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Summary: A deductive exposition of selected texts on supporting the church’s ministry with attendance, lifestyle and financial giving.

Introduction:

1. This is God’s church because gave His life for us (Acts 20:28).

2. “Commitment” is so important to God that He searches the world for it (2 Chronicles 16:9). Each Sunday this month, we are becoming aware of a different commitment you and I can make to God through His church. Last week we looked at the ministry of the church – how we are to care for others. This week we’ll look at the how we are to support the church’s ministry.

Thesis: The church needs our support in many ways in order to carry out the mission and ministry God has in mind for us.

Key Question: How can we support the ministry of God’s church?

God gives the answer in several places. Let’s look at a few of them today.

A. By attending consistently

(Hebrews 10:25).

1. Why don’t more people attend church services? In an article for On Mission magazine, Dianne Butts, gave the top ten reasons she’s heard why people skip church. Here’s what she wrote,

10. I’ve been thinking I’d like to go to church. But I don’t know anyone. And I don’t know what to do, where to go, what to expect when I get there.

9. I don’t believe in God. Christians are dangerous fanatics, politically unpopular and always trying to shove their beliefs on others.

8. There are so many denominations . . . even Christians can’t agree among themselves what the Bible means.

7. There are so many churches . . . I don’t know which one to go to. Why should I come to yours?

6. Church is for "good" people who haven’t messed up. You don’t know where I’ve been or what I’ve done.

5. Church is not important.

4. I don’t need to go to church. I can worship God, even when I’m fishing.

3. I don’t have nice clothes to wear to church.

2. I don’t have time. Sunday morning is the only day I can sleep late.

1. People in churches are hypocrites.

ON Mission, July/Aug 2001, p. 46-48

2. The Bible directs us to attend worship services and Bible studies consistently for two reasons. First, for mutual encouragement. Second, because Jesus’ return and God’s final judgement is drawing closer every minute. Listen to Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

B. By living like Jesus faithfully

(Ephesians 4:1).

1. On Monday, June 11, 2001 convicted Oklahoma City Bomber, Timothy McVeigh was executed at a Federal Prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. McVeigh issued a final statement in which he identified himself with the words of 19th century British poet, William Henley. The closing words of Henley’s poem, "Invictius" stand as a chilling epitaph to McVeigh’s time on this planet.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010611/us/henley_bio_and_excerpt_2.html

2. McVeigh’s quote stands in stark contrast to the words of Ephesians 4:1: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” The same idea is found in other verses too. “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” “We pray … that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way….” (Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12)

3. Every day we are asked to make an important decision: “Who will be the captain of your soul?” One day each of us will face stand before our Creator. Every person will answer His question, "Who is captain of your soul?" Only those who shaped their lives around Jesus Christ will know the right answer.

C. By giving cheerfully

(1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8:12 and 9:7).

1. In an article for Newsweek, Jane Bryant Quinn gave seven tips for financial health. They included things like lower your spending, get out of debt and have an emergency fund on hand – basic money management principles. Exactly what you would expect to read in an article like that. But one thing she wrote jumped off the page. It was the kind of thing you would expect a preacher to say, she wrote, "What you do with your money shows where your values lie."

Newsweek, August 27, 2001, p. 38

2. The Bible gives clear direction on how we are to act out our values with the money God has entrusted to us.

 We need to give according to what we receive from God when we receive it. 1 Corinthians 16:2 says, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income….”

 We need to give based on what we have out of a willing heart. 2 Corinthians 8:12 says, “If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”

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