A. Who was the most successful?
1. Jesus Christ --- was filled with the Holy Spirit and preached the greatest sermon every preached (Sermon on the Mount) --- nobody was saved.
2. Peter --- was filled with the Holy Spirit and preached the Word --- 3,000 Souls Were Saved.
3. Steven, --- was filled with the Holy Spirit and preached the Word --- They stoned him to death.
B. Which is the Most Important to God? --- Success? --- Faithfulness?
C. What is Success? --- What is Failure?
D. What Type of church does God want built? --- Whose business is it to build the Church?
Psalms 127:1, "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain."
I. Is Your Labor In Vain?
A. There are two types of "Building Program":
1. Matthew 7:24-27, "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
2. One was Wise --- the other was Foolish.
3. In Both cases the house Was Built.
4. The Ultimate Test of both houses was, --- "Did it last?"
B. There are two types of "Gathering Program":
1. John 15:1-8, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
2. One was gathering Fruit --- the other was gathering Firewood.
3. In both programs there were benefits.
4. The ultimate test of value ws: --- "Did It Last?"
II. Why Would Anyone Reject Fruit --- And Instead Choose Firewood?
A. For Fruit --- The ground must be carefully prepared ...
For Firewood --- Little preparation is needed.
B. After planting for Fruit --- Visible results doesn't instantly show ...
When Firewood is used --- Spectacular results soon follows ...
C. Before a harvest of Fruit can be gathered --- Years of work are required ...
From Firewood --- Immediate warmth and light are given off ...
D. Fruit trees must constantly be pruned --- making them look skimpy ...
From Firewood --- Branches that are pruned from Fruit Trees can attract immediate attention in their own program of burning.
E. In the end --- Fruit nourishes life and reproduces itself for many generations ...
In a very short time --- Firewood turns to ashes and men trample them under foot ...
III. Are We In The Business of Building Godly Generations or Temporary Congregations?
A. Is our priority that of: --- Building the Families of our church .....
Or is our priority that of building the meetings of our church .....
B. Are our programs really being built around Family needs?
--- Or are our families really Being Used to meet our Church needs .....
C. Is there evidence of Joyful Wives and Dynamic Children ...
--- Or is there evidence of Discontented Wives and Rebellious Chilidren ...
IV. In Growing Fruit --- There Are Two Forms of Destructive Seeds --- Wrong People --- Wrong Policies:
A. You cannot grow Fruit for the Lord if you are catering to the Wrong People.
1. Romans 16:17, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
2. Prov. 20:19, "He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips." 12:26, "The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
3. 1 Cor. 15:33, "Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits."
4. Titus 3:10, "Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition."
B. But, you say, "I Am A People Person, I love people, and I think you should love all of them."
1. I do too, if you are talking about True Love --- true love can be tough.
2. True Love is for the benefit of others --- not yourself or your reputation.
3. What some people call "love for people" is in reality a "Lack of Love And Respect For God And His Word".
4. Under the disguised of "Loving People" --- Co-Dependency causes us to lead others to depend upon us rather than Christ.
a. Christ is merely the Instrument we use to accomplish our purpose.
b. When we have a Need To Be Important In Their Lives --- we are Usurping the position that only Christ deserves.
5. What is our motive for getting people saved?
a. To build the attendance and offering of the church --- feed your own ego ...
b. So that they will go to heaven rather than hell ...
c. Or, so that Christ might be glorified as their Lord and Saviour ...
C. The second Destructive Seed is Wrong Policies:
1. Don't build with Bigger Programs but with Better Food.
a. A proof of our love for Jesus is how well we Feed His Sheep.
b. John 21:15-17, "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."
2. Don't give Solutions without requiring Sacrifice.
a. The more sure you are of your answers, the greater commitment you can demand of your hearers.
b. Luke 14:33, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
3. Don't reject Your Critics.
a. They force you to Clarify and Deepen your message.
b. Proverbs 15:31-33, "The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the LORD [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility."
V. Now, Notice Some Evidence (Signs) of "Burning Wood" Rather Than "Growing Fruit":
A. Assuming the pressure of jobs which should be Delegated To Others.
B. Being so busy working For God that you are no longer able to enjoy fellowship With God.
1. Seeking God, is the Basis of having God's prosperity upon our lives.
2. II Chronicles 26:5, "... as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper."
C. Expecting workers to Build The Organization rather than desiging the organization to Build The Workers.
D. Neglecting the needs and pressures of Those Closest To You --- assuming that they will understand.
E. Allowing those around you to Lose The Joy of The Lord --- under sustained pressure.
F. Setting up Numerical or Financial Goals rather than focusing on precise Spiritual Goals And Achievements.
Now, What Are We Building?
Godly Generations? or
If You Are Not Saved, Nothing Else Matters