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  • Incredulity of Thomas
I Will Build My Church

Outline:

1. Passages

2. The gates of hell

3. Expectancy on man or God

4. The purpose of the pastors and teachers

5. The talents, (you will stand before God)

6. The 80/20 rule, but God builds the church.

7. Will you commit?

Intro

I used to work very closely with the young adults group at Los Gatos Christian Church. Once I took a 3 month break. I felt I needed a break. But after 3 months of not being in any ministry. I look back upon that time and say: What a blistering waste of time! You see for those 3 months I was not involved in any sort of ministry. I was not involved in any sort of outreach (besides what I do at work). And you know what, you can’t really say, well at least you got a chance to relax, because I relax anyway, even if I’m in a ministry. You can’t say, well at least you got a chance to do some other things. Well I do those anyway. And sadly enough you can’t even say, well at least you had a chance to focus on your own spiritual needs, because in those 3 months I didn’t grow spiritually any more than if I had been in ministry. In fact I would say that I grew less, because I wasn’t being challenged, because I wasn’t being pushed, because I wasn’t being stretched.

What I really needed to do was find a ministry before I took my break and transition right into it.

But God uses all things for His purpose and some good did come out of it.

1. Passages

Turn to:

Matt 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he (Jesus) asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Matt. 25:14 “Again, it (the Kingdom of God)will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. `Master,’ he said, `you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 22 “The man with the two talents also came. `Master,’ he said, `you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ 23 “His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. `Master,’ he said, `I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 26 “His master replied, `You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 “`Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.

Acts 2:46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 9:31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

Acts 16:4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Eph. 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

2. The gates of hell.

OK those are the passages we will talk about today. Well, Neil you may ask, what on earth do they have in common? And what does all that have to do with the little intro you gave us. Well hang on.

Turn back to:

Matt 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Let us look at this passage and let’s look at it very carefully.

What is it saying?

Most of us would be quite happy with this summary that:

The Church of Jesus Christ will be built and it will be powerful enough to withstand attacks through time and from the enemy.

The Church of Jesus Christ will be built and it will survive the grueling test of time.

The Church of Jesus Christ will be built and despite the attempts by misguided priests and TV evangelists it will still stand.

The Church of Jesus Christ will be built and in the final days like today, people will attack it, new age religions will rail against it, Presidents will make a mockery of it, newspapers will make fun of it and the media will portray it as close minded, mean spirited and stupid and still it will stand.

And we have this image of this Church, I can even image a picture of it now. [Draw it] A church build on top of this rock, it’s got huge powerful gates. The skies are stormy and red, there’s lightning crashing across the sky. And down by the huge gates are these hordes of demonic beings pounding on the gates. You can see in places the walls have been torn at, in some places you can see through, but yet none of the horde can get through the walls or the gate. Because the gates shall not be overcome.

That may seem like a good summary of that passage. But is it? Is it really. Hopefully some of you are shaking your head at this point. Let’s re-read that.

Matt 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

It’s interesting to note that the NIV and NASB use the word overcome it, but the KJV uses prevail. The note in the Parallel English Greek says “will not prove stronger than it”.

You see Jesus is saying in effect. You are Peter, but upon me, the Rock I will build my Church. You are Peter, but upon me the Truth I will build my Church, You are Peter, but upon my Authority will this church be built and the gates of Hell shall not prevail.

The gates of Hades shall not prevail!

Wait a minute! The gates of Hades? Where are the gates of Hades? The gates of Hades are at Hades. When you storm a city you storm the gates and the walls, if the gates are strong the city prevails. If the gates don’t prevail, the city gets overcome by us! But note who’s in the defensive here? Is the church in the defensive or is Hades defensive? Who is within the gates of Hades? Is the church cowering in it’s own shadow waiting hopefully as the World and Hades attacks it or…[slow] is in fact just the opposite?

You see we have taken the whole thing out of context. The gates of hell shall not prevail, not the gates of Heaven shall not prevail. Who is doing the attacking? Who is doing the storming? Who is doing the going out into the world in fact all the way to the very gates of Hades to win souls. Who is doing the attacking? We are!!

Jesus is saying. Upon Himself will he build His Church and we will go out into places where no man has gone before and take over people all over the entire world for God snatching them out of the very jaws of Hades.

3. Expectancy & God does not need me, but he will use whom he chooses. I want him to use me.

I have visited growing churches. I visited a church that felt like it was going places and I was trying to figure out what the difference was between that church and some other churches that seemed like they were dying. Why did this church seem to have all that vim and vitality? Why did this church seem to feel like they were going places, they were growing? Why? And at that time our own church didn’t seem to be growing too well.

So finally I went to a wise old friend of mine. “Oh great Phil Starke” I said, for that was his name. “What” I asked “Oh Phil (may you live for ever) is the difference between now and back then when we were about 4000 strong. Why was it so interesting, so exciting, so wonderful back then? What was so different back then?”

Phil meditated deeply on his Barq’s Root Beer and said “You know what it was?”

“No” I said, “If I did I wouldn’t be here asking you would I?”

He continued gravely as though I had not spoken. “It was,” he said, “It was a sense of expectancy.

“You see we expected everything to be under control, we expecting things to happen, we felt that we were going somewhere. We felt that the leadership had things in hand.”

Jesus said: Upon this truth will I build My Church.

You see we were depending on the Leadership to have everything in control and when they didn’t things started to fall apart.

Coming back to this church that I visited. I realized on thinking back that Yes, there was indeed a sense of expectancy, there was indeed a sense of anticipation, there was indeed a sense of waiting for something to happen.

But they weren’t waiting on man, there weren’t waiting for some person to do something, they weren’t waiting for the leadership to do something. It was a sense of expectancy on God. They were all there expecting God to do something.

Upon this truth I will build My Church.

Who will build the Church of Christ? Who will set the stones in place, who will set it’s future, who will direct it’s paths?

Upon this truth I will build My Church.

Jesus Christ will build His Church and when we attack the world and their phony idols, it shall not be able to withstand the force of the truth of God.

Yes when I visited this church they were all expecting God to do something great. They were all expecting God to build His Church.

But they weren’t waiting around.

You see God is Sovereign, but Man is responsible. Let me say that again. God is Sovereign, but Man is responsible.

Let me ask you this: [Pause] Did God need the Israelites to destroy the Philistines in the Old Testament? [Pause] Did God need David to destroy Goliath? [Pause] Did God need Joshua and the people to destroy Jericho? [Pause] [Then fast] Did God need Peter to spread the Gospel? Did God need Paul to write half the New Testament, Does God need you to witness to others? Does God need you to get into Ministry? [Pause]

No, but he chose to use us. Couldn’t God have destroyed the Philistines, and Goliath and Jericho and spread the Gospel on his own. Yes of course he could have…But he chose to use us. When the people of Israel didn’t obey God, what did God do? He gave them 40 years in the wilderness. When God commands you to pray for the salvation of your friends at work, does he need you? Or could he get the prayers that Glorify Him elsewhere? Where does God get the prayer and praise he desires for his Glory. I want him to get it from me. I want him to get it from us.

Upon this Truth I will build my Church. And he will build it with us faulty vessels. But HE will do the building. Not us but HE.

4. The purpose of the pastors and teachers

Turn to: Eph. 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

Some people come to a church to grow spiritually, some people come to a church because they are lonely, some people come to a church because they are needy, some people come to a church because it’s about the time for them to get married.

Now all of these are valid reasons.

But in almost all the above cases, you noticed that these people were coming to church to get rather than what? Give.

But you see they are fundamentally missing something. The Church you should go to is the Church where God can use you the most! Not the Church where you feel loved the most, not the church where you learn the most, not the church where you like the most, but the church where you can be used the most!

Let me say that again: The Church you should go to is the Church where God can use you the most!

That’s the church you should be going to.

Let’s go back to the passage we just read.

Eph. 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, (for what, why were some to some to be pastors and teachers?)12 to prepare God’s people (but why were God’s people to be prepared) for works of service,

Not so that they would just grow spiritually, not so that these people would just have happy and prosperous lives. But so that they could be prepared for what? for works of service, why? so that the body of Christ may be built up,

So that the body of Christ may be built up,

What’s the body of Christ? It’s the Church? So that the Church will be built up.

Jesus said I will build my Church.

He will build his church and who will He use?

The pastors and the teachers?

NO!

They don’t build up the Church directly, they build up God’s People, God’s people builds up the church!

And of course, God’s people are the church!

What is the job of the pastors and teachers? Not to do the service, the service was to be done by whom? The people.

The teachers equip the saints for ministry. Who does the ministry?

You do. You are God’s people.

Our job as teachers is to train you for ministry. It’s not to entertain you, it’s not to just teach you, it’s not to just minister to you. It’s not just to make sure that you don’t do stupid things like marry non-Christians, party all night long, be mean to your neighbor, join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, believe in a non-absolute morality. It is to teach you the gospel, to teach you theology. But it is to do all this for a reason. A purpose.

What is that purpose? Obviously to build the Church to go out and break down the gates of Hades. To snatch your co-worker from the horrible jaws of damnation. To Glorify and Enjoy God.

So the question you must ask yourself is, are you fulfilling your purpose?

I keep talking to people who say, oh, I used to go to that church or that other church but I wasn’t getting anything out of it.

The truth is that you should be at the Church where God can use you the most, not at the church where you learn the most. Your purpose is to learn, but to learn in order that you can Glorify God and give it back in ministry.

Are you in ministry? Are you reaching out? Is that your priority? I’m serious. And I’m challenging you now! Think of your life? Are you in ministry?

Don’t say, oh, maybe when I don’t have so much work? Or when I get richer, or when I’m done with school, or when I’m in better shape. I work at a start up company. It’ll suck you dry. I used to be in school, I used to be poorer. Through all this, Ministry must have a higher priority. You can schedule your time and your energy.

Don’t say, oh, maybe when I get married. I’ll tell you, if you don’t have time now, you will have even less when you get married. You will have negative time. If you can’t make ministry a priority now, you will certainly not be able to do it once you are married.

Don’t say, oh, maybe at another church later on! Yes maybe another Church needs you more. And maybe that will happen. But here and now you need to be involved. God will open that door to the “other Church” when the time comes.

Don’t say I don’t have any talents.

5. The talents, you will stand before God

Remember the Story of the ten talents from Matt. 25:14

God will hold you responsible. God is sovereign. But man is responsible, and God will hold you responsible. What have you done with the talents I gave you. Can you sing? Can you pray? Can you lead a prayer group? Can you help with activities, can you help organize things? Can you help with a bulletin? There are many many things. And you don’t have to have ten talents. Do you have 1? How did you use that one?

6. The 80/20 rule (but God Builds the church).

God builds his church. We don’t build the Church, God does. God calls people. God adds to the church. But he uses us.

Turn to:

Acts 2:46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And who? the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 9:31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

Again who is the one doing the growing? The Holy Spirit.

Acts 16:4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

God has chosen his people. God adds to the Church. However I don’t necessarily think God will add to a church unless they can minister to them. This happens through natural attrition. If the church can’t minister to the lost, they simply walk in one door and out the other.

The church grows when God adds to it.

Let’s take a church of a hundred. Invariably this church will have 15 people doing ministry within the Church. If those 15 were to drop to 10, the church would self adjust and drop by about 30 people to a church of 70. If 5 more people in the body should decide to obey and spend time in ministry in the Church so they had 20 people in ministry, that Church will grow to about 135.

If that number in ministry should increase the church will inevitably grow.

You want to make your church grow? Get involved in ministry. Now notice that we have lots of people here that are in ministry somewhere else. That is fine and these people are being used exactly where their gifts are.

Do you want to see this Church grow? Do you want to see this group grow again? Then get involved. If you are involved, stay involved. Start coming up with projects of your own if you can. Come talk to the leaders about your vision. If they don’t share it, do it on your own. Don’t let an old fogy somewhere stifle your desire for ministry.

Jesus said I will build my Church. And he will use us to do so. He will use your dreams, your visions, your talents.

7. Will You Commit?

Will you commit to at least 9 months of ministry? Not an entire year, more than 6 months. Get involved somewhere. No flaking, not weaseling out. Commit to it and stick to it. It will hurt both others and you if you just sort of fade in and out in your ministry. The Church is looking for leaders of ministry and well as followers and doers of ministry. Leaders who will take things and go with them. Even when it seems fruitless, even when it seems like everything is falling apart. We need followers, people who work and work and pray. Will you commit?

 
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