Summary: This message deals with the new beginnings that God takes a church through. The message discusses the opportunities that God has in store for each church.
THE STATE OF THE CHURCH ADDRESS
Much like the State of the Union Address that we will hear just 2 weeks from now – I want to bring you the State of the Church Address today. I will not be making promises about how to reform the church – because I believe the day we are living in demands that man move beyond making promises about what he is going to do and allow God to come to the forefront and perform the work that He wants completed. We are all a part of this masterplan; and God desires for you to join with him in this New Year.
Gen. 12:2, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.”
Psalm 33:12, “12Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people
He has chosen as His own inheritance.
Jer. 12:17, “17But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and
destroy it,” declares the LORD.
Where are we as a church today? What is God doing in the church today? How can we stay tied into what God is doing today? Where do you fit in to what God is doing?
These are all thought-provoking questions that challenge us as Christians to take a good, long look at the church today.
Is the church relevant to the world that we live in today? What I mean is; do we all just come together to get a good blessing – or are we concerned about reaching out to the lost?
There is nothing wrong with getting the ‘blessings’ – but if that is your whole focus on why you come to church; you’ve missed something – church is not about us…It’s about HIM! We have it all backwards if we are only concerned about our own needs; what we got out of a service; whether we ‘felt’ the spirit or not – each of these are all signs of maturity.
1) WHERE ARE WE AS A CHURCH TODAY?
a) Even as Samuel was instructed to not judge a book by it’s cover – you and I are also instructed to also allow God to do his work in which He chooses to and not second-guess Him!
i) 1 Sam. 16:7, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. Forthe LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
(1) At this time it was written of by Josephus that David was probably 10 years old here, others date him as being about 15 years old.
b) We are in the maturation process that began long before I came as pastor. This is a long-term course that God is taking us through.
c) Don’t grow weary in well doing – that’s the encouragement that you and I receive from Paul in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
(1) Bottom Line – we are right in the middle of where God would have us!
2) WHAT IS GOD DOING IN THE CHURCH TODAY?
a) I believe that God is doing today what He has been trying to do for years.
b) It can be observed that in a time of transition many will fall away because of discouragement and reluctance to going forward.
i) Take government for example: in every political transition there are many in positions of authority and prestige that fade out with the new leadership. Sometimes it’s intentional, yet there are others who fade into the shadows because they don’t understand what’s going on or refuse to go that direction.
c) God is doing today in the church what He has been doing since the fall of man in Genesis 3. There has been the obvious attempt of God to restore you and I into the right relationship with Him. The one thing that separates us is S-I-N!
d) So, in order for this process to be completed, God must cleanse us – purify us – prepare us – make us whole (sanctified, set apart).
i) This is what God is doing today.
3) HOW CAN WE STAY TIED INTO WHAT GOD IS DOING?
a) As we see the Spirit of God having liberty in our services we have begun to move in the right direction.
b) God is calling His children to move from pettiness to productivity. If you have been frustrated by what you have seen in the world of Christendom, then you are probably feeling that pull of a more productive, fruit-bearing, life for Christ.
c) It requires constant discipline to keep away from “itsy-bitsy thinking.”