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THE CHURCH MOVING FORWARD  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Challenges to Accept

I think the saying is basically true: we are either going forward, standing still, or falling behind.
Sadly, this is also true in the Lord's church
The problem is that many congregations have become complacent and comfortable (the prelude to standing still)
And once we are standing still, everyone passes us by and we begin to fall behind
To introduce our theme consider...
Philippians 3:12–14 ASV 1901
12 Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before. 14 I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul believed in moving ahead
We can’t rely on our past laurels or on past reputation
Moving forward is the only way to avoid decline and failure
As a church, we need to think about what it takes to move ahead
We must never be satisfied with the past or believe that what we are doing in the present is all that we can do or should do.
2 Peter 3:18 ASV 1901
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.
To achieve all that God will give us opportunity to do, we must move forward to meet the challenges of the future
Today, we are going to be noticing that there are CHALLENGES TO ACCEPT if the church is going to move forward.


Notice these critical passages of Scripture
Matthew 5:13–16 ASV 1901
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. 16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
1 Peter 2:9 ASV 1901
9 But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
People need to see a difference in us
We must "show forth" God by the things we do…
We must accept the challenge of making a difference
That difference must come as we live rooted in and founded on the word of God
Christians have been silenced and made to feel unwelcome and unwanted by so many in the world.
But we cannot let the world shut us up, shut us down, shut us out, or shut us in.
1 Corinthians 15:58 ASV 1901
58 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord.
We must not resort to ungodly actions, but must continue to show the world that we have the answers to the problems plaguing mankind
We need to fight in our nation, in our communities, and in our schools for morality and oppose every evil
We can change the world the same way God's people have always changed the world - by teaching and preaching the gospel of Jesus and changing the hearts and minds of those who live around us.
Paul turned the world upside down
Acts 17:6 ASV 1901
6 And when they found them not, they dragged Jason and certain brethren before the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
We MUST accept this challenge - the challenge of making a difference in the world!


1. Everywhere I have been, most people thought their community was not open to the gospel of Jesus
a. Was that based on the failure of well planned and well financed efforts to evangelize the community? - NO!
b. Was it because there was so much opposition or animosity to the church that no one would listen? - NO!
c. Was is because the people so hated God or His people that they refused to yield to His will? - NO! ©
d. It is mostly because the local church simply did not put forth the effort needed. ©
2. Mark 16:15-16 ©
3. Matthew 28:19-20
4. Here is an illustration to help us see the challenge:
a. Coca Cola is so well known, that you can go into some of the most remote places in the world and there you will find bottles of coke
b. Their motto: © Think globally but act locally. © They want to be everywhere, but to do it they know they must take care of each location ©
c. The Lord's church needs to learn this lesson ©
d. It is good for the church to be involved in mission work, but the most important work we need to be involved in is locally
1) Many times our numbers drop because we are more concerned about evangelizing the world than we are our own community ©
2) Does the community cry out as did David in the long ago? "No man careth for my soul" (Psa. 142:4).
3) The gospel is best spread into the world - one community at a time ©
4. Remember Proverbs 11:30 ©
5. We must accept the challenge of making a difference in the world, evangelizing our community, and ...
1. Have you thought about who will lead the church 10, 20, 30 years from now? Elders….?
a. Notice this key passage © 2 Timothy 2:2 ©
b. Paul invested himself in the training of Timothy, and Timothy was to do the same with other faithful men, who would in turn invest themselves in yet others ©
c. Christian leaders must develop future leaders ©
d. There needs to be planning - leaders are not trained by accident - we can't just work day to day ©
2. Just as there is a responsibility of leaders to train, there is the responsibility of followers to become trained ©
a. The best leaders have had good followers ©
b. Good leaders first learn how to be a good followers
3. I might add that currently the challenge is to develop male leadership. Notice the chain of command…. ©
a. 1 Corinthians 11:3 ©
b. Ephesians 5:23
c. We must abide by God’s chain of authority if we are going to succeed as God's people. ©
d. We might ask, "Why are women in many places usurping the authority over the men?" It is because many men are acting like wimps and not taking the leadership role.
e. We must accept the challenge of making a difference in the world, evangelizing our community, developing leadership, and … ©
1. There is a movement in the church today to abandon Scripture as our authority for what we practice ©
a. But as we move forward into the future, the Bible must be the foundation of what we believe and practice religiously. ©
b. In recent years, there have been some decisions made that threaten to change the true worship and work of the church...changing worship, women’s role, etc.
2. Notice what the Bible says about the importance of God's word ©
a. Deuteronomy 12:32 ©
b. Proverbs 30:6 ©
c. Revelation 22:18-19
3. We must be a people rooted in the book
a. We must know what God's will is © 2 Timothy 2:15 ©
b. Matthew 15:9 ©
c. Jeremiah 6:16-17 ©
Ultimately, moving the church forward into the future involves every member ©
1. Since we are the church, the church moves only as its people move ©
2. All these challenges are personal challenges to each of us ©
D. This is the Lord's church ... ©
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