Summary: This sermon emphasizes the fact that Pastors and Elders should not be the only, nor the primary, "soul winners" of the church.

“Rising Above the Crowd”

Have you ever considered how our church would get along without a full-time pastor? After all, many of the young churches of the New Testament didn’t have a “pastor” there most of the time but they grew and flourished just the same.

The fact is, that with or without a pastor, our service to God--our effectiveness of bringing light to this dark world is up to us. You see, what’s wrong with our churches today is that we tend to leave the majority of the “soul winning” and ministering up to our Pastor, Elders and leaders of the church because we think that they are more capable--we feel like this is what they are called to do. The problem with this mentality is that it is not effective and it’s not what the bible teaches. But even so, many believe that IF we had a Pastor that could preach powerful and heartfelt sermons every week, then the church would grow almost automatically. Right now, we have no idea who our next pastor will be nor do we know if he will be a gifted speaker or not. You see, it’s a fact that every minister is not an evangelist but it is also a fact that every member should be, in some way, a minister. Turn with me if you will to the gospel of Luke chapter 5:17-26 and I’ll show you what I mean.

“17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for

him to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins....” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Now then, with just a “surface reading” of this story, we are quick to focus on the paralytic that was brought to Jesus. But, is he indeed the main character here-- is the plot of this event built around him and his condition alone? Is this story recorded so that all paralytics will know that they need to get some friends to take them to be healed?

Not necessarily. You see, if you take a closer look at this story, you will notice that it could very easily represent the organization of the church even today. For instance, in the story, We have a house that they are all meeting in....and for the sake of comparison we’ll call this house, which was actually Peter’s home, the church building. Now who does the

bible say was inside this church?

Religious leaders, apostles, teachers of the Law, the sick and disabled, and I’m sure that there were also some there that were just curious as to what was going on. Now, in our church today, don’t we have a similar combination of people?

And as this story will indicate, sometimes that barrier that prevents others from getting into the church is the people already inside! I’ve often said that there is no perfect church, and you will be quick to notice that the imperfection of the church can always be traced back to the people in it. As long as there are people in the church, there will

be problems. I’ve had many people often tell me that the reason that they don’t go to church is because there are some hypocrites and other undesirable characters that are members and even officers there. Well, if you are waiting to find a church where these kinds of people don’t exist, then Satan will succeed in keeping you out of the body of Christ

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