Summary: This sermon is the third in a series of five on The Church Health Review which deals with the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
Well, what can I say about our “Church Health Review”? For one thing, it was an eye opening event, wouldn’t you say? You can look around the walls at the “Post-it” charts and see for yourself some of the things that surfaced as we discovered and discussed together the data gathered from the CHR. We spent time in small groups surfacing “Five Significant Needs” of our church that we sensed from the data and listed those in the large group. On the last night we attempted to add “Action Words” to the needs we discerned as we projected out what we might accomplish in 3, 6, and 9 months or 1, 1 ½, and 2 years. Now, let me conclude this summary report by saying we were just introduced to the process. The Church Vision Team will now go back to point one and prayerfully and deliberately walk with the Holy Spirit through the entire process. And we’ll take some Sunday evenings to further report and discuss with the congregation where we are in the process and seek further input as well.
Week before last I shared with you a message entitled “Foundations for a Healthy Church” from Luke 6:46-49. In it we established the fact that Jesus Christ is THE foundation of the church and Dr. Jenkins emphasized that last week as well. We also defined what a Healthy Church is from the viewpoint of the CHR: A healthy church is a biblically functioning community of believers committed to Jesus Christ. The first and foremost commitment we can make to Jesus is to love Him with all our mind, heart, soul and strength so says Matthew 22:34 - 40. This is the first Pillar of a Healthy Church.
However, before we can obey and live out the Great Commandment – before we can love God with all our mind, heart, soul and strength there’s something we must come to understand spiritually. That is, God first loved us. The apostle John wrote in First John 4:10 “Love consist in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us...” God first loved us, even while we were not loving Him, He was loving us and patiently bringing us to Himself. And the reason we weren’t loving God is because SIN had us separated from God. We are born into this world spiritually dead and separated from God because of what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. So we continue in sin, choosing to live my way instead of God’s way. In fact, we all do that according to Romans 3:23 and 6:23. Sin separates people from God – However, God sent Jesus so you and I wouldn’t have to die for our sins. Jesus died, was buried and rose again – John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Once we’re born again out of God’s love for us, we’re challenged to live out first of all:
I. The Great Commandment Matthew 22:34-40
The love we have for God and the resulting love we have for mankind provide the first pillar of our foundation for becoming a healthy church. Love for God must be the first pursuit of every individual and every church. Love for God is absolutely essential for individual and church health. Love for God, passion for God, excitement about our relationship to God and what He’s doing in our lives is foundational. Without it we won’t be healthy. Without it His church won’t be healthy.
Now, I love Clay County Panther football and this is Clay Bowl Week. I have come to truly and deeply love and support Clay County Football. I love to see things done well, with great love, devotion, commitment, consistency and done correctly, carefully, conscientiously with planning, preparation, passion and excitement. That describes the way I see the Clay County panther football program – band, cheerleaders, boosters, moms and all that goes into it being done. BUT do those words characterize our love for Jesus? For FBC? It will not do you any earthly or eternal good to have that kind of love for football and all that goes with it IF you don’t have the same or greater quality of commitment, passion and excitement for Jesus and the work of building His Church and His Kingdom.
To clarify biblically, Jesus said in Matthew 10:37-38, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” In fact, Luke 14:25-27 puts it in even more stark terms - If we love, are devoted to, or committed to anything in our lives more than to loving, being devoted to or committed to God, Jesus says we are not worthy of HIM.