IS IT TIME TO SELL THE CHURCH?
By David R. Kenney
July 10, 2015 marks the completion of five years of our working together. We have published 260 bulletins. One could practically double that number for the number of sermons presented. Plus, I have produced over 178 episodes of Light From Above, written articles for our papers and The Wadsworth Post, conducted classes, etc. We have conducted gospel meetings, area meetings, Friday Night Sings and more.
It has been a challenging, but rewarding, past five years. We have men who are pulling double, even triple duty, at times in our worship services. Be sure to express your appreciation for these men’s efforts frequently. I know the ladies have been working overtime compared to what has been needed in the past. Certainly, the work is hard, but I hope it has been as satisfying and gratifying for you as it has been for me.
We have lost dear members to death or other causes. So, we have had reasons to become discouraged. I so appreciate the prayers of each of you, public and private, that I do not become discouraged. I pray the same for you too, that you do not become discouraged. The apostle Paul wrote of those who worked with him—‟Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers” (Philemon 1:23-24, NKJV.) We are fellow laborers, and I certainly would not want to forget to express appreciation to others who have contributed to our ability to be able to work here together with you and support our family. We have all made sacrifices to get to this point, and we will need to make further sacrifices in the months ahead to keep the candlestick in place here at Wadsworth.
When I announced the sermon topic last week, “Is it time to sell the church?” I wonder if some thought the question was “Is it time to sell the church building (and close the doors)?” But that is not the question! There is too much at stake to quit! It is time to sell the church to others!
In my father’s preaching files is an outline he clipped and saved of a sermon outline by the editor of The World Evangelist, who was also one of his instructors, Basil Overton, entitled “A Church For Sale”. I came across it when packing his files to remove out of his office in Martinsburg, WV. I thought the main points were well worth our consideration today.
Too many in our day are sellouts to the wrong things. They make a deal with sin and worldliness. They are much like Esau in that they sell their birthright for a bowl of beans. We are told by the wise man to buy the truth, wisdom, instruction and understanding, do not sell these (Proverbs 23:23). In order to effectively be able to sell any product or service, it is important that the person doing the selling must know the selling points to persuade. Likewise, there are selling points we need to promote if we are trying to sell the church.
Headquartered in Heaven. A product guarantee is only as good as the company that is backing the product up. Now an office or division may close, but your product guarantee may still hold up, but what if the corporate office, the whole company, shuts down? What about that guarantee now? The church is headquartered in Heaven. We have the ultimate guarantee secured by the highest of the highs office, the greatest corner office there is; Ephesians 1:20-23.
The Greatest Head. Jesus Christ is the head of the church. He is to have the preeminence as that head of the body; cf. Colossians 1:18. To claim to have a head in heaven and a head on the earth of the same body does not give Christ the preeminence; especially when the head on earth claims the title of “His Eminence”.
The Greatest Doctrine. The New Testament contains the greatest teachings, there are none that surpasses it. When we stand before Christ at the Judgment, books will be opened. Be sure to know it will not be the Common Prayer Book, the Articles of Faith, The Discipline, or one of the other creeds. It will be the books of the Bible and the Book of Life. We will be judged by the doctrine of Christ, we have that grand teaching to follow; 2 John 1:9.
The Greatest Price Paid. Often people judge, whether right or wrong, that the greater value is the item of the greatest price. There was no greater price paid for any institution than what was paid for the church, the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). One would think that since such a great price was paid for the church that it would be unnecessary to point out to people that giving of our financial means to the operation of the church is a command.
The Greatest Organization. No one wants to be a part of a losing or failing team. We may stick it out with such a team; however, we generally want to be part of an organized team. Well, the church is organized with a structure called congregational. An organization does not have to have a high bureaucratic hierarchy, in fact, often times that is an organization’s downfall. The Lord organized the church with Him as the head and elders and deacons serving the local church with autonomy among those congregations (Philippians 1:1). Some may prefer a different design, but it is not their right to make and this organization works.
The Worship Is True. Some may mock NT worship, preferring rocking music, mood lighting and who knows what else they do to entertain themselves these days. The fact of the matter is our worship is by divine design, simplistic but elegant. Worship can be done as commanded, in spirit and truth, whether the numbers are great or small. Remember, we are the participants, but God is the audience. We must do what He wants to please Him (John 4:23-24).
There Is Work to Do. People generally do not join organizations to do nothing. We join organizations to either put something in, get something out or both. The church provides both! We have opportunities to serve in teaching, encouraging, evangelizing, benevolence, visiting the sick, and more. There are so many acts of charity, or love, we can perform. Have you ever met someone who only wanted to give something, buy something or do something if they were recognized as the one doing so? It is one thing to honor someone who deserves honor for their goodness; however, it is another matter to do these things for the purpose of receiving honor! We are warned by Jesus not to perform works or charitable acts for the purpose of calling attention to ourselves (Matthew 6:1-4). We are to always be working for the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). The Lord’s work is the greatest work, and there is plenty of that to do!
The Rewards Program. The Lord does not expect you to work and serve Him and not be rewarded! Some scoff at working for the Lord for any type of reward; however, how can they reconcile this with the teaching of “laying up treasures in Heaven”? (Matthew 6:19-20) Obviously, if you are not a part of the Lord’s team, then you are not on that rewards program. How do you become a part of the Lord’s team? By becoming a Christian. By confessing Him as the Son of God, turning away from sin, trusting in His Word and being immersed for the forgiveness of your sins. He will add you to the church, and if you serve Him faithfully all the days of your life, and it may be a challenging and difficult course, then He will reward you beyond your ability to calculate. There will be periods of trials and temptations, but no one can reward like the Lord can!
That will sell! But will you?