Summary: Dealing with what Kills a Church and what brings life back into a church.
SIGNS OF NEW LIFE IN A CHURCH—Ezekiel 37:1-14
INTRODUCTION: What Killed the Church? Revelation 3:1 Sardis, living in name but dead in reality, is called upon by the Lord to be watchful, to repent and strengthen the things that remain and be ready to die. They are warned that, if they fail, the Lord will come upon them as a thief and they shall know not the hour of His coming.
SARDIS IS NOTHING MORE THAN A LIFELESS CORPSE. Many of the present day churches are in the same condition as Sardis.
A CORPSE IS ALWAYS RECOGNIZED BY ITS APPEARANCE. A corpse is always very quiet, and those who assemble in its presence are always expected to act accordingly. It is dignified.
OUR CHURCHES HAVE EVERYTHING, PROGRAMS, PLANS, METHODS, BEAUTIFULLY ARRANGED BUILDINGS, MODERN FACILITIES, THESE ARE ALL VERY WONDERFUL BUT THERE IS SOMETHING MISSING. There is no life, no power for progress, and no moving of the Holy Spirit to give life.
When the Hand of the Lord is upon us, NEW LIFE OCCURS, AND we will experience…
1. A CONCERN that was not there before
2. A COMPASSION that was not there before
3. A COOPERATION that was not there before.
We will exhibit some signs that we have been touched by the Lord.
A. BEAUTY IN THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVER
1. THE WEEPING
2. THE WORSHIPPING
3. THE WILLINGNESS
B. BEAUTY IN THE LOVE OF THE BELIEVER
1. FOR THE SAVIOUR
2. FOR THE SAINTS
3. FOR THE SINNERS
4. FOR THE SCRIPTURES
C. BEAUTY IN THE LABOR OF THE BELIEVER
1. BRINGING FAMILIES
2. BRINGING FRIENDS
3. BRINGS FAITH
ILLUSTRATE: LOVE IN THE HOME--If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not Love, I am a housekeeper—not a homemaker.
If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not Love, my children learn cleanliness—not godliness.
Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh. Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.
Love is present through the trials. Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.
Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, and then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.
Love is the key that opens salvation’s message to a child’s heart.
Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection. Now I glory in God’s perfection of my child. As a mother, there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is Love.
A. A BURDEN TO KNOW GOD’S WORD-- Paul Harvey said, "Too many Christians are no longer fishers of men but keepers of the aquarium."
B. A BURDEN TO KNOW GOD’S WILL-- A free flowing river purifies itself and is alive with life. So also is the Christian who becomes involved with others in sharing the Gospel. That Christian will discover the reason for his or her existence. Being involved in the ministry of a witness is essential to finding the fulfillment we desire as humans.
C. A BURDEN TO DO GOD’S WORK-- Evangelism is not what we tell people, unless what we tell is totally consistent with who we are. It is who we are that is going to make the difference. If we do not truly enjoy our faith, nobody is going to catch the fire of enjoyment from us. If our lives are not totally centered on Christ, we will not be Christ-bearers for others, no matter how pious our words.
ILLUSTRATE: There is something wrong when people are leaving the church to find God.
A. A BOLDNESS TO SPEAK FOR CHRIST--The person who trusts in the power of confident prayer knows there’s someone on the other end who hears their call and comes to their aid. Hebrews 10:19ff tells us that we now can have "boldness" (KJV) to enter into very presence of God because of the blood of Jesus. We can think this way only because Jesus has opened the way for us to approach God’s throne and earnestly ask whatever we desire according to His Will.
B. BOLDNESS TO STAND FOR CHRIST-- Your character is built on what you stand for, your reputation on what you fall for. Be bold in what you stand for, but be careful what you fall for. To stand right with Christ, one must first learn to walk with Christ.
C. A BOLDNESS TO SERVE CHRIST--God is the source of love; Christ is the proof of love; Service is the expression of love; Boldness is the outcome of love.
A. BEWARE OF SATAN’S TRAPS--The Enemy of the world, Satan, was on the side of life’s road with a very large cage. The man coming towards him noticed that it was crammed full of people of every kind, young, old, from every race and nation."