Summary: If we are to meet the challenge of reaching this culture, we need to be authentic people who possess at least 3 essentials.
Meeting The Challenge
“The Unspoken Essentials”
* Let’s begin this morning with repeating our 5 core beliefs. While some might know these, mom told me that ‘repetition was the mother of learning.’ (say)
* Turn your attention to #5, “The Local Church is the hope of the world.” How many words will it take to convince you that this world needs hope, that these United States is in a mess and needs help, and that even our community requires redemption?
* Have you ever simply sat and considered the implications of this core belief & how it should affect this congregation? Or maybe how this should affect you? Until the truths of God’s word affect me, it can never affect this body.
* Consider the expectations which our Lord has placed on us. Jesus’ words leave little room for debate that we are to live by the Great Command (James calls it the “Royal Law) and also by the Great Commission. Candidly, have you ever asked yourself (or Him) why? Why did Jesus convey to us that we were to be witnesses & examples? Did He just think we needed something to do? Or did He like to hear Himself talk? Perhaps He didn’t even mean it?
* He did mean it, He didn’t simply like to hear Himself talk, and He didn’t think we ‘needed’ something to do; WE ARE HIS PLAN A FOR GETTING OUT THE MESSAGE OF REDEMPTION & RECONCILIATION. We are it and if we don’t do it, chances are, it won’t get done and worse, we’ll stand accountable.
* But we KNOW this (as do all Bible-believing) people, yet, if we know this, why is it that so many know so little about so much (that is, spiritually speaking). Why is it that we live among a people who are eager to find spiritual answers but reluctant to look inside a local church for those answers? Honestly, the local church SHOULD BE where people look, so why are they?
* Today we continue with the series of messages, or better said, the “Call” to the task of “Meeting the Challenge.” Over the last weeks the call has been for us to ‘Be a Gamechanger’ which called us to pay attention to our finances & facilities. Last week, the call was to be a “People of Faith.” However, if we are to fulfill the Great Commission and make disciples of all men, we must face and meet the great challenge of a society which has been seemingly anesthetized to message of the church. How did this happen? What cause it? We will discover the answers in God’s word.
* Baby Boomers represent about 30% of today’s population. This causes all areas of society to take note of their likes and expectations. Lyle Schaller, an Illinois church consultant discovered these things: High-quality preaching, good music and social groups. Baby boomers also expect big meeting rooms, a quality kitchen, childcare, ample parking and clean rest rooms. I would say that we have at least some of those things. But guess what?
* The first century church had none of these & they grew at an exponential rate. Why is this? When scripture is taken collectively, there is 1 overriding quality which seemed to permeate the first century church. This attribute is practically seen in 4 characteristics, which is needed today.
* Several years ago, I was not particularly healthy. My cholesterol was at an all-time high, my BP was running away, & my triglycerides were off the chart. I like giving credit. It wasn’t my doctor; it was Bro. Gary who talked with me about the ‘essential’ as in essential fatty acids and other things. The word essential expresses a sense of vital, crucial, critical & important. The message for us today is essential, “IF” we are to meet the challenge.
* The one quality that society is seeking in a church and church people is ‘authenticity.’ What they desire to observe is that we take seriously this thing of our relationship to God. To put it in the terms of our text; they want to sense that we seek what is above because we have set our minds on what is above. The want to observe that we have put to death some things, put away other things, and have put on the things of God. We authenticate who and whose we are by how we live, what we say, how we treat each other, & what we do.
* Even though they may not ‘know’ the Bible, they have a clear understanding that the way of Christ are not found in malice, slander, and filthy language. When they see unfettered anger and our unfiltered tongue from one who ‘claims’ to know Christ, instinctively they know that something is not right about this. Never forget, an authentic life is not about convincing people what you are, it’s about letting them see what you’re made of. When we have to “convince” someone about our love for Christ, it may be an indicator that our love is suspect. Candidly, we don’t feel the need to convince others of our love for children, grandchildren, or other family members. Why is that? Because the love we feel deep inside naturally flows out, it’s authentic.