Summary: The USA culture is in trouble - and the reason is, for the most part, the church culture in the USA is in trouble. The calling for followers of Christ and the Church of Christ is to show Jesus so the world can KNOW Jesus. This message speaks to our call
Our Calling for Tomorrow
* Over the past couple of weeks I have digested large portion of written material by a 20th century preacher/prophet/revivalist named Leonard Ravenhill. He was indeed a man, the likes of which we have not seen in many years. Witnesses say that when he preached, hearers could sense the power of God exuding from his words. For me, even in reading – his word still pack a powerful spiritual punch.
* Additionally (in the spirit of the men of Issachar – 1 Chronicles 12:32) I have also been some very disturbing material about the tracts, truths, and trends in America. In the USA Today (online) I read an article about a new group in America called the ‘apatheists’ which are those who vacillate between being apathetic and an atheist.
* Try getting a handle on these stats; 46% say they never wonder whether they will go to heaven or not, 44% say they don’t spend time seeking eternal wisdom, & 18% scoff at the thought ‘God has a plan for everyone. There is much more disturbing trends in the article and here’s the problem;
* “Churches and church members seem to dismiss this as “not our problem.” After all, this is not happening inside our building, so it’s not our problem.
* Am I the only one who has a problem with this type of theology? Where is the “Good News of the Gospel” in this mentality? And yet, church after church, church member after church member, and even preacher after preacher; seems to have embraced the concept that this is not our fight.
* We are in a fight of eternal proportions and seem to be getting beat. The USA was founded on God’s word by a group of people who demonstrated God’s word in their daily lives. Those who claimed to be followers of Jesus actually followed in His footsteps. This means that no one doubted God, Jesus, or the Bible because it was being lived out in front of their eyes.
* What message is there for ‘us’ inside the church when people of the community who have no professed belief in Christ – possess no desire to know Christ? Is it God’s fault, their fault, or is it our fault? When people have a vision of a church as only a building where people meet, sing, & fuss; whose fault is it?
* God sent Jesus to offer redemption to this sin-sick world, to change lives for eternity, and to offer best of life here on earth. Then Jesus sent us to do the same by saying, “As the Father sent me.” Here’s the truth; “It’s on us!” The blood of America is on our hands. We have had over 200 years of opportunity.
* How did it happen? How did God’s people allow ‘homosexuality to become an alternate lifestyle? How did we allow abortion to become the law of the land? How did we allow the name of Jehovah God & Jesus to become bywords? How did the “Church” become impotent and insignificant?
* In our text today, is God’s call to us to save this people. It won’t be quick, easy, or without personal pain, but it is required by our Father. (TEXT)
* Chapter 3 of Philippians gives us enough truth to change us, this church, and this community. If there is any hope, it will be because we get this right.
1. Let Us Forget – Paul writes, “Forgetting what is behind.” What are some of the things which Paul was laying down and that he called us to lay down?
a. Our Heritage – Paul’s take is this; ‘If anyone has any reason to be confident in self, it’s ME!’ His Jewish heritage was indisputable. Everyone knew that old Saul of Tarsus was a “Jew of Jews”, his lineage was big stuff, and even his abilities were unmatched. You want a reason to brag, Paul had it! Yet, Paul’s response was “So what?” He lay down & gave up his heritage.
b. Our Harm – Sometimes we can’t forget (or forgive) our own past mistakes. Don’t miss this, “Paul’s past persecution of the church was not a mistakes, it was a conscious decision.” He determined and decided to wreak havoc among the church. The harm was done & people were dead.
* Can you understand that Paul could have been kept in a mental prison all of his Christian life? I just wonder how many faces Satan would paint in Paul’s dreams and thoughts to try to make Paul question his calling. Yet Paul chose to lay it at the cross and leave it at the cross.
* There are people who simply cannot & will not allow God to deal with the sins of their past. Two truths for you: If you don’t allow God to deal with your sin, Satan will use it to keep you miserable. If you will allow God to completely deal with you and your sin, you can forget the past. When God deals with your sin, He has a way of turning tragedy into triumph. The very thing Satan uses to terrorize you, God will use as a tool for you. Give it up.