WORTHY GOALS FOR THE CHURCH

By David J. Riggs


Intro.

   A. If one were to start a business, he would need to set goals so 

      that his business might succeed.

      1. Goal oriented people accomplish more than those who set no

         goals.

   B. As a church of the Lord, we will succeed to the extent we are

      able to set worthy goals and follow them.

   C. We need to make a distinction between "worthy" and "worldly"

      goals.

      1. Some only desire a nice building, large Sunday morning

         attendance, or a prominent name in the brotherhood.

      2. Such goals, by themselves, indicate carnality.

   D. Here are some worthy spiritual goals for us to attain.



I. A WORTHY GOAL IS TO BE A LOVING CHURCH.

   A. First of all, we need a genuine, whole-hearted, sincere love   

      for God. Mark 12:30

      1. We need to love the Lord, Jesus Christ who died for us.

         a. The Jews looked for a lion, but Jesus came as a lamb,

            and they missed Him.

         b. They looked for a warrior, but Jesus came as a

            peacemaker, and they missed Him.

         c. They looked for a military king, but Jesus came as a

            servant, and they missed Him.

         d. They looked for liberation from Rome, but Jesus

            submitted to the Roman stake, and they missed Him.

         e. They were looking for their temporal needs to be met,

            but He came to meet their spiritual needs, and they

            missed Him.

      2. For what are we looking, a lion, warrior, military king,

         liberator, physical provider?

         a. He came as a lamb to be sacrificed for our sins, will we

            miss Him?

         b. He came to make peace between God and man, will we

            miss Him?

         c. He came that we might have true liberty, will we miss

            Him?

         d. He came to model service for others, we will miss it?

         e. He came go give eternal life, will we miss it?

   B. We need love for the truth. Prov. 23:23; Eph. 4:14-15

      1. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Tim.    

         3:15

         a. Let us continue to defend, uphold, and proclaim the

            truth.

   C. We need love for one another. 1 Pet. 1:22

      1. It would be terrible to have no one who cared for our soul.

         Psalm 142:4

      2. Love is a means of identifying the true disciples. John     

         13:34-35

      3. If we love one another, God dwells in us. 1 John 4:12

      4. The one who does not love his brother abides in death. 1

         John 3:14,16



II. A WORTHY GOAL IS TO BE A LOYAL CHURCH.

   A. We need to be loyal in attitude.

      1. We must avoid the attitude of indifference. Rev. 3:15-16

      2. We must avoid the attitude of self-righteousness. Luke 18:9-

         14

      3. We must avoid the attitude of constant censureship. Matt.

         7:1-5; Mark 7:2

         a. An old proverb: "He who is looking for faults in his

            brethren shall surely find them."

   B. We need to be loyal in attendance.

      1. Disciples of Christ assemble together. Acts 11:26

      2. Forsaking the assemblies carries serious consequences. Heb.

         10:25-27

   C. We need to be loyal in stewardship.

      1. Every member has a function, a place, and a part. 1 Cor.

         12:20-22; Eph. 4:16

      2. The obligation of the whole is met by the parts.

      3. Let us do our part so that the whole can function properly.

   D. This is an old Aesop fable: "One day it occurred to some of the

      members of the body that they were doing all the work and that

      the belly was having all the food. So they held a meeting and  

      after a long discussion decided to strike work until the belly 

      consented to take its proper share of the work. So for a day or

      two the hands refused to take the food, the mouth refused to   

      receive it, and the teeth had no work to do. But after a day or

      two, members began to find that they themselves were not in a  

      very active condition. The hands could hardly move, the mouth  

      was all parched and dry, while the legs were unable to support 

      the rest. Thus, they found that even the belly, in its dull    

      quiet way, was doing necessary work for the body, and that all 

      must work together or the body would go to pieces."



III. A WORTHY GOAL IS TO BE A LABORING CHURCH.

   A. By works, our faith is made perfect. James 2:22

   B. We need to labor in the interest of saving souls.

      1. The Lord Jesus came to save souls, and we need to diligently

         follow Him in His work. 1 Cor. 15:58

         a. This is an area where we definitely need improvement.

         b. It is an area where we need to put emphasis.

         c. Let's look for new and greater opportunities to render

            service to the Lord.

         d. A high school in Virginia offered a course called "Home

            Economics for Boys." Needless to say, it got very little

            attention. The following year it was renamed "Bachelor

            Living." The effect was overwhelming -- 120 boys

            promptly signed up. The curriculum had not changed. It

            still offered traditional instruction in cooking, sewing,

            laundry, and money management; but it needed the right

            image before the students would give the class a second

            look.

         e. As we present Christ to the world, let's not forget that

            the message must never change; but our methods of

            delivery may vary. Jesus said, "...Be wise as serpents

            and harmless as doves." Matt. 10:16

   C. The people's responsibility in Nehemiah's day was to rebuild   

      the wall.

      1. They had enemies who opposed them. Neh. 4:1-3

      2. They worked under great stress. Neh. 4:7-9,17

      3. The wall was finished because the people had a mind to

         work. Neh. 4:6; 6:15-16

   D. Let us be loyal and faithful to the Lord in all things even    

      when we do not fully understand His purpose and intent.

      1. Let us be faithful in the work even when we can't see any

         visible results.

      2. An ancient story tells about a king who needed a faithful

         servant and had to choose between two candidates for the

         office. He took both at fixed wages and told them to carry

         buckets of water from a nearby cistern and dump them into a

         large basket which he had placed a short distance away. He

         said that he would come in the evening to inspect their     

         work. After dumping a few buckets of water into the basket, 

         one of the men said, "What is the good of doing this useless

         work? As soon as we pour the water in, it runs out the      

         sides."



         The other answered, "But we have our wages, don't we?

         The reason for the work is the master's business, not ours."

         The complainer replied, "I'm not going to do such fool's

         work," and throwing down his bucket, he went away.



         The other man continued until he drained the cistern.

         Looking down into it, he saw something shining at the

         bottom. It proved to be a very valuable gold ring that had

         been lost in the cistern. The servant thought: "Now I see   

         the reason for pouring water into the basket! If the bucket 

         had brought up the ring before the cistern was dry, it would

         have been found in the basket. Our work was not useless."   

         (From 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, by Michael 

         P. Green, p. 144)

      3. Let us never give up, give in, or give out in the Lord's    

         work even when we don't fully understand God's purpose, and

         even when we can't see any visible results.



Concl.

   A. Thus, we have suggested a few worthy goals: to be a loving

      church, a loyal church, and a laboring church.

      1. They center around the very purpose for the church to exist.

      2. They involve the purpose for us being in the church.

   B. Let us not lose sight of them, but let us press toward them.