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Revival’s Coming, Let’s Make Sure Everyone Knows

Revival’s Coming, Let’s Make Sure Everyone Knows

I can’t tell you how many times throughout the years I’ve heard a church member say that they knew nothing about an upcoming event within the church though it’s been in the bulletin for weeks. Therefore, we can’t assume everyone, or anyone, knows about an upcoming event, though it’s been clearly posted. A church revival is one of the most important events of the year. You want it to be well attended by the church members, and, you want the church members to invite others to come. Therefore, it is vitally important that you do the best possible job you can in making sure everyone knows about it. 

            By all means, put it in the bulletin, for those who actually read it, yet, at the same time, find some other ways to make sure word is getting out. A month or so before the revival, start putting inserts in the bulletin with detailed information about the revival. Tell the church members to put it somewhere that they will see it regularly and encourage them to use it as a prayer guide. Make extra’s and encourage the members to use them to invite others.

            No one likes endless announcements in a worship service, so be creative in getting the word out during the service. Find people who have been saved or spiritually impacted during a previous revival service and ask them to share a brief testimony a few weeks before the revival service. This will remind the members of the upcoming revival service but also make them aware of the potential spiritual impact a revival can, and should, have. There should also be strong encouragement during this time for the members to invite lost people to come.

            Prayer is one of the most important ways that we can prepare for a revival. I will discuss in greater detail in a future blog on how we can pray for the revival service and how we can pray for the lost but for now, let me encourage you to have a special time of prayer in the worship service for the revival and for the lost. For a month or so before the revival, begin each service with an altar call and ask the members to spend some time praying for themselves in personal spiritual preparation. During the invitation, encourage members to pray for those they would like to see saved. This not only encourages the members to pray, but it also reminds them that revival is coming, and builds up the anticipation of its coming.  

            Several weeks prior to the revival services, the pastor should start preparing the congregation for revival in his sermons. He should preach on the need of revival, what revival is, the need of evangelistic outreach in inviting the lost, and the need for spiritual preparation. The pastor doesn’t have to make every sermon and every point about the upcoming revival, but he should reference it as often as possible in preparation and anticipation of the upcoming revival.

In doing this, the church will not only be fully aware that revival is coming; they will be ready. In fact, in many cases, revival will have already started before the evangelist steps on the scene.

            It is also wise to get the children involved in revival preparation. Getting them involved will get the whole family involved. Get the children to make invitations and handouts. Get them to make some crafts like signs and posters that can be placed around the church building that will promote the revival. Utilize them in as many ways as you can because they love to help, and their fire will quickly spread to the rest of the church.

            Be creative in getting the word out. Make every effort to make sure everyone knows that revival is coming. Don’t just make them aware of dates but the details, and the potential of what can happen if and when true revival comes.

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2019 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Do Revivals Have to be Sunday-Wednesday?

Do Revivals Have to be Sunday-Wednesday?

As stated in a previous blog, one of the concerns pastors have in scheduling a revival is whether or not people will come. My advice then was to trust God and schedule one anyway. That being said, this is a legitimate concern for many churches. The church today is in competition with almost everything. Like it or not, the church is no longer the center of the community. Regardless of the time of year, there will be something that will prevent some from coming. And, let’s face the facts, far too many put the church and its activities on the back burner. All the more, this should confirm the need for revival and should not allow this to keep us from scheduling a revival.

            If attendance and participation is a concern for you and your church, then start thinking outside the box. Many years ago, most revivals went on for weeks. Apart from a move of God, those days are gone. When I first started preaching revivals, it was common to schedule a revival from Sunday through Friday. Even those are a rarity today. Most revivals today are scheduled from Sunday through Wednesday.

            Though I will discuss other schedules for revival meetings to be considered, don’t discount the Sunday through Wednesday schedule. One of the great advantages of having a Sunday through Wednesday revival is that they seem to produce the most momentum. Each day of the revival, the pastor and evangelist encourage church members to invite others to come, and when the members see God moving, they generally do. Because of this, I have often seen the greatest number of decisions made on Wednesday evenings. Wednesday evening is also the night the majority of youth come and is a very effective time for reaching them. The youth are also the most likely to invite others to come, especially when they are encouraged to do so.

            But know, the Sunday through Wednesday schedule isn’t your only option. Over the years, I have preached many revivals that were scheduled for Friday through Sunday. These seem to be very effective in bringing in lost and unchurched people. Some of my greatest revivals, with the most attendance, and the most decisions, have been Friday through Sunday revivals. This schedule seems to be the most effective among younger families that are usually tied up with daily activities throughout the week. They will often struggle to get home from work, get the kids fed and ready, then rush off to church. This is often a great deterrent in their participation in a revival. So, strongly consider providing a meal on Friday evening and offer a nursery throughout the revival and you will likely see more younger families attend.   

            Another fun and effective way to draw people in is to have a weekend Harvest Festival. In a harvest festival, the church would plan a block party with plenty of activities for all ages on a Saturday. The block party will then end with an evangelistic service. The block party will also be used to invite folks to church the following day for another evangelistic service. This can be a very effective evangelistic strategy whether its schedule is limited to Saturday and Sunday, or amid a Friday through Saturday revival, or used as a kickoff for a Sunday through Wednesday revival. This strategy can be costly and will need many workers but has proven to be very effective. It can also be done with a cluster of churches working together.

            Many churches today have Harvest Sundays. A harvest Sunday is basically a one-day revival where the members work hard at getting as many lost folks to their Sunday morning service as possible where the evangelist will preach the gospel and will often see many saved. The Sunday School and/or discipleship training hour can also be used as a time where the evangelist can teach witness training. This strategy has been used by many churches and has been proven to be effective in seeing many saved. Be warned, though. Because it is only one day don’t think of it as being a means of putting forth the least amount of effort. The same amount of effort, planning, and preparation as a weeklong revival should be put into a Harvest Sunday. If the church members don’t get on board and invite the lost, it won’t be a very effective strategy.

            No doubt, there are many ways we can have and schedule a revival service in our churches so strongly consider having one. Think outside the box. Though no schedule will ever suit everyone, talk to your church members, and ask them what they think would work. Most importantly, pray and seek God for when and how you should have a revival. He may greatly surprise you. God’s way will be the only effective way.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2019 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Why Your Church Should use an Evangelist

Why Your Church Should use an Evangelist

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”

Ephesians 4:11-12

Now that your church has decided to have a revival or evangelistic event, one of the most important decisions will now be, who will lead it? I want to strongly encourage you to use an evangelist. Before I get into why you should consider using an evangelist, let me first address two of the most prominent reasons why pastors and churches don’t use evangelists. The first reason I hear all too often is that there are too many bad evangelists out there with bad theology and will do almost anything to get someone to walk an isle or raise their hand for the sake of numbers. Yes, there are bad evangelists out there, but there are bad pastors as well. Does this mean we should stop using pastors? Of course not. It means that we do as the church of Ephesus did and test those who call themselves apostles, or in this case evangelists, and prove that they are not.

In reality, more than any other office in the church, evangelists depend on recommendations from other pastors and churches. If an evangelist is bad, word will quickly spread about him, and he will be weeded out. For this reason, the number of bad evangelists will be far less than you would think. Yes, there are still some bad evangelists out there, but it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to figure out who they are.

The second and most prominent excuse I hear is that a pastor may not personally know any evangelists and therefore not feel comfortable using one. Trust me, after 18 years of pastoral ministry, I understand this concern. The pastor is responsible for the churches spiritual well being and should not allow just anyone to come and preach at their church. Fortunately, we live in a day and age where it is very easy to know who the evangelist is, what they believe, and what they preach. Fortunately, almost every evangelist has websites and social media today. Many of them post their sermons, books, and blogs, along with an abundance of references. Again, a bad evangelist will be quickly weeded out, especially in today’s mass information age. In today’s world of technology, it doesn’t take much effort or digging, to get to know an evangelist. Therefore, the excuse that the pastor doesn’t know the evangelist is a poor one. The pastor should, to the best of his ability, guard his pulpit with the utmost integrity. For this reason, an evangelist should be thoroughly vetted. Fortunately, today’s technology makes this a much easier task in getting the know the evangelist.

Why then should you bother in getting to know an evangelist so you can use one? No church would ever consider not having a pastor, would they? If they are without a pastor, they will quickly begin looking for one. Just as God has called the pastor, He has called the evangelist for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-12). Though the pastor is more prominent in scripture and more prominent in the work of the church, they are both called of God and should, therefore, be used of the church.            

The evangelist has a unique gifting and calling to preach the gospel and has a unique anointing that God uses to bring many to Christ. One of the most prominent pastors of our day, Dr. Johnny Hunt, stated, “What an absolute privilege it is, as a Pastor of a local Southern Baptist Church, to realize the importance of using our Southern Baptist Evangelists. The Bible makes it extremely clear in Ephesians 4 that God has given gifts to the church, and one of those gifts being the gift of the evangelist. During my sabbatical several years ago, while being away for seven Sundays, four of those Sundays were filled with Southern Baptist Evangelists. As a result, 52 baptisms were recorded in my absence.”

One might say that evangelists are specialists in the gospel. If your transmission starts acting up in your car, you wouldn’t take it to the tire shop. If the pipes in your house start leaking, you wouldn’t call an electrician. If you’re having heart trouble, you wouldn’t schedule an appointment with your dentist. If you want to see people saved in your revival or evangelistic event, why then would you invite anyone other than an evangelist?

There is no doubt that the calling and ministry of a pastor is extraordinarily important in the life of the church. I believe it’s of the utmost importance. However, though the pastor is commanded to do the work of an evangelist, he is not an evangelist. The pastor wears many hats and preaches on many subjects. The evangelist, however, has a singular laser focus. His focus is the gospel and seeing people saved through proclaiming it. Just as a good mechanic can look over a car and quickly pinpoint the problem, an evangelist can preach in a way that pinpoints the problem of the lost that will bring them to salvation. That is their unique gifting and calling from God. Dr. Johnny Hunt also said, “I thank God for the way that He is using evangelists to make a difference, as it pertains to the harvest that needs to take place in our local churches. Use your SBC Evangelists! Your people will thank you, and the sinners will bless you throughout eternity.”

So, why should your church use an evangelist? Why wouldn’t they? Evangelists are uniquely called and gifted by God for the purpose of seeing the lost saved. I can give you many more reasons as to why your church should us an evangelist, but in reality, what greater reason is there than to see souls saved?

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2019 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Should Our Church Have a Revival?

Should Our Church Have a Revival?

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” Psalm 85:6

A question that many pastors have asked over the years is, “Should I lead our church into having a revival?” My answer will always be, “yes, of course you should.” The pastor might then ask, “you don’t know anything about our church. How then can you say we need revival?” The answer to that is simple; every church needs revival. Yes, every church! Every church can, and should, benefit from a well planned and well prayed over revival. Some common questions that might soon follow are:

Our church is strong and healthy, why do we need a revival?

Answer these questions honestly, is everyone in your community saved? Is everyone in your church saved? Are there no backslidden members within your church? Do you believe that even among the strong and healthy there is no room for growth? The answer to each of these questions is obvious. Likewise, the answer as to whether or not your church needs revival is obvious. To say your church does not need revival is an act of arrogance, pride, and self-sufficiency. Every one of us need revival because every one of us battles with the flesh, the world, and with spiritual forces every day that tries, and often does, drag us down. We all need that encouragement to repent, grow, and pursue Jesus. Not to mention, if your church truly is healthy and strong, they would have the heart to reach their community with the gospel, and they would be more than willing to support an evangelistic revival. Therefore, a healthy and strong church is in the perfect position for a revival.

Our church is already seeing many saved, why do we need a revival?

            Have you ever heard the saying, strike while the iron is hot? That is very applicable here. Praise God if your church is seeing a large number of individuals saved. If you are, I can assure you that there is no greater time to have a revival. If your church has recently seen a large number of people recently saved, that means you have a large number of new believers within your church. Unlike people who have been saved and involved in the church for many years, new believers usually still have a large number of friends who are lost. At the same time, new believers usually have a deep passion for seeing their friends and families saved.

For this reason, they would be more likely to invite and encourage their lost friends and family to an evangelistic revival. To add fuel to the fire, church members who’ve been saved for many years usually get a zeal for seeing the lost saved when they start seeing the lost saved. Therefore, they would also be more likely to participate in an evangelistic revival. So, yes, your church needs to have a revival. Strike while the iron is hot.  

Our church is small. Can we have a revival?

            This is a very common question and concern. Without a doubt, you can, and should, have a revival. Many of the great revivals of the past started with only a handful of people. God is unlimited in His power and ability; therefore, we shouldn’t limit Him. Study Gideon as an example. Not long ago a fellow Mississippi Baptist Evangelist, Gary Bowlin, preached a revival in a church that had 18 in Sunday School the morning of their revival. That week, they saw 18 people saved. How awesome is that? Most evangelists will gladly go to any church of any size. If ten people come and God stirs revival within them, praise the Lord! The Lord will quickly use them and multiply them. Remember, Jesus started with 12.

If we had a revival no one would come, so why should we even try?

            Unfortunately, from small to large churches, this is becoming a major concern among pastors when deciding as to have a revival meeting or not. In reality, the lack of participation is one of the tell-tell signs that your church needs revival. In practicality, you might think, why put forth the effort if no one comes. Trust me; people will come. It may not be as many as you would like or hope for, but people will come. Revival is contagious, especially in parched ground. If only a handful of people come and are revived, the revival will eventually spread to the other members and light their fire as well. I’ve seen revivals where there was very little participation, very little enthusiasm, and very little movement throughout the week. But a handful of people were revived. Sometimes it’s the discouraged pastor that’s revived. The weeks following the revival, the fire begins to spread, and harts begin to change. Revival has come. Don’t worry about who will and will not come. Leave that up to God. He might surprise you.

            The bottom line is, every church can, and should, benefit from a revival. We can come up with an excuse for every scenario, but God always has a solution. A well planned, prayed over, and promoted revival should be successful. We may not always see the fruit of it immediately, but that’s not our responsibility, it’s God’s. Pastor’s and churches, don’t deprive your church nor your community of the opportunity to have, and experience revival.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2019 in Bible Study, Devotional, ministry

 

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Resurrecting a Dead Church

Resurrecting a Dead Church

Hallelujah! Though there are still several steps to go through before it is in print, I have finished writing my latest book. It is called, Resurrecting a Dead Church. Its purpose is to spark a revival in our dead and dying churches and to help strengthen our living churches. I also believe it will be profitable in sparking reveal in one’s personal life. To help whet your appetite, I thought I would share a part of its introduction, which will further explain its purpose. I also ask that you would pray for God to use it for its stated purpose-revival.

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“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:1-6 NASB

            Being the only apocalyptic book in the New Testament, Revelation has often struck fear in the hearts of many with its visions of judgments, dragons, and beasts. Though it speaks of these things with the intent of bringing repentance to the unbeliever, its other purpose was to encourage the first-century church. Though the majority of The Book of Revelation is about an awful and truly fearful future tribulation that will impact the whole world, one of its main purposes is to be a source of strength and encouragement to the church in times of trouble.

The first-century church experienced some of the fiercest persecution the Christian church has ever seen. The Apostle John, who introduced himself in Revelation 1:9 as, “Your brother and fellow partaker in tribulation,” was on a small island called Patmos as a form of persecution in exile because of “the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus.” Though he was a fellow partaker of this tribulation, he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day worshiping the very one of whom he was suffering for, His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

While in the Spirit on the Lords day, John heard behind him a loud voice as demanding as the sound of a trumpet. When he turned to see whose voice it was, he saw Jesus, but in a way, he’d never seen Him before. He saw the revealed Christ. John gives the title to Revelation in Revelation 1:1. It is, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” A revelation is an unveiling. Imagine being at an art exhibit. The newest exhibit is before the audience ready to be revealed, but it has a veil over it hiding what’s beneath. Everyone knows that it is there, but they have yet to see its beauty. It is still vailed. Once everyone’s attention has been directed to the exhibit, the vail will be removed, and all will gasp at its beauty.

The Book of Revelation is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ in all of His glory and splendor unveiled for all to see. When Jesus returns, He will not return as the suffering servant. Rather, He will return as the conquering King of Kings and Lord of Lords. What greater source of encouragement is there to a persecuted church than knowing when their Lord returns every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord? Even John, the beloved disciple, fell at Jesus’ feet as a dead man when he saw Jesus in His unveiled state.

Just before John turned to see Jesus, he heard Him say, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:11). These were seven churches that existed in John’s day that Jesus had an individual and specific message. There were obviously more than seven churches that existed at this time which was toward the end of the first century. More than likely, most, if not all, of these churches ended up with their own copy of Revelation. Though it wasn’t directly addressed to them, no doubt each church took heed to the message. At the same time, as with all of scripture, the messages Jesus gave to the seven churches are lessons we can, and should, learn from today knowing that we still face these issues.

Jesus wanted these churches to know who He was. He addressed each church individually and disclosed to each church a part of His revelation of Himself that they specifically needed to know. Not only did Jesus want the churches to know who He was, He also wanted them to know that He knew who they were as well. He told the church of Sardis, “I know your deeds.” (Revelation 3:1). When John saw Jesus, he saw Him in the middle of the seven golden lampstands. In Revelation 1:20, Jesus told John that the seven golden lampstands are the seven churches. Jesus is amid His church, and He knows what’s going on. This truth should both encourage us amid trials and convict us amid disobedience.

Jesus had something against all but two of His churches. He had nothing negative to say to the churches of Smyrna or Philadelphia. To all but two of the churches Jesus also had words of praise. However, to the churches of Sardis and Laodicea Jesus had nothing good to say. To the church of Sardis Jesus said, “you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” (Revelation 3:1). Is there anything positive that Jesus can say to a dead church? Of course not. Their message from Jesus was one of the need to repent.

They had a reputation, a name, of being alive, but they were dead. They were dead but didn’t know they were dead. Only Jesus knew they were dead. Everyone else thought the church of Sardis was alive and active. Unless a church is heretical or blasphemous, it isn’t our place to try and figure out who the dead church is. That is not the purpose of this book. The purpose of this book is to make the church look within itself and seek the council of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to figure out where they are personally. It is a frightening thing to think that our church, though we think it is alive, can truly be dead and other churches, though we think are alive and vibrant, are truly dead.

Well, that’s not very encouraging now, is it? Not if we stop here. Fortunately, Jesus gave the church of Sardis advice to take ahold of if they wanted to live again. He gave them hope. Can a church be resurrected? Can a man be resurrected? Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:16-17, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” So, let’s stop asking foolish questions and get on with the task at hand, which is seeing our churches resurrected through walking by faith and living in obedience to Jesus Christ.

Though we wouldn’t normally attribute resurrection to a church if a church is dead and comes to life again what greater word is there? Most of the time we would call this revival or renewal. I will mostly use the word revival in this book. Regardless of what you call it, the point is clear, to those who place their faith in Jesus, there is resurrection and life-restoring power readily available. No doubt, this is clearly the will of Jesus for His church. That’s why He advised the church of Sardis to repent. His heart was to see them come to life again and thrive. So, take courage. If your church is dead or dying, know that through faith and obedience in Jesus, it can not only live again, it can thrive.

As previously stated, statistics today are grim and outright depressing. Baptisms, attendance, service, commitment, and giving are all at all-time lows. Many of our church have already closed their doors never to open again while many are on the verge. Countless churches are simply in a state of existence with no vision or focus. Many of them have been stuck in this rut for decades. Many of them are in a rut and don’t know it. This isn’t what God had planned for His church. Something needs to change; and soon. So, what do we do? Where do we turn? Who will show us how to climb out of this rut? Jesus!

Jesus gave the church of Sardis five commands that if acted upon would turn their church around. It would bring revival and resurrection power breathing new life into their dead church. In this book, I am going to take a close look at these five commands so we can learn from them and apply them to our churches today. No doubt, these are timeless principle that is still able to breathe new life into our dead churches in our day. Even if your church isn’t dead, these are principles every church should live by to ensure its continued vitality.

If a church can be thought of as alive by all yet considered dead by Jesus, how can we genuinely know a dead church from one that is alive? We will no doubt find the answer by taking an in-depth look at the letter Jesus gave to the church of Sardis in Revelation 3:1-6. There, we will see why Jesus considered Sardis a dead church, though they had a reputation of being alive. By doing this, we will see through the eyes of Jesus, rather than the eyes of the world, what a dead church looks like and more importantly, through the instruction of Jesus, how to be a vibrant living church that honors Jesus and lives in obedience to Him.

A healthy vibrant church should be of the utmost importance to every Christian. If our churches are healthy, we will have a heart to raise the spiritual atmosphere of our church and our world, and we will send out workers into the field with the power of the gospel reaping a great harvest of the lost. Once the lost are saved, they will bring those new believers into a healthy church to be properly discipled where in turn they will be sent out as workers for the kingdom as well. Every Christian personally benefits from a healthy church, as do our families, our communities, our nation, and the world. At the same time, everyone suffers from unhealthy churches. Satan’s kingdom thrives when our churches are dead and ineffective. Our passion should be to see our churches healthy, vibrant, and full of life. Then, and only then, will we honor Jesus, and for the glory of God, have a true, lasting, and eternal impact upon our world.

A good doctor will look at the symptoms of their patient to know what type of sickness they have so they can properly treat them. In the same way, we need to look at the symptoms of an unhealthy church to know what it needs. The purpose of this isn’t to be grim or negative. The ultimate purpose is to bring a restoration of life and good health. Fortunately for us, we can learn from the prescription of life and good health that Jesus gave to the church of Sardis so our churches can live again and be healthy.

Jesus told John in Revelation 1:17-18, “I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” Immediately after telling John this He told John, “Therefore write.” Jesus wanted His churches to know that He, and He alone, has authority over life and death. There is nothing a doctor can do for those who have died but praise God; Jesus is more than able.

Rusty Kuhn

www.rustykuhn.com 

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2019 in Bible Study, Book, Uncategorized

 

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One of the Main Functions of the Church

One of the Main Functions of the Church

One of the Main Functions of the Church

Jesus asked the disciples in Matthew 16:13, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They said in the next verse, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Jesus then asked them in verse fifteen, “But who do you say that I am?” At this time Simon boldly answered in verse sixteen, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In the next verse we see that Jesus was greatly pleased with Simon’s answer and said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Jesus then renamed Simon Peter saying, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.”

When Jesus renamed Simon He called him Peter which is Petros in Greek. Petros is a small stone or a rock. A brick can fall under the category of a petros. It is certainly not a foundational stone that someone would build a house on. Rather it would be the small stones, like bricks, that would rest upon the foundational stone.

After Jesus named Simon Petros, He said “upon this rock I will build my church.” The word that Jesus used for rock was a different word than the one He used for Simon Peter. Jesus used the Greek word petra as the rock that the church would be built upon. Petra is a large rock, a foundational stone that is much different than the small stone, petros, Simon was called. Clearly Peter is not the foundational stone that the church is built upon; Jesus is. Jesus is the one who gave His life so He could redeem the church. To say any other is the foundation of the church is not only biblically inaccurate, it is outright blasphemous.

Peter clearly understood what Jesus was talking about. Peter wrote in I Peter 2:4-5, “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Who is the living stone? Jesus is. He is the one that was rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God. We are the ones who come to Him also as living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house. This is the perfect portrait of the church.

The church is not a physical building, an address, or location. The church is a spiritual house. Jesus is the living stone that is the foundation. We are living stones being built up on that foundation. Just as bricks are laid atop of the foundation of the building we are laid atop of Jesus who is the foundation of the church. We are also laid atop of all of the other believers who came before us such as Peter. Peter was named Petros because he was the first to confess Jesus as the Christ. Upon our confession of Christ we are saved and therefore laid atop of the foundation of Christ as the church.

After Peter gave us this wonderful picture of the structure of God’s spiritual house he then gave us an understanding of its function. He said in I Peter 2:9, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Jesus didn’t save us to give us a get out of hell free card. He saved us out of darkness and into light so we would have a relationship with Him and so we would proclaim to the rest of the world, which remains in darkness, of His excellencies and His marvelous light so they too would be drawn to the light and have a relationship with Him and not stand in darkness separated from God doomed to eternal condemnation. Clearly, this is one of the main functions of the church; the whole church.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2018 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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A Clear Biblical Mandate

A Clear Biblical Mandate

Clearly the church is failing in regards to evangelizing this lost world. Thom Rainer, the CEO of Lifeway, recently wrote in a blog titled, Where Have All the Baptisms Gone? “I recently reported the latest statistics for our denomination. It’s not a pretty picture. Our membership declined again, this time by 105,708. And our baptisms were down to 314,956, the lowest level since 1948. But in 1948, we only had 6 million members. Today we have 16 million members. We are reaching less people for Christ, even though we have 10 million more members than we did in 1948.”

Lifeway isn’t just a great book store, they are also an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention and collect data from all of the churches within the SBC. Therefore, the denomination he speaks of here is the Southern Baptist Convention. More recently he stated that 93-94% of what many SBC churches call church growth is from transfers and not conversions. That isn’t true church growth. That is simply taking fish out of one pond and putting them in another. He also states that only about 90% of SBC churches are intentionally evangelistic. How sad. The other sad reality is, the SBC’s statistics are better than most other denominations.

Even the most spiritually blind person among us today can see that this world is becoming morally bankrupt while it slips further from the Lord. Immorality of every sort is socially acceptable in almost every facet of society, even in many churches. Bible believing Christians are left asking the question, why. Why is this world slipping further and further away from God’s righteous standard?

We are quick to make excuses that it is a sign of the times we are living in. We say the Lord is coming back soon and we are therefore seeing the apostasy. There may be truth in these statements, but this truth should cause us to work even harder for the kingdom and not less. We are even quick to pass the blame on everyone else. We say that the government, the judicial system, the news media, and the entertainment industry for the most part are anti Christian liberals who stand against us. We say things like, “If we can get Washington right we will reclaim this nation for the Lord.” However, there is a major problem with statements such as this. It is not the government’s job nor responsibility to lead this nation to the Lord-it is the churches. It is the churches, and only the churches, responsibility to evangelize this lost world.

The clear picture that statistics such as this, and many more like it, show is that the church is not doing its job in evangelizing the lost. God has given a clear biblical mandate to all Christians to share the gospel. Just prior to His ascension Jesus gave the final instructions to His disciples to go into all of the world and proclaim the gospel. (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:47-49, John 20:21). Jesus said in 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.” He said, you shall be, or you will be, My witnesses. Jesus intention for His church to share the gospel is abundantly clear. Since the gospel, and only the gospel, is the power unto salvation, only the gospel of Jesus Christ can transform society. Don’t you think it’s time we start sharing it?

We can sit around and mope over our sad state, or we can get up and do something about it. I prefer the latter. For this reason, I am starting this series of blogs titled, Missions, Ministry, and Evangelism which I will post every Monday that will focus on practical ways we can personally share the gospel along with ways we can challenge our churches to get beyond the walls and into the community to be intentional in missions, ministry, and evangelism, for the sake of reaching this lost world with the gospel.

Stay tuned and go share the gospel. Feel free to share.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2018 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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