Summary: God has one desire for us: to go and share the good news!
THE SCATTERED CHURCH
ACTS 8: 1-8, 26-40
AUGUST 11, 2002
INTRODUCTION: Who knew it was so simple. Asking children in my Sunday school class, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would I get to heaven?” “NO”! The children answered. “If I cleaned the church everyday, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would I get into heaven?” Again, the answer was “NO”! “Well,” I continued, “then how can I get into heaven?” In the back of the room, a 5-year-old boy shouted out, “You gotta be dead!”
A few years ago it was estimated to require one thousand laypersons and six ministers one year to lead one person to Christ. It was also estimated that 95 percent of the Christians today never lead a soul to Christ. This is the reversal of Jesus’ strategy of New Testament evangelism. These trends must change if our world is to be reached, and evidences are that they are changing.
Regarding Lack of Passion for the Great Commission:
A Christian Research Group in a nationwide survey conducted in the first quarter of 2001 asked this question: “Please describe your goals in life.”
The survey found that almost 9 out of 10 adults classified themselves as a “Christian,” by the following definition, “I am personally committed to Jesus Christ and have confessed my sins and I believe that I will go to heaven when I die because of God’s love and grace through Christ.” STRONG DEFINITION! Yet not one of those who said they were Christians declared that their life goal was to be a “fully committed follower of Jesus Christ and to participate in making Christian disciples.”
Thom Rainer told a small group of us Wesleyans at our annual Sunday School workshop; “It takes 85 lay people one year to lead one person to Christ!”
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Here we go again! What does it mean to be a church and to really serve the Lord? Have we relegated our faith to out running sin and avoiding all contact with the “outside world?” Can we hear the call to reach out to our moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and friends and co-workers? Can we receive the call to be a scattered church or will we just remain a church that is scattered? As I read these verses over and over again, I came to one conclusion; we have become a scattered church. Webster defines “Scatter” as to “Throw loosely about.” I believe this is the problem of the church. We are not focused; we are thrown loosely about and have lost the reality of what we have been called to do and who we have been called to be. I want to reintroduce the idea of being “The Scattered Church.” And what I mean by this is exemplified in the text that Tony read for us. We must Get Out and tell somebody what Jesus has done for us and for them. Instead of huddling together, let’s scatter!!
THESIS SENTENCE: God has one desire for us: to go and share the good news!
SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “THE SCATTERED CHURCH?”
I. SCATTERED IS SCATTERED
A. LEAVING YOUR COMFORT ZONE
1. Philip had become very successful in his endeavor to serve the Lord. Back in chapter 6 verse 2, Philip had been called to “wait on tables.”