THE CHANGE MOVEMENT – The Fuel For Change #2

THE CHANGE MOVEMENT

The Fuel For Change (2)

INTRODUCTION

A. A third key item that is being used to fuel change in the
church is the unfortunate and misplaced emphasis upon
church growth and the desire to be relevant

1. It seems there is no end to the lengths that some will go
for church growth

2. Many are like those of Samuel’s days who want to be like
the nations around them (1 Sam. 8:20) – many are trying to
copy the denominations in evangelism

3. It is incredible to think that many, like Israel, have not
learned that seeking help outside of God’s word amounts
to foolish disloyalty

a. Psalm 146:3

b. Isaiah 31:3

B. Does it really seem possible that God would require
numerical growth but then fail to tell us how to
accomplish it?

1. Do we really need to pay for a “church growth expert”?

2. Do we really need to glean from denominationalism?

C. Too many times our “progress” amounts to nothing
more than the subtle abandonment of biblical truth in
exchange for “something new” (Acts 17:21) or the latest
popular fads derived from the “latest studies”

1. Under the guise of “growth” and “progress” many are
straying from biblical truth

2. 2 John 9

a. The term “onward” or “transgresseth” comes from a
word from which we get our word “progress”

b. Such is an apt description of much of the gimmickry
being set forth today as “progress”

D. This mindset is completely contrary to the biblical
prescription for achieving our God-ordained tasks

1. If we want the church to grow and be insulated from
apostasy we must use the Bible as our guide

2. God’s truth alone as the “power” (Rom. 1:16) and the
“energy” (Heb. 4:12) to simulate God’s people.

3. Only God’s truth can make people free (Jn. 8:32; 17:17)

4. Isaiah 55:11

E. That is precisely why it is not our burden and
responsibility to produce the numbers

1. God gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-7)

2. It is our duty to plant and water in God’s way

3. James 1:21

4. So instead of using the latest gimmicks we must “desire
the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby”
(1 Pet. 2:2)

DISCUSSION

A. THE ROLE OF A PREACHER

1. For too long, preachers within churches of Christ have
been perceived to be largely responsible for the numerical
growth (or lack of it) in the local congregation

a. It is thought that if the preacher is doing his job the
church will grow

b. It is further thought that his preaching style, personality,
and appearance are responsible for his success of failure –
many are hiring their preachers mostly based on style
and personality

2. But let’s compare this scenario with biblical truth

a. The Bible says a preacher’s function is to preach

1) 2 Timothy 4:2

2) 1 Timothy 4:11, 13

3) Titus 2:15

b. Consequently, it is not his responsibility to bring in the
numbers – remember, God gives the increase

3. Many assume that if a preacher is doing his job many
will be converted

a. But where does this leave Noah, the preacher of
righteousness? (2 Pet. 2:5)

b. Where does this leave Jesus? – John 6:66

4. Paul may have been a penetrating writer, but he apparently
was not very commanding in the pulpit in terms of his
physical presence – 2 Corinthians 10:10

a. Paul probably would have not fared well in pulpits of
today’s thinking

b. Nevertheless, he was the proper model for preacher to
emulate today

1) 1 Corinthians 3:6

2) Paul preached – God gives the increase, not the
preacher

B. PSEUDO-EVANGELISM

1. Some in the church today seem to major in stressing to
the brotherhood its imminent failure to evangelize and
grow in numbers as it should

a. The Lord did not command us to “convert the world” or
bring big numbers

b. He told us to evangelize the world – Mark 16:15-16

c. Just because a church is not growing does not mean that
their evangelism is suspect

1) Matthew 7:13-14

2) Matthew 22:14

2. When we speak of “soul winning” and “making
converts,” what do we really mean?

a. Is all “soul winning” sanctioned by God?

b. There is a difference between biblical evangelism and
human evangelism?

3. Many are so consumed with programs and methods that
they have substituted sociology and psychology for Bible
truth

a. The only legitimate appeal in evangelism is truth and
love of truth

b. John 17:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:10

4. Notice what Jesus said about some “gung ho”
evangelizing methods of His day – Matthew 23:15

a. To what were these people being converted?

b. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Pet. 3:9), but
salvation must come on His terms

5. Numerous passages teach pure, unadulterated truth has
never been popular nor influential with the majority of it
hearers.

a. Jonah was successful in causing sufficient numbers of
Ninevites to repent to the extent that God spared the
city (Jonah 3:10) – only later to destroy it (Nahum)

b. Elijah was informed that 7,000 were still responsive
to the truth (1 Kgs. 19:18), but 7,000 out of a nation of
hundreds of thousands is not very many

c. Multitudes followed Jesus, but most of them were out
for the food (Jn. 6:10-15) and miracles (Jn. 6:2)

d. Once they heard what Jesus had to say, they
developed “cold feet” (Jn. 6:66) – in fact, had Him
killed (Mt. 27:20-25)

6. When people are attracted to Christianity and the
church in the first century, they were drawn to Jesus by
means of His doctrine

a. Not gimmicks

b. Not a watered down doctrine

C. DELICATE ISSUES

1. Many churches are trying to create an atmosphere on
non-qualifying acceptance by avoiding anything
negative and remaining strictly positive

a. We need to be positive, we cannot dwell constantly on
the negative

b. But there is a growing tendency to preach only positive
so everyone always feels convertible – big numbers…

2. What is our ultimate goal?

a. To provide the Lord with obedient believers

b. Our goal is not to amass numbers, but save souls

c. If all we do is make people “feel good about
themselves,” we might as well abandon our churches and
become psychologists

3. We need to encourage, but we must also deal with sin©

a. Isaiah 59:1-2

b. Romans 3:23 … we must deal with sin

c. Ephesians 4:15

CONCLUSION

 

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About from the Preachers PC

Gospel Preacher for the Park Heights church of Christ in Hamilton, TX. I stand for and defend the truth of God's word. All other degrees and diplomas mean very little in comparison.
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