Summary: A 5 part series to cast vision and clarity about the purpose of our church.
PRACTICING OUR PURPOSE
OUR PURPOSE IS... TO REACH THE LOST
INTRODUCTION TO SERIES: For the next several weeks I want to talk with you about the purpose of Montrose Christian Church. These will not be doctrinal "What we believe" messages. But these messages will be about why we are here and what we are trying to accomplish BECAUSE of what we believe. Just as a building is constructed according to the plan for its use, so everything we do must have a purpose. That’s why the Elders and myself have developed the purpose statement that you have printed for you underneath our logo. The "bottom line" purpose of this church is to “Make & Mature Disciples for Christ to the glory of God.”
But, for the next few weeks we want to discuss the practice statements that explain how we want to accomplish our purpose. I want every member to know exactly what we are trying to do. Because when everyone understands the purpose of our existence and the way we want to accomplish that purpose, it creates greater understanding and promotes unity within the Body. And I believe, with all my heart, that the future for God’s Kingdom, in this place, has never looked brighter than it does right now. So, with that in mind I think it’s important to understand why we exist so we can dedicate ourselves to accomplishing God’s purpose for this body of believers.
INTRODUCTION OF SERMON: Now, I believe the purpose of this Church must be consistent with the purpose of Christ & the Church in the N.T. So, the 1st statement is that we exist to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. That means we are aggressively and unashamedly trying to motivate people to make Jesus Christ the Savior and Lord of their lives. The world may accuse us of trying to impose our brand of Christianity on other people. But we are not forcing anyone just inviting everyone, as tactfully as we can, to make Christ their personal Savior. Jesus commanded His followers to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing those disciples and then continuing to teach them to obey Christ’s commands. As a body of people who have made Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives we are seeking to obey His command to reach the lost. Paul wrote in 2 Cor.5:11- "..since then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men." And a few verses later he says, "We are therefore God’s ambassadors, as though god were making his appeal through us." We are tying to persuade people to come to Jesus Christ. The goal of our Church is to grow. I tallied up our church’s attendance for this year was thrilled that it will revealed numerical growth in every area- S.S., AM, and PM. Some of it, like in our A.M. service is quite dramatic. Now, I know statistics don’t tell the whole story but it’s an indication that our Church is growing. And it is the purpose of this church to reach out to the lost and that means we will grow.
Now, in Luke 15 Jesus told three parables to underscore the importance of outreach. He told about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost boy. I know these are familiar to many of you but I want to look at them again and from them see the
proper motivation, the proven method and the potential miracle of reaching the lost.
I. THE PROPER MOTIVATION FOR REACHING THE LOST:
Let’s start with a word of caution. The proper motivation for reaching the lost is critical. We want to make sure we don’t do the right thing for the wrong motives. In Lk. 15:1-2 we see that Jesus was being criticized by the religious leaders of His day for making sinful people His priority. They could not understand the motive behind Jesus’ attention to sinners. You see the Pharisee’s and the teachers of the law did not look to saving the sinner but as William Barclay puts it, "looked forward to the obliteration of the sinner." Pharisee’s were forbidden by their tradition to accompany, associate or even touch people who did not keep the law as they did. So it shocked them to watch Jesus not only accompany sinners but go into their homes and eat with them. AT Robertson, the Greek scholar, makes the point that the word here used by the Pharisee’s in vs:2 for "welcomes" is the same word used in Lk 10:38 where Mary "opens her home" to Jesus. So they’re saying that Jesus actually prefers these outcasts to respectable people (like them) and the implication is that makes Jesus like them in character & condition. So, Jesus tells these stories to explain to them His purpose. He says, "Listen, you don’t get it. God loves the lost.. loves them so much that He is aggressively searching for them. My motive in associating with sinners is because of the Father’s love."