Summary: When the church has crystal clear vision and is functioning properly, it is UNSTOPPABLE.
UNSTOPPABLE #1 - “Unstoppable Vision”
When I was a kid a curious thing would happen to me on some Sunday ams. A strange illness would strike. I disliked church so much that I’d fake sick to try to get out of going. I learned this from my 5 older brothers & sisters who were Sunday Syndrome Veterans.
Occasionally my parents would buy it & they’d say ‘Ok, you can stay home.’ As soon as the car would pull out, I was healed! So I’d play for a while. Then I’d have to time my return to bed very carefully to make sure I wasn’t busted. I didn’t enjoy church, & any excuse I could find, I’d try to skip.
Now FF not just 1 hour like today, but many years to these days, & its quite a bit different. My heart towards the church is changed - a lot. Matter of fact, if I’m dealing with something or fighting some bug, I get frustrated if it impairs me from being able to serve the church with my very best.
There’s a guy in the Bible named Saul, and for recreation he’d find church members, lock them up, & some of his cronies were known to have killed a few. Acts 8:3: But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.
Now, FF a few years, & you see a whole different heart in Saul, who became Paul. You see him giving the rest of his life to the church. Finally he was martyred for it! What happened there?
Apostle Peter made a lot of mistakes along the way. One of his biggest was deserting Jesus, denying that he even knew him, & fleeing the night of the crucifixion. Matt 26:75:
Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.
FF a bit, & Peter’s heart is changed. Jesus said he’d be a rock for the church. In writings he sz to ppl: ‘You only have 1 life to give to Christ’s church, so give it.’ History tells us that Peter was crucified upside down cuz he didn’t consider himself worthy to be crucified the same way the Savior was.
I’ve known many of you here for years upon years. Some of you could care less about church many years ago. Now its central to your life & you can’t imagine being disconnected from it. You’re all about it. What happened to you? For that matter, what happened to me, and to Saul and to Peter?
Somewhere along the journey not only did we get rightly related to Jesus Christ but beyond that, we got a new vision for what a church could be. Although many of us once saw church as a lifeless, antiquated Sunday function that left us bored, now we see the church how the Bible presents it - as the redemptive hope of the world. When you see church that way, it changes everything.
Management guru Peter Drucker, who rearranged his entire life to helping churches instead of being a highly paid consultant to the corporate world, said this: ‘I finally came to understand that of all the organizations in the world, one that truly changes people’s lives is the local church. And it’s also the only one that changes eternities.’ The Church.
We’re part of the instrument God chose to use as the hope of the world. The Church exploded into being early in the first century immediately following the resurrection and ascension of Christ. A group of loyal followers waited just like Jesus told them to, and as promised, the Holy Spirit crashed the party. These ordinary ppl, followers of Jesus like you and me, were filled and empowered by the Spirits presence, and began to turn their world upside down.
Here’s a snapshot of the first days of the church - from Acts 4, rt after Pentecost. Peter and John are walking down the street, come across a crippled man begging. He wanted money from them, but instead of pulling out their wallets, they pull out the name of Jesus. In his name, they command the guy to stand & walk. And he did! Right there in front of God & the religious leaders. Look at vs 13:
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
That word ‘ordinary’- Heres the beauty of it. Word that’s translated ‘ordinary’ could be something else. Bible translators are very polite. The word in the Greek is the word ideotes. Say that word aloud: Ideotes, and heres what the word means. It means an ignoramus, an ignorant or unlearned person.