Summary: The first in a series of 3 messages based on the 3 points of our church’s purpose statement: "Seek God, Share Christ, & Serve Others."
“THE SEEKING CHURCH” Isaiah 55
INTRO – “Get Rid of Clutter for Good” – article in Woman’s Day magazine. Author Lisa Cohen Lee discusses how to update and organize a home office. Gave 4 steps:
1. Control the clutter
2. Develop a strategy
3. Decide on décor
4. Putting it all together
That’s good advice for churches, too. If we’re not careful, we can get pretty cluttered as we try to do the Lord’s work. Simple Church – Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger – Researched 400 churches and found that the growing, vibrant churches were simple churches, i.e. – “Simple churches are growing and vibrant. Churches with a simple process for reaching and maturing people are expanding the kingdom” (p. 14).
Back to “clutter” article from Woman’s Day.
- Effective churches learn to control the clutter. Have a clear purpose and evaluate everything we do by that purpose. Shoot with a rifle instead of a shotgun.
- Effective churches develop a strategy. Using a purpose statement, a strategy for making disciples is developed.
- Effective churches decide on décor – Décor defined as “style or mode of decoration” (www.dictionary.com). I’m not necessarily referring to what color the paint is going to be. The décor of a room or building is going to be the first thing that a person sees and notices. For us as a church, what’s the first impression that an outsider is going to have about us? What is our spiritual décor going to look like?
- Effective churches put it all together. Even when it means taking risks, changing some things, doing away with some things that are no longer effective, implementing some things that will make us more effective.
Today, begin a series through the month of August entitled, “Who We Are.” Hope to help us rediscover who we are as a body of believers and where each of us as individual Christ-followers fit into this body. 1 Cor. 12:27 – “Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body.” (CEV)
This morning, our focus on “Who We Are” is that we are the seeking church. As we look at Isa. 55, we read in v. 6, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.” Our purpose statement says that we will SEEK GOD, SHARE CHRIST, & SERVE OTHERS. What does it take for us to be the church that fulfills that purpose? This morning, we are focusing on the first part – SEEK GOD. What does it take for us to be THE SEEKING CHURCH?
I. WE WILL SEEK GOD WHEN WE GET A GRIP ON GRACE – v. 1-2
Do you really understand grace? Do you really have a grip on grace? We sing “Amazing Grace,” but do we really understand it and live by it?
We use the words “grace” and “mercy” together many times. What do they mean? Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve. The truth is that we are sinners who deserve God’s wrath. We deserve His wrath, not His forgiveness. We deserve hell, not heaven. We deserve condemnation, not pardon. We deserve eternal death, not eternal life.
Grace goes even further than mercy. Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve. We deserved to die for our sins, but Jesus Christ died for us so that we might live. We deserve to go to hell, but, instead, we have been given a place heaven. We deserve God’s incredible wrath, but He incredibly forgives us. We deserve to be God’s enemies, but instead, He gives us the right to become His sons and daughters. We don’t deserve anything, but God “has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3).
This is what v. 1-2 in Isa. 55 show to us. These are unbelievable verses! They don’t make any sense! If you have no money, how are you going to buy food? How are you going to buy wine and milk “without money & without cost?” I’ll tell you how. You don’t buy it b/c it has already been bought for you! It’s free b/c the price has already been paid! In my Bible, I have the word, “WHOA!” written out beside these 2 verses. There is such freedom in these verses. There is such freedom in God’s grace! We don’t DO anything to receive our salvation. We don’t DO anything to receive His blessings. We don’t DO anything to gain His approval and acceptance. It is all about His grace and we need to get a strong grip on His grace. When we do, we will seek Him like we’ve never sought Him before. We’ll seek Him, not b/c we HAVE to, but b/c we GET to!
II. WE WILL SEEK GOD WHEN GET SICK OF SIN IN OUR LIVES – v. 7