Summary: A sermon about the balance between ministering to members, and evangelizing the lost.
The church standing in the last days 2 Timothy 4:1-5
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 NIV
Every person will stand in judgement before Christ
I will stand before Christ as a Christian and as a minister
As a minister I have to essential responsibilities:
A responsibility to Christians: Instruct, correct, rebuke, encourage with great patience
A responsibility to the lost world: do the work of an evangelist
The hardest aspect of ministry is balancing the two. Discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Lost people who need to be reached
Saved Christians who often grow very comfortable in the church
Many churches are out of balance
Inward focused making sure all members are happy and “taken care of.”
Outward focused “Seeker churches” neglecting long time members
BALANCE IS THE KEY
Obstacles to balance:
Lost people expect to be entertained.
Christians get comfortable and set in their ways and any threat to change is resisted
Lost people want their ears tickled- what their itching ears want to hear.
Christians turn aside to myths (These are myths in our church that I dealt with)
We have a rock band coming to replace the choir
Our preacher doesn’t like old people
We can have growth without change
We can have success without sacrifice
Being traditional is more spiritual
What is wrong with the inspiring hymns we grew up with? When I go to church, it is to worship God, not to be distracted with learning a new song. Last Sunday’s was particularly unnerving. The song was un-singable and the harmonies were quite distorting. (Letter in 1890 about the hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.”
There is room in God’s family for every person, variety in music.
Unity, mercy, compassion, endure the pains of change
The devil loves to see the family of God at odds with each other
We need to stand against the evil one- united.
There is room:
Hymns and praise songs
Choirs and praise teams
Republicans and Democrats
Those struggling with homosexuality
Those filled with pride who think they have it all together
Those who’s lives are a complete disaster
Legalistic, stubborn selfish Christians who love themselves more than they love others
Jesus calls us all to repentance, all to His grace
It is time for the church to stand and declare to the devil we will not be divided.
It is time for the church to claim the promise made by Jesus, that church would be built on him and the gates of hell would not overcome it.
It is time to spiritually kick down doors, break down walls, and free lost people from the captivity of the evil one and this world. We are in the last days, it is time to stand together.