Peninsula Community Church
Will the Real Church Please Stand Up?
What is the Church Suppose to be Doing?
October 30, 2011
Act 2:41 & Acts 9:31 – So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
It is easy for us to discuss all that the church should be doing but there is a point where we must put our words in action. It is more about what the church is than what it does because we can fill the calendar with all kinds of activities (not that activities in themselves are bad or wrong) and still not accomplish much for the kingdom of God. But if we become what God wants you and I to be, then we will instinctively do the things we ought to do.
For example, as a pastor there are many things in my role that I instinctively do. For example if someone calls me to say they are in the hospital, instinctively I begin to plan on how I will get there to see you. You see I am a pastor as much as I do the work of the pastorate. While my role is a pastor, I am also called to be a pastor so all I do is with that mindset. I feel I never stop being a pastor.
The following six actions are not something the church should be doing as much it is to be a part of who we are.
- Exalt God through Worship.
- Encounter God through prayer.
- Encourage others through fellowship.
- Edify others through ministry and service.
- Expand the Kingdom and grow the church through the proclamation of the Gospel and mission.
- Equip through teaching and discipleship.
Let’s take a look at these in more detail:
Exalt God through Worship. To be an active and powerful church we must be exalting God with our worship. This worship is not just what we do on a Sunday morning but it must be the essence of our lives. The question to be asked here is “How do we represent Christ to those we encounter in our daily lives?” Have they been enriched by the encounter or do they leave our presence with a sour taste about who Christ and Christianity is.
Romans 12: 1-2 tells us that our lives our lives are to be a living sacrifice to God which is a testimony to the world of who Christ is and what He claims to be. Paul stated “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
2 Corinthians 2:14- 17 –But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
A pastor friend of mine related two stories in a message he recently delivered to his church on Long Island. Pastor Gary said that they asked their waitress if they could pray for her which is a common thing they do when they go out for dinner. She refused their prayers because she did not want to have anything to do with Christianity as a result of the way she had been treated as a waitress by Christians she waited on and worked with. She saw those who professed Christianity say things and do things that hurt others. She saw them walk hypocritical lives. She saw them be lazy on the job. Because of this, her view of Christ made up of the belief that Christ pompous, self-centered, rude, demanding and unloving. Thus, she refused to have anything to do with Christianity.
He also related a second story about a young man that was a waiter and was a passionate follower of Christ. He approached Pastor Gary because he felt he had blown his testimony by the way he had acted on the job. He had blown up over a situation that did not warrant that kind of expression. Pastor Gary spoke to him and suggested that he return to work and to ask his co-workers who saw and heard his outburst to forgive him and that he needed to admit that he was wrong. When the young man did this one of the people at that worked with him made the statement that he does not believe in Christianity but if he were to this would be the kind he could believe in.
Why are these two stories important? They are important because to worship God we must exalt Him with our voices, our words, and our lives.
As a church, we desire to worship God. We want to do things with excellence so that God is honored and praised in all we do. Excellence does not mean perfection, it means that all we do we do to the best of our ability so that we might honor and please God. When we come into the church to worship, do we come with the aroma of Christ upon us? When we leave the building do we leave with His aroma upon us? How is the environment effected when we are around?
Encounter God through prayer. Prayer, as we have discussed before, is an encounter with God. This means we must pray. Prayer is our chance to speak to God. The goal is that we are to be consistent and focused in our praying.
The problem that exists is that too often we only pray when we are in distress and or have a deep need but we must pray without ceasing so that we live a lifestyle of prayer. Can you imagine if the soldiers that are in Afghanistan never trained or prepared for the battle? What if they just showed up on the frontlines and the captain said “go for it, let’s fight.” They would not be very effective would they? And yet we treat prayer the same way. We don’t pray regularly and then we shoot a message to God when everything falls apart and we wonder why our prayers are ineffective. Perhaps if we prayed regularly God would have directed our steps differently and we may have avoided the trial we are in.
How do we do this? We should begin your day in prayer. At the beginning of your day, invite God to be present with you. Invite Him to guide your heart and your steps. Invite Him to give you divine appointments so that you will be about His business.
How many times have we gone through our day without talking with Him about our day? As a church, we must people of prayer. Let me ask you do you pray for the church, the leadership and the ministries of the church or do you pray about the church, its leadership and ministries. There is a difference. Each of us must have a heart for prayer and each of us must be given to prayer. Let me ask you, do you pray for the lost in your community? Do you pray for the lost you encounter on your job?
Can you imagine what would happen if every member of this body began to pray earnestly for this church and for the lost in this community? What can you pray for? Let me give you a couple of things:
- Pray that God would pour out His Spirit upon this place so that when people enter these doors they will encounter a real authentic expression of God’s love.
- Pray that God would provide for every financial need we have here at the church.
- Pray for the church’s growth spiritually for if we grow spiritually we will grow numerically and financially.
- Pray that I as the pastor and the leadership team will be in tune with what God is doing here at PCC and in the surrounding community.
- Pray that God will position you with people who do not know Him so that you have the opportunity to reach them with the Gospel.
To Be Continue