Summary: The obsession to reach those who do not know Christ is an important mark of a church with "It".
SERIES: IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It
(freely adapted from Craig Groeschel’s It: How Churches and Leadesr Can Get it and Keep it)
“YOU WANT OTHERS TO HAVE IT”
We continue on this morning in our series: IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It. The first message was “What is it?” We defined it this way – “It is what God does through a rare combination of certain qualities found in his people.” Those qualities are: 1. A passion for his presence 2. A deep craving to reach the lost 3. Sincere integrity 4. Spirit-filled faith 5. Down-to-earth humility 6. Brokenness.
Our second message began a study of the traits that marked churches that had it and for us to learn how we can develop those traits in our congregation The first trait was a God-given, God-breathed vision and we said that “You Can See It Clearly.” The second trait was the importance of teamwork and we said that “We Experience It Together.” The third trait was innovation and we said “You’ll Do Anything For It.” Our message today is about sharing the gospel because ‘You Want Others to Have It.”
I would submit to you this morning a controversial proposition. Here it is: People today aren’t rejecting Christ so much as they’re rejecting the church.
I’ve talked to hundreds of people over the years about why they don’t come to church. I think all of those encounters are summed up in one man’s response to the question, “Why don’t you come to church?” Without hesitation, he responded, “Because I’ve already been.” He came. It didn’t happen. So he never came back.
Have you ever visited a church and been overlooked? It makes you feel incredibly awkward, uncomfortable, and unwanted. What’s odd is that churches that appear unfriendly to outsiders can be full of the friendliest people in the world – if you’re and insider.
Churches without it are often very friendly. In fact, they can be so tight, so bonded, so close – to each other – that they unintentionally overlook those they don’t really know.
On the other hand, churches with it remember that Jesus came for the outsiders. He came for those who were lost, broken, hurting, disenfranchised, alone, overlooked, poor. Jesus came for those whom religion had rejected.
Many churches unwittingly focus inward and forget those who are the very purpose for Jesus’ coming and the very purpose for the church on earth. These churches are like a hospital which no longer accepts patients. Or a soup kitchen which no longer feeds hungry people.
Across the board, every church that has it is obsessed with reaching people who don’t know Christ. They have a passion to share Christ that consumes them in a beautiful way. Churches that lack it can be filled with people who know Bible facts inside and out. Unfortunately, they’re more concerned with themselves than they are the lost.
One time a teacher of the law asked Jesus, “Out of all the commandments, what is the most important one?” Jesus replied in Mk. 12:30-31 – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with
all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
So one big question for you to answer is, “Who do you love?” If you love God, you should love people. If you don’t love people, then you don’t love God. We’re quite comfortable loving those who are like us, but we’re also called to love those who aren’t like us.
And when we love deeply, love makes us do things we wouldn’t otherwise do. I’m a cheapskate. But if I
take my wife out on a date, I’ll spend money. Why? Because I love her. Do you love people who don’t know Christ? Those that have it do – and they do so deeply.
There are many so-called Christians who don’t. You don’t have to look very far to find churches that have people who are insulating themselves from the world. Their hunkering down avoiding any movies rated PG-13 and above. They won’t listen to secular music and some won’t even listen to the contemporary Christian music. They’re afraid of MTV. They keep their distance from anyone who drinks beer, cusses after a bad golf swing, smokes anything, has a tattoo or wears jeans that have holes in them. They steer clear of homosexuals. And they stare disapprovingly at purple hair and mohawks. Too many so-called Christians are avoiding “those kind of people.” And they’ve forgotten that Jesus came for that kind of person.
Do you love those who are without Christ? Be honest with yourself this morning. Does our church have people whose hearts beat for those outside the family of God? Churches that have it care for each other and for people who are far from God. Churches without it care more about the sheep inside the fold than the goats outside of the church. And the lack of caring is communicated clearly.