Summary: A series of Wednesday evening messages based on the book, "Why Churches Die" by Dr. Brunson & Dr. Caner. Truly interesting study!

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The Local Church

Is it Dead, Dying, or Dynamic?

Part 1 – “The Examination”

Matthew 16:13-16

* Several years ago I read a book co-authored by Dr. Mac Brunson (Pastor of FBC, Jacksonville, FL) and Dr. Ergun Caner (President and Dean of Liberty Baptist Seminary). The book was entitled “Why Churches Die?” Have you ever considered the fact that local churches are dying? Look around us and see. In our area, over the past 10 years how many churches have closed their doors, merge, and/or disbanded? Furthermore, how many local fellowships are ‘holding on’ by the skin of their teeth? I do not say this to cast stone but rather to sober us to the stunning reality that the local congregation (by and large) seems to be dying if not dead.

* Why do I personally believe this? Because the average church depends are not really in the business of making disciples. For growth, they depend on generational growth and candidly, the death rate exceeds the birthrate for believers. Yet, consider the church which Jesus came for.

* Isn’t the church the Bride, Body, and Building of Christ and doesn’t He say, that HE will build His church? So, did Jesus get out of the construction business? Did He break off the engagement? Has He abandoned His own body? What has happened? I have another question.

* Why is it that at the same time people seem to be thinking more about their spiritual lives than they have in YEARS that the “local church” is not considered an option for those answers? And so, the local church seems to be dying or is already spiritually dead.

* Over the next weeks, I want to offer us some sobering thoughts on this subject. Let’s begin by reading (and being reminded of) Jesus’ first words about His church. (Read Text) I submit we might need to spend some time simply hovering over this passage of scripture to discover the divine power, purpose, and priority for the local church. However, that’ll have to wait.

* The picture of the model church seems to be given to us in Acts 2. Candidly, we need to read the entire chapter to get the picture, but let me give the “cliff notes” on it. They entire church (120 people) were together praying and seeking God when the Spirit of God fell with a tremendous sound (compare it to a tornado). Supernatural things began to take place and the entire town came to see what was happening. Here’s the part we Baptist don’t care for: The filling of the Holy Spirit impacted these people so drastically that the community accused them of being intoxicated (though it was 9am). This interaction gave Peter the opportunity to stand and preach the word. After He preached, He didn’t extend an invitation, but they were so impacted the anointing of the Spirit that they asked, “What must we do?”

* The result was that those 120 believers, working together, assisted some 3000 in coming to faith. Now, let’s pick up in verse 42 and following.

* Consider this; the Lord led this group of people to this church for a divine purpose and He used a people who were unschooled but not unspiritual. How different is the church game today?

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