TITLE: TAKIN’ IT TO THE STREETS
SCRIPTURE: ST. MATTHEW 28:19-20
We continue in this month long campaign – “COMPEL THEM TO COME IN” – I call your attention this morning to a very familiar passage of Scripture oftentimes referred as “THE GREAT COMMISSION.” Turn with me to ST. MATTHEW 28:19-20. I lift as a thought this morning as we continue to become equipped to Grow the Church, the thought being – Takin’ It To The Streets. My initial thought was to title this message “IT’S GO TIME” but I was afraid you might take it quite literal and get up and go home.
WE ARE LONG PAST THE DAYS WHEN PEOPLE MOVE TO TOWN LOOKING FOR A CHURCH TO ATTEND. Although there are still many who do so, they are in the minority. The American churches have become good at –
• Building attractive buildings
• Promoting attractive events
• Mirroring the culture in order to have contact with the population
I am fine with buildings that glorify the Lord and events that communicate the good news of Jesus. however, mirroring the culture will actually do more harm than good. When we are indistinguishable from the world, we cease to be salt and light. When we can no longer tell where the world ends and the Church begins, we have a problem. There is another option. WE MUST TAKE THE MESSAGE BACK TO THE STREETS.
• Jesus was not crucified in a Cathedral between two candles but on a Cross between two thieves
• He was crucified by the side of a road in a place where soldiers cursed and gambled and religious people behaved like the common rubble
• Jesus was not carried from Revival to Revival - but from Judgment Hall, to Judgment Hall
• Jesus did not raise offerings for Pastors Anniversaries – Sold Out for 30 Pieces of Silver
• His message is needed in the State House and in the School House
• His message is needed in the Marketplace and in the Metroplex
• If we do not take His message back to the streets, the day is rapidly coming when most of our churches will be more like Museums than Houses of Worship
Before His ASCENSION, Jesus issued what has come to be called THE GREAT COMMISSION. A “COMMISSION” is “AN AUTHORITATIVE COMMAND – A DIRECTIVE – A COMMAND.” When Jesus spoke these words directly to His disciples, and indirectly to us, He was giving the church her marching orders. He was telling exactly what He expected us to do in His physical absence.
• The disciples took the Lord’s command seriously
• They went into the world and shared the Gospel of Jesus and thousands upon thousands were saved by the Grace of God
• Their message was so powerful and their witness so effective that their critics accused them of “TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN” -- ACTS 17:6
Well…..That was then, and this is now! What was given as The Great Commission has turned into what some have labeled THE GREAT OMISSION. When something is “OMITTED” it is -- LEFT OUT – UNDONE - NEGLECTED” Instead of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth as the Lord commanded, the modern church won’t even take the gospel to the end of the street. Consider the following -
• 95% of all Christians have never won a soul to Christ
• How many could come back and thank you for sharing the Gospel and leading them to Christ?
• 80% of all Christians do not consistently witness for Christ
• Less than 2% are involved in the Ministry of Evangelism
• 71% do not give toward the financing of The Great Commission
• Less than 1 in 10 will share their faith with at least one other person in a lifetime
• Only 1 in 20 will ever lead someone to faith in Christ during their life
• That is why for most Christians it’s called the “Great Omission”
• There are sins of Commission and sins of Omission
• I believe not being involved with the Great Commission is a sin of Omission
These statistics are sad because they reveal the TRUE STATE OF THE MODERN CHURCH. We are satisfied to be saved, but we are not motivated to see others come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Somehow we have come to believe the end of our responsibility is to –
• Come to church a couple of times a week
• Pray when we can
• Read the Bible every now and then
• Live a life that is slightly cleaner than the world around us
• Peter reminds us we are Just barely Saved
• I PETER 4:18 “AND IF THE RIGHTEOUS SCARCELY BE SAVED, WHERE SHALL THE UNGODLY AND THE SINNER APPEAR?”
We have forgotten the truth that CHRISTIANITY IS A MILITANT, ACTIVIST FAITH. Our calling is not to endure to the end; but to storm the very gates of Hell. Our orders are not to sit by while the world drops off into Hell; our orders are to go into the world and tell them the glorious news of a crucified and risen Savior who specializes in SAVING SOULS – CHANGING LIVES – ETERNAL DESTINIES.
• ST. MATTHEW 11:12 “AND FROM THE DAYS OF JOHN THE BAPTIST UNTIL NOW THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN SUFFERETH VIOLENCE, AND THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE”
When it comes to having things happen in our lives and in the lives of those that are still lost, most of us would really like it if God would just hurry up and do something about it -- get to business of saving souls – stop all these mass shootings – school shootings – folks hating one another. God would you please, just hurry up and do something about it.
• We want Him to light the Fire for us
• We want Him to send us more Power
• We want Him to cause a Revival in our churches
• We want Him to fill the Pews at the Church
We definitely cannot do anything without the Lord! The problem is not God not moving, no, no, the problem is, we are not moving. Let’s think about some of the things God has already done for us –
• He sent His Son, Jesus
• He has cleansed us from sins stain
• He has released us from sins power
• He has given us His word as a foundation and a weapon to use against the devil
• He has given each of us a good measure of faith
• He has provided a whole Armor of God to use
• He has filled us with the Holy Spirit and with Power
• He has broken the curse of the law, which was death
• He has promised to meet all our needs
• He has given us the authority to bind and loose in the earth, and the spirit realm
• He gave us access to come boldly into His presence
• He took the stripes for our healing
Taking all of that in consideration, I cannot help but think, perhaps, just maybe, there is something that we are supposed to do for him and that’s outreach. It’s time for us to get moving and let’s start Takin’ It To The Streets! Have you ever been frustrated playing board games or dominos with family and friends someone does not realize it is their turn? Or –
• When you are at a traffic light, and the person in front of you is on the phone
• When you’re standing in a line at the bank, and the person in front of you is just starring into space
• When you picked up the kids last night, and it was supposed to be someone else turn
• When you are waiting for your name or number to be called, calling everyone but you
You know things like that make you frustrated, I believe God gets that way with us sometime. When He blesses us time and time again, and we keep all the blessings to ourselves, and don’t want to share Him with anyone. We want to share everything else except the Goodness of the Lord.
• Want everyone to see that new Grandbaby
• Everybody doesn’t want to see that baby, but we proudly show them off anyway
• Show off that New Vehicle Lord blessed you with
• Other folks car won’t even start – don’t want to see your new car – show it off anyway
• Come back showing Pictures from your Vacation – folks too broke to walk across the street, don’t want to see your Vacation Photos – we show them with a smile anyhow
But when it comes to the Goodness of the Lord and what He has done for us – we keep it to ourselves. The devil recognizes that if he’s going to bring down, as many Christians as possible, he has to work hard, but not only is he working over-time, he’s working triple time --
• He doesn’t want you to share the Gospel with anyone
• He doesn’t want you to go into the streets and share the good news
• He doesn’t want you to tell anybody about Jesus Christ
• He doesn’t want the church to grow, like it should be doing
• He doesn’t want us to fulfill the Great Commission
He said – GO YE THEREFORE. This is a command from Almighty God Himself, it means – TO MOVE – TO DO SOMETHING – TO GO SOMEWHERE – TO GO OUTSIDE OF THIS BUILDING - and go get them. The Lord gave us the mandate –
• To share the Good New to the lost
• To feed and take care of the homeless
• To encourage someone that’s down today, but better tomorrow
• To love the Unlovable
• To speak to the Unspeakable
• To Go and Get them
• No matter what the cost
Why Did the Lord want us to go and tell and get them? Because –
• He knew they would not come by themselves
• He knew they would turn to drugs and alcohol instead of Him
• He knew they would come to church only on New Year, Easter, and Christmas
• He knew they needed help to get through all the pain and suffering that life would bring them
• He knew
That’s why, we have to do OUTREACH --
• That’s why, we have to tell everyone we know about Jesus Christ
• That’s why, we have to go and get them
• Because they can’t come by themselves
• They won’t by themselves, unless something drastic happen in their life
Churches around the country in particular around LAS VEGAS will be full today after the worst mass shooting in our countries modern history. Heard one atheist who was at the Concert and survived say He is now a Believer in God. He asked God to protect and help him during the shooting. The interesting thing was my initial thought, didn’t you just say you were an Atheist? If you didn’t believe in God why were you asking Him for help if you did not believe in Him? This lets me know, even those who proclaim to be Atheist are ripe and ready to receive the Word!
The real mark of the HEALTH OF THE CHURCH is not the SIZE OF THE BUDGET – SIZE OF THE STAFF – BEAUTY OF THE CHOIR – GLORY OF THE MUSIC – WONDER OF THE ARCHITECTURE - or any of the worldly measures we like to use. The real mark of the church in Jesus’ eyes is a church that is 100 percent dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission.
While the church has pulled the covers of complacency and apathy about her and has fallen into the deep slumber of self-satisfaction and comfort the world has continued its headlong plunge toward Hell. Even while we sleep, the DOOR OF EVANGELISM IN AMERICA IS CLOSING.
• Twenty years ago in America, you could approach the door of a total stranger, tell them who you were and what you wanted and they would open the door, let you in and listen as you shared with them the Gospel
• That day has passed!
• Twenty years ago you could have the Bible on your desk at the workplace
• Now we must leave them in the back window of our vehicle in the parking lot at the job
• Twenty years ago when a stranger sneezed we said “God Bless You”
• Now we are afraid those words will offend them
• In spite of the conditions around us - in spite of the difficulties and dangers - in spite of every excuse we offer - The Great Commission still stands!
• God still expects His people to take His message to a lost world so that they might hear the wonderful words of life
Has “The Great Commission” become “The Great Omission” in your life and mine? Are we as a church doing everything we can to find inroads of outreach into the world around us? The Mandate of The Great Commission is to “GO” – Takin’ It To The Streets.
• The Word “Go” is a word of action!
• We cannot “Go” if we are sitting still
• We cannot “Go” if we stay where we are
• We cannot “Go” if we do not make a move
• This verb literally means “As You Go”
• As we pass through this world we are to carry the Gospel message with us, sharing it with everyone we meet along the way
As we Takin’ It To The Streets there are only two ways we can do this. I like to refer to it as the TWO - L’s. It involves our LIFESTYLE and it involves our LIPS. Our Lifestyle is Critical. We cannot have a Shoddy lifestyle and want someone to follow us to Christ. We cannot live any kind of way! Our Lifestyle ought to be like SALT. When we put salt on our food it has the tendency to create a thirst. Our lifestyle ought to create a thirst for the Lord in those we encounter. Our lives should be like a GREAT SPOTLIGHT which directs its beam toward Jesus. If He is the focus of our lives, men will see Him lived out through our lives day by day!
Secondly to Takin’ It To The Streets – IT INVOLVES OUR LIPS -- We are told to “TEACH.” That word has the idea of “MAKING DISCIPLES OR TO INSTRUCT.” We are to live the right kind of life, but we are also told to share our faith.
• We are to tell a lost world what Jesus did for us when He saved us
• We are to tell a lost world what He can do for them, if they will trust Him as we did
• It is not enough to just show it, we must also say it!
OUR DUTY IS TO TELL!
• If the Lord just saved us to keep us out of Hell - then He would have taken us to Heaven as soon as He saved us
• If He had just saved us to Worship and Praise Him - then He would have taken us straight home to glory to sing in the heavenly choir
• He saved us so that we would have a story to tell!
• He leaves us here so we can tell the story
• He saved us to use us in this world as His tools of ministry to lost sinners!
How well are we carrying out this command? I recall hearing a story about that great American Evangelist from the 18th Century – D.L. MOODY. It has been told he was attending a convention in Indianapolis on mass evangelism, he asked his song leader Ira Sankey to meet him at 6 o’clock one evening at a certain street corner.
--When Sankey arrived, Mr. Moody asked him to stand on a box and sing
--Once a crowd had gathered, Moody spoke briefly and then invited the people to follow him to the nearby convention hall
--Soon the auditorium was filled with spiritually hungry people, and the great evangelist preached the gospel to them
--Then the convention delegates began to arrive. Moody stopped preaching and said, “Now we must close, as the brethren of the convention wish to come and discuss the topic, ‘HOW TO REACH THE MASSES”
--Moody graphically illustrated the difference between talking about doing something and going out and doing it
There is a vast difference between talking about it and doing it. We can –
• Read all the Books we want
• We can attend all the Seminars and Workshops we want
• We can Analyze it all we want
• We can hold all the Bible Studies on the subject
• But until we decide we are going to do the work – nothing in the Church will change
FOR YEARS THE CHURCH HAS HAD THIS COMMAND TURNED AROUND. Instead of going out and pursuing those who have yet to come to faith in Christ, we expect them to come to us. Churches use RADIO – INTERNET – SOCIAL MEDIA - to broadcast their service and event times, and simply assume the masses will show up. We know that approach has not worked alone.
• Jesus did not command us to sit and wait for them to come to us
• He commands us to go to them!
• If Fellowship is to experience the salvation of men, women, and children, we must be willing to take the Gospel to them, compelling them to believe in Christ by faith
• That is the biblical model we read over and over again
• Reaching our community for Christ requires some good, old fashioned work
The Life of the Church can be exciting. However; oftentimes we don’t carry our ministries far enough.
• Sunday School - in the Building
• Morning Worship – in the Building
• Bible Study – in the Building
• Woman’s Ministry – 96% in the Building
• Men’s Ministry – 99% in the Building
• Ministry Meetings – in the Building
• Deacon/Deaconess meetings – in the Building
--We are spending too much time in the Building
--We are spending too much time in the Church
--We are spending too much time talking about what we need to do
--Ok, I need to end this message now
--The Streets Need Us
--It is time to start -- Takin’ It To The Streets