Summary: Is it only a dream? Is it just a vision? How real change and growth starts in the church.
“The Presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”
"Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:" Ezekiel 37:5 (KJV)
Intro: It was about an hour and a half before time for the church service to start.
As I left the parsonage I drove to McDonalds to grab a quick bite of something to eat.
As I sat there waiting at the drive thru on my order…,
It was like déjà vu.
I had been down this same road many times before.
It really started a couple of years earlier.
It was a little slow at first…, and we made a lot of mistakes.
We tried a lot of different things…, there were a lot of up’s and down’s.
But now I could hardly believe what was happening.
As I pulled into the church parking lot there were already several cars there.
I walked toward the back door to try and sneak in…,
but I was met by several laughing kids running outside to play.
Slow down…, walk…, no running inside the church.
Can you believe it?
It was nearly an hour before time for church to start and there were already families gathering at the church.
Just a few years ago…, the average person who attended the church was probably born before 1947. We would have been lucky to have had four or five young families with children in the church.
But something happened…, Something great happened…,
I saw a people who were tired and discouraged…, become full of life and enthusiasm.
A church that was once stale and boring was now full of praise and celebration.
A renewal broke out…, A real genuine revival...
New Sunday school classes...
New small groups were formed for fellowship and outreach ministry.
Lay people were organized to go out and visit the unchurched. Stale board meetings and committee meetings had become mission planning and challenging vision meetings.
The pews were quickly filling up.
In fact we would be setting out folding chairs for at least a couple more months,
Until the new addition on the church building would be completed and opened.
The most exciting thing about all the change was the changed lives.
The new professions of faith. The lost being saved. The Kingdom of God growing.
People being filled with hope, and love, broken people restored to health and wholeness.
Could it be?
I thought to myself…, was I dreaming?
How does all of this change and conversion and growth get started?
Well, there are three things that have to take place.
I. Tell people about your PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with Christ
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" Matthew 28:18-19 (KJV)
I have always felt like Jesus spoke these words directly to me.
I am sure that some of you could talk to me all day about hunting or fishing, or sewing or shopping, or about your work, or your grandchildren, or stories about some trip you have made.
Everybody has a story to tell. Everyone has some information to share.
And if we are sold on it,
When something is really good…, When we believe in it..., When we are excited about it,
We tell others about it!
Matthew 28 verses 18-19 are called the “Great Commission.”
The disciples are sent out with the authority of Christ to teach and preach and baptize,
in the name of the Father the Son, and Holy Spirit.
They were sent out with power and presence to tell people about their personal relationship with Christ. They were commissioned.
Let me shift thoughts just a little bit here.
We know that there are sins of commission.
There are sins of doing, and sins of actions. Sin that we know we should not be doing something, but we do it anyway. We commit an act of sin. That is called a sin of commission.
And then there are sins of omission.
Things that we know to do that are right, that we should obey God but we fail.
Sins where we know we should be doing something and actions that we know we should be taking but we don’t. We omit doing what is right. These are called sins of omission.
How many churches across America failed to record even one profession of faith last year?
I has read studies that say anywhere from 75% all the way up to 95% of all the Christians
never win a single soul to Christ in their entire life.
There are some things in life that realistically are probably beyond my reach.