Summary: This was a sermon i preached 4 years back when i began serving at a new place of service as pastor.
1. We are called to be a confessing Church.
V. 18, Jesus says it is “My Church”
- My college BSU director would often correct our BSU President when he would say something about "My church"...he told him that it wasn’t "his church", it was Jesus’ church and He allowed him to serve there.
Some debate between beliefs over this passage and the founding of the church: Jesus says “Petra”, meaning a boulder or rock (that He is the Christ”, calls Peter, “petros” meaning a stone or piece of the rock.
1 Peter 2:4-8 -- Jesus is the Cornerstone upon which His Church is built.
This is not my church, not the previous pastor’s church, not the deacon’s church, committee’s church, or for great-grandma that has been a member here since inception…it is Christ’s church!
We bear His name; we are His representatives to the world.
1 Peter 2:9-12, our lives should be different.
2. We are called to be a progressive Church.
MUST DEFINE! Modern day political progressives (acceptance of abortion and homosexuality) and theological progressives (does not accept Bible as authoritative, denies core doctrines)…not what I mean!
Jesus says in V. 18, “I will build My church…”
Matthew Henry says “The Church in this world is but in fieri – in the forming.”
Has the mission of reaching the lost world for Christ been met?
• Thom Rainer says only 41% of the US attends worship on the weekend and that number is decreasing with each generation.
• The “Field white unto harvest” is right outside this door!
The Great Commandment that says to love the Lord our God and our neighbors as ourselves, and the Great Commission that tells us to go into the whole world and make disciples did not come with a time frame!
3. We are called to be a courageous Church.
V. 18, Jesus says, “The gates of hell will not overcome” His church.
We are going to face opposition; history shows it.
• Christians in the early church were martyred in various ways. 10 of the original 12 Apostles died violent deaths.
• Pre-reformation, John Wycliffe was executed in England in 1384 for putting the Word of God into the language of the common man.
• The Protestant Reformation during 1500’s.
• The Puritan Revolution of 1600’s which fed into the founding of our nation.
• Today: The persecuted church world wide (mideast and far east), Evangelicals considered “Religious extremists”
** Through all of this, we are not to be passive.
- Paul described the Christian life as one of :
- Striving, 1 Tim 4:10, “and for this we labor and strive”
- Running and fighting, 1 Cor 26, “Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air”
- Struggle, Eph 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood”, some translations say “Wrestle”.
- We are to be an aggressive church because of the opposition that will come.
But no matter what we are called to stand, not because of who we are, but because of who He is.
Ambrose Redmoon says, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important.”
Right now, as we enter into this new season at New River Baptist Church I have to admit, I am scared to death!
But I cling to my faith in Christ that He is the one who heads the Church universal and He is the head of this Church. Christ is also the one who has called me here, and has called you here for a reason, and that is to reach out to the un-churched and pre-Christians in St Amant, Ascension Parish, Louisiana and beyond.
We confess Him as the head of this church, we join Him on the mission of building His Kingdom, and we take courage in Him alone.
*This starts with confessing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.