Summary: Becoming a New Testament, missions minded church.
The Antioch Church
Purpose Statement: To renew our focus on becoming a New Testament
missions minded church
In many churches these days, the buzz word is “purpose statement”.
Churches and church leaders are in many churches trying to put together a
statement that reflects what their purpose is as a church. I recently
researched this and looked at several churches in Houston and Dallas to see
what they said about themselves. Here are just a few:
Champion Forest Baptist, Houston,- “our mission is to follow the Bibles
directive to worship Jesus Christ, to instruct and encourage Christians to
become like Christ and to present Jesus to the world as Savior and Lord.
South Main Baptist, Houston- “a dynamic faith community committed to
being Christ’s people, reflecting His light, growing God’s kingdom.”
First Baptist Houston said “enlist and equip fully devoted followers of Christ”
Second Baptist Houston simply quoted Matt 28:19-20 on their web site.
Memorial Baptist, Grapevine- “We are a place for restoring and deepening
relationships with God and others that result in passionate pursuit of
unreached people across the street and around the world.” All of these
statements are good to some degree. They focus on what has historically
been the purpose of the church.
We are spending some time looking at the early church in the book of
Acts. Our purpose is to look at what the focus and purpose was of the
church. Also, we want to be aware of what their method for reaching people
with the gospel was and what their motivtion was. As we look at the church
in Antioch today, we want to examine ourselves and ask ourselves some
quesitons about whether or not we are following the Biblical model for the
church. Are our passions similiar to that of the church in the Bible? Do we
display the same characteristics? Do we share the same emphasis and
motivation in our work? Read Acts 11:19-26
1. They preached and taught Christ crucified . They believed that salvation is
by faith in Christ vs.20,23 (Acts 15:11,35). They didn’t preach man made
ideas or philosophy. They had a gospel that was Christ centered. Scripture
clearly indicates that man will eventually not endure sound doctrine, but
rather will gather for themselves teachers who will tell them what they want
to hear (2 Tim 4:3-4) They will turn aside from truth to myths. The church
must always be on guard to guard against turning aside to myth and a man
centered gospel. We must always preach and teach Christ crucified, dead
and buried and raised from the dead by God Almighty. We must always
preach about the uniqueness of Christ.
The Results of the Focus
2. There was evidence of grace vs.23- they treated one another and others
with respect and honor. If grace means “unmerited favor” then they
understood and were humble about the nature of their salvation and service to
God. They didn’t have an ungrateful heart. They thanked God often for His
wonderful works. They were dependent on Him to bear fruit.
3. There was great fruitfulness v.21,24 - you could see evidence of a effective
testimony. They were missions minded (Acts 13;3). They took Christ’s
command to go out into all the world. They took their two best speakers and
leaders and sent them out on mission. They saw their purpose statement as
being the great commission of Christ. FBC Hull has a purpose statement
written in it’s constitution and by-laws that says this “The purpose statement
of FBC Hull, shall be to carry out the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus
Christian fellowshiop and growth in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ
among the saints.”
Paul Powell once said “Many churches today remind me of a laboring crew
trying to gather in a harvest while they sit in the tool shed. They go to the
tool shed every Sunday and they study bigger and better methods of
agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and then get up and go
home. Then they come back that night, study bigger and better methods of
agriculture, sharpen their hoes and grease their tractors and go home again.
They come back Wednesday night, and again study bigger and better methods
of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and get up and go
home. They do this week in and week out, year in and year out, and nobody
ever goes out into the fields to gather in the harvest.”
A missionary in Africa was once asked if he really liked what he was doing.
His response was shocking. “Do I like this work?” he said “No. My wife
and I do not like dirt. We have reasonable refined sensibilities. we do not