Summary: This is the begining of a lay ministry series.
When God’s Spirit Moves In
October 28, 2007
This message is based in part on John Maxwell’s message Let God’s Spirit Move In
I tell you of a true story of a soldier who was in Pearl Harbor. On the night before they were attacked by the Japanese Imperial Fleet, he and about twelve of his buddies went to a Bible study. They sat around the room, and the leader asked these Christians to quote their very favorite Scripture from memory, the Scripture that meant the most to them in their lives.
And this guy who had gone to church all of his life began to freeze. He couldn’t remember one Scripture.
They started, fortunately for him, on the other side of the room. As they were coming closer to him, reciting their favorite verses, he panicked. And then all of a sudden he remembered John 3:16. "Ah, that’s the one I’ll quote." And then the guy right before him quoted--you guessed it--John 3:16! When they came to him, he looked up and said, "I’m sorry, I just don’t know any verses."
He went home that evening, spiritually whipped. He thought, "Here I am. I’ve grown up in church, and I can’t even remember a Scripture verse. I’m still a baby."
Little did he know that on the next day the sirens would be raised high, and he would go to his battle station. He said, "I looked over head and there was smoke all over the harbor, and those Japanese planes were flying all over us."
He continued, "I grabbed my gun, but all we had in there was fake ammunition. But in panic, I grabbed my gun and fired into the air at the planes. I was firing blanks for 15 minutes. And while I was there God spoke to me. God said to me, ’That’s exactly how your life is; your life is full of blanks. No power, no effectiveness, no light, no salt, just blanks. And there’s a real enemy all around you bombing you and shooting you. No power.’"
The soldier said, "On the deck of the ship, I looked at God and I said, ’If You will let me live through this, I’ll get out of this baby carnal Christian stage, and I’m going to grow up, and become Holy Spirit-filled so that I will no longer fire blanks in my life.’"
Why are so many Christians and churches firing blanks? The answer is painfully simple; they focus on the wrong things.
The most important factor in the life of the church is ministry. The number of people in the church involved in ministry determines the greatness of the church. It is only when the people of the church serve in weekly ministry that Jesus can use them in a powerful manner. The power of Christ is at the disposal of the church that seeks His face and seeks to serve Him.
No local congregation will be what it should be, what Jesus prayed that it should be, what the Holy Spirit gifted and empowered it to be, until it understands spiritual gifts. John MacArthur
Understanding spiritual gifts is not enough. We must not only understand spiritual gifts but we must also utilize our spiritual gifts.
The church is suffering from a credibility issue. There is no difference between the churched and the unchurched.
Statistics from Mainline churches (Church Members)
50% are not certain of their salvation
60% seldom attend church
70% give less than 1% of their income to the church
80% have no ministry within the church
80% do not attend Sunday School or small group
90% have never been trained or discipled
3500-4000 churches close every year which is about 10 per day
In 1900 there were 27 churches for every 10,000 people
In 1985 there were 12 churches for every 10,000 people
The average size church is 75 people and 85% of them have either plateaued or are declining
Why are some Christians so effective and others are not?
Many Christians have settled for living below their divine privileges.
Listen to the words of Jesus from John 10:10: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Notice that there is a comma in this verse. Which side of the comma are you living on? Are you are just existing or are you really living? Jesus died so that you could have a real life. A life that is full of His presence and power. A life that makes a difference in this would with an expectation of the next.
How to get the Spirit filled life
Realize your need (1 Corinthians 13:11)
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.