Drop files to upload.
Faithlife Corporation

The Kind of Church God Wants Us to Be

Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
0 ratings
· 9 views

How can we be the church Jesus wants us to be? 1. Lift up the light of the Lord (vs. 21-22). 2. Tune in to God's truth (vs. 23-25). 3. Be willing to work with God (vs. 26-29). 4. Trust God to grow His Kingdom (vs. 30-32).

Notes & Transcripts

The Kind of Church God Wants Us to Be

Mark 4:21-32

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 9, 2016

*Christians: We are part of the most important organization the world will ever see: The Church of the living God!

*Many of you have heard my favorite description of God's Church. It came from Pastor Russ Blowers when he was speaking to the Rotary Club in Indianapolis, Indiana. Each week, a different member told a little about his job. And this is what Russ said when his turn came up:

*"I'm with a global enterprise. We have branches in every country in the world. We're into motivation and behavior alteration. We run hospitals, feeding stations, crisis pregnancy centers, universities, publishing houses, and nursing homes. We care for our clients from birth to death. We are into life insurance and fire insurance. We perform spiritual heart transplants.

*Our original Organizer owns all the real estate on earth, plus an assortment of galaxies and constellations. He knows everything, and lives everywhere. Our product is free for the asking. (There's not enough money to buy it.)

*Our CEO was born in a hick town, worked as a carpenter, didn't own a home, was misunderstood by his family, hated by enemies, walked on water, was condemned to death without a fair trial, and arose from the dead! I talk with him every day." (1)

*God's Church is the most important organization the world will ever see! Thank God for the church of Jesus Christ! But how can we be the church God wants us to be? -- The Lord shows in today's Scripture.

1. First, we need to lift up the light of the Lord.

*The Lord shows us this truth in vs. 21-22. Jesus started with a question, and said:

21. . . Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?

22. For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

*For us, candles are usually decorative treats. For them, candles were an essential source of light in the dark of night. And Jesus Christ is the essential source of spiritual light in our dark world. In fact, Jesus is the only source of true spiritual light. As the Lord said in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'' And John 1:9 tells us that Jesus is "the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world."

*Jesus is the Light. So, if we belong to Him, we have the Light, and He wants us to let His light shine. The Lord wants us to help shine the light about His Words, His character, and His mighty miracles. He also wants us to shine the light about His death, His burial and His resurrection. And Jesus wants us to shine the light about His power to save everyone who will turn to Him in faith.

*Jesus Christ's whole life shined the light of Heaven. And now He wants us to shine His light for others. That's why in Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells His followers:

14. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

15. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

*God wants us to shine the light of Jesus Christ everywhere we go!

*Some of you may remember Paul Anderson from the 1970s. At the time, Paul Anderson was the strongest man in the world. In 1956, Paul had won the Olympic gold medal for weight lifting. He only stood 5'9" tall, but Paul weighed 375 pounds! His massive body allowed him to lift weights his competitors couldn't even imagine. One of Paul's feats was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was his back lift of over 6,000 pounds!

*Paul Anderson was a very devoted Christian who put on shows to support the boys' homes he ran in Georgia. He did things like lift a table holding 20 of the biggest people from the audience. Paul also drove nails through two boards with only a handkerchief protecting his palm.

*Then he would proclaim: "If I, the strongest man in the world, can't get through one day without Jesus Christ? What about you?" (2)

*God doesn't ask us to lift tables holding 20 people. And God doesn't ask us to drive nails through boards with our bare hands. But He does ask us to shine for Jesus Christ!

2. We can we be the church God wants us to be, if we will lift up the light of the Lord. But we also have to tune in to God's truth.

*Tune in to God's truth. This is the Lord's message for us in vs. 23-25. And here Jesus said:

23. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

24. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.

25. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

*In the New Living Translation, Jesus said:

23. Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!

24. And be sure to pay attention to what you hear. The more you do this, the more you will understand, -- and even more, besides.

25. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them."

*We need to be careful about what we hear. We have a responsibility to tune out ungodly things, and tune in to the good things of God. We need to be careful about what we hear, and how we hear.

[1] God wants us to listen with a good attitude.

*If we are listening with a bad attitude, we can completely miss what God is trying to say to us. I read about two men who went to church one Sunday: Jim Smith and Sam Jones.

*At his church, Jim noticed a typo in the bulletin and thought about how sloppy they were in the church office. Then Jim was offended when a visitor had the nerve to sit in his regular seat. The pianist missed four notes during the offertory. And Jim felt like the usher was watching to see what he put in the offering plate. That made him boil. Then the preacher mispronounced three words in his message. Jim was keeping count.

*Over at Sam's church, Sam was blessed by the good report he heard on Vacation Bible School. Then he worshiped the Lord through the beautiful music he heard. Jim was grateful that the preacher was preaching the Word of God. And the sermon answered a question that had bothered him for a long time. But the best blessing of all was when the new family joined the church, and their 10-year-old son got saved!

*The amazing thing is: Both of those men were in the same church at the same time. But their hearts were in very different places. (3)

[2] God wants us to listen with a good attitude, and listen with good attention.

*We have to really listen to what God is trying to tell us. Leroy & Loretta Lockhorn are a cartoon couple that have been around for years. One time Loretta asked Leroy if they could talk. Leroy replied, "Sure we can talk. Just don't block the TV." (4)

*Lots of times we give God the same kind of attention. But we need to really listen to what the Lord is saying to us. And vs. 24-25 remind us that the more that we seek, the more we will find. Again, from the New Living Translation, Jesus said:

24. . . "Be sure to pay attention to what you hear. The more you do this, the more you will understand, -- and even more, besides.

25. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them."

*God wants us to pay attention to what He is saying.

3. And we can we be the church God wants us to be, if we tune in to God's truth. But we also must be willing to work together with God.

*We must be willing to work together with God. The Lord reminds us of this truth in vs. 26-29, where Jesus said:

26. . . "So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

27. And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

28. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

29. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come."

*Christians: We are partners in this work with Almighty God. The invisible Hand of the Eternal God is at work with us, and in us.

*Paul also stressed this truth in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. There Paul was speaking to the Christians in Corinth, and he started with this question:

5. Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?

6. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

7. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.

8. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

9. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building.

*Again, Paul said, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." The invisible Hand of God Almighty is at work with us and in us. We must do what we can do. And He will do what only He can do.

*But how can we work together with God? The Lord's parable here gives us some good ideas. So please listen to vs. 26-29 again, this time from the NKJ:

26. And He said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground,

27. and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.

28. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.

29. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.''

*How can we work together with God? First, we have to spread the seed of the Scriptures. But the farmer also sleeps. All of God's workers need rest, but they can't get the rest they need if others aren't willing to work.

*We also need to be patient, willing to wait for the harvest. And when the time comes, we all need to pitch in to help bring in God's harvest. We have to work together as the Body of Christ, and Church: We are the Body of Christ.

*Ephesians 1:22-23 tells us that our Heavenly Father:

22. . . put all things under (Jesus') feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,

23. which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

*We are the Body of Christ. Paul talked at length about this truth in 1 Corinthians 12, and he started by saying:

12. For as the body is one and has many members (or parts) but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

13. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

*We are the Body of Christ, and we must be willing to work together as the literal, spiritual Body of Christ.

*When I was going to Georgia Tech years ago, I took a swimming class that qualified us to be Red Cross lifeguards. To get an "A" in this class you had to pass three endurance tests in the 15-foot end of the pool. First you had to stay 45 minutes in the deep end with your feet tied together, then 45 minutes with your hands tied behind your back. Those tests went fine.

*But the last test was 15 minutes with both your hands and your feet tied together. That didn't go so well. After about 5 minutes, I got stuck halfway between the top and the bottom. Each of us had a partner up top who was supposed to jump in if we got stuck. And I was really stuck, so at first I looked up at him and thought, "Okay dude, I'm ready for you to jump in and get me."

*But he didn't jump in. And I kept desperately looking up at the guy who was supposed to pull me out. "Hey! -- Come get me!" You can't yell under water, but if I could have, I would have.

*Finally, he jumped in and pulled me up. And I think I got a "B" in that class. But you see, if we're not doing our part serving the Lord, then we're asking the church to swim with its hands tied. And we surely don't want to be that guy standing around on the side of the pool, when he ought to be jumping in.

4. We can we be the church God wants us to be, if we are willing to work together with God. But we also must trust God to grow His Kingdom.

*We've already seen God growing His Kingdom in vs. 26-29. Then in vs. 30-32, Jesus promised much more growth for His Kingdom:

30. And He said, "To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it?

31. It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth;

32. but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.''

*We can surely trust God to grow His Kingdom. His Kingdom started out on earth as a tiny thing: Twelve Apostles, and a total of about 120 men and women following the King. It started small, but the Lord's Kingdom has grown into millions of people around the world who follow the King.

*God wants His Kingdom to grow. God planned for His Kingdom to grow. God promised His Kingdom would grow. And it is going to grow.

*God's Kingdom is going to grow, and He wants us to be a part of that growth. In vs. 32, Jesus talked about the birds of the air nesting in the shade of the mustard branches. Those nesting birds remind us of those who need shelter, people who need a spiritual home and spiritual food.

*The little birds make me think of little children who need to know the Lord. And this is the reason why we invest so much in things like Orange, Vacation Bible School, and Upward. These things are not just about fun and football. They're about growing God's Kingdom. They are about seeing more people trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

*And through things like Operation Christmas Child, we can be part of Kingdom growth all over the world. But we can also trust God to give us Kingdom growth right here at home.

*I know a lady who has an unusual salvation story. Her name is Sherryl, and she didn't get saved until she was thirty. One day she was at home laying on the couch. And Sherryl was as lost and miserable as she could be.

*Then she changed the channel on the TV, and it landed on a TV preacher. Sherryl was just about to change the channel again, but the preacher said: "There you are, laying on the couch. You are 30 years old, and you are just as miserable as you can be. All you've ever wanted is to be happy. But you will never be happy until you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior."

*Sherryl got saved right then and there. And that is a wonderful story, but it's not the typical story.

*Christians, here's how is usually works: We get concerned about someone we know. Maybe it's someone in our family, or a friend, a neighbor, or someone at work. We get concerned about them, and we begin to pray for them. Somehow we shine the light and love of Jesus Christ before them. As they are willing to listen, we tell them about what God has done in our lives. And we invite them to come to church. Then they invite Christ into their hearts. And we won't always see that happen, but we can always trust God to grow His Kingdom.

CONCLUSION:

*How can we be the church Jesus wants us to be?

-Lift up the light of the Lord.

-Tune in to God's truth.

-Be willing to work with God.

-And trust God to grow His Kingdom.

*As we go to God in prayer, make the commitment to do all that you can do.

*Would you please bow for prayer.

(1) Andy Mason, amason@accs.net, "Leadership Magazine" -- "to Illustrate" - Source: "Dynamic Illustrations - April, May, June, 2001 - Topic: Church

(2) Adapted from Moody, November 1994, p. 6 - Source: Dynamic Preaching, fifth Sunday in May, 2001

(3) Adapted from: James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited - Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988, p. 409 - Source: "Bible Illustrator for Windows" - Topic: Seeking God - Index: 3191-3192 - Date: 7/1996.1348 - Title: Finding What We Look For

(4) Houston Chronicle, March 30, 1991 - Source: Raymond McHenry - Topics: Communication, Humor, Marital Maxim

RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
Get this media plus thousands more when you start a free trial.
Get started for FREE
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →