The Destiny of The Church
The Destiny of The Church
18. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19. And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Today is Sunday number 1,662 since I became your pastor the second Sunday in August, 1986. Those first few sermons that I preached had to do with purpose, plan and destiny. I realized that the task would be leading a turn-around church, for if we continued in the direction that we were going, our future was very bleak.
Many did not want to be a part of a turn-around church, and left our fellowship. Our first two years were difficult. We actually declined, transferring large numbers of people to other churches. Change was needed, but change always comes with a price.
Vision and mission suddenly became the topic of discussion, and we began an evaluation, gathered information, and began a process of positioning ourselves to make the greatest impact, and initiate a strategy for new convert growth.
We began an aggressive approach to evangelism, using every available means, at every available time, to reach every available person. We realized that if we would do ministry, God would meet all of our needs. We felt that it was God's purpose for us to do media ministry, an it was our destiny to make an impact upon our city, region, state, nation, and yes, even to the entire world. For seventeen years, we preached every week to what grew into a global television audience.
Our temptation is for us to look back upon that time as the glory days of Harvest, and that our season has come and gone, and the days of walking in the strength of God's promise is in the past. But this Book I preach from says, Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Bishop Jakes says people should think of their energy as a limited resource. "If you are going to spend so much energy energizing where you've been, then you're not going to have the fuel, and the fire, and the tenacity, and the aggressiveness that you need to energize where you're going," he says. "So sometimes, you have
to just let it go,"
I want to preach this morning,
"The Destiny of The Church"
You can reach no further than what you have been destined to reach. Your destiny cannot be determined by your ego, the opinion of others, or your ambition. You should be living your life on purpose! you should focus on the things attached to your destiny and purpose.
No sower sows a seed without hope of a harvest. God rains on the end we sow, but in the text, the seed is sown in an area that presents a threat to the success of the sower.
I need to tell you that destiny has a stalker! We don't like it when we are unfruitful. A stalker is one who steals, kills, and destroys all that is good, secure, and sacred to you. A stalker can make life miserable for you. No matter how prayerful or spiritual you are, or how brave, confident, or fearless you are, you are susceptible to the oppressive activity of an adversary who stalks his prey. Unwanted aggression, and an unwelcomed, and unwanted constant intrusion into your life, just makes life a living hell for you. Yes, our destiny has a stalker! Peter called him our adversary. Our enemy is a stalker! Destiny speaks to the end of a thing. The stalker doesn't want you to finish Jesus said to Peter:
28. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations
29. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
30. That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Destiny speaks to the finish, the end of God's purpose and plan. Knowing His destiny, Jesus said in the 37th verse of Luke 22 "all things concerning me have an end." Jesus looks into the future, a time in heaven when disciples are eating at God's table and sitting no thrones. He is reminding them of their destiny! But getting from here to there would be tough because of a stalker!
One of the great hymns of the church came from the music writing pen of Bill Gaither. "Because He Lives" is an iconic spiritual song, and I love that second verse that says,
How sweet to hold a new born baby,
And to feel the pride, and joy he brings,
But greater still, is the joy of knowing,
This child can face uncertain days, because He lives.
As parents, we want our children be born healthy, to grow up to be healthy and strong and live well adjusted lives. while waiting for them to be born, we dream of all the good things that are in store for that unborn child. But sometimes things don't go as planned. Destiny is always aborted by one of two things;
1. Something that happened inside,
2. Something that happened on the outside.
In the same manner, after our children are born, we want them to grow up strong and healthy, make good decisions and be successful in life. That also doesn't always go as planned. And just as in birth, destiny is aborted through something that happens either on the inside, or something on the outside. AI that starts good doesn't end well. Destiny has to do with finishing well.
That's what makes Paul's testimony fits so well. "I have fought a good fight, i have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
In our text, the success of the seed was aborted not because of something wrong on the inside, but something on the outside. You see, some of you are sitting here today, that nobody would have believed that you are what you are today. You see when the outside is so negative and destructive, there are some of you here today who should not be here! Success is relative to what you've been through, and where you came from! The things outside you should have choked you. You still don't understand why, but you didn't let it choke you. You didn't let the
stalker win! You're shouting today because you didn't let it choke you!
Jesus said there are two things that the stalker will use to choke you. When you are being choked, your wind is cut off and you asphyxiate. Some of you are in this service and you're being choked right now. You live in an environment with little air, and you're choking.
1. The Cares of This World. Caring too much about the things around you. You've placed your passion on something that may be important, but it has come to choke you. I hear you talking about how fine he is, how cute he is, how athletic he is and how passionate he is. You don't know he's mean, and spiteful, and controlling, and angry, and won't pay his bills, and got a temper like a drunk gorilla, and thinks every woman he meets wants him. But he is so fine. He's so fine People come to me and tell me all their troubles. Worried and all worked up about everything. Hey you are not designed to carry all that stuff.
Put the smartphone down. Turn Oprah off! Quit watching Dr Phil, and all that garbage! That stalker will choke you to death! Over a period of time, you get choked on everybody else life They unload on you, and go to bed and sleep and you can't sleep You don't understand why you bp is so high. You can't explain those panic attacks, and why your food won't digest. What is it pastor? You're choking! The stalker is trying to destroy your destiny!
2. The Deceitfulness of Riches, and Desire For Things that enter. The DOR begins not with those who have it, but those who doesn't have Riches. The deceitfulness is that stuff will make you happy, and that things you have gives you identity. The deceitfulness is in the promise that riches will make you better. That's not true! If you're mean in a shack, you will be mean in a mansion. If I can get this car, I'll be happy. If I can get this house, I'II be good. The DOR is the notion that if you don't have stuff, people won't respect you. If I get riches, people will notice me. If I get rich, I'm gonna be important. Listen, the DOR promises things that It can't deliver. You may say, If I can get riches, that's gonna fix me. That is not true!
I often talk about GIs and DGIs. You see the DGIs give to get the blessing. The GIs give so that the blessing doesn't get them. God is greater than the blessing. Without devotion to God, the blessing will get you! It will choke you! You will never realize your destiny, and this church will never reach its destiny until we realize that God Is Greater!
The DOR keeps moving! You will chase it all your life, and be deceived. We give saying Lord, nothing you have given me, are more important that YOU! I will always prefer the Blesser more than the Blessing.
The Prodigal Son thought that if He had the Father's stuff, he didn't need the father. He thought the blessing was greater than the father, so he took the blessing and left the father.
God is saying to us, "I will take you as high as I can trust you." God will never lead us to a place of blessing where we worship the blessing more than we bless HIM.
Every time He takes us to a place of greater blessing, we must adjust our giving because if we are not careful, we will lust after things, and be passionate about things, and miss our destiny because God cannot trust us to go any higher.
When you know who you are, you don't have to impress anybody. God told Joshua, " I will give you good success." Good success is having God and having the success, but the success doesn't have you.