The Life Blood of a Church
(Preached by Brother Burke during our 50th anniversary meeting)
There are many essentials for a strong and healthy New Testament Baptist Church…
Some of these include:
- Proper organization; it must be a true church from its inception.
- Proper doctrine (grace, church, etc.).
- Proper observance of the ordinances; no alien immersion; open communion, etc.
- Godly living; members living in obedience to the Word of God.
- Brotherly love and unity of the Spirit.
- Strong preaching and teaching ministry.
Another essential for a strong and healthy church is:
- Zeal for the work of the Lord; particularly the zeal for evangelism.
Evangelism is the life blood of a church…
People come and go with the passing of time…notice the poster boards around this room; people die or leave a church for one reason or another. For a church to continue it must devote its energies and resources to growth; both spiritual and numerical growth. This is not an Armenian concept. God uses human means to accomplish His purpose in the salvation of souls, and to perpetuate the existence of His church!
1. The Lord's churches must not be distracted from the work of the Lord (vs. 6-7).
In our text, the disciples were distracted with thoughts of Christ's earthly kingdom…
The Lord already told them about their work here on earth after His departure, but they kept going back to thinking about the His earthly reign. This was a distraction from the work they were called to do…
De 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
1. Today we shouldn't be distracted with observing the times…
We shouldn't spend our time away looking for signs on the news and in the newspapers- or watching the so-called Christian broadcasts with all their end time predictions (remember Y2K!!!). All these are just distractions from the work the Lord called us to do.
Ecc. 11:4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
All such unproductive idleness tends to decline and desolation of the Lord's churches. It is sufficient for us to know that Jesus is coming again, and that end time events will come to pass according to Scriptures (Read Acts 1:10-11).
2. We shouldn't be distracted with things that don't pertain to us or that we can do nothing about…
Baptists specialize in distractions. Distractions such as meddling in the affairs of other churches; spending endless hours arguing and debating among ourselves and with those of other religious persuasions over things we will never resolve; these things may have their place, but they should not be the foremost theme of our ministries.
2. The Power of Holy Spirit was given to the Lord's churches (Read vs. 8a).
One of the main purposes for Baptizing the church with the Holy Spirit was to empower the church to do the work of evangelism…
An evidence that the Holy Spirit is with a church is its zeal for the lost, and evangelism is perhaps the most difficult works that we have to do as a church. Thank the Lord, He has not left us to do the work alone! But He has given us the Holy Spirit to…
- lead and direct in our evangelistic ministries.
- help us to speak the needed words.
- give us boldness in the face of difficulty.
- give the increase!
3. The Lord's churches should be committed to evangelistic work (Read vs. 8).
Our text makes it clear that evangelism is an essential function of the church…"ye shall be witnesses"; this is emphatic and imperative; not given as an option. The Lord incorporated evangelism into His Sovereign plan and purpose for the salvation of His lost sheep, and to our survival as His churches.
We want to notice four areas of evangelistic work that the Lord's churches should be concerned with (Read vs. 8b):
1. Our first area of concern is our "Jerusalem"…those of our families, friends, and neighbors, including all the people who live in the community; these with whom we might have convenient and regular contact; those with whom we have established a rapport; those who know us and behold our love and devotion and faithfulness to Christ. These are they to whom our hearts go out to the most; this is our Jerusalem.
2. Our second area of concern is our "Judea"…our county or outlying areas within reach of our church via church paper, radio broadcast, visitation, etc.
3. Our third area of concern is our "Samaria"…those areas that are despised; beyond social, racial, and economic barriers; still our neighbors and within reach of our church, who also have a need of Christ.
4. Our fourth concern is "the utter most parts of the earth"… the regions beyond. Places where we ourselves cannot reach with our personal influence. We go there through supporting missionaries with our financial means, prayers, and letters of encouragement.
4. The theme and message of evangelism is the Gospel of Christ…(vs.8).
Jesus said concerning the Holy Spirit in John 15:26 that "He shall testify of Me". Likewise in our text Jesus said "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me". We are to tell others of Christ and His work on the cross of Calvary; We are to tell of what Christ has done for us, and of what He will do for others who will believe in Him to the saving of the soul; who will believe that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again the third day for their justification and eternal life.
May we who are members of Baptist churches see and own our responsibility of evangelism, and begin or increase our efforts to reach the lost; this is so very important to the salvation of God's elect, and to the life of our churches.
Do you believe the Gospel tonight? Is Jesus your personal Savior? If not, we beseech you to repent and believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior; even this very moment.
Are you a backslidden Christian tonight; or a disciplined member of this church? Perhaps the Lord is showing you your need to return to His place of blessing and favor in His church.
Perhaps you are saved and have never publicly acknowledged Jesus as your Savior.
Whatever the Lord has shown to you tonight, whether salvation through faith in the Gospel, or the need for restoration, or the need to unit with this church- we invite you to come as we sing an invitation hymn.