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Summary: This sermon looks at what God expects from His children.

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Things That Make A Great Church

Matthew 16:13-20

When Jesus organized His church, I think He meant for it to grow. I think that He wanted it to become powerful and great.

I don’t think he ever meant for it to be just “a little church in the wild woods” and I don’t think He is pleased with any church that fails to grow. A little, weak, struggling church that has the potential and resources to be a strong, powerful great church is an abomination in His sight.

Furthermore, any church member that would keep his church from being as great and as powerful as it ought to be is either a rebellious, disobedient child that the Father WILL deal with or they are in need of salvation and other than the sinners prayer, should have no say in the church.

I have heard people say before, “why is this happening to me”? It might be because you have let yourself become a stumbling block in the progress of His church.

I had a friend tell me that he heard of a church that wanted to take off for the Lord but had some who would hold it back. The preacher held a prayer meeting and asked that the Lord remove whatever was keeping the church from being what He wanted it to be. Over the next couple of months they had over 8 funerals.

There are churches all around that are not “houses of worship” but are kept going because of family pride and not the advancement of the Gospel. I remember one day driving through the Mississippi Delta seeing only cotton fields, catfish ponds and churches. “Why would an area so sparsely populated need so many churches”, I asked. “Because they couldn’t get along together,” I was told.

Our Lord never intended that His church should be some weak and little church. His church should be strong, great and powerful – for His glory. If you don’t believe me then checkout what Jesus said in Matthew 16:13-20 on how great and powerful He intended His church to be: “He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ 14 So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ 15 He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16 Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ 17 Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’”

Now look over to 1 Peter 2:9 and we continue to see how powerful and great Jesus intended His church should be: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light...”

I. What makes A Church Great?

A. Is it large numbers?

1. No- not necessarily.

a) Some of the workingest and most powerful churches I know of are not great big “mega” churches.

2. One preacher from the past said, “The more in numbers you have, then the more deadwood you will have.”

B. Is it wealth?

1. No- not necessarily.

2. Some of the poorest churches are some of the richest and some of the wealthiest churches are some of the poorest I’ve seen.

C. Is it buildings and equipment?

1. No- not necessarily.

a) Even though a certain amount of space and equipment is necessary, it doesn’t make a church great.

(1) I know of churches that are meeting in abandoned stores and old bar rooms that are doing a mighty work for the Lord.

(2) I also know of some weak churches with all the buildings and accessories that a modern church can provide.

2. It isn’t “what we have” that makes a church great

D. The Identifying marks of a great and growing church can be found in Acts 2 beginning with verse 40.

1. And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:40-47)

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