I think that it is safe to say that while the church is a spiritual entity it is also a business. There are two sides to the church. There is the organism, that is the spiritual reality of the church. Then there is the organization, which is the infrastructure of the church. Anything that is a business will tell you that one of the things that you must have in order for business to flourish and be successful, is that you must have a good business plan. Apart and parcel of that business plan has to be a good marketing strategy. Because, if you don’t market your product, it doesn’t say much about what you think about your product. You must have a marketing strategy so that you know who it is that you want to target, who it is you want to draw, who it is that you think is drawn to you. In many circles, now, when you read books about marketing in this new day, they call it ‘having your brand’. What is your brand? What do you stand for? What do you specialize in? What is unique about your business that will make people come to you and not other people. Even Burger King, though it isn’t true, is you can ‘have it your way’. Everybody has a brand. The church should have a brand. There is something different about every church. Not every church looks the same. Not every church has the same corporate makeup. Not every church has the same gifts. Not every church has the same kind of uniqueness. Not every church has the same kind of angle. Not every church is after reaching a certain kind of people. Every church, as a business, ought to have a brand, your hook, that which draws people to you.
But one of the dangers in this new day of church competition, is that sometimes you can get so caught up in competing, that you substitute MARKETING FOR MINISTRY. You can spend so much time in competition, that now you spend all of your time marketing your church, and not ministering to the masses. It can now, because of entertainment and the challenge of competition, now we set up church to be an entertainment center and venue, where people are entertained and no longer enlightened; where people are touched but no longer transformed. Where people are excited but there is insight or equipping. So that we develop a group of people in the church who know how to sing and know how to shout, run, dance, hoop and holler, but they are miserable in managing life. Because now we don’t teach people how to manage life in the church; we teach people how to feel good in that moment in the church. But the problem with feeling good in the moment…is just like a Jacuzzi. You get in a Jacuzzi because your muscles are tight. And while you are in the Jacuzzi, you get the feel and sensation that the tightness of your muscles has gone away. The problem is that when you get out of the Jacuzzi and the cold wind hits your body, you quickly discover that the looseness you felt in the Jacuzzi, has returned to tightness outside the Jacuzzi, because you weren’t doing anything outside the Jacuzzi to help your muscles feel better.
Casual church and Christendom can be a lot like a Jacuzzi.
- We teach people how to shout
- We run and dance
- We clap
- We sing
- We say hallelujah
And you feel like all of your problems have gone away. But when you extract yourself from your seat and exit the sanctuary and the winds of life begin to hit, if you’re not doing anything outside the church, then the problem you thought was gone when you shouted comes right back to you. Because, at the end of the day, what grows you is not how you shout; but what grows you is how you do outside the church with a prayer life, reading the word of God, how you treat your neighbor, with the development of your character and the strengthening of your integrity. And too many churches today are now marketing entertainment instead of managing the lives of other people.
We have not what is called the seeker-friendly church, where we develop our church to be friendly for folk who are seeking a church.
But I never read anywhere in the Bible where the church is called to solely be a social club, where you come and socialize with your friend…like you’re eating popcorn at the movies with your row dog, like you’re at a movie, rating and critiquing everything from the praise team, choir, preacher and the deacon like you are Leonard Maltin or Roger Ebert.
I never read anywhere in the Word of God where the church was called to be an entertainment center, where you can simply come and get your dance on and yet leave without ever having dealt with your secret sins.
I never read anywhere in the Word of God where the church is called to be a country club, where you come and fake like you’re better than everybody else. But the church is called to stand as a redemptive place where people can learn that no matter how bad your life has been, you can start over again. The church should be a place that stands on the blood of Jesus and on the cross of Calvary that tells EVERY man, woman, boy and girl….WHAT CAN WASH AWAY MY SINS? NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS.
And is there anybody in the room today who can declare, preacher, I didn’t come in here to socialize; I didn’t come to be entertained; I didn’t come to be critical. But I came to thank God that He sent His Son Jesus to die for my sins. And though I was a sinner, I’m saved BY GRACE!!!
Come with me to the text. Because in the text I see the greatest marketing strategy for the church in the world. The Bible says that Jesus has come back to Capernaum. And the Word of the Lord says that it had been ‘noised abroad’. ‘Noised abroad’ in the Greek is the word AKOUO (acoustics). NKJV says that ‘the people had heard that Jesus was in the house’.
May I suggest to you that the greatest PR you can do in the church is to noise everywhere the Jesus is in the house. If you really want to market the church, what you ought to be telling people is that Jesus is in the house. You don’t have to know my name; you don’t even have to like me; we don’t have to be best friends or go out on the date; if you can just remember that Jesus is in the house…you won’t be tripping over who’s preaching. If we are going to change the world and change the spiritual landscape of the community, somebody who walks up in the church every week, must be excited about the fact that Jesus is in the house.
- This can’t be about Kraig Pullam; but Jesus is in the house.
And I need somebody who can say, I didn’t come to see the preacher; I didn’t come to hear the choir; I really didn’t come to see anybody. But I came today because I heard that Jesus was in the house!!!
I’M SO GLAD THAT JESUS IS IN THE HOUSE
And that’s what ought to be the word in your mouth. It ought not be come hear our preacher/choir/building. You need to learn to open your mouth and tell somebody, come see a man who can turn your life around. Come see a man who can fix your life.
• One of the reasons why the church is not where it should be; and not doing what it could is because the church is noising everything but Jesus.
o We’re talking about how good the choir is
o We’re talking about how good or how jacked up the preacher is
o You’re talking about silly members
o You’re talking about who left or who’s here
o You’re talking about unverified gossip and lies
But what you need to be talking and running your mouth about is one day when I was lost, He died upon the cross and I know it was the blood for me.
What ought the fill the house is that Jesus is in the house. The noise ought to be on Jesus.
How do you know when Jesus is in the house?
I. You know when Jesus is in the house; because the house is filled with people who are in touch with their imperfections.
You know it’s a Jesus House when the people in the house aren’t walking around acting like they are perfect people. Watch how the text starts off; it says that they came to Capernaum AGAIN. Go back to chapter 1, when He first comes to Capernaum. And when He goes to Capernaum the first time, He does nothing but heal. And the Bible says at the end of chapter 1, that they just bring a bunch of people to Jesus. And He starts healing everybody. I just believe and I could be wrong, though I have some scholars to back me up, that the house is filled with the people who’ve been healed. So the house is filled with people who had previous conditions. So that nobody who is in that house could look at anybody else in that house and say anything about them in that house. Because I’m in that house recognizing that if my condition had not of been dealt with, I would be right where they are now.
• Is there anybody who is honest enough to say, preacher, I don’t have time to talk about anybody else and condemn other people to hell; and talk about what’s going on with anybody else’s house, with anybody’s else’s child, with anybody else’s marriage, with anybody else’s money; because I’m showing up knowing that I had some conditions, flaws and imperfections that I knew Jesus had to touch. And that the only reason I’m in the house today is because of the previous chapter.
The only reason that some of us are in church today is because Jesus touched you where you were and changed your life.
- You haven’t always been saved
- You haven’t always had your act together
- You haven’t always been in church on a Sunday morning
- You haven’t always dotted every moral I
- You haven’t always crossed every ethical T
And you don’t show up to church looking at anybody else; but you show up knowing that it is grace and mercy.
God is looking for people who are honest and transparent enough to go to others and be honest enough to admit:
- If you knew who I was, you probably wouldn’t want to sit by me
- If you knew where I’ve been, you probably wouldn’t date me
- If you had an idea how out there I really was, you wouldn’t want to have anything to do with me
And I’m not ashamed
- God knew who you were, and He still wanted to walk with you
- God knew where you’ve been, but He still wants to be your friend
- God knows who you really are, but He still chose to use His Son to die for you even though you didn’t deserve it
You have to be honest with yourself long enough to see that before you met Jesus, you were nobody and you had nothing; but He decided to pick you anyway. That before you met Jesus, you were a rebel without a cause, you were born a problem child, you were guilty by association, you had a debt that was owed that you could not pay.
Unless you understand you were wretched and unredeemable and your imperfections disqualified you from having fellowship with a holy, righteous and loving God….
- You will always be arrogant in Worship (Because your being here is a favor to God)
- You will never see the point of being a witness (Because the blood of Jesus is of no effect)
- You will always be flippant and cavalier about doing ministry and service
- You will always be a God robber, because you don’t understand God’s system of giving is better than your little sporadic payment plan, God gets the lease and the leftover while you keep the finest and the first.
But if you can ever get to the point and realization that YOUR WERE LOST IN SIN, BUT Jesus took you in
- Nobody has to prompt you to praise the Lord
- Giving becomes a privilege rather than an obligation
- Loving one another is the least that you could do
- Witnessing becomes easy
• What makes the church able to be a community is that we all come in here knowing that we ain’t better than each other.
• One of the things that has messed up the church…is that we are a crowd but not a community; and we’ve become a crowd and not a community because we don’t know how to share each other’s burdens.
• We’d rather talk about each other’s burdens; and we’d rather get on the phone and gossip about each other’s burdens…so that now we don’t feel like a community. Because if we were a community, you are not going to talk about my brother or my sister.
• And the church needs to get back to community, where we pray for one another, lift one another, encourage one another, and push one another forward!
You know Jesus is in the house, when the people are in touch with their imperfections
II. You know Jesus is in the house, when the people there aren’t satisfied with just a touch, but seek transformation.
Watch the text. The text says He’s in Capernaum again, the house is filled, nobody can get in…and He’s preaching THE WORD.
Remember I said to you that the house is filled with many of the people He’s healed. So the folk who have been HEALED, come back now to be TAUGHT. They weren’t just satisfied to GET something from Him. They said we don’t want to just get a blessing; but we want to get a connection.
• Too many people in the modern day church are only interested in coming to GET stuff; but are not interested in connecting in relationship with the Lord.
• Too many of us want the touch but not the transformation. Why? Because to get the TRANSFORMATION will call for a sacrifice to give up some stuff that we really want to hold ON TO.
o Because, get this beloved, I can get His TOUCH and not CHANGE! But if I EVER submit to the transformation, it’s going to take the maturity to get out of some unhealthy stuff the doesn’t line up with Who He is!!!
o Too many in this modern church just want to come and shout and have a good time, but don’t want to be challenged to STRETCH, to give up some stuff, to change.
o If I get His TOUCH but don’t hear His WORD, then I won’t be TRANSFORMED. And if I don’t get transformed but I get His TOUCH….some THINGS change, but I don’t change! And God is not after changing STUFF; He’s after changing YOU.
Newsflash: God is not out after blessing you only; He’s after getting YOU. As a matter of fact, God would rather keep the blessing and work on you, because God is after your life.
- He’s not after you driving a fancy car; wearing fancy clothes.
- God is interested and concerned about transforming your life so that when people see you, they see a change in your attitude; and a change in your activity; and a change in your tastes; and a change in your surroundings!!!
I’m sorry, I forgot: We want SALVATION but no CONVERSION. We want HAPPINESS but not HOLINESS. We want to be in Jesus but just don’t want Jesus in us. We want the MIRACLE but not the MATURITY. We want TOUCH; but we don’t want to be SANCTIFIED.
• We have twisted this word sanctified. Because we think sanctified is just about speaking in tongues, not wearing makeup, not wearing pants, wearing big hats, having long church. That is not what sanctified is. Sanctified is submitting further to the filling of the Holy Spirit that’s in you to the extent that you begin to separate yourself from stuff that you know ceases to give glory and honor to God. And as you begin to transform, sanctification begins to take place. You can never speak in tongues and be sanctified. You can be Baptist and be sanctified.
How do I know I’m sanctified? Things I used to do I don’t do anymore. Ways I used to talk I don’t talk anymore. I've lost a craving and desire for some stuff.
I WANT TO BE SANCTIFIED. Lord, change my life.
- Change my attitude.
- Change my friendship circles.
- Change the way I think.
- Change the way I talk
- Change what I have a taste for.
And the only way that’s going to happen is when you come to get a WORD FROM THE LORD!!!
It said, ‘He preached the WORD’.
• You are NOT going to be transformed staying home reading books.
• Transformation ONLY comes through the PREACHING of the WORD.
o Can go to happy hour but can’t come to Bible study
o Can go to breakfast after church but can’t stay for Sunday School
And the Devil doesn’t want you to get too much Word; because the Devil knows if the believer gets too much Word, you will have to change some stuff that you really want to hold ON to.
I don’t want the Lord just to touch me; I want to Lord to change me. Because if HE transforms me, I’ll change the stuff. And so many of us are walking around asking Jesus for stuff. But Jesus says, let me change YOU. Because if I change YOU, you can change stuff for yourself.
Is there anybody in here who can declare: LORD, IF YOU CHANGE ME, I’LL CHANGE STUFF.
- I’LL CHANGE HOW I WALK!
- I’LL CHAGE HOW I TALK!
- I’LL CHANGE MY RELATIONSHIP!
- I’LL CHANGE HOW I GIVE!
You know Jesus is in the house by IMPERFECTIONS.
You know Jesus is in the house by TRANSFORMATION.
III. You know Jesus is in the house because there are people there who know how to manage people’s mess and misery.
The Bible says that there is a man there who can’t walk. And he has some friends who are willing to carry him.
- They’re not talking about him.
- They’re not on the phone discussing his plight and predicament.
- They’re not on Facebook giving little hints about what he’s going through.
Verse 3 says, they’re carrying him.
• If more of us in the church would carry PEOPLE instead of carrying MESS; if more of us knew how to lovingly and healthily manage people, even in their mess; if we spent more time praying for them, carrying them, covering them, letting them know we’re praying for them.
• But that’s not what we do in the church now. Somebody called you about somebody, you start calling somebody and start talking like you were there. They say, ‘well how do you know?’ ‘Cause so and so told me!
• We’re living in this new day where we get delight in the downfall of people.
• So you’ll come to church, watch this, and SPEAK to folk you’ve been talking about. During fellowship, you hug people you’ve lied on.
• But when Jesus is in the house, you will carry when they can’t walk for themselves.
• I need some friends who will carry me when I can’t walk for myself.
You need to develop the tenacity and resolve to tell the people in your circle:
- If you can’t carry me please don’t talk about me
- If you can’t carry me please don’t sit next to me
- If you can’t call me and encourage me and speak and encouraging word to me please don’t bother me
• I want to be in a church that I know loves the Lord so much that when I’m down I know I got some people in there who are PRAYING for me.
They’re carrying him; and they don’t have etiquette.
• Because when you see people who need to be carried, it’s not the time to be politically correct….they need to get to Jesus!
• They may be drunk…but they need Jesus.
• They may be gay…but they need Jesus.
• They may be addicted….but they need Jesus.
• They may be high….but they need Jesus.
They say, ‘Okay…ya’ll don’t want to make room for the brother to get in church through the front door, we’ll tear the roof up’.
• You know Jesus is in the house, when you have people who don’t care about interrupting stuff and doesn’t carry what anybody has to say, because you love your brother or sister so much that whatever you’ve got to do to get them delivered, that’s what you have to do.
• Church where etiquette rules
o Where you don’t shout
o Where you don’t clap
o Where you help the preacher preach or the teacher teach unless you are the one preaching or teaching
o Where you can’t say amen
o Where you don’t lift your hands
o Where you don’t invite people
o Where you don’t smile and talk to people you don’t know
But God is looking for a few good men and women who love the Lord, who will say, preacher, all I know is Jesus is in the house…and I need to do what I got to do to get my brother or my sister to the feet of Jesus. That’s what I’m going to do!!!
When Jesus is in the house, we are in touch with our imperfection.
When Jesus is in the house, we don’t just want Him to change stuff, we want Him to change us.
When Jesus is in the house, we know how to manage people’s mess.
IV. When Jesus is in the house doesn’t mean that He’s in every ONE that’s in the house.
I’m in the text. The text says that when a group of them, who were the religious leaders of the church. Some of the teachers of the law were sitting there thinking to themselves (they weren’t man enough to say it), thinking that Jesus could not hear them. And they got upset because they were thinking Jesus broke Judaic law. He ain’t got the power to be doing what he’s doing.
And so Jesus says, I’ll make a divine demonstration out of your demonic thoughts. Here they are seeing a miracle, but so caught on their rules. Because everybody that’s in the house may be religious but not spiritual.
• When I’m spiritual, I don’t care more about the rules than I care about the miracles.
• When I’m spiritual, my main concern is not the rules.
• And it is not that they are concerned about the rules; they problem is Jesus. So they will use the rules for their own benefit to get rid of the man that’s taking their power.
You have people in the church who are so power-struck and power-hungry that anybody will do everything they can to cut off the leader because they want to be the leader. And watch this—because they’re too dumb to realize that everything you did to make it happen ain’t gone get you what you want even if you get what you’re asking for.
• The church needs to be more spiritual and have more JESUS in us.
• If the church would just learn how to make it with Jesus, then we’d learn how to love each other, pray for each other, talk to each other, and walk with one another.
And do you know what Jesus did. I’ve got one way to shut them up—I’m about to heal. Because they can argue about the rules, but the one thing they can’t argue about is a testimony.
IS there anybody in here, who can say ‘argue and talk about what you want. But one thing I do have is a testimony’.
- He healed me
- He saved me
- He raised me
- He delivered me
- He turned me around
And you don’t know like I know…what the Lord has done for me.
When I was sick….He healed me
When I was lost…He found me
When I was depressed…He encouraged me
When I was discouraged…He dried my tears
I’ve got a testimony
As I look back over my life; and I think things over….I can shut up every critic in the church by saying, ‘Look what the Lord has done for me’…..no weapon formed against
-He’s a healer/lifter/miracle-worker!!!
• Tell everybody who talks about you…the one thing you can’t argue with…is that He changed me!