Summary: Speaks of the urgency & heart of evangelism.
THE ESSENTIALS OF AN EFFECTIVE CHURCH
As we read the Scriptures, we often claim the promise of Jesus, that He “will build His church.” Being in a new church, and having invested our lives and our resources in this church for the past few years, and realizing how much Jesus loves His church, many of us want very much for this church to grow. We want to see its ministries expand. We want to see the Lord bless. We want to see people’s lives changed.
This week, as I thought about church growth and the ministry and mission Jesus has given us, one passage of scripture came to mind again and again. It is the passage of Scripture, which speaks of what Jesus saw and did, just before He sent His disciples out for the first time.
This morning, I invite you to turn with me, in your copy of God’s Word, to Matthew chapter 9 and verse 35, as this morning we see together the essentials of an effective church.
- Read Matthew 9:35-10:5
As we look at this passage, as we study God’s Word together, I notice four essentials of an effective church.
An effective church has people with:
I. THE VISION AND HEART OF JESUS
Verse 36 tells says that when Jesus saw the people, He was moved with compassion because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.
My friends, if we are going to make a difference, if we are going to have an impact, then we must have the vision and the heart of Jesus.
Jesus, perhaps on a hillside with His disciples, looked toward the people and saw them in a unique way. He saw them as people with needs. He saw them as people without a Shepherd. He saw them as people, beaten and bruised, going from one hurt to another, looking for help.
Let me ask you, when you see Muslims demonstrating on TV, what do you see? When you see people destroying their marriages through immorality, what do you see? When you see a woman heading for the door of an abortion clinic, what do you see? When you see a crack head, strung out and emaciated, what do you see? When you see politicians, attacking Christianity in the hopes of getting a vote, what do you see? When you see people working more and more hours, sacrificing their lives and their families in pursuit of the American dream, what do you see?
Often, I am afraid; those in the church see people they don’t want to associate with. Often, we see people who are reaping what they’ve sown.
When Jesus looked at the people coming toward Him, He didn’t see prostitutes. He didn’t see drunks. He didn’t see abusers. He saw people hurting. He saw people in need, searching everywhere the world had told them to search, looking for help. He saw sheep without a Shepherd. He saw people in the chains of sin, looking for hope and help. “When Jesus looked out over the world, it was the helplessness of the people, their depression and suppression that He saw.”(Matthew, Volume 1, The Christ Book. Frederick Bale Brunner, p. 363) He saw that they didn’t need anything as much as they needed a good Shepherd, the One that David met in the 23rd Psalm.
My friends, the Bible tells us that people who do not know Jesus Christ are blind, they are lost, they are condemned, they are lost, slaves to sin, and spiritually dead. Jesus saw the people as they really were and that vision moved Him to compassion. It made Him physically sick. It made His stomach hurt.
My friends, if we are going to be an effective church, we must have the vision and heart of Jesus. We must begin to see people the way Jesus sees them, and we must care for them the way that Jesus does.
***### Have someone pray for our church’s eyes & heart.
Let me look on the crowd as my Savior did
Till my eyes with tears grow dim,
Let me view with pity the wandering sheep,
And love them for the love of Him. (Author unknown)
Not only must an effective church be filled with people who have the vision and the heart of Jesus, but an effective church also has people who recognize their dependence on God.
II. RECOGNIZE THEIR DEPENDENCE ON GOD
When Jesus saw the people, when He saw their need, what did He tell the disciples to do? He told them to pray. He didn’t tell them, first to fix the problems. He didn’t tell them to start a new program. He didn’t tell them to begin advertising or to list all of the things the people were doing wrong. Jesus said, “Pray.” Why? Because we are dependent on God for a harvest.