Summary: Will we do what it takes to reach our community for Christ?
A. Have you ever had one of those experiences where you read something and it just seemed to jump off the page at you? I had that happen this week as I was reading a sermon in “Revival Fires”. It was one sentence, and yet I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.
1. That one sentence was, “Claim a city for Christ and then take it”.
B. I thought, “Wow, what a challenge”. This goes beyond just praying for your city. As you hear it you can see a military team sitting down and planning what it will take to do it.
B. As I spent time thinking about this throughout the week, I came across another story.
1. A man shows up at the pearly gates. St. Peter meets him there and asks him, “Have you ever done anything of particular merit?” “Well, I can think of one thing”, the man says. “Once, on a trip to the Black Hills in Sturgis, South Dakota, I came upon a gang of high testosterone bikers who were threatening a young woman. I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn’t listen. So I approached the largest, most heavily tattooed biker. I smacked him on the head, kicked over his bike, ripped out his nose ring and threw it on the ground, and told him, Leave her alone NOW or you will answer to me.” St. Peter was impressed. “When did this happen?” “Just a few minutes ago”, was the man’s reply.
C. That’s how I sometimes feel as I think about “turning this town upside down” for Christ.
D. I think of the fact that a lot of the men in this area are stonecutters or loggers. Tough guys. I think about the fact that there are more bars than churches. You look around and you see the poverty. Hancock has one of the highest dropout rates in the county. We have young people who spend their nights roaming the streets at all hours. Broken homes. Drugs. Alcoholism. Teen pregnancy. Violence. How can we make a difference for Christ?
II. MAIN TEXT
A. First of all, we need to know that apart from Christ we can’t. John 15:4
B. It will take people of prayer and commitment. If we are content “playing church” it won’t happen.
1. This brings us to an interesting point. Last week we talked about discipleship. This is all a part of that. But why do we come to church?
a. If it is for any other reason than to hear from God AND respond to Him, we are missing the point.
b. I was told that a young person wasn’t going to come back to church because he was bored. First of all, I will commend him for his honesty. I can tell by the looks on some of your faces that you are bored almost to tears, but you would never admit it. WHY? Because often church is seen as a performance. You have the people on the stage (Pastor, musicians, special singers, Don or Dale) and then you have the audience-YOU. We need to learn how to respond to God. What is He saying to ME? What is it that He is calling ME to do? Am I worshipping Him or am I just going through the motions? Is my faith real or am I “just doing it” as Nike says?
c. I cannot give you a magic formula to make your relationship with God dynamic. It takes you wanting more and more of Him. It requires you to make TIME for Him. It really is that simple.
C. It will require us to take up our cross and to fear no one except God. Matt. 10:16-26; Ps. 27:1-3; 118:6
D. It will require us to lay all earthly things at His feet and to put His kingdom first. Matt. 6:33
E. It will require cultivating a warrior mentality.
1. God is called a man of war. Exodus 15:3
2. We are called to be “good soldiers” (II Tim. 2:3) and to “fight the good fight” (I Tim. 6:12)
3. Look at Matthew 11:12. (READ)
a. Violence-to use force; suggests forceful endeavor.
b. Violent-a forceful or violent man. Those possessed of eagerness and zeal, instead of yielding to opposition.
d. Modern day-Jim Elliott, Moody, Spurgeon, Foxes book of Martyrs.
A. As we close out 2003 and head into 2004, I would ask you to be praying for this church and me. I believe God wants us to have a presence in this community, a presence that goes beyond our little ad in the Town Crier that gives service times.
B. I think often of the verse in Acts 19:14, 15.
C. I want Calvary Baptist Church to be known in Hell.
D. That’s the challenge. What will we do with it?