Summary: The apostle Paul describes what the church should be in the book of I Thessalonians.
WHAT THE CHURCH SHOULD BE
INTRO.- ILL.- The sermon was longer than usual on this particular Sunday morning. Little Johnny was getting more restless by the minute. Finally, in what was supposed to be a whisper, Johnny blurted out, "IF WE GIVE HIM THE MONEY NOW WILL HE LET US LEAVE!"
ILL.- That’s like the church service where the preacher had delivered a long, dry sermon. The preacher announced that he wanted to meet with the board after the service. The first man to show up was not a board member. The preacher said, "I’m sorry, but you must have misunderstood. This is a meeting of the board."
"I know," said the man, "but if there is anyone here more bored than I am, I’d like to meet him."
ILL.- In a door-to-door survey conducted by Willow Creek Community Church of South Barrington, IL (which is probably the largest church in the U.S.), the question was asked:
"If you don’t go to church, why?" The five biggest reasons:
3- Asking for money all the time
4- I’m too busy already
5- I feel awkward at church.
BORING. The sad truth is many churches or church services are boring. I don’t like boring. But I don’t think we are boring here at Mattoon Christian.
I don’t think the church should be some kind of carnival show, but I don’t think it should be boring either. I like to preach "home run" sermons, but I don’t always do that. I always try to make my sermon as interesting and exciting as possible. This is why I use a lot of humor. People can relate to humor.
I want to do my part to make our services exciting or at least, less boring! We all must do what we can to make our services exciting, interesting and applicable!
The Willow Creek Community Church also discovered that people thought most church services were irrelevant, meaning, the services didn’t relate to people in their every day lives.
The Bible is not just a book of facts to be taught! It’s a book about how to live! About how to get the most out of life! And I intend to always preach and teach Scriptures in a way that will help and bless people!
In my younger days as a preacher I used to think in terms of "laying it on the people." Some of that may be ok, but not all the time. I now preach to help people! I don’t want to beat people. I want to bless people.
Life is rough and tough. It’s not easy even when it’s easy. People need help. They need to be built up, not beat down! I want to be on the "construction" crew, not the "destruction" crew! What about you?
The Willow Creek church also discovered that most people thought that churches were always asking for money. NOT MATTOON CHRISTIAN CHURCH! We don’t ask unless there is real or genuine need! And I personally will not hound people to give. I don’t want to be pushed and prodded and I won’t do it to others.
Willow Creek church also discovered that many people said the reason they didn’t go to church was because they didn’t have time. All I can say is: some day they won’t have time to die, but they will die!
The only way to prepare for death is to believe in Christ, follow Christ, give your life to Christ and get in the church!
Brothers and sisters, we need to boost the church in the eyes of the world and our community! We have an image, just like every human being has an image. But what is our image? Is it a good image? Is it kind and loving? It is outgoing and selfless? Or is it inward and selfish? Do we exist to live for others? Or for ourselves?
PROP.- From the book of I Thessalonians let’s consider what the church should be with the idea of reaching more people for Christ.
1- A center of gospel testimony (1:8)
2- A nursery for spiritual babes (2:7-8)
3- A family circle with love prevailing (3:12)
4- A school for spiritual development (4:9-10, 13)
I. A CENTER OF GOSPEL TESTIMONY
I Thess. 1:8 "The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia - your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it."
The Lord’s message rang out from the church in Thessalonica!
ILL.- A certain preacher never prepared his sermon during the week, and on Sunday morning he’d sit on the platform while the church was singing the hymns desperately praying, "Lord, give me your message, Lord give me your message." One Sunday, while desperately praying for God’s message, he heard the Lord say, "Ralph, here’s my message. You’re lazy!"