Summary: “What is the value of the church?” Consider the standard of the Word of God as opposed to how the world measures the church.
The Measure of a Church’s Value
Introduction: When we were setting up the new property insurance policy for the church the question of the replacement value of the church came up. What would it take to replace our buildings and all our equipment and supplies? The reality is that the church is not the buildings but the people, the Body of Christ. The question still arises, however, “What is the value of the church?” I would like you to consider with me how the Word of God as opposed the World measures the church.
I. The Measuring Stick of the World and Worldly Christians
A. The world measures the church like any other product or service.
1. What is the Church doing for me?
2. What can I get out of it?
3. What does the church have to offer?
4. Many are consumer Christians who want to enjoy the benefits of being saved but are not willing to pay the price. They focus on all the benefits and blessings of being a Christ follower but want none of the sacrifice associated with it.
B. What are these people looking for
1. They want relative and inspiring worship services
a) Most people want to worship in a style with which they are comfortable and to which they can relate.
b) People want to hear entertaining and motivational speeches that make them feel better about themselves.
• 2 Timothy 4:3 (NASB) “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.”
c) They want music that is upbeat and pleasing. This is not new as seen in the story of Isaac Watts.
• A young man by the name of Isaac Watts had complained to his father about how the music seemed boring and his father’s response was a challenge to change the way people praised God. Even though his father was kidding, Watts rose to the challenge and wrote over 750 hymns and psalms.
2. They want educational and social programs.
a) They want to have a place where there are activities and programs they can get involved in without long term commitments or that interfere with their schedules.
b) Acts 24:25 “Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”
c) They want convenient services at convenient times with convenient messages, all designed to fit easily into their busy schedule with no demands upon them to change.
3. They want their needs met on demand.
a) They expect the church to fulfill whatever they ask for, when they ask – weddings, funerals, counseling, and benevolence – without demands or expectations placed on them.
II. The Measuring Stick of the Word
A. Is our focus on Christ?
1. Worship is not about us. What truly matters is not what we get out of the corporate worship service but what we give to God. True worship is God-centered worship. God has called us to worship Him and Him alone and our self-interests need to be placed on the altar. - copied
2. Revelation 2:4 “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. (Ephesus)
3. Ray Stedman, Senior Pastor of Peninsula Bible Church, used to say, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
4. The focus of the church is not the church but God. The whole business of the church is Jesus Christ.
5. Colossians 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
B. Are we maintaining doctrinal purity in proclamation and practice?
1. Revelation 2:14-16 “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” (Pergamos)
2. Are we taking the message of the cross and conforming it to the desires and lifestyles of the people? Or are we taking the desires and the lifestyles of the people and conforming them to the cross?
3. 1 Timothy 3:15 “But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground (buttress) of the truth.”