Summary: Last in 16 week series on 1 Corinthians. There is a terrible fire of evil in our world. God has called the church to put it out.

The Prevailing Power of the Church

Slide 1

There is a terrible fire in our world…

photo of fire and house

This week is the second anniversary of the September 11th attacks on our country.

19 Men used airliners filled with people against the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon and over 3000 died. That’s an evil that is still raging in our world. There are others evils.

There is a constant feeding of desire in this country of ours. There is frenzy for sex with pornography on the Internet, MTV video’s, television shows, and sexually graphic dances in our High Schools.

There is fascination in the gore and violence depicted in movies, described in graphic detail in books, and inflicted on our children.

There is an uncontained greed for power, money, and notoriety seen in the emphasis on a person’s worth being measured by the accumulation of influence, wealth, and fame.

Some people today are uncomfortable with the concept of evil. They think that all men are innately good. Not so. There is evil and it has a terrible power in our world. Look around you. I can’t always define evil but I know it when I see it.

We have been given the task of putting those fires out.

The church – yes, the church – has been called to stand against the ways of evil in our world and in the world. We stand as God’s Family as a people who will not be ruled or shaped by the evil that is evident around us.

The angry fires of evil will be quenched by the passionate love of God’s people.

Love puts out the fires of evil. Not laws and not moralistic judgmental pronouncements. Shouting “Shame on you” and turning our backs on those who are caught up in the fiery evil of our times will not change a thing. Only by showering love on evil will the fires of hell be put out.

That is precisely what God has called us to do!

We need to switch from using a garden hose of compassion to letting loose a powerful wave of living love

I once saw a picture of a man with a garden hose trying to protect his home from a forest fire. He was standing on the roof holding the hose and a stream of water spraying over the shingles. He was looking up at a wall of fire headed his way. This guy needed more than a garden hose. He needed a monster tidal wave of water.

Now, going from a garden hose to a tidal wave requires a change in mindset. Both have something to do with water but they are completely different in there effect on their world. With a garden hose you can put out a campfire. But a wave of water can wash across whole communities and engulf a city of burning buildings. The dam upstream can be broken and the wave of water can rumble down the canyons and pour over the valleys below.

God did not send his son to die on a cross so that we could sprinkle a little water on some hot coals in the back yard. God did not quicken us with new life and give His Holy Spirit gifts for us to get some grass wet.

No! God has given us a mission: We are to change the landscape of our world and of the world. To do that there must be prevailing power.

This Sunday we’ll look at the three barriers that stand between us and the being a church of prevailing power.

Are you ready… this is not going to be easy… these are hard things… here we go…

Slide 2

The 1st Barrier: Finances

1 Corinthians 16:1-4

Now I will write about the collection of money for God’s people. Do the same thing I told the Galatian churches to do: 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should put aside money as you have been blessed. Save it up so you will not have to collect money after I come.

Money is a part of ministry.

Your tithes and offerings allow us to pay the staff so they can minister to you and the community.

Your tithes and offerings support the efforts involved in putting down living water in a fiery world.

Money is a touchy subject for a couple of reasons:

First, Money is a touchy subject for many preachers because they are afraid to offend people or to have them think that money is all we really care about.

The sad truth is that some people believe that all the church cares about is money because money is all they care about. It has hold of them instead of them having hold of it.

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