Learning How to Set Goals as a Congregation

  Introduction:

   As we enter a new year, what are we, as a congregation, going to accomplish this year?  It might surprise you that the Son of God refers to some of the world as being wiser than the children of light.  Jesus specifically stated:  “…for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Luke 16:8). 

    We can even learn some valuable principles from those who were building the tower of Babel.  God recognized four attributes of the builders of that tower that would enable them to accomplish what they set out to do, unless He interfered.  Those principles are stated at:

 Gen. 11:6, “And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begun to do:  and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”

 (1)    The people were one;

(2)    They were of one language;

(3)    Now nothing will restrain them from doing;

(4)    That which they have imagined to do.

    Although the people were attempting to accomplish something that God did not want them to do; the same attributes that they possessed, as mentioned by the Lord, are needful and essential for the church of our Lord to accomplish the will of the Lord.

    Let us now consider each one of those desirable qualities.

 Discussion:

 I.                   FIRST OF ALL, THEY WERE UNITED AS A PEOPLE IN THAT WHICH THEY SET OUT TO DO.

A.     The people were one.

B.   We need to be united both as a congregation and as a brotherhood.

 Psalm 133, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” 

1.      We need to be united in heart  

Acts 4:32, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul:  neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”

2.      Be willing to forgive. 

Eph. 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” 

3.      It is essential that we be united upon the doctrine of the new covenant.

a.        We need to contend for the doctrine that was once and for all delivered unto the saints during the first century.                                                 

Jude 3, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” 

b.        As the New Testament church, we should endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace because we hold the following seven basic truths in common. 

Eph. 4:3-6, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” 

c.         Only those things found in the new covenant pertains to life and godliness. 

2 Pet. 1:3, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” 

d.    Doctrines of men are vain! 

Matt. 15:9, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” 

II.                SECONDLY, THEY WERE OF ONE LANGUAGE.

A.     The entire human race spoke one language. 

B.     It is the will of the Lord that we strictly adhere to the new covenant and thus speak the same thing! 

1 Cor. 1:10, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 

1 Pet. 4:11, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;…” 

1 Pet. 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:  and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 

III.             THIRDLY, NOTHING WOULD RESTRAIN THEM FROM DOING WHAT THEY SET OUT TO DO.

A.     There is an old saying:  “Action speaks louder than words!”  In the context in which it is usually used this is true.  However, religious activity separate and apart from the Word of God is indeed vain. 

B.     These ancient people were actually doing what they set out to do. 

C.     The church of Christ will only be blessed by the Lord if we remain faithful in abiding in a “thus saith the Lord.”

1.            We should remain optimistic that the Lord will bless our action in His name.

 Col. 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” 

Phil. 4:13, 19, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 

Rom. 8:28, 31, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 

…If God be for us, who can be against us?” 

2.            Under the direction of Nehemiah, the children of Israel had a mind to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. 

Nehemiah 4:6, “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof:  for the people had a mind to work.” 

James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” 

IV.   WHICH THEY HAVE IMAGINED TO DO.

A.      Certainly vision that is in harmony with the Will of the Lord is both needful and essential

1.       The Great Commission provides for us the ultimate vision in reaching out to lost humanity. 

Matt. 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.” 

2.       Without vision in planning ahead, a local congregation will eventually perish.  This was also true concerning God’s people of the Old Testament. 

Prov. 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish:  but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

Conclusion

   Brethren, let’s be up and about the Lord’s work by working in His vineyard. 

--Dub Mowery

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