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Summary: A message about the need for the "Fear of God."

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THE MISSING INGREDIENT

Acts 9:31

* The first time that I grilled hamburgers was a disaster. I took the ground beef and made the patties just like I had seen my dad do it, prepared the fire just like dad had, and watched over the patties until they became light brown through and through. I was SO proud. In fact, I was SO proud that I was uncharacteristically the first one in line! On this burger I spared nothing! All the regular condiments were applied; cheese (2 slices), tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and all the rest were a part of this GREAT burger. All was well UNTIL my first bite. Now, it all looked good, was prepared with great care, and was the envy of everyone there. But it tasted horrible. Why? I had left out one ingredient, salt. There was no seasoning on the meat and the word ‘bland’ did not even touch the description of the taste.

* In the 21st century, the American believers and church, have more resources than at any time and any place throughout the history of Christianity. We have books, curriculum, technology, music, and much more, we have everything any one could ask for to develop the best church in history—and still the American church is losing ground in our culture. In fact we are losing ground faster than at any time in American history. We are weaker than at any time in American history. And we are dying faster than at any time in American history. Wonder why that is?

* Perhaps we could gather preachers, theologians, as well as rank and file church members and come with a list of reasons, but would that list contain the real truth? Let me ask—“Why do you think the church is so weak today?” (Poll the congregation for answers)

* As I have studied and prayed about this subject and today, I believe we can find the answer in our message today. Turn with me to Acts 9:31.

* There were 3 or 4 significant events of note. First, there was the stoning of Stephen. This event impacted both the believers & the opposition in a significant way. The result brought about the next big event, the spreading of the saints. Jesus had said “Go to the entire world” but they had been content to stay in the area of Jerusalem. You know, it just wasn’t time to divide their Sunday school class. In the earlier part of Chapter 9, we read about the Salvation of Saul. As Saul grew in the Lord, he was moved from place to place for his own safety until he was sent home to Tarsus. (READ)

* This verse speaks of several characteristics which, I believe, the Lord desires for us to possess. There are at least 5 or 6 qualities which we would desire for the church of today. Let’s just name them;

* Unity – Think about the verse “so the church”, not the churches. Although the KJV uses the plural, the indication is that the word in Greek is in the singular form. Think about this; the church should be singular in mind, thought, focus and purpose.

* Peace – Some of the synonyms for this word is tranquility, harmony, safety, and lack of fear. Think about it, the Bible says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace” so does it not stand to reason that “if’ the Spirit is in the church, peace should abound?


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