Summary: Jesus is using His church to reach a lost generation.
Seven Reasons Why Going To Church Is A Big Deal
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July 6, 2003 Chester’s FBC, Chester, Illinois Mike Fogerson, Speaker
"There is an old story about a lighthouse keeper who worked on a rocky stretch of coastline. Once a month he would receive a new supply of oil to keep the light burning so that ships could safely sail near the rocky coast.
a One night, though, a woman from a nearby village came and begged him for some oil to keep her family warm. Another time a father asked for some to use in his lamp. Another man needed to lubricate a wheel. Since all the requests seemed legitimate, the lighthouse keeper tried to please everyone and grant the requests of all.
b Toward the end of the month, he noticed his supply of oil was dangerously low. Soon it was gone, and one night on the light on the lighthouse went out. As a result, that evening several ships were wrecked and countless lives were lost.
c When the authorities investigated, the man was very apologetic. He told them he was just trying to be helpful with the oil. Their reply to his excuses, however, was simple and to the point: "You were given oil for one purpose, and one purpose only - to keep that light burning!"
d A church faces a similar commission. There is no end to the demands placed on a church’s time and resources. As a result, the foundational purposes of a church must remain supreme."
B We have looked at what our job/purpose/reasons of existence as a church in the last two weeks.
Exalt, Evangelize, Equip, Edify. . . (Worship, Evangelize, Disciple, Minister)
a Jesus is using His church to reach a lost generation. (ETS)
b I hope you’ll make going to church a big deal to you. (Obj.) Who will?
C Let’s look at the last two reasons why going to church is big deal. (T.S.)
IV The fifth reason going to church is a big deal is. . .TO ENCOUNTER GOD IN PRAYER.
A In the Acts 2:42-47 snapshot of life in the early church, the five purposes that most writers recognize are clearly evident:
a. Worship: "Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. . . .Day by day. . .they were. . .praising God and having favor with all the people" (2:43, 46-47a)
b. Evangelism: "And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved" (2:47b)
c. Discipleship: "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching" (2:42)
d. Ministry/Service: "And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need" (2:44-45)
e. Fellowship: "They were continually devoting themselves. . .to fellowship, to the breaking of bread. . . .they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart" (2:42, 46)
*There is another purpose of the church that is present in this snapshot.
*AC 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Emphasis added) PRAYER WAS VITAL PART OF THE EARLY CHURCH’S LIFE.
* "They all joined together constantly in prayer" (1:14), "Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer" (3:1), "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken" (4:31), 6:4, 10:9, 12:5, 13:3, 14:23, 16:25, 20:36, 28:8
*Prayer was as much a part of the purpose of the early church as were worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, and fellowship.
B Scripture calls us to exercise prayer! (Moses, Abraham, Joshua, David, Jeremiah, Jesus)
Satan calls us to excuse prayer! (Were to busy, I can handle it on my own, prayer doesn’t change things. . .)
*If Satan can not stop us from praying, he’ll seek to lead us astray so our prayers are ineffective.
ISA 59:1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
PS 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
*Isaiah & David both understood that God DOES NOT hear the prayers of a person who persists in sin. "Oh, Mike that is the old testament."
JMS 5:16b ". . .The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
". . .The prayer of an unrighteous man is powerless and ineffective."
*If Satan can tempt you to sin, then your prayers are emasculated.
*Speaking of emasculation. . .listen up men!