Summary: This is an introductory sermon to a 5 part series on why our church exists.
April 29, 2001 Acts 2- 6
A volunteer fire department in a Minnesota town has this slogan, “We’ll know where we’re going when we get there.” The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart p. 210 You ever feel like that? Whenever both Tammy and I have forgotten to plan something for dinner, we’ll pile everyone into the car to go out to eat somewhere. The difficulty is deciding where we’re going. There have been times that I have sat at a red light for a while even after it turns green waiting for someone to direct me to the spot where we will eat dinner. Sometimes, Tammy will say, “You’re driving; you decide.” Benjamin has to know where we are going at all times. He will incessantly ask, “Where are we going?” To which we reply, “You’ll know when we get there.” Where are we going? It’s a good question to ask, especially if you‘re a church. It’s also a good question to ask if you’re a cab driver.
Thomas Henry Huxley was a devoted disciple of Darwin. Famous biologist, teacher, and author. Defender of the theory of evolution. Bold, convincing, self-avowed humanist. Traveling lecturer.
Having finished another series of public assaults against several truths Christians hold sacred, Huxley was in a hurry the following morning to catch his train to the next city. He took one of Dublin’s famous horse-drawn taxis and settled back with his eyes closed to rest himself for a few minutes. He assumed the driver had been told the destination by the hotel doorman, so all he had said as he got in was, “Hurry, I’m almost late. Drive fast!” The horses lurched forward and galloped across Dublin at a vigorous pace. Before long Huxley glanced out the window and frowned as he realized they were going west, away from the sun, not toward it.
Leaning forward, the scholar shouted, “Do you know where you are going?” Without looking back, the driver yelled a classic line, not meant to be humorous. “No, your honor! But I am driving very fast!” Charles Swindoll, Growing strong in the seasons of life
If we assume that everyone in the church knows where we are going, then we run the same risk that this gentleman did – going no where very fast, keeping ourselves very busy without accomplishing anything.
Every day, when I go up to Heritage Christian School, I see their mission statement. It is placed at several strategic locations in the school so that it is almost impossible not to notice it. “The mission of Heritage Christian School is to fulfill a God-given vision to prepare Christian students to become model citizens and leaders by providing a high quality Christ- centered education.” Everything that they do fits into that mission statement. It enables them to have a sense of identity and to know what they want to accomplish. It is the tool that they use for budgeting, for curriculum, for evaluation, and for planning. The mission statement keeps them focused on why they exist.
Paul, the apostle, had a mission statement: (Phil 3:10 NIV) I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, Jesus had a mission statement: (Mat 20:28 NIV) …the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." That statement controlled everything that He did. Everything that He did fit with that mission. It also controlled what He did not involve Himself in. Jesus could have built great buildings and introduced wonderful new architectural advances to the people of His day so that there would be high rise hotels. Then no one would have to be turned away like He was as a child. But Jesus’ mission was not to build things. Think what it would have been like to have Jesus as a stock-broker. Talk about your insider trading! He would be able to clue you in when things were getting ready to go up and when they were getting ready to go down. But that was not His mission. Or think of the possibilities if Jesus had started a family. What a wonderful daddy He would have been and a wonderful father! But that was not His mission. While on earth, Jesus was not a great architect or stock-broker or father. But Jesus was a great Savior! That’s what His mission was all about, and He fulfilled that mission better than anyone else ever could have. It was ok that He wasn’t all those other things. He was focused on the cross.