Home Search Contact Us

 


Disclaimer

No claims of absolute originality are made for this material. As one man said, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter." Please use these sermons as the Lord leads, but nothing on this site may be used for profit without my expressed, written permission!

 

 

 

Acts 2:41-47

THE 2006 STATE OF THE CHURCH ADDRESS

Intro:  The following statistics are adapted from a web log entitled: The Condition of the Church in America.”  They were compiled by Andy McAdams. [1]

  1. 1,400 pastors in America leave the ministry monthly.

  2. Only 15% of churches in the United States are growing and just 2.2% of those are growing by conversion growth.

  3. 10,000 churches in America disappeared in a five-year period.

  4. Only 45% of the U.S. population attends church regularly.

  5. The number of people in America that do not attend church has doubled in the past 15 years.

  6. No more than 38% of the population attends church at all and that’s in the Bible belt.  The next highest is the Midwest at 25%, West 21% and the Northeast 17%.

  7. Though the Bible Belt still boasts the highest percentage of church attendees, many of those churches are filled with legalism or extreme liberalism.

  8. The vast majority of churches have an attendance of less than 75.

  9. There are almost 100 million unchurched Americans, 11-20% of them claim to be born-again.  They have either left the church or never connected for some reason.

10. The median adult attendance per church service in 1999 was 90 people, which is slightly below the 1998 average of 95 adult attendees and in 1997 it was 102.  There seems to be a slight gradual decline.

11. Only 1/5 of the adult population attends Sunday school or some sort of Christian training.

12. Only 65% of Americans donate to a place of worship.  Of Evangelicals, however, 85% donate to their church, yet only 9% tithe.

13. 20-25% read their Bible consistently, 59% attend church weekly, 16% listen to Christian radio, 7% watch Christian TV, and 11% are held accountable to someone.

14. Only 60% of Christians say they are deeply committed to their faith, yet 85% of evangelicals make this claim.

15. One in four have a place in the church where they serve.

16. Less then 50% say that the Bible is totally accurate, yet 60% of those that claim to be born-again.

17. Just 1/3 of church attendees believe that they have a personal responsibility to share their faith with others.

18. 56% of the population believes that salvation can be earned and shockingly, 26% are among evangelical churches.

19. Giving to charities increased in the past decade yet giving to local churches is declining.

20. Out of 100,000 churches in America less then 2% are considered mega-churches, (1,000 or more).

21. 1 out of 4 church attendees are considered church hoppers.

       Folks, that is the state of the church here in America!  As you can see, the church as a whole is in a mess, and it is a long way from what it was at its inception.  These verses we have read today tell of a vibrant, growing, worshiping church that was filled with glory, power and love for God.  The early church was marked by Unity; Mutual Concern; Community Spirit; Evangelistic Zeal; the Manifest Power and Presence of God; Purity of Doctrine; Profound Growth; and Social Separation.  My, but things have changed, and not for the better! We need a touch of all they had in our day!

      We may wonder what this has to do with Calvary Baptist today.  After all, we are not the early church.  Yet, these verses do have some application to us today.  I have read this as my text because this passage shows us what a church should be and can be if it is totally sold out and dedicated to the Lord.

      Normally, I would take a text and move through it verses by verse. Today I want to do things just a little differently.  If you will allow me, I want to spend a little time talking to you about the state of Calvary Baptist Church.  I am concerned about the church as a whole.  I wish every congregation was everything it should be for the glory of God.  I am, however, more concerned with our congregation.

      Every year, at the end of January, the President of the United States gives what is called The State Of The Union Address.  In that speech, he will outline the successes of the past, the needs of the present and the vision for the future of the country.  I want to do the same thing today. I want to take a few minutes and speak about The 2006 State Of The Church Address.  I want to talk about where we have been; where we are and where we need to be in the future. 

 

  I.                      THE EXPERIENCES OF THE PAST YEAR

      (Ill. Let’s reflect back on what we experienced this past year.)

A.  We Have Experienced Grace – We have seen the Lord save some souls this year.  Not as many as we would have liked, but praise God for every soul that has been truly converted over the past year.

B.  We Have Experienced Growth – This past year saw our church grow.  New members have been added.  Both Sunday School and worship service attendance are up. We called a Youth Pastor and started a new children and youth ministry.  We undertook and completed an extensive renovation of the third floor of our educational building.  Now, there are classes meeting us there for the first time in decades.  We started two new Sunday School classes.  It has been a year of growth.

C.  We Have Experienced Glory – God has moved in our presence more than once this past year.  We have enjoyed the precious ministry of His presence and Spirit time and time again.  There have been seasons of prayer; praise and worship that refreshed and blessed us.

D.  We Have Experienced Giving – This past year saw unprecedented financial contributions to this church.  Money is not the main thing here, but there must be money coming in if missions are to be supported, salaries paid and obligations met.  You folks have been faithful to give to the needs of the church.  We have also taken up and given thousands of dollars in love offerings to those in need.  It has been a good year financially.

E.  We Have Experienced Grief – Sadly, not all of the events of this past year were positive. Some of our number have been called off to Heaven during the past twelve months.  Others have experienced problems with sickness and suffering, heartache and sorrow.

 

  I.  The Experiences Of The Past Year

 

 II.                   THE ESSENTIALS OF THE PRESENT YEAR

(Ill. Here are a few essentials we need to develop and improve in the days ahead so that this year might be an even better year for God’s glory.)

A.  We Need More Compassion Among The Saints – v. 44-45 – I touched on this thought this morning, but one of the things lacking in our society is love in action.  We talk about caring one for another, our talk needs to be given feet, hands and heart, Ill. 1 John 3:18; Phil. 2:4; Gal. 6:2.

B.  We Need More Concern For The Sinner – v. 47 –  Again, I mentioned this earlier today, but there is a lost world around us.  Many folks in this church have family members that are lost.  We need a burden for them and a desire to reach them for the glory of the Lord. (Ill. Try to remember what it is like to be lost.  May the Lord help us to see their need; to realize that we hold the solution to their problem; and that it is our responsibility to tell them about Jesus.  We pray, but we do not tell!)

C.  We Need More Conviction In The Sanctuary – I realize that conviction is the work of God and that we cannot produce it.  But, we can hinder His ability to work in this place.  We can create an atmosphere in which the Lord will have a hard time moving.  Or, we can work to ensure that Calvary Baptist Church is a place that encourages the Spirit of God to do His work among us.  If we would see God move, we need to consider four things.

1.  Atmosphere – v. 41-42 – This place is to be a place of worship!  Nothing wrong with talking before the service, but when that music begins, it is time to be in your seat setting your heart on the things of God. 

            Parents can help by keeping the small children quiet and by taking them out when they get loud.  By the way, don’t keep them out!  Settle them down and bring them back.  If you take them to the nursery to play you are teaching them to act up so they can have fun.

            Everyone can help by limiting your movements, your bathroom visits and things of that nature; especially during the invitation.

2.  Attitude – v. 42-43 – If we can condition ourselves to come to the house of God anticipating God to do something special, we are more likely to see Him do something special.  Come praying; come worshiping; come excited and watch the Lord move.  After all, you get out of it about all you really want out of it!

3.  Action – v. 42 & 46 –  Come to the house of God determined to be obedient to the Holy Spirit.  One of the problems in the modern church is that the altars have been forsaken; praise has been neglected and worship has been relegated to the ash heap of the past.  Obedience to the voice of the Holy Ghost would create an atmosphere in which it is more likely that God will move, 1 Thes. 5:16-20.

4.  Attendance – v. 46 – Just being in your place and being ready to worship the Lord is an encouragement to everyone else.  Attendance at church is not an option, Heb. 10:25.  Habitual absence is a vote to close the doors!

 

      Doing these things will not make the church perfect, but it will help us to develop a church in which God can move more easily and in more power.

 

D.  We Need More Confession Of Sin – v. 42 – Like David, God’s people need to keep short accounts with God.  We need to be very familiar with the path to the altar.  There is a great need for the people of God to get honest with Him about the condition of their hearts and their need for forgiveness.  There just aren’t enough sinners around today!

E.  We Need More Commitment To Service – v. 42 & 46 – Ill. “continuing steadfastly & continuing daily” – Again, I mentioned this in the morning service, but we need a fresh commitment from each member of this church that every one of us will pull our own load.  The task is too large for a few.  But, if we all work together, we can see God do things in this church that we cannot even begin to imagine today.

            Let me encourage each one that is working to keep working.  I appreciate your efforts and I challenge you to keep on keeping on for Jesus, Gal. 6:9. Let me encourage each one who needs to get busy, take up the burden and get to work for the glory of the Lord.

 

  I.  The Experiences Of The Past Year

 II.  The Essentials Of The Present Year

 

III.                   THE ELEMENTS OF THE PONTENTIAL YEAR

(Ill. The Lord has big plans for Calvary Baptist Church.  If we are going to be all that He desires and see all that He has planned for us, there are a few basic things that we must have.)

A.  There Must Be An Acknowledgement – We must acknowledge the fact that we cannot do what God has called us to do on our own.  We must confess our need of God and His power.  We must acknowledge our utter dependence upon the Lord for everything.  He is looking for people willing to bow.  The Lord cannot and will not bless our pride; but He will honor our humility, James 4:6, 10; 1 Pet. 5:5-6.

B.  There Must Be An Appetite – If we would see the Lord move like we need Him to, we must possess a desire to see that happen.  We must refuse to be satisfied with the way things have always been and we must seek His face and the fullness of His Spirit, Matt. 6:33; Eph. 5:18.

C.  There Must Be An Awareness – We must also have our eyes open to the possibilities of service that exist all around us.  If we have a heart to serve the Lord, He will reveal His will and His business to us.  The Father did it for Jesus and He will do it for you and me, John 5:19-20.  Let the same thing be said about us that was said about the Mary who anointed the feet of Jesus, Mark 14:8.

D.  There Must Be An Attention – We must give our attention to becoming everything God saved us to be.  We must remember that the Lord did not save us just to deliver us from Hell.  He saved us so that we might be an example of His grace and a mighty tool in His hand, Eph. 2:10; James 2:17-20.

E.  There Must Be An Advancement – That is, we need to get up and get busy doing the things God has already revealed to us and birthed into our hearts.  Is there something you already know you should be doing?  If so, get at it!  He showed you so that you could be busy for Him.  He has given you a task to accomplish for His glory. Ill. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest,”  Eccl. 9:10.

 

Conc:  I thank God for the year He gave us in 2005.  I think we are in good shape, as a church, especially when we look at the condition of the church as a whole.  I look forward, however, to what the Lord has for us in the days ahead.

      If He has touched your heart about your church, then I challenge you to get before Him and talk to Him about.  You might want to thank Him for all He has already done for us.  You might want to pray about where we are today.  You might want to seek the Lord for His power and grace to face the days ahead. Has He spoken to you about your church and your role in it?  Do you want to come and talk to Him about it?  Let’s mind Him!



[1] http://www.mmiblog.com/monday_morning_insight_we/2005/12/the_state_of_th.html

 The Fundamental Top 500    

Counter
 
 

Home Sermons Audio Sermons Bible Study Tools Links Sermon CD About Alan Carr