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Summary: Church purpose

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 WHAT’S THE POINT? - TO SHARE A MESSAGE

Luke 24:45-49 - Sunday AM - August 10, 1997

INTR: When George Bush and his military advisors determined to engage Saddam Hussein and his military forces they first poured all the military might of the United States onto the Saudi Arabian peninsula. The coalition forces numbered 500,000 men with the most technologically advanced equipment available; the best missiles, the best planes, the best tanks, the weapons.

They held back nothing because they understood their purpose; to win a war.

Viet Nam was a different story. The strategy, if you can call it that, was "limited warfare." The problem with limited warfare is that your opponent is probably engaged in all out war, so your already at a disadvantage. Because the US lost sight of the purpose of the military, to fight and win wars, we suffered an overwhelming and embarrassing defeat in Viet Nam.

Not so in Desert Storm. With clear purpose, the coalition forces devastated Iraq.

TRNS: It is important to keep purpose in mind. The purpose of any organization should be its guiding principal and should influence everything it does. If certain activities do not reinforce its purpose, they should be abandoned. "Limited warfare" is not in accord with the purpose of the military and should forever be abandoned. If other activities contribute to the fulfillment of purpose they should be undertaken. But every activity should be measured against the purpose. The purpose of the military is to fight and win wars.

So what is the purpose of the church? Why was it established? What is the purpose against which we should measure everything we do?

READ: Luke 24:36-49 . . . It seems clear from this passage that the mission that Jesus left with his disciples was to proclaim repentance and forgiveness in the name of Jesus. The purpose God assigned his disciples, and ultimately the church, was to tell the world that their was a better way than that the world has to offer. And that way was, and is, the way of Jesus Christ.

In the first century, during the protestant reformation of the 16th C., in the great awakenings of the 18th C., the church was vibrant and alive with purpose. The church was directed and focused and great growth issued and hundreds of thousands of people came to understand the message the church has to share.

But we are not seeing that kind of growth today and many people have begun to question the relevancy of the church. They think it has little purpose in society today. The church is quaint, a good place for a wedding or funeral with all of the traditions associated with marriage and earthly departure. But why in the world would anyone attend on a regualr basis. Many believe that the church, by way of its teachings, serves to impose a narrow-minded intolerance upon people. We are known these days far more for what we are against; Homosexuality, Abortion, and Disney; than what we are for.

When the world asks the question of the church, "What’s the point?", many don’t find a good

answer. That is why it is imperative that we ask the same question of the church, "What’s the point?", and we must have a clear answer that will make a difference in the world in which we live. That answer is "To share a message!" that Jesus Christ lived and died so that mankind might know God and be assured of eternity! We have a purpose, to share the message of Christ!

But before the message can be shared . . .

1. THE MESSAGE MUST BE UNDERSTOOD.

a. Jesus told the 11 disciples, "everything that was written about me had to be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds so that they could understand the scriptures.

b. The scriptures bore a clear message about what was to happen to Jesus; that Jesus would suffer, die, and rise from the dead.

c. Here, in the midst of their mourning, the resurrected Jesus appears and says, "See, I’m alive. Now, understand why I had to suffer and die."

d. Minds are most open retrospectively:

i. The disciples could have examined Is.53 100x.

ii. They could have read v. 10 where it says, "It was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer;"

iii. They could have read v. 11 where it says "After the suffering of his soul he will see the light of life;"

iv. They could have read all the OT passages that spoke of the messiah, the plain and the obscure, and still not have associated the fulfillment of those prophecies with Jesus.

v. But knowing how Jesus was brutalized, how he was crucified, and now looking at his resurrected body with the nail scares so visible; looking at the physical fulfillment of the prophecies, everything became so plain, so easy to understand.

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