Waking the Sleeping Giant
– A few weeks ago, in message #10 of the series Waking the Sleeping Giant; we looked at A Call to Action. In the passage Paul exhorted the Philippians to think about the best things and to put into practice what they have learned about living for Christ. We left with 2 Crucial Action Steps to respond to the Call to Action. (1) Thinking about the best things. (2) Putting into practice what we have learned.
– This week we are going to investigate this creature: the sleeping giant. We are going to ask 3 questions to learn more about: what is the sleeping giant?; why is the giant sleeping?; and, what will it take to wake up the sleeping giant?
1) What is the sleeping giant?
– The Church
* We see the U.S. Church lacksadaisical and spiritually drowsy
> 85% of churches in the U.S. are in plateau or decline
> 10% of churches in the U.S. are seeing slight growth
> Only 5% of churches in the U.S. are seeing significant and consistent growth
– The called/chosen ones of God
* Ambassadors – we represent Jesus Christ to this world
* Lights – we get to shine before the world around us
* How are we representing?
* How are we shining?
– The hope of the world
* The Church is the hope of the world
> We have a message that changes the lives of other people
> We have the supernatural enablement of the Holy Spirit
> We are a part of the family of God and we invite others to be a part of that family
> We get to shower the world around us with the unconditional love and acceptance that Jesus Christ showered us with
2) Why is the giant sleeping?
– Carnality/sin in the camp
* Christianity is more of a hobby than a lifestyle
– Inwardly focused selfishness
* It has become a club, isolating itself from the world
* 32% of people in the world claim to be Christians, they receive 62% of the world’s yearly income and spend 97% of their resources on themselves; according to George Barna, “They spend roughly twice as much money on entertainment as they donate to their church
– Unregenerate membership
* There are many people year after year, that are members, just hanging out inside of the Church’s building, they have not repented of their sins and trusted in Christ as their Savior; that means that nothing they do will be directed by the Spirit of God
– Overly complex
* We have just decided to add program after program not evaluating whether or not it is actually helping us to transform people into fully committed followers of Christ
* We must go back to the basics
* Are we doing these 2 things?
– Business and political model of doing things
* Instead of attempting by God’s grace and enablement to be a community of believers that do things according to God’s Word and God’s leading; we have decided to do things according to the pattern of the world
3) What will it take to wake the sleeping giant?
* An acknowledgment of not doing what God wants us to do, asking for forgiveness, and asking God to help you to be who He wants you to be and do the things that God wants you to do
* “As Christians we need to change our mindset from parishioners to participants, from consumers to contributors, from my congregation to our community, and from ‘bring them in’ to ‘be among them.’ A mission outpost view of the local church helps turn a landmark into a lighthouse. It increases a church’s ability to offer acceptance and hope to our unchurched family members, neighbors, and friends.” Warren Bird
– Outwardly focused selflessness
* A change of heart and behavior, learning to build intentional relationships with people in our community who aren’t yet Christians
* “Less than one out of three church attenders has shared his or her faith in Christ with a non-Christian within the past twelve months.” Warren Bird
* Our unchurched population is the largest mission- field in the English-speaking world and the fifth largest unchurched population in the whole world
* We must go into the world and be Christians who reproduce Christians and churches that reproduce churches
– Regenerate membership
* People in the church stop being a cultural Christian, really repent of their sins and accept Christ as their Savior and live for Him
* We stop just adding programs and start evangelizing and discipling
* We are not meant to be a spiritual ministry buffet
– Biblical and spiritual model of doing things
* We stop trying to manipulate, intimidate, and use powerplays to get our own way – we look at God’s Word and pray for direction
– What is the Sleeping Giant? = the Church
– Why is it sleeping? = sin and fear
– What will it take to wake it up? = repentance