Summary: As a church our purpose has to be to make a difference by Changing Live for Time and Eternity. What does this mean? (This is the first in a 5 part series)
“Changing Lives for Time and Eternity” “Why?” #1
(For the accompanying powerpoint - http://www.hueytownbaptist.com/pastorspage/sermondownloads.html)
> READ TEXT. Please notice the last three words; “fulfill your ministry”. What does this mean?
> First of all we know that specifically Paul was Timothy writing this message as a young Pastor. However, in a more general sense this message is for every one of us.
> Last year, we spent almost the entire summer in a series of messages entitled “to be or not to be”. During this series of messages we highlighted all of our statements, beliefs, and purposes. At the conclusion of this series of messages I highlighted for us what I sincerely believe to be our purpose statement. During these past months I have attempted to keep the statement in front of us. This simplifies all that we should attempt to be and do. It is a statement that will become our theme during the next six weeks. Our ministry, mission, and purpose, is “to change the lives for time and eternity.”
> It is one thing to make a statement, to have a purpose, to know your mission, but it is another thing entirely to know what that means. During these next week’s we will attempt to answer, from the Bible, several questions about our purpose. Today is the question “what”.
> What does it mean to change lives for time and eternity? What do we do? To properly answer these questions requires us to take a hard look at ourselves, our fellowship, our concepts, and our Church.
> I begin this message with a negative statement. If you want to see your Pastor get physically ill or become highly disappointed walk up to him and say this, “I like my little church the way it is“. Have you ever considered what this statement says about the one making the statement? The first four words are loaded with selfish-ness. The last four words are loaded with sinfulness. The only word in that sentence which carries any godly character is “Church“.
> The modern day American church, particularly the Baptist church, more specifically the southern Baptist church, seems to have given rise to the thought that the Church, buildings, & purpose is mine or is under my control or meets my standards.
> Candidly, since the beginning of time and certainly since the New Testament days Church has been perceived as being a change agent. The New Testament Church is not a building, a place of convenience, or a place of habit and duty; it is rather a place where lives are constantly being changed. But what does it mean for lives to be changed? What is it that we are called to do? If it is true, and it is, that we are to be about changing lives for time and eternity, what does that really, truly, honestly mean?
> Let’s look God’s word and discover what it truly means to be a part of changing lives for time and eternity. I will submit to you there are three things we have to do to fulfill our ministry and complete our task.
1) MATURE IN FAITH – What exactly does this mean? Paul says, “I wanted to speak to you as adults, but I couldn’t, I had to speak in “baby talk”. Let’s clear up some misconceptions and see the marks of a mature believer.
> Misconceptions a) “longevity equals maturity”. I’ve been a church member for years so “I’m now a mature believer”. B) “Knowledge equals maturity”. 2 Peter 3:18 which says “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”. While knowledge is needed, knowledge alone is dangerous. In 1 Corinthians 8:1-3, Paul is dealing with specific concepts relative to food being offered to idols, but the principle taught carries over this entire topic. (READ VS 1-3) Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. Paul enlarges this principle in the 13th chapter when he says, I can have all knowledge but if I don’t have love I am nothing.
> Marks. What then are some marks of maturity? Eph 4:13 says, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness
> Spiritual maturity is measured by our likeness to Christ. For instance, the reactions, purposes, or motivations of Christ compared to my own. How do they measure up?
> Consider this; When you mature in your normal development what is it that changes? Youthful pride normally is erased. Wisdom replaces knowledge.
> Here’s the truth; Maturity helps us discern the important matters and discard the unimportant ones. True maturity helps us have become “leaders”, “teachers”, and ‘people of purpose’. To change lives we must have our life changed, developed, and focused.