Faithlife Sermons

A community worth taking for God

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

A community worth taking for God   5/31/2007

 

  This message was inspired by a message by Frank Page. The overview of the message is similar to the overview of his inspiring message.

 

Read numbers 13:17-33

 

Introduction… Frank Page… the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention… Delivered a message to the SBC Executive Committee on February 19th of this year. 

In this message, he gave an illustration that Billy Graham had used in his autobiography entitled Just As I Am.

Mr. Graham tells of a conversation he had with John F. Kennedy shortly after his election. Here is what Billy Graham Said…

He said… On the way back to the Kennedy house, the president elect stopped the car and turned to me. “Do you believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ” he asked.

    “I most certainly do”

  “Well, does my church believe it?”

    “They have it in their creeds”

“They don’t preach it”… he said… “They don’t tell us about it… I’d like to know what you think.”

   I explained what the Bible said about Christ coming the first time… dying on the cross… rising from the dead… and then promising that He would come back again…

   “Only then”, I said… “are we going to have permanent world peace.”

“Very interesting” he said, looking away. “we’ll have to talk more about that some day” and he drove on.

    Several years later the two met again, at the 1963 National Prayer Breakfast.

  “I had the flu” Graham said… After I gave my short talk and the president gave his, we walked out of the hotel to his car together, as was always our custom.

At the curb he turned to me.

“Billy, could you ride back to the White House with me? I’d like to see you for a minute.”

     “MR. President, I’ve got a fever” I protested… “Not only am I weak, but I don’t want to give you this thing. Couldn’t we wait and talk some other time?’”… it was a cold snowy day and I was freezing as I stood there without my over coat.

“of course” he said graciously…

But the two would never meet again…later that year Kennedy was shot dead.

Graham says… “his hesitation at the car door and his request haunt me still. What was on his mind? Should I have gone with him?... It was an irrecoverable moment.”

It was an irrecoverable moment…..

…I asked my wife’s permission to give two illustrations from her life, that tie in with the idea behind the message this morning…

Bill Stafford says that God speaks to our wives first… because we men are so hard headed…

…. One of those moments involved our Ex Brother in law named Curtis…

Denise’s Sister and Curtis were married and had a beautiful child together…

That Child was a wonderful girl named Ashley… I have told you about Ashley before…

Denise and her sister Glenda were both pregnant at the same time… Denise was pregnant with our second child… Derek...

And Glenda was pregnant with their first child… Ashley…

Well… Glenda went into labor first… and Denise went to the hospital to see her…

While she was at the hospital… Denise went into labor as well.

So… Denise was admitted to the hospital… and the same doctor would go back and forth between Denise and Glenda…

Derek was actually born first… and then about two hours later… his cousin Ashley was born…

Derek and Ashley were almost like brother and sister… we even had their first birthday together…

But tragedy struck…

When Ashley was about 20 months old… She died in a house fire…

And as you can imagine… the stress to the marriage was enormous… and Curtis and Glenda came to the point where they ended up getting divorced…

… Then tragedy struck again… as a few years later… Curtis took his own life…

And Denise told me that God had been telling her all week leading up to Curtis’s death that she needed to go see him…

but we were just such busy people… you understand that don’t you?

Now… I don’t think that Denise seeing Curtis would have kept Him from taking his life…

 No one had a clue… Curtis didn’t seem depressed… he had even made plans with other people… no one had any idea what he was going to do…

I don’t think it would have saved his life…

But there was some reason God asked Denise to go see him… Maybe just to speak with him that one last time…

We will never know this side of Heaven… 

There was that irrecoverable moment…

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

… Another One of these moments was when I came home from work one day and my wife said to me…

“ I called my dad today… we are going to go see him.”

       ……Now… that may not seem like a strange conversation to you… but you need to understand that we had not seen my wife’s father for over three years… and we only lived about 25 miles away…

Kari was about a year old… Kristin was about three years old… and he had never met either one of them at this time…

You see… my wife’s father was an alcoholic… He had lived a life where he had been abusive to his family… And He had left Denis’s mother as soon as Denise and I got married…

We had tried to help him time and time again… we would take him to a treatment program… and then… as is so often the case… after a day or two he would check himself out.

We had tried to help him by allowing him to stay with us for a while… but try as we may… it seemed like nothing ever changed.

We finally came to the point where we… and pretty much the rest of his family… just could not handle the stress and pressures of trying to help someone who truly did not want help… and the family pretty much stopped having anything to do with him.

And it had been like that for over three years when I came home that day and Denise told me she had called her Dad…

So… while I was standing there pondering what she was saying… I asked…

   “what brought you to that decision”

And my wife looked at me and said… “God told me to make things right with my Dad… so I am going to.”

She said… “We are going to go see him Saturday”

…Well… just a day or two after this conversation… before we were able to go see him…my wife’s father had a heart attack…

Was it another Irrecoverable moment?

 …. I will finish this story in a moment…

…My friends… I believe there are those irrecoverable moments in our lives…

There are those times when we find ourselves at a crossroads… we find ourselves at a point in our lives where the decisions we make alter our destiny… the destiny of our families… the destiny of our churches… and the destiny of this nation.

The decisions we make today will change our lives forever…

There are opportunities that lie before us and when we miss those opportunities… they are gone forever…

   They are truly Irrecoverable moments…

My friends… Today… as a church… we stand at just such a crossroad…

Today… the opportunity lies before us

   

We must be a church that is centered on carrying out the great commission…

 We must be a church that is focused on a vision that is given by God himself…

And from the passage we read a few moments ago from Numbers chapter 13… we see just such a vision…

In this passage of scripture we can see a land that is worth the effort… we can see a land that is worth working hard for…

we can see a land that is worth taking for God…

…The people had become tired I am sure… longing for a home… waiting for the promised land… the land that God had led them out of Egypt to bring them to…

They had sent 12 spies into the Promised Land from the Negev to Hebron… from the South to the North in the land of Canaan.

They were to bring back a report on the land… they were to report about the fruits and vegetation… they were to report about the people… weather they were weak or strong… many or few…

And when the spies brought their reports… they were full of wonder and awe…

The fruits of the land were more than they could have imagined… the land was flowing with milk and honey…

Just think of a people who had been wondering in the wilderness finally hearing the reports of such wonderful things… of such a beautiful and fruitful place to live…

For forty days the spies surveyed the land…

According to verse 29 the inhabitants of Canaan were a diverse group… they were a mixed population… so it wasn’t like the spies had to hide out in the day and travel only at night… they were able to walk amongst the population for the most part…

And the reports they brought back were mixed reports… reports of excitement… as well as reports of fear…

They were afraid of the people… but they were excited about the wonderful resources of the land…

…My friends… We too are called to Survey the land…

Jesus said in John 4:35 “open your eyes and look at the fields”

Let us open our eyes my friends… there are unreached un-harvested resources for the Kingdom of God all around us…

 There are precious souls that are loved by our heavenly Father that are not being touched… and they are right here in our community…

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

… I have never really understood a few things about Melbourne…

When I first drove into this town and saw a population of around 1500… I was shocked to see all the banks that this town has…

I was amazed at the fact that there are three full fledged auto dealerships as well as a few used car lots…

    I was a little nervous when I noticed that there are three funeral homes…

And then to realize that ours is one of three Southern Baptist Churches inside the city limits of Melbourne…

…But that is nothing…

Did you know that there are 13 Churches… 13 separate stand alone churches inside the city limits of Melbourne…

Now… that may surprise us… and we may think that there are too many churches in our area… but that is not the case…

I got a new demographic report in the mail Friday… and it showed me that even though there are only about 1600 people inside the city limits of Melbourne… within a five mile radius of our church… there are actually over 2800 people…

The estimated population of Izard County is over 13,000…

And 45% of those people… Approximately 6,000 people in our county… claim absolutely no religious affiliation at all…

So… if that same percentage hold true for the 5 mile radius around out church…

Then there approximately 1,260 people within a 5 mile radius of our church that claim no religious affiliation at all…

You see… there may be 13 Churches inside the city limits of Melbourne… and some 55 churches in our county… but I assure you… the Church is NOT in every home in our community…

  And it may seem like a daunting task to realize that there are millions of souls in our nation that are unreached…

But let us lift up our eyes and realize that there are Thousands of souls here in our very communities that are lost in their sin and are bound for hell unless they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ…

And listen friends… it is not about Church Growth…

I can’t tell you how many churches I know of that reach out to other churches members…

They reach out to those who already have a relationship with Christ… to those who are already in a Church… and they do it in the name of Church Growth…

My friends… we are going to have to stop focusing on Church growth as so many churches do… And start focusing on carrying out the great commission as our Lord commanded us…

 Look with me out in our communities friends… and we will see a land worth taking for the Glory of God…

…That’s what we need to be doing… we need to see the harvest fields around us…

……………………………………………………………………………………

But then we so often hear about the difficulties of the mission don’t we…

The land of Canaan was heavily fortified… Verse 28 says…

28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large…

The Israelites had left Egypt after hundreds of year of slavery and oppression…

They probably considered themselves ill equipped to handle such strongholds…

Notice how verse 28 starts off with the word “but”… leaving the impression that many felt like there was no hope of them being able to conquer the people living in the land…

They came back with reports of some of the people being Giants in the land… and reports of the land being so immense that they would be insignificant in the land…

10 out of the 12 spies said “no way”… and they gave a bad report… maybe even exaggerating just a tad…

Verses 31-33 say…

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

The majority report was one of fear… intimidation… unwillingness… rejection…

“We…Can’t…Do it….”    They said…

Today… we seem to get the same kind of report time and time again…

We look at our nation and we say that the other side is too big… too powerful… too strong… and we are so insignificant…

We too feel so ill equipped to take back the strongholds…

We look at our land and we say that there is too much to be done… too many to be reached… it costs too much money…

It takes too much time… no one will listen… nobody cares… we are called names… we are made fun of… we are ridiculed… we are mocked… we are shunned… we are laughed at…  We are just a small Church in a small community in a nation that has gone too far…

             WeCantDo it…..    we say….

But my friends… its time to see the vision God has laid before us…

Look at verse 30…

30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

Here we see the Minority report… We see the man Caleb with a spirit of Confidence so unlike the others…

But why?

    I mean… he had the same background… he had the same heritage… he had the same training… he saw the same information… How could he be in such opposition to 10 of the others…

Well… the key is found over in chapter 14… if you will turn over there with me…

Chapter 14 verses 8-9 says…

8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

You see… Caleb recognized that true success in life can only come through the enabling power of God

And WE must do the same thing…

….. Back to the story about my wife’s Father…

After my wife heard God speaking to her to make things right with her father…

After my wife called and spoke to her father for the first time in over three years…

He had a heart attack… and ended up in the hospital…

Denise visited him in the hospital… And I am certain that if she had not called him before the heart attack, he would have felt like she was just visiting because of the heart attack…

Well… he came home after a short hospital stay…

And we made arrangements and went to his house to see him…

Like I said… it was the first time he had ever met Kristin or Kari…

And do you know what kind of changes came to my wife’s father because of our visit?

Absolutely nothing…

He promised to come by the following Monday to bring Denise’s brother by the house…   but he did not follow through on his promise…

… And just a few days after this… my wife’s father Passed away while mowing his yard…

You see… my wife had listened to God…

Her father had not changed… but she had been obedient… she had done what God asked her to do… she obeyed and she had that moment with her father… before it became an irrecoverable moment…

My friends… todayWE stand at the threshold of an irrecoverable moment…

The decisions we make today… will alter our destiny… the destiny of our friends and family… the destiny of our Church… and the destiny of our entire nation

You see friends… It’s not about what we can do for God…

 it’s about what God wants to do through us…

Do we believe that we live in a land worth taking????

Do we believe that we live in a community worth taking for God????

…Then what are we going to do about it?

As a church… we don’t need a bunch of programs

we need PASSION

We don’t need a lot of comments… we need COMMITMENT

We don’t need a lot of money… we need ENTHUSIASM…

My friends… I believe that we stand at the threshold of one of those Irrecoverable moments…

Are you willing to join with me in taking this Land for the Glory of God…

Are you willing to join me in taking our community for the Lord before it is to late…

I truly believe God is ready my friends…

Are we willing?

For five years we have been specifically asking God to lead us and guide us…

 I believe He is doing just that…

Are we ready to obey…

Do we see the fields ripe for the harvest…

Are we ready to take this land for GOD…………

I ask for COMMITMENT from you today my friends…

As the instrumentalists play… I ask you to come and pray… and just let the Lord know that we are ready… and we are willing… to obey…

Related Media
Related Sermons