Summary: seeing evangelism as the purpose of the church
Intro: We have started talking about the purpose of the church. I hope you came out to church on purpose this morning. If so, for what purpose? We mentioned last week that the church exists to celebrate the presence of God: Worship. But, there are other purposes as well. What would you think of a baseball player who wouldn’t take the field: he only wanted to bat. We’d say, no way, if you want to bat, you’ve got to take the field. What would you tell a child who only wanted to eat cookies. Cookies are good, but you need to eat your vegetables as well. What would we say to a church that just wanted to focus on worship? If that’s all God called us to do, that would be great. yet, there are other purposes for the existence of the church. This morning, we want to look at a second purpose of the church: Evangelism - to communicate God’s message.
One of the truths we base our faith upon is that God himself has communicated with man. God made man; he is His creation; He loves him; and He wants to communicate with him. Yet, Hebrews 1 tells us that God who communicated in the past through visions and prophets, now communicates to us through his son and through his word. What is our purpose as the church? To declare God’s message to the world!
I. Our Job Description -
Matt. 28:19-20 - Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
That seems pretty simple. It’s a wonder that we so often have a hard time understanding that this is our task. We often feel we need to build nice buildings, have bingo games, raise money for the poor. All these things are good, but we are called to share the good news, the gospel with the world. What is the gospel? It is declared very simply in 1 Cor. 15: Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
##Now, our job as a church is sort of like a spiritual fire station. I need 5 volunteers for this. I need 5 firemen. . . . . . Now, raise your right hands: I’m hiring you as firemen - your job is to put out fires. Your official - you’re all firemen.
Now, we often have a lot of down time when we’re not fighting fires, and we need to keep preparing for whenever we’re needed.
1 - You can fold the fire hoses
2 - You can wax the pole
3 - You can lead the exercise program
4 - You can ring the bell
5 - You can stir the chili
Now - what’s your job? To put out fires!
In the church, often we forget what our job really is. We get caught up in ushering, greeting, working in the nursery, doing crafts for vbs: but our job is to be Christ’s witnesses!
Now, if our job is to make disciples, how are we doing at our job? each of us is here today because someone else had an influence on our life in some way.
II. The Fine Print - As we think about job descriptions, often there can be a lot of fine print. Let’s explore a little more about what this job of making disciples is all about. First, let’s look at the
A. Who - who can we witness to? Now, I want to help us identify our witnessing prospects. I want to make this personal for each of us. Pull out your bulletin, and jot down a time or a couple times in your schedule this week when you have a block of a couple free hours. Start thinking about what you have going each day. It may be that some of your time is taken up with meetings, appointments, ball games, getting groceries, haircuts: that’s fine. It may be that you say, there’s no way I can come up with a block of 2-3 hours. Now, since your schedule is so full of things to do, think about the people you do those things with: your insurance agent, the guys on your ball team, the neighbors, your boss or secretary, the clerk at the checkout, your barber. Each of these is a very good prospect to be a witness to. Now, don’t think that you have to carry a big family Bible, complete with family genealogy into the Kroger store. No, but wherever we are, we can give a witness. There is someone who will meet this day who you could be a witness to. Let me share with you a few contacts I’ve had recently.