Summary: A 5-part series casting vision and clarity about the purpose of our church.
PRACTICING OUR PURPOSE
OUR PURPOSE: TO TEACH THE SAVED
MARK 4:3-10, 13-20
A minister friend of mine tells this true story of his next door neighbors who had wanted a baby for the longest time. For 6 years this couple prayed that God would bless them with a child. Finally they concluded that wasn’t going to happen, so they adopted a baby boy. You can guess what happen next. 6 months after the adoption, the already new mother, discovered she was pregnant. 9 months later gave birth to, triplets! Isn’t God great? I mean, here were people who thought they could never have children and now they have 4 of them under the age of 15 months. Does God answer prayer? I think it’s great.. that’s it’s them! I mean it’s a joy to have babies- but can you imagine? 4 babies in diapers, sleepless nights.. All four of them cutting teeth at the same time? Think of bringing them all to church. Imagine a mother coming in & unloading 4 infants! How many children’s workers would run for cover? Everyone feels for those parents- what a blessing.. what a responsibility!
The analogy for the Church is obvious. Our purpose as a church is to “make and mature disciples for Christ to the glory of God.” As we discussed last week, we do that first by reaching out to the lost. We are to reproduce Christians, and we all like to be a part of a growing, dynamic Church. But that gives us a tremendous responsibility too. New-born Christians, new members and all of our church family need nurtured, fed, instructed, loved and shepherded. Who’s going to do that? How are we going to discipline, counsel and mature all that come into this part of Christ’s body?
The NT Church struggled with that issue too. The early church was very evangelistic. In Acts 2 it says that the F.C.C. started with 3,000 members. Acts 4 says that 5000 were added, and that only counted the men. And we keep on reading that more and more kept on being added to their number. But that early Church also produced an environment where they could grow to maturity. Jesus had commanded them, to go into all the world and produce disciples, followers of Jesus. After they became followers, or disciples they were to be baptized and then continue to be taught everything that Christ had commanded. So, in Acts 2:42 we read that the early Church continued in the Apostles doctrine, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayer. You see, the Church did not just specialize in obstetrics but the Church was a pediatric center where the new Christian’s could grow to maturity.
M.C.C. exists not only to reach the lost but also to teach the saved. We rejoice that we’ve had 165 new people added to our Body in the last 21 months. What a blessing, but what a responsibility! As your leaders we feel a definite duty to help you grow to maturity. And all the members of this fellowship share a responsibility to be growing disciples of Jesus. So, let’s discuss today what we can do together to help develop that maturity in Christ Jesus. Jesus’ said that the good soil will be the king that hears, accepts and produces a crop. Paul’s wrote in Eph. 4: "We no longer will be infants... but we will in All things, grow up into him who is the head, that is Christ."
I. THE PURPOSE FOR GROWTH:
Let’s begin by discussing the purpose for growth. I’m afraid that there are many believers who feel like once they have received Jesus as Savior that they have arrived, that, they’ve got it made. But Jesus said in John 15, "I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. If he does not bear fruit he will be like a branch that is thrown away and withers." So, while it is essential to be born-again, we are expected to grow, to bear fruit, to become more like Jesus as we follow His commands and do the will of the Father. You see, coming to Christ is just the beginning. A lot of people accept.. In fact, when you look at the parable of the sower it implies that a lot of people will hear the Word. If you use Jesus’ figures He says that 3 out of every 4 who hear the Word will not only hear it but receive it. But you see, receiving is one thing.. allowing it to grow in your heart is another. Anyone can start, the hard part is allowing the seed of the Word to take root, to persevere. Maybe the most sobering part of this whole parable is the number that Jesus says will remain faithful... Only 25%! And even if you throw out the first kind of soil or heart because Satan came and snatched it away. Only 33% will persevere as good, growing soil. That means that for everyone that comes into our church by coming to Christ and/or putting their membership here, that the odds are against them staying. Now, does that mean we shouldn’t try to close the “back door?” Of course not. But it does mean that in the maturing process it is the church’s responsibility to offer opportunities to grow and the your responsibility to take advantage of those opportunities to mature. Now, there are many Scriptural reasons that have practical application for us on why it is vital to grow, let’s discuss 4 of them.