Summary: This sermon takes a look at how God can use even the smallest of churches because God uses ordinary and imperfect people within His church.
Recently there was a study put out that claimed that Americans say yes to Christianity but no to Church-anity. And it stated how many baby boomers are leaving the church today. The reasons given were that they thought the church was a) boring b) irrelevant but most striking was c) not necessary. One couple was quoted as saying, “We work so hard all week and the weekends are our only sense of family time. Our God is flexible and understands our priorities.” I’m sure He does.
Did Jesus really intend for His followers to be organized into a church? The answer in the bible says with a resounding yes! Jesus said in Matt 16:18, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Now Jesus obviously meant to establish a permanent church. Now some people piously suggest that they follow Christ but they don’t want anything to do with organized religion. (Quote from Jesse Ventura). Don Williams had a song many years ago that had a phrase in it that said, “I don’t believe that Heaven waits, for only those who congregate.”
Now this is true in the sense that just by attending church you will not gain entrance into Heaven, and also there are those who are unable to gather with a body of believers who will still be in glory. But Jesus said, “I will build my church and it will stand forever.” And now 2,000 years later that church still stands today and provides a wonderful testimony to the power of Jesus Christ.
But who exactly is the church? Is the church limited to those of a certain denomination or sect? Is the church supposed to meet in large buildings and gatherings or is the church supposed to be the intimate church in the wildwood? And can God use that little church in the wildwood?
A pastor in a drought-stricken part of the south implored his people to begin praying for rain. In fact he asked each member of the church to join in a prayer vigil that would continue day and night until God granted their request. Never had there been a greater sense of urgency in that church than was revealed over the next few days. At any hour one might pass that small rural church and find the lights on and someone at the altar praying.
Finally late Wednesday evening some dark clouds began to roll in. Soon rain began falling in sheets. Four straight days and nights it rained without ceasing. The creeks began overflowing their banks. It became necessary to evacuate persons from their homes. Still the water kept rising. The entire community was now under water.
As rescue workers made their way in a boat through the perilous floodwater evacuating the last reluctant stragglers one of the boats passed that little country church now almost completely submerged.
There sat the pastor on the roof of the church with a look of grand satisfaction on his face. As he surveyed the floodwaters he said to himself, “Not bad for a church our size. Not bad at all!”
God can work wonders through His church no matter whether it’s the mega church in a large city or the tiny church in the wildwood. And the church provides so many needs, but who exactly should we expect to find in the church? What kind of people make up the nucleus of the church.