I Will Build My Church… these are the words promised by Jesus Christ in Matthew 16:18 … and the gates of Hell will not overpower it!!! Christ when He left gave a mandate… Matthew 28:19-20
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The mandate of “GO” or better translated “AS YOU GO” is a mandate for the church as a whole for all generations! When Christ left He shared His plan for His followers… Acts 1:8
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Paul has been following this plan… We are starting today looking at his third missionary journey
It can almost begin to feel storylike
We can have a tendency to sit here, listen to these events, place them in storyline and be tempted to place it in similar categories of “Once upon a time”
We hear something like the tortoise and the hare, think wow there are some good principles to live by and apply them failing to realize that what we are reading, hearing are the very words of God given to us, recording real events about real people, dealing with real issues!
We place it often in the distance, times from long ago, and somehow we are more comfortable keeping what we hear and learn at arms distance or further.
Allow me a moment to bring it closer to home for you… Let me begin by
DEFINING “Church Planting”: “Church planting is an exhaustive but exciting venture of faith that involves the planned process of beginning and growing new local churches as based on Jesus’ promise and in obedience to His great commission.” Taken from Planting Growing Churches by Aubrey Malphurs.
On Sunday, September 30, 2007, Grace Bible Church celebrated their 10-year anniversary as an established church. We are looking forward to our 25th year anniversary here soon in 2022!
Back in 1989 Wayne & Lola Mae Bristol retired to the community of Parachute. Having been members of the Rocky Mountain Bible Church in Frisco, they kept in touch with their former pastor, Bruce Miles, and began a Bible Study, some of which involved Pastor Miles’ sermons on tape. That same year they contacted Rocky Mountain Bible Church Mission under the direction of Bob Brandow. By the end of the year the Bible Study group working with the Mission called Mark Henry as their missionary pastor.
One of the board members of RMBCM asked a Junior High boy to pray for this “Church Plant”.
The church plant began meeting in the Battlement Mesa Activity Center and in a short time numbered in the forties. By the end of the first year they were able to move into a storefront facility in Parachute, where they renovated their new location and continued to grow. By 1996, Grace Bible Church was self-supporting with its own Constitution and By-Laws written by the developing leadership. In 1997 the church graduated from Rocky Mountain Bible Church Mission.
Grace Bible Church was able to purchase property on Spencer Parkway in Battlement Mesa. Construction of their present facility began in early 2000 and on January 28, 2001, the church celebrated its first service in the new facility with two hundred and fifty people present. A wonderful answer to prayer is that all of the facility was paid for in full by completion. God had wonderfully provided.
Pastor Mark Henry resigned as senior pastor in January, 2002, accepting a call to a church in Fruita. … In April, 2003, Charlie Hornick became the Senior Pastor of Grace Bible Church (the former board member of RMBCM) … That junior high boy well his name was Jed Johnston, he came here October 2011 as an associate pastor. In June of 2015 Pastor Jed transitioned into the Senior Pastor role when Pastor Charlie retired to teach at Frontier School of the Bible. In March of 2018 the church brought on Pastor Caleb Lenard as the new Associate Pastor.
Grace Bible Church has also become the mother church of Grace Bible Church of Collbran. GBC of Collbran is on Main Street in Collbran and is now a sister church, having become fully self-supporting. The celebration was held on March 6, 2011. A former elder of GBC of Parachute, Loyal May, is now the pastor in Collbran. Presently both churches worked together to attempt a church plant in Silt, CO, with Rockies Southwest Bible Church Extension. Also, GBC of Parachute is working with Tentmakers Bible Mission to plant a Spanish-speaking church in Parachute. This church is Casa de la Biblia. Recently we helped a struggling church in DeBeque, Open Door Fellowship. They asked for our help to get the church going on the right track and to help fill the pulpit. Over time God worked in the heart of one of our elders, Bill Nichols, who in August of 2017 decided to attend there regularly in order to help in a greater way. In December of 2018 the church called Bill to be their Pastor and is slowly growing stronger again.
God continues to write more chapters concerning His church. We look forward to how He will guide and direct us His people as we continue to be involved in the church planting process!
I share this because when we look at what is occuring in Acts with these mission journeys, we need to realize this is very relevant to us today!
We need to realize that what we see in our Bible maps… is the same world we see today in our travels, on the news, on google earth!
Consider with me several things about how Christ is Building His Church...
He is using His church to Build His Church… ANTIOCH!
A pivotal city in the Roman empire and in the growth and spread of the church!
Paul is back at Antioch when he begins his third journey… Acts 18:22-23
When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and went down to Antioch. And having spent some time there, he left and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
This church “sends out” lead by the Spirit… for the work!
Second There is a Plan… Consider where Paul had already gone...
Israel and Syria are well evangelized
Modern day Turkey (Galatia and Phrygia) have heard the gospel
Greece and Macedonia… Paul has his sights on Rome for sure...
Consider the cities Paul has chosen and chooses to spend the most time in...
Antioch… one of the leading cities in the Roman empire
Pisidian Antioch almost as affluent
Philipi was a hub for learning
Thessalonica was strategic in the trade route for sure a central hub
Corinth and Ephesus were probably two of the most influential cities in the world at that time
In his second journey Paul spends a great deal of time in Corinth
In this third journey Paul will get to spend a great deal of time in Ephesus
Paul was not approaching this haphazard… but at the same time as we looked at two weeks ago he always remained sensitive to the Spirits leading in all of this.
As this third journey unfolds we do not see any new cities evangelized… HOWEVER, we do see a pattern unfold
First we see Paul Evangelize Strategic Cities
Second Paul Establishes Local Churches
Finally he Entrust Them To Faithful Men
This is his pattern and in this third journey we are going to see more of how he entrust/equips these churches.
We will look at struggles, road blocks, real life issues
We will see Paul :
Strengthening disciples 18:23
Reasoning and persuading 19:8
In Acts 19:20 we see God’s Word growing mightily and prevailing (that means there was opposition)
So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.
We see Paul exhorting them 20:1
Declaring profitable things to them 20:20
Warning to be on guard and be alert 20:28 & 20:31
Do you realize that there is still this entrusting and equipping going on in this church today...
We still stay in contact with Rocky Mountain Bible church and their Pastor Mike Tharp
We meet regularly with Pastor Loyal May in Collbran, with Pastor Bill at Open Door Fellowship, with pastor Jonathan at Casa de la Biblia
Read these chapters and you will find over 20 names of those who were ministering with Paul along with phrases like us, disciples, elders, fellow ministers...
Christ is building His Church… He was 2000 years ago and He continues today...
In the early 1990’s a faithful man of God challenged a junior high boy to get involved in “Planting Churches” TODAY I challenge you...
What do you need to do to become fully established and equipped to play a key role in helping the church multiply???