Summary: Promotes the renewal of the five basic purposes of the church




INTRODUCTION: A. Before we get to the actual message this morning, I want to say some things

concerning last Sunday’s message:

1. I understand that many of your were shocked and disturbed by last Sunday’s


--Good! It was intended to do just that

2. However, I need to repeat something that I said last Sunday

--The budget cuts and other disturbing issues are not the problem. They are only

the symptoms of the problem

3. My intention last Sunday was to issue a wake-call that could neither be ignored or

taken lightly

--If you were not here last Sunday, you can listen to it on tape. [Sermon Central viewers, it’s "Making the Right Choice" Deut. 30:11-20]

a. Several years back, I participated in an event with a friend named Billy. We

had to drive for five hours to participate in this event. We took Billy’s car but I

volunteered to drive on the way down. I had an early morning appointment the

next day and was planning on catching a good nap on the way home.

After arriving at our destination, Billy and I did our part in the event and

started to head home. We stopped and got something to eat then set out on the

five-hour-drive back. It didn’t take me long to doze off.

I don’t know how much time passed but I was awakened by the whump-

whump-whump sound that comes when your car is riding the edge of the

highway. I turned a sleepy eye toward Billy in the driver’s seat and he had

dozed off. In my semi-awake state, I thought, “That’s nice. Billy’s taking a nap,

too.” Then my mind cleared and I grabbed the wheel and yelled, “Billy!”

b. If last Sunday’s message got you to see the reality of our situation in a much

clearer way, it did what it was meant to do

--Rev. 3:1-3 – “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘These are the words

of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your

deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up!

Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds

complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have

received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will

come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.


--It’s going to take much bigger problems than we face here to run me off

B. If the issues I talked about last Sunday are not the problem, then what is our


1. Somewhere along the line, we’ve lost our motivation

2. By motivation, I mean the reason that First Christian Church, Washington, IN


--Literally, we have lost or become confused about our purpose for being

3. Purpose defines our existence.

a. It’s what we are called by God to be.

b. It’s our true identity.

c. It’s our created intention.

d. It’s who we are.

C. Wrong purposes for which churches exist:

1. Programs

a. Programs are not wrong but they must be seen in their proper perspective

--they are things we do, not who we are.

b. Programs are how we go about fulfilling God’s purpose for us—

c. Programs should be seen as a means to an end, and not as an end in itself.

2. Tradition

a. Traditions are not bad or wrong

--so long as they still meet relevant needs and serve the God-given purposes of

the church

b. Too often, traditions are maintained and preserved just for the sake of the


3. Personalities

a. It could be the preacher or other staff member. It could be a group of

individuals or one key person whether they serve in an official capacity or not

b. Regardless of the identity or makeup of the personality, they drive the church by

their persuasive voice rather than by God’s voice

--It’s made very clear that nothing should happen without consulting this

personality and that no one should cross this personality

4. Finances

a. Finance-driven churches come in all shapes and sizes. They can be quite wealthy

or what we might consider poverty-stricken.

b. Lack or abundance is not the issue—it is trust in and belief that material

resources should determine ministry direction.

c. These churches let the almighty dollar do the talking rather than Almighty God

D. As we move forward this morning, let’s examine some key issues that will help us

determine where we go from here:

1. Why does the Church exist?

2. What are we to be as a church?

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