.
1. Evangelism is personal not corporate
a. One of the Greek words we translate as church in English is “ekklesia”. It means “called out ones”. In the passages of the New Testament that talk about reaching people this is the one that is used. But we operate more from the point of view of “koinonia” which is translated fellowship. Our gatherings are not the end God had in mine for the people His Son redeemed. The point was for us to go out and bring them in. We can’t throw big events and expect that to be the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
b. We can’t have the mindset of “If you build it they will come”. Throwing open the doors of the church and putting service times and sermon titles on the church sign doesn’t attract very many.
c. Evangelism in this passage was a personal invitation. It’s the “each one, reach one” approach.
2. Excuses are plentiful but so are people
a. The excuses of these three are lame.
i. It was the custom of the culture to send out more than one invitation. The first would have been to notify the recipient that a banquet was going to be held and they should set the day aside. What we read here is the second invitation that informs the individuals that the day has arrived.
ii. Each of these individuals uses an excuse that simply doesn’t add up:
1. Why would someone need to go see a field they just bought? Wouldn’t they have already seen the property before?
2. Why would someone need to try out oxen they just bought? Wouldn’t they have made sure the oxen were capable before they paid the money?