(A Series on Evangelism)
C.R.9/27/87a.m. Matthew 28:18-20
PROPOSITION: There is something radically missing from
our Christian lives when we commit ourselves to Bible reading, prayer, fellowship and worship as fundamental elements of the Christian life and glaringly ommit evangelism as an indispensable act of obedience to the Lord.
- THERE is something that has come up missing, here at First Assembly.
- I HAVE been looking for it and it is not here.......oh, I see it occassionally....I hear isolated reports that it has been seen......but, basically, it is missing.
- I LOOKED for it in my own life.....and it is not there.
- I LOOK for it in yours....and, by and large, don't find it there either.
- SO I have to conclude that it is missing.
- WE cannot afford for it to be missing any longer....it is far too serious a matter to allow that to happen.
- SO I am asking you, this morning, to see if you could help me find it.
- YOU see, we have a three-fold priority statement that contains the philosophy of ministry here at First Assembly.
- IT makes up the three ingredients of the logo that is on our sign out front and our stationery....that Gary and Audrey Taylor's daughter designed for us several years ago.
- IT IS: LOVING GOD, CARING FOR THE BODY, REACHING OUT TO THE WORLD.
- NOW, loving God is basically not missing around here....and I am glad for that;
* We are committed to the Word.......no one around here would dream of trying to live the Christian life without the Word of God.
* We read it...every day. That is an indispensable discipline.
* We study the Word.....on Sunday mornings in Sunday School.....on Wednesday nights in School of Ministry, in the Youth Department and Royal Rangers and Pioneer Girls.....and we also study the Word in our Care Groups every week. We encourage you to study the Word at home and equip you with the tools to do it.
* We memorize the Word...not only do we encourage everyone to do that but we have Quiz ministry where our young people and teenagers memorize whole books of the Bible.
* We believe that one vital way that we love God is to obey His Word.
* This is all part of loving God.
* Another way we love God here, is to worship Him.
* That is certainly not missing.
* We believe in worship as a lifetsyle....that is as basic as breathing and as important to you.
* We have our entire Music Department dedicated basically to leading us in worship when we come together on Sundays for our celebration together.
* We worship when we come together for prayer....at 6 a.m. every morning...and at noon.
* We worship on Wednesday nights, in the Youth Department, in all children's activities, and here in School of Ministry.
* Our Care Groups, that meet in homes every week, have worship as part of their format.
* No, it is certainly not worship that is missing around here.
* Another way that we love God is in our communication with Him...in prayer. No one would dream of trying to live the Christian life without prayer......and that is not what is missing around here.
* We believe that prayer is a must in the every-day life of the believer.
* We have 6 a.m. prayer meetings and at 12 noon every day of the week....and at 7.p.m. on Saturdays. We are praying for revival, for the harvest, for a national repentance. Prayer changes things....it has around here in the past four years.
* Who could conceive of serving God as a born-again believer without prayer? It is not possible.
* No, prayer is not missing around here.
* Other ways that we love God are with fasting.....showing Him that He is more important to us that what we eat or drink.
* Being a servant is another way that we show our love for Him.....being willing to give our lives in ministry to others. That is not missing here.....Pastor Butch just informed me that he has 153 leaders and teachers in CE right now.
- WE can always love Him more. The Word says that we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. So we always have more to give Him. But it cannot be said that love for God is missing around here.
- CARING for the Body of Christ is the second element of our three-fold priority for our fellowship.
* Jesus said that in this way, all men would know that we are His disciples...if we love one another.
* I am happy to report that that is not missing around here.
* There is more people-to-people ministry going on right now than in the history of this fellowship......and if you are not being ministered to it is because you are holding yourself away.
* We have Care Groups....nurturing, praying, visiting, going to the hospital, counseling.....ministering to all kinds of needs in the fellowship.
* We have benevolence ministry, food pantry, clothes closet, Alcoholics Victorious, Marriage Enrichment.
* We have singles ministry....and the Lord has just added a ministry for Senior Adults.....I was with Pastor Reese and a group of sharp senior adults just yesterday morning.
* People visiting here frequently comment to me about the love that they see and feel around here.
- NO, it is evident to me that Caring for the Body is not missing. We cannot sit back and relax on that score...but it is certainly not missing.
- IF you have been around here for very long, you have heard us say, and, I am sure you believe yourself, that the Christian life cannot be lived without the Word and prayer and fellowship and worship.
- YOU cannot say that you are a Christian and ignore these essential ingredients of the believer's life.
- BUT the third element of the three-fold priority for First Assembly is reaching out to the world that is lost and going to an eternity in the flames of eternal judgment.
- AND, I am sorry to report that it is missing at First Assembly.
- OH, I am not saying that it never happens.
- BUT it is missing.
- THAT zeal for the lost.....that burdened compassion for them......the groaning of the Spirit through us for their destiny without Jesus.
- THAT church-wide compulsion to get into the highways and by-ways and bring them to Jesus....is not here.
- WHEN last did you pray with someone to receive Christ....and disciple them until they were winning others for Him?
- WHEN last did I, outside of my office and function as a pastor, lead someone to Jesus and pray with them to receive Him? A long time.
- AND the tragedy of it all is that we treat that condition as normal in the church of today.
- IT is abnormal to be a Christian and not be in the Word, not be in prayer, not be a part of a fellowship......and, God forbid that we should not be friendly and loving.
- BUT we can be barren, in terms of reproducing this love of Jesus, that He gave us at such a high price.....and be considered normal.
- IT is not normal. You and I cannot afford to be barren any more. It is getting too late.
- WE are at the end of the age. We are in the generation that will face the fiercest conflict with the forces of hell.....as the end of time approaches....and there is not time to be barren and treat that as normal Christianity.
II.THE CHARGE OF THE CHURCH
- I DIRECT you to the last written words of JESUS in the gospel record of Matthew.....28:18-20;
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
- THE first part of the charge of the church of Jesus is to go. It is an action......that says, "get up and go". It is the opposite of sitting and staying.
- THE second command is to make disciples. There is more action in that. First you win confidence and care and do some of the passive kinds of evangelism that wins a hearing for the gospel. But, eventually you have to make disciples. You have to ask the question, "If you were to die today, why should God allow you into His heaven?"
* But discipleship is not over when they pray the sinner's prayer. It has just begun.
- THE third command of Jesus is to baptize them. We will be doing that tonight. It is a public statement of your allegiance to Jesus.
- THEN we are to teach them.
- BUT none of that can happen...until they are reached....and noone can do it unless you do.
- AND it is missing right now.
- WILL you help me recover this command and essential ingredient of the life of the believer here at First Assembly?
- WILL you ask God to forgive you your barreness and give you a grieving spirit, the way He grieves over those He loves who are lost?
- WILL you ask Him to change you and give you a passion for the lost?
- (TELL about Loren Triplet's message and his concern every time he hears of a plane crash....or earthquake.....how many were lost and now face an eternity of hell?)
-WE are committed to the world. There is no changing that. It is the command of Jesus
III.THE PRIORITY OF THE BELIEVER
- EVERY believer must win souls.
- IT is as inconceivable to be a barren believer as it would be to try and serve the Lord and not read the Word or pray.
- THE first priority of every Royal Ranger here at First Assembly must be to win souls.
- THE first priority of every Pioneer Girl must be to win souls.
- THE first priority of every choir member is to win souls.
- THE first priority of every believer is to win souls.
- YOU are not a deacon...until you are winning souls.
- YOU are not a Sunday School teacher until you are winning souls.
- I AM not a pastor until I am winning souls.
- I AM praying for a fire to fall on us and make us soul-winners.
- (TELL about prayer this week concerning "power" and God telling me that He is waiting for us to start using what he Has already given....then more will come.)
IV.THE BLESSING OF SOUL-WINNING
- IT is not just a command....but a wonderful joy to win souls.
- PROVERBS 11:30 says that there is wisdom for the soul-winner.
- DANIEL 12:3 says that the one who wins souls will shine like the stars.
- JAMES 5:20 says that winning souls will cover a multitude of sins.
- GOD spoke to me this past week and told me that this element of His call amongst us is missing. Will you help me walk in obedience before Him? Will you obey Him with soul-winning?
- WILL you help me make First Assembly a soul-winning church.
- WE are comitted to the world! Will you be too?
- IT is already starting to happen. The rumblings are on the way.
- LET'S be a part of God's avalanche in these last days.
HOLY GOD MAKE ME HOLY