Summary: With the USA disintegrating and the USA Church decaying - this message speaks to the greatest need of the day.
The Greatest Need
* Tonight, I desire to do 2 things which are seemingly opposite of each other. I want to speak to the ‘church’s greatest need’ and then do it in the ‘simplest of terms.’
* To title a message ‘The Greatest Need’ is to cause confusion because everyone in this building knows the greatest need for all of mankind is to come to Jesus and be saved. We know that, without Jesus, people have no relationship to God the Father and without this relationship, there is no heaven – only hell waits. This is the broad view for all of humanity.
* This said; my desire is to tighten our focus from the world to the American church to US (You and me). Let me begin the argument this way: Inside the walls of the church there exists a type of creeping complacency which threatens the local church. Watch this progression; if the local church is threatened then the voice of the gospel is threatened. If the voice of the gospel is threatened then the voice of good and right is threatened. If the voice of good and right is threatened then the culture is threatened and if the culture is threatened then mankind is threatened with eternal damnation. While we don’t like these terms, they are Biblically true.
* Today, the average local church runs 100 or less in attendance and, as you know 75%-90% of these are declining. Many local churches don’t enjoy a good reputation & for some who do have a good reputation, it is simply, they are very tolerant.
* How different is this from those first century Christians and churches who were not tolerant but militant about the truths of Christ. They operated by balancing the uncompromised truth, being led by the Spirit, & exhibiting the love of Christ.
* The greatest need today is not for churches to become larger, for ministries to expand or even for the lost to get saved (these will be naturally resulting outcomes when the greatest need is met). The greatest need is for God’s people to be renewed in their spirit, revived in their souls, and to be revitalized in their service. It is time for ‘judgment to begin in the house of God!’
* As many of you know, for the last 8-10 months I have been praying, searching for, and longing for God to send a spirit of revival in this country and in this place. Since God has placed this burden on my heart, it seems like every conference I have attended, most messages which I have listened to, and even the Southern Baptist Convention, the call is the same – “We need a fresh infilling of God’s Spirit.”
* In March, at ReFresh in the Smokies, I began hearing about a call for Revival called “One Cry.” One Cry (onecry.com) is a national call for spiritual awakening. My belief is that this “One Cry” initiative has real teeth because it starts at the right place; it begins with our recognition of where we are. As I introduce you to this movement, please see the wilted plant in the ground as the church today. What if God decided to send ONE DROP of Holy Spirit water to (VIDEO)
* What a question, “WILL YOU JOIN US?” This is the essence of Jesus’ call.
* Back in January my text was that passage of scripture which I quoted this morning, Romans 13 (Read). Do you remember this outline? We need to ‘wake up’, ‘clean up,’ ‘dress up,’ and ‘step up.’ This is God’s call in this perilous time.
* Have you ever thought about our brand of Christianity? Is this all there is? Did Jesus die just so we could sit in a building a couple times a week, read the Bible, and maintain the status quo–or is it possible, that God has bigger plans & dreams for us?
* The question I have for you today is this: “Are you truly satisfied with the impact the church in America is having on this culture?” If not, then you cannot be satisfied with the impact this church is having on our area and the obvious conclusion is that you cannot be satisfied with YOUR IMPACT ON THOSE IN YOUR sphere of influence.
* Personally, I am taken with the ONE CRY initiative because, as I have already said, it begins at the right place. It admits we are in trouble. This nation is in deep trouble.
* During times of disaster, the President of the United States has the ability to declare a state of National emergency – which suspends business as usual to change normal behavior & allows for the discharge of an emergency plan.
* Sovereignly, the church has the greatest emergency plan ever brought forth and sadly, she either doesn’t know how or when to use it. Maybe, it’s that she can’t bring herself to admit, ‘it’s time.’ The place to begin is to admit we have a problem. Those were chilling words on Apollo 13, “Houston, We Have a problem.”