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Summary: Final sermon of 2006 - charging church to be all that it can be for Christ

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What If?

Final Sermon of 2006

December 31, 2006

Nehemiah 8:1-12; 9: selected

2006 was an honest roller-coaster. We had good moments, okay moments, and forgettable moments. We saw many come to know Christ as their Savior – and we’ve witnessed a few folks leaving – due to lack of interest in church and in God – or they got their feelings hurt. As we look ahead to 2007, as a church, we must work together on closing the back door and side doors of our church to new comers and old members alike and work on establishing a loving, caring, genuine worshipping church that no one would want to leave.

That has led me to this sermon today. “What if?” we all came together as one, the Body of Christ, unified to reach the world for Jesus Christ. Three thoughts to lead us in this introduction today.

1. What if followers of Christ today had the fear and reverence of God that men and women of old had?

2. What if God’s people actually responded to the Word – as did the people in Biblical times?

3. What if God’s people actually repented and asked for God’s forgiveness for their sins and their shortcomings?

The following would happen:

1. Christians would make a difference in today’s world

a. Actually strive to live out the word

b. Would be Soul-Winners instead of Whining Hypocrits

c. Would be Positive instead of Negative

2. Christians would live lives of freedom

a. Freedom through the Grace of God

3. Body of Christ, the Church would be a Safe Haven for All

a. Loving Place

b. House of Worship

c. Place of Change

Nehemiah 8 leads us to the place of the Water Gate revival. When Americans hear the term Watergate, we remember the infamous scandal that brought the Nixon administration down in the early 1970’s. In this case however, it brought forth one of the best examples of how we are to respond to God’s Word.

I. Respond with our Undivided Attention

II. Respond with our Devoted Action

a. Prayer/Supplication/Worship

III. Respond with our Unending Love

Notice a few catch phrases from the word:

Vs. 3

Ezra read the Law, the Pentetuch for 5 to 7 hours. The people listened

Those who didn’t understand the Law – the Levites were there to help explain the Word to them.

Deuteronomy 6 (selected verses – mark in Bible)

In Hearing the Word, they responded with cries of Worship – “Amen” and lifting of Hands toward the Heavens. The responded with a prayerful attitude – humbling themselves toward God – prostrate on the ground.

In Hearing the Word, many were cut to the bone, convicted of their sins and the sins of the country, not following God – they were determined to make a change

All of this led to the confession of sins in Chapter 9 through a prayer of confession.

What if we responded in such a manner? – I’m convinced a revival would take place – an individual and corporate revival!

In today’s time:

Churches have become more social than sacred!

Place for the Latest News

Place for the Latest Gossip

Churches have forgotten as a whole that God is Love and so are we!

1 John 1:1-10

Churches have become more destructive than encouraging.

Too often judgmental – instead of being prayerful for one another

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO CHANGE

1. Start a fresh and a new!

a. Each one in the room today

i. Repent of all of our sins/shortcomings

ii. Ask God to restore you!

1. The past is the past, the Present is now, the future is ahead of us

2. BE CLEAN so that God can use you!

2. Commit your lives to SERVE GOD in whatever capacity He may want for you!

3. Be prepared to be dedicated to His church in 2007, unlike any other year you’ve been alive.

Today begins a new chapter in the history of this church – the end of 2006, the beginning of 2007.

What is God looking for in 2007 out of Bakers Chapel Church?

1. A congregation that is Worshipful and Loving

a. A people not afraid to share their faith

b. A people not afraid to show God’s love to all

c. A people not afraid to testify

d. A people not afraid to step out in Faith

2. A congregation that is dedicated

a. God does not tolerate inconsistency

i. We shouldn’t either

b. A people that is dedicated in their attendance

i. Christianity is a 24/7 job, not a part time job!

c. A people that is dedicated in their giving

i. Of self and of tithes

d. A people dedicated to missions

i. Sharing the Gospel at home and across the seas

3. A congregation that Responds to God’s Word

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