Summary: I used this sermon in my series of studying the doctrine of the Nazarene Church, however, I don’t focus much on the doctrine part. I decided to focus more on the encouragement of the Christians to be the Church that God desires us to be.
Larry C. Brincefield
April 6, 2003, Sunday Evening
Title: What we believe...about the Church
Text: Acts 2:42-47
We have been talking about the various doctrines of the Nazarene Church.
Tonight, we come to Article 11, the Doctrine of the Church
But instead of listening to me preach a sermon tonight...
Imagine that we are all TV sportscasters standing on the sidelines of a football game to give the play-by-play.
The team nearest us is standing together, heads bowed in prayer, with the coach in the center.
Suddenly they give a great cheer, and the coach trots out onto the field by himself.
The players go sit on the bench.
"What’s going on?" we ask as we stick a microphone in front of a 250 pound guard. "What’s the coach doing out there?"
"Oh, he’s going to play today.", he says.
"All by himself?", we ask.
"Sure, why not? He’s had a lot more experience and training than the rest of us.
We’ve got a lot of rookies on this team, and we might make mistakes.
Anyway, they pay the coach well.
We’re all here to cheer and support him--and look at the crowd that’s come to watch him play!"
Surprized, we watch as the opposing team kicks off.
The coach catches the ball.
He valiantly charges upfield, but is buried under eleven opposing tacklers.
He’s carried off only half- conscious.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
But that is how many churches are.
The members expect the minister to do the preaching, praying, witnessing, and visiting because he’s paid to do the Lord’s work and he’s better trained.
But God gives leaders to the church,
not to do all the work,
but to help all of God’s people to do it!
Lay people are not there simply to pay pastors and evangelists to do the Lord’s work.
Instead, Pastors & Evangelists are to equip the lay people to be ministers!
Your pastor is intened to be a kind of playing coach.
Now look at Scene #2:
The team realizes they’ve all got to play, so they’re on the field in a huddle.
They huddle...and huddle...and huddle.
The referee calls a penalty for delaying the game and moves the ball back five yards.
Still the team huddles, huddles, and huddles.
The referee calls penalty after penalty, until finally the ball is moved all the way back to their own goal line.
"Hey coach!" shouts the quarterback to the sidelines.
"This is the greatest huddle I’ve ever been in.
What a group of guys!
We have the best fellowship...
and some of these guys are amazing students of the play book.
Some have memorized over a hundred plays and can analyze them precisely.
We learn so much in this huddle!"
The Coach replies, "But why don’t you get up on the line and play?"
"Why should we? What we want are bigger and better huddles! Besides, we might get hurt. No one ever got hurt in a huddle!"
The church is in big trouble if it becomes a "holy huddle"...
a band of saints gathered Sunday after Sunday,
and enjoying each other--
but never getting out of the huddle and applying what they learn.
The church is supposed to be Christ’s body--
his hands, his feet, his voice--
we are the means by which He carries out His plans in the world.
God intends that "through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known" (Eph 3:10).
The church is to be God’s light in a dark, corrupt society.
The Christian life was never meant to be lived only in church for a couple of hours on Sunday.
It’s meant to be lived out in the world
at the office,
and in the neighborhood,
seven days a week.
Of course, we need worship and training and fellowship with other Christians--
just like a football team needs the huddle.
But the important thing is what happens after the huddle.
Here’s scene #3:
the team breaks out of the huddle.
But instead of lining up against the opposing squad,
they break into 2 or 3 groups,
arguing with each other.
Soon they start shoving,
and two of them actually get into a fight.
"What’s wrong now?" we ask as one of them walks off the field in disgust.
He says, "We can’t agree on anything,".
"Those two over there are arguing over the color of the uniforms.
A couple of others are fighting over the right way to kneel in the huddle.
Those two guys are arguing because one believes in what he calls ’personal’ football, and not organized football.
They can’t agree whether the individual or the team is more important.
Some of the white players say the blacks should go play on their own field,