The Church: Purpose and Potential
1st Corinthians 4:1-5
I often wish that we could see things as God does. His perspective is enormous. Because we are tied to a body with just five senses, we are prone to think in small terms. Take the Church for instance. We are apt to think of the Church as only a small local entity - a building and property, a bank account, and a membership. In reality, the Church is both the corporate body of Christ (made up of saved members from every denomination) and the smaller community of believers.
We also tend to have a limited understanding of the Church’s purpose. As best I can tell, the Church has three basic responsibilities:
(1.) Evangelism - to seek and save the lost
(2.) Ministry – to meet the needs of people everywhere
(3.) Discipleship – to teach the Scripture and equip the Saints
No era of Church history has seen greater need of God than this. Perhaps that is why God limits our perspective. Otherwise we might feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Thankfully, with great responsibility has come even greater potential. There are more people on the planet and of these the majority are lost! In addition, the Church presently has greater material resources than ever before. I saw a report the other day in which a local congregation was robbed of 15,000 dollars worth of flat screen TVs! (When trying to determine the Church’s potential we should think and plan based upon vision rather than capability. By vision I mean what God can do through us.)
With all this potential one would expect to find the Church in a constant state of evangelism and revival. Instead, we see the exact opposite - less evangelism, less ministry, and very poor discipleship. I don’t know about you but I feel convicted! We are Jesus’ stewards, endowed by our Lord with talents and resources for His purpose. Do you know what it means to be entrusted with someone else’s most treasured possession? This ministry is God’s most precious property and He has entrusted it to us!
I. Stewards Of the Mysteries of God
A. Not wise business managers
1. Making sound and logical decisions
2. Acting upon faith and not reason
B. Not following a popular or practical plan
1. We cannot play the numbers game
2. Grass roots ministry is unpopular with most – boy covered in tar (easier to have another than to clean this one up)
3. Seldom known for big things but with the favor of God
C. We cast the net God gives us
1. Why so often empty?
a. Lack of repair; inadequate prep and laziness
b. Quitting too soon; stopping before we are told to
c. Fishing in the wrong place with the wrong bait
2. What God gives is enough
II. To Be Found Faithful
A. Claiming God’s promises and not just hoping for the best
1. Preparing ourselves through prayer and study
2. We would not trust a surgeon that received his training via correspondence (what lessons might he have missed?)
3. Too many trust that this work will continue and therefore do little to make certain
B. Growing with the Church
1. What kind of asset does not grow? A poor one!
Becoming the members of the body God intended