Summary: On the whole, our churches are not what they ought to be, as evidenced by the conditions brought forth in this message, which are actually indications of the need for revival.
The Church’s Time Of Tragedy
Text: Acts 20:28-32
Intro: As you listened to that title, you may have entertained the thought that the Church has always experienced tragedy of one form or another since its inception. If you did, you would be right. The Church of Jesus Christ has endured physical persecution, verbal slander, ridicule, the onslaughts of heresy via false teachers, as well as rifts among its own ranks. Indeed, the Church has seen its share of tragedy over the centuries.
The strange thing about all this is that when the Church faced these challenges and threats to its existence, it always seemed to come through on the other side stronger and more determined to serve her Lord. The obvious threats resulted in a bold trust toward God. As a matter of fact, even in modern times, in foreign countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Laos, and other Asian nations, where persecution of Believers is still the norm, the Church continues to grow and burn with fervor and faithfulness for Christ.
One would think that where there is less persecution and pressure, the Church would flourish. However, the opposite has proven to be true. All one must do is look at the spiritual condition of the Church in the United States to be assured of that fact. America has more religious freedom than any nation on the face of the earth, yet most churches have either reached a plateau, or are in decline. Our country boasts of churches in the hundreds of thousands, yet few of those churches can be said to be spiritually aflame for Jesus. It is precisely this condition that I believe can accurately be dubbed “THE CHURCH’S TIME OF TRAGEDY.”
Theme: The Church in America is experiencing…
I. THE TRAGEDY OF THE UNATTENDED CHURCH(1)
A. In Spite Of The Fact That Jesus Paid The Ultimate Price.
1. Jesus purchased the Church with His own blood.
Acts 20:28b “…feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
2. Jesus loved the Church with all His being.
Eph.5: 25b “…Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”
NOTE:  Oh the tragedy of the unattended Church! Christ gave His all that we might have the privilege to be a part of His body, the Church, yet so many take lightly the opportunity to meet and worship in freedom. This is a privilege the majority of our world does not possess.
 K.P. Yohannan, president of Gospel For Asia, says, “In India proper there are nearly one billion people—three times the population of the United States. Only 3.5 percent of these call themselves Christians.”(2) Many Christians in India are persecuted, even killed. Numerous others are disowned by their families for becoming Christians. These dear saints count it a privilege to attend the House of God.
B. In Spite Of The Fact That Attendance Was Jesus’ Practice.
Luke 4:16 “And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”
C. In Spite Of The Fact That Attendance Was The Joy Of The Psalmist.
Ps. 122:1 “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
NOTE:  According to Barna Research, “40% of American adults attend church in a typical weekend.”(3) That information was valid as of the year 2000, when “the population of the U.S. on April 1, 2000 was 281,421,906.”(4) The percentage is perhaps even less for 2003.
 Dr. Jerry Vines has said, “In the average church the Sunday morning service is a big blowout, the Sunday night service is a little turnout, and the Wednesday night service is practically a fallout!”(5)
 Dr. Vines also makes this painfully accurate observation:
If we were building our church buildings to accommodate the prayer meeting crowd in the average church, we would be building pup tents instead of the beautiful buildings we are constructing.(6)
 Faithfulness in God’s house is commanded.
Heb. 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.”
[4a] It is the Church that God uses to win the lost to Christ.
[4b] It is the Church that God uses to mature Christians’ lives.
[4c] It is the Church that God uses to bring Bible believing people together in fellowship, love and worship.
[4d] It is the Church that God uses to demonstrate His presence, power, and love to a lost world.
 According to one poll, “48% of church-goers attend an average of once a month.”(7) It would seem that even when some people come to church, they come infrequently, or for the wrong reason.