Summary: A challenge to the church before launching a building program requiring laymen to help.
Meeting the Challenge at Grace Baptist Church
April 29, 2007
TEXT: Turn to Isaiah 26
--In October 2003, some people began to meet with Susan and me for a Bible study on Wednesday nights with the intention of eventually becoming a church.
--In May of 2004, we began meeting in the Stadthalle for Sunday meetings and in private homes for the Wednesday Bible study.
--Then on July 18, 2004, Grace Baptist Church was organized officially as a Baptist church.
Since that time, we have had some wonderful victories as well as many difficult challenges, and some sad defeats.
--We have seen folks come to know Christ as Savior.
--We have baptized people down at the Gmund lakes.
--We have seen folks rededicate their lives to the Lord and resolve to live for Him.
--We have witnessed folks repent of sins and make changes in their lives.
--We have rejoiced as the Hazelets were called into full-time ministry in our church.
--We have seen money raised for missions.
--We have watched our children grow and learn God’s Word and seen several of them come to believing faith in Jesus Christ.
--Then we saw God do the impossible – raise over the last three years around $90,000 both within our church and from Stateside churches; obtain a loan from a U.S. donor for $50,000; and obtain a German loan for the balance to buy this beautiful building.
--We saw our people come together as never before to paint this building and prepare it for our first service.
God has been good to us. God has been faithful—as He always is. God has be Jehovah-Jireh—the God who supplies. I praise Him for all He has done so far.
But you know what: I believe that Grace Baptist Church is on the threshold of the greatest things for our church yet. I just feel it. I really do.
I believe you are going to see many people come to believe in Jesus Christ; many backslidden Christians getting right with God, and many new people joining the church. Now I want Grace Baptist Church to be ready as God starts revving things up. I want us to get in on what God’s up to! We have a many great challenges ahead of us. To meet that challenge we will need four things…
I. WE NEED CONFIDENCE
Someone has said that an OPTIMIST is one who finds an opportunity in every difficulty and a PESSIMIST is one who sees a difficulty in every opportunity. Well, I’m an optimist. To me, the glass is never half empty; it’s always half full. I have great confidence in what God is going to do among us.
To meet the challenge at Grace Baptist Church, we need confidence in three things:
1. First, we need confidence in GOD – Isaiah 26:4 – “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” (EXPAND)
2. Second, we need confidence in OURSELVES UNDER CHRIST’S CONTROL AND POWER
Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
It was Emerson who said, “They conquer who believe they can. He has not learned the lesson of life who does not each day surmount a fear.” (EXPAND)
3. Third, we need confidence in one another (EXPAND)
II. WE NEED COOPERATION – Please turn with me to Nehemiah 3.
Before looking at this passage, let me explain to you the background behind Nehemiah 3: God called Nehemiah to mobilize the people to rebuild the broken-down walls of Jerusalem. Broken down walls left a city defenseless to marauders and conquerors. It was a sign of decline and defeat that the walls had broken down in Jerusalem. To restore a sense of national pride, Nehemiah was released by the Emperor to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild its walls.
But this was really a monumental task—a seemingly impossible task. It would be a multi-million dollar project today. In that day, with no earth-moving equipment or modern power tools, it was extremely labor intensive. Nehemiah knew the job could be done only if there were concerted cooperation and involvement on the part of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Note who was involved—EVERYONE!
--The High Priest – Nehemiah 3:1 – “Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.”
--The Goldsmiths –
Nehemiah 3:8 – “Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. …”
Nehemiah 3:32 – “And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.”
--The Government Leaders (Rulers) –
Nehemiah 3:9 – “And next unto them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem.”