Summary: Adapted from another pastor on SC, this message speaks to the need of the local church to have a special breed of people,
People the Church Cannot Do Without
* It was in the hill of Caesarea Philippi as recorded in the 16th chapter of Matthew where Jesus initially mentioned the church. In the everyday vernacular Jesus turned to Peter, who had just expressed a strong, supernatural faith, and said, “It is upon a faith just like you have expressed Peter that I will be my church.” Without pausing to take a breath Jesus said, “My church will be so strong and powerful that nothing on heaven or earth will prevail against it.” Jesus did not talk a great deal about the church, but when He did discuss it, He was very definitive in His words because, as we are told in Ephesians 5, Jesus loved the church so much that He died for her. The church which Jesus birthed, loved, came, and died for is an impregnable fortress which can overcome the darkness, stand down the enemy, and lift up the fallen!
* But let us never miss these truths; A) the church is made up of people, God’s people, B) the authentic church can only be empowered by the Holy Spirit of God, C) the local church is only as strong & effective as the people who make her up are controlled by God’s spirit. No amount of money, activities, ministries, or administrative restraints can make the church the powerhouse which Jesus envisioned.
* Congregations have been gathered, buildings built, & far-reaching influence gained only to discover that it all collapsed under the pressure of outside influences. The church built on the rock is a church that can withstand any pressure and stand up to any opposition. A church that is able to do this has within it a certain kind of people. Let’s read our text.
* Verse 17 speaks in large measure to this Americanize church by saying ‘don’t be foolish which is leaning on your own understanding, but be wise by knowing what the will of God is.’ The will of God is for His church to fulfill her mission & ministry by lifting the fallen, touching the hurting, and caring for those who are needy (both spiritually & physically). The church cannot & will accomplish this task without a certain kind of people.
1. Faithful People – No church would even be in existence today without faithful people. These are people who can be counted on. Ephesians 1 begins by admonishing us to be “imitators of God”, one of God’s greatest attributes is faithfulness.
a. Most of us know the name “Lou Gehrig” because of the debilitating disease which wears his name. Yet, Lou Gehrig was arguably, one of the most faithful players to ever put on a uniform. He and Cal Ripken, Jr. are mirror images of faithfulness & thus examples for faithfulness..
* Every day these guys were in their position, doing their best, and trying to make their team win.
* If God were to come down and choose the MVP among us, I believe I know who it would be. It would be a faithful person. We are told, In Revelation 2, to ‘be faithful until death’ and Jesus left us these words IN Matthew 25, ‘Well done, thou Good and Faithful servant.’
* A church simply cannot fulfill her mission & ministry without faithful people; people who’ll attend, give, pray, and can be counted on.
2. Willing People – (serving) – what every church needs is willing people. To look around this country we discover churches, by and large, are unhealthy, lack influence, and have little spiritual power. Two weeks ago we heard from a seminary president the staggering statistics that up to 85% of local congregations are dying. One quality which seems to be missing from the dying congregations is service. What I say service, I’m really talking about service to others, those outside of the body, those who have no connection to the Lord. The bible is replete with passages which call us to this kind of service. Peter rights, “you are chosen race, a royal priesthood, and a Holy nation. You have been called from darkness to light.” Paul tells us to imitate God and to walk in love. Jesus tells us as the Father is that mean so send I you. He went on to tell us that he did not come to be served, but came to serve. In the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, having the heart of Christ, and demonstrating the spirit of Christ, we should be willing people. I read this week in a sermon by another pastor who said, “We have a very willing people. Some are willing to work and the others are willing to let them.”
a. Have you ever considered the number of people who discover how they can help and then give all they have to build up the Kingdom of God? In our congregation, we have many who have taken on & do many behind the scenes type of tasks as their service.