Rev. David Holwick L
First Baptist Church
Ledgewood, New Jersey
April 1, 1990
I. Plight of local church.
A. Thousands closing.
1) Millions of people staying home.
2) Even people who claim to be "born again."
B. Problems with local churches:
1) No vision.
a) Limited resources.
b) Ingrown, nothing changes.
1> Church are most rigid organizations in society.
Paul De Groot's letter to editor in Edmonton, Canada:
"I would strongly urge another course for church growth
How to make church attendance half as pleasant as dozens of
other Sunday morning choices.
Seminaries must come to grips with the fact that
church is usually boring,
and preachers are usually the most boring part of it.
Many people stay away from church because there's no good
reason for them to go."
3) Church doesn't deal with real issues of life.
II. Why have local church?
A. Jesus tells us to come together.
1) "Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered...." Matthew 18:20
B. Christians are meant to be in fellowship.
1) All people feel a need to belong.
a) Most organizations treat us like "cogs."
b) Little caring for us as an individual.
c) Church can be different.
2) All people have the need to be challenged.
III. Baptist tradition of "Gathered churches".
A. Rebellion against spiritual coldness in churches.
1) Leadership was remote from people.
2) Membership through infant baptism led to laxness.
3) Unsaved people became leaders in churches.
a) (Their own assessment, not someone else's.)
B. "Gathered" churches.
1) Each member must be saved.
a) Verbally claim to be Christian.
b) Portray this belief through baptism.
2) Members must live like they're saved.
a) "Come out and be separate." 2 Cor 6:17
b) Idea behind "Church Covenant."
1> We have rules and expectations.
A. Doctrine. Eph 4:14
1) Very important in early church, less important today.
a) TV preaching.
1> Often limited to pre-Gospel.
2> Sometimes full of false doctrine.
A> New book: Swaggart has Mormon view of God.
2) How easily swayed are you?
1) Recent scandals.
a) No one to tell them, Stop.
2) The great benefit of having a church to raise your sights.
a) Being discipled as a young Christian.
b) Helpful to have guidelines.
V. Service: All are priests.
A. "Priesthood of believers." 1 Peter 2:5, 9
Living stones. [illustration of building of our church]
1) Go to God directly, without a human go-between.
2) Serve others.
a) Build up body of Christ, not just yourself. Eph 4:12
b) Show love. Eph 4:16
B. Equipping of saints.
1) Lay people are the key. Eph 4:12
a) Why doesn't church do more?
b) Why don't you do more?
2) Growth takes dedication.
Paul Harvey once spoke about a 73-year-old man who was
rescued by friends, just in the nick of time.
He had been being pinned beneath his tractor longer than
Jonah was in the belly of the great fish.
Although his ordeal took place during a driving rain in a
terrible storm, the four days and nights cost him only
the amputation of one leg below the knee.
It could have cost him his life - and would have, too, if
his friends hadn't come looking.
Why did they go to his farm to check?
He missed prayer meeting!
Not showing up for the least attended service on the church
calendar caused those who knew him to realize something
must be drastically wrong.
His faithfulness to the Lord and His work saved his life.
If you missed a church meeting, would any come looking for
you, fearful that something terrible had happened?
A. What does this church have to offer you?
B. What do you have to offer this church?
Copyright © 2017 by Rev. David Holwick
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