Summary: A message to bring to light the type of local church we have and to understand what God desires for us to be.
What Type of Church Are We?
(the free powerpoint can be found at www.hueytownbaptist.com on the pastor’s sermon page)
> The first time we hear Jesus mention the church is in Matthew 16. His words are, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Why is that, you may ask? “Because I will give the church the keys of the kingdom, and these keys will have the ability both in heaven and on earth to bind and loose all things.” WOW!! What power Jesus gives to His bride, the church!
> It is in Acts 2 that we see the workings of the Holy Spirit in the church. Now remember, this group of some 120 believers was witnesses to Jesus’ leaving earth and going “out of sight.” They return to Jerusalem with the promise that God was going to do “something.” This is key because they were NOT sure of exactly what He would do. But they knew that He always gives good and perfect gifts and that they could trust Him. So they were ready, willing, and open to whatever God would do. “When they were altogether in prayer and unity, the Holy Spirit fell from heaven filling the house and, their hearts in such a way that things kind of got out of hand. (Let’s hit the PAUSE button; knowing that on a regular basis we don’t have this kind movement of God have you ever wondered what the hold up is? Is it that no longer God does care to grace His children with His presence in this way, or Has the Holy Spirit lost His ability to show up in power, or might it be that we are NOT so ready, willing, and opened to His manifest presence? ) Let’s continue; the result of the Holy Spirit taking over was a noisy racket. There was so much noise that people from all over the town came to see what was going on and (oh, by the way) 3000 people were saved. It is as if the Holy Spirit said, when I show up something wonderful happens
> Here is my dilemma; If Jesus Himself is building the church and if the Holy Spirit empowers the church, why is the church so anemic today? Where is the fire? The power? The passion? The Purpose?
> Tonight, let us take an overview of the Churches found in Revelation. Next week we’ll study the seven churches of the Revelation. Today, let’s look at a snapshot of church.
> To begin, turn with me to Revelation 2. Have you ever notice that when something is important to someone, I mean they really want you to learn and know a thing, they’ll repeat it. In fact, the old saying is, “repetition is the mother of learning.” Most of us know that the book of the Revelation was dictated to John on the Isle of Patmos. Chapter 2 and 3 are the words of Jesus. If you have a red print edition of the Bible, these 2 chapters are in red.
> Watch this. (verses 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22) From these verses, it seems to me that Jesus is saying, “listen to the Spirit of God and do what He says…”
> When we truly listen, based on years of studying God’s word I believe He wants us to begin by knowing who and what we are? We call ourselves a church, but what kind?
1) AN EXTERNAL CHURCH – There is a good and bad to the external church. The part of the church that is external is the involvement of the people in the community or in the lives of people. God has called us to the people we live around, work with, and play with. This is not a sugges-tion but rather a requirement which God has given us. The church is to have an external impact & that is good.
> At the same time there is a liability of a church becoming “external” just for the sake of being external. For the alive, vibrant, and spirit-filled church, there will always exists the possibility of becoming like the world. We get controlled by the latest fad. Thus the community has a great impact on the church than the church on the community. Watch how this works: the church becomes so much like the community that the church appears to be alive and vibrant yet the Lord views it differently. Look in chapter 3. You have a repetition that you are alive, but you are dead. Why? Your works are not complete.
2) AN INTERNAL CHURCH – In the same way there is both good and bad of the external church, there is the same for the internal church. This is a church that is like family. It reminds me of the old song which says, “It feels so good just being here again…” The great part of this church is that her members love being together, love each other, and love the fellowship. It’s just great.