Summary: It's not about leadership, but about personal responsibility - time to step up. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint

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Own Your Church

Matthew 16:18

Matthew 16:18

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build MY church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

There's a play on words here, because Peter's name [Petros] means little stone. He wasn't the founder of the church, and he certainly wasn't the first pope. He was a Christian...a little Christ...a follower of Jesus...a little stone cut from the Rock [Petra]. A chip off the old block!

1 Peter 2:5-6

5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

But, who owns the church? [I will build MY church...]

Ephesians 5:25

...Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it

Jesus bought the church, built it, and owns it. He purchased the church at a very high price and He is the foundation and cornerstone...the absolute owner!

Revelation 2:1

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

Jesus went on to say that He can remove a candlestick if it doesn't do its job. He is the owner, He brought us into the world, and He can take us out. He holds the stars 'messengers/pastors' in His hand as well, so who are any of us to think we hold ownership of anything ourselves?

It's a joke when at times someone calls GBC 'Shirley Temple.' My kids know this isn't 'daddy's church,' as they used to call it. Pastors have fellowship meetings together and ask one another, 'How's your church doing?' We know what we mean, but technically, it's not accurate!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

And the church is a body, and Christ owns it! He owns you and me in the sense of a master owning a slave/servant. But we are bondslaves in that we WANT to follow our Master who bought us and is so good to us!

In Mississippi an ad ran: "Church for sale. New owner wanted ASAP." What? Did Jesus decide to sell it? Of course, they were talking about a building. Sometimes church buildings are sold, usually to another church. We are the best located church in town, so naturally some developers would like to buy our church just for the property. It's worth millions! They would tear it down and try to make money with the visibility. Well, it's not for sale! And you could never place an amount of worth upon what happens on these premises.

But who owns the church? This is actually debated in some circles - especially in churches that are a part of associations or denominations. As far as the building is concerned, some churches are owned by an organization on a national or at least regional level. Not so in an independent church such as ours. Technically, our church used to be owned by the bank, but once that was paid off, the church became owned by, well, the church! Again, as far as a building is concerned, it's not for sale! But the church is not a building. We are the church! Even if our buildings burned to the ground, we could still have church!

Now, here's today's message: [family talk]

Our Master has gone away into a far country, and has left us servants in charge. He is our cornerstone but He asks us little stones to build something to His glory, not ours. Jesus owns the church, but He has given us an option to join Him in ownership. We are managers in a sense, as 'joint heirs' with Him. We have a stake in this...and we should take stock in this! So own your church! It's not about leadership, it's about responsibility.

Take personal responsibility for the success of your church. Do all you can to be a key to the success of our future. Play your role, do your part, but in a way that insists on success. [We each should have a support ministry and a 'soul' ministry which affects eternity!] None of us should be content and satisfied with the status quo. We cannot be pleased with putting it on 'cruise control' and just remaining the same. We must claim higher ground and go forward or we are going backward. We are not called to be 'keepers of the aquarium' but 'fishers of men.' This isn't just about has always been about others. We have always been famous for the gospel...and may we ever be! God has sent me with a message today, about new change He wants at GBC in this new year...and it comes as you decide to own your church.

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