Irresistible Best – I want to talk about the kingdom of God and its irresistible nature. When Jesus was on the earth, he was irresistible. People came from all around to see and hear him. They marveled at Jesus. People loved him or hated him, but they could not ignore him. They could not marginalize him. He was an irresistible person with an irresistible message and an irresistible personality. He was a huge distraction to Pharisaical religion. It was because he was irresistible that the religious system had to get rid of him. However, Jesus said that if they did get rid of him he would be even more irresistible.
SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE KINGDOM
By Pastor Delbert Young
by Delbert Young
Scriptures: Scriptures: John 12:32, Acts 2:43, Acts 17:6, Luke 15:20-24, Genesis 47:11, Daniel 2:34-35, 44
[John 12:32] And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will DRAW all men [ALL PEOPLE] unto me.
There is an irresistible DRAW about the kingdom of God. The Greek word translated draw in John 12:32 is the Greek word helkuo (Strong’s #1670) and means, “to drag (lit. or fig.).”
Allow me to clarify what I mean by IRRESISTIBLE. No one is immune to the draw. Jesus said that he woulddraw [drag] all men. Every person experiences the draw. They may appear to reject it, but they will experience it again and again. It may have taken more than one draw time for you, but you came in. If a person rejects once, it does not mean they totally rejected Jesus. God draws them a little closer each time. Finally, Father drags them on in. How many of us have seen that happen? Perhaps it was a friend, a spouse, or a child, but they came in. His word is true and Jesus said that he would draw all men. Trust it. Believe it. It is true.
I believe that the kingdom of God and church should be SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE. It was in Acts 2.
Acts 2:43 EVERYONE WAS FILLED WITH AWE, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
I believe there should be an awe about church. As the gospel of the kingdom was preached throughout the world, it was irresistible.
Acts 17:6 …These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also
Church done correctly should turn a region upside down. The Bible says that we are the body of Christ. If we are doing our job, then we should be irresistible and be turning this region upside down. What we are doing for thekingdom of God is the most important thing happening on the planet. Nothing is more important than advancing the kingdom of God and reaching souls.
We, as the church, should be creating irresistible environments that draw all people into it. Then, as people come to the irresistible environments, their lives change because of the irresistible message they hear. Is that what Jesus did or what? I think that church should be the BEST THING available.I think that church should be so good that when people wake up on Sunday morning nothing else they could do compares to going to church. Why would people sleep in, or do anything else, when they can go to the incredible environments provided by the local church? How many agree with me that church should be that way – SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE? Please say back to me, “CHURCH SHOULD BE IRRESISTIBLE.” However, sadly, that is not the concept that most people have about church and the kingdom of God.
Years ago when we began this church, we wanted to do something different. We wanted to be a church like the one we read about in the New Testament that turned their world upside down. We have had great success, but not nearly the success that we want to see or that God has prophetically promised us. What I want to do over these next weeks is help us see how SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE the kingdom and the church are. Also, I want to encourage you to help Life Gate be a SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE church.
Today, I want to talk to you about the IRRESISTIBLE BEST. The Bible tells the story about the Prodigal Son. A father had two sons. One son wanted his inheritance in the form of money and the father gave it to him. The son took the money and squandered it all on wild living. Things got so bad for him that he found himself eating with pigs. The son came to his senses and went home to his father.
Luke 15:20-24 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘QUICK! BRING THE BEST robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Why did Father give him the BEST? Why didn’t he give him the BEST before he left? I think it was so he would never leave again. The parable is actually about people like you and me and the thousands out there looking for theBEST. Father wants people to have the best so that other things will not entice them. He gave Adam and Eve theBEST garden. He gave Abraham the BEST land. He gave the children of Israel the BEST even when they lived inEgypt.
Genesis 47:11 So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the BEST part of the land
David was the BEST king. Solomon built the BEST temple. God gave us the BEST covenant, BEST life, BESTpeace, BEST joy, and BEST truth. God wants to offer you and those you want to come into the kingdom the BEST.
I want to talk about why, for 2,000 years, Jesus has been drawing all people from all nations into the BEST. God designed the kingdom to expand and never stop growing.
Daniel 2:34-35, 44 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces… and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and FILLED THE WHOLE EARTH… And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
The kingdom of God has been and is advancing. It will never stop advancing. Christianity today is the largest group of people IN THE WORLD and growing every day. Did you know that Christians are the majority in the earth? Following is a pie chart showing the breakdown of religions and the nonreligious.
Christianity: 2.1 billion
Islam: 1.3 billion
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
Hinduism: 900 million
Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
Buddhism: 376 million
primal-indigenous: 300 million
African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
Sikhism: 23 million
Juche: 19 million
Spiritism: 15 million
Judaism: 14 million
Baha’i: 7 million
Jainism: 4.2 million
Shinto: 4 million
Cao Dai: 4 million
Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
Tenrikyo: 2 million
Neo-Paganism: 1 million
Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
I want you to know that Christianity and the kingdom of God are spreading today as never before. Charles Whitaker in Today’s Christianity writes,
“The real story is Christianity’s dynamic and widespread growth in the last century—particularly in the last five decades. Whether measured objectively (by its raw number of adherents) or subjectively (by their fervor), a candid observer cannot gainsay Christianity’s growth. Let the facts speak for themselves.”
Whitaker goes on to give the undeniable facts. “In Africa at large, often thought to be a Muslim stronghold, the number of Christians has grown 360% in the last 100 years… In 1900, there were 10 million Christians there; today, the number is 360 million. This striking growth is even more evident in the Orient than in Africa. In Korea, for example, the number of Christians has grown from 330,000 in 1900 to 12 million today, about 25% of the total population. Even more impressive is the case of China. Since 1948, the number of practicing Christians continues to grow spectacularly. Today, there are ‘tens of millions’ of Christians there. In the Philippines, one Christian group alone, El Shaddai, has 7 million adherents.”
My point is the kingdom of God is the IRRESISTIBLE BEST ofall beliefs in the world. More people are Christians today than ever in history. More people are coming into the kingdom of God than ever before in history.
John N. Vaughan writes, “As of mid-2004, there are at least 238 known U.S. churches with 3,900 weekend attendees, almost 15 times more than just two decades ago.”
According to Vaughan’s research, there are over 850 “mega-churches” in the United States alone with an average Sunday attendance of over 2,000 people.
I am not trying to bore you with statistics, but I am trying to show you something. I found a resource dated the year 2000 from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research that listed churches in the US that were over 2,000 in attendance on Sunday. I went through the list and selected the churches that had over 10,000. There were 25 of them in 2000.
Bellevue Baptist Church Cordova Tennessee SBC Adrian Rogers 14000
BrooklynTabernacle Brooklyn New York UNK Jim Cymbala 10000
CalvaryChapel Ft. Lauderdale Florida CAL Robert Coy 15000
CalvaryChapel of Costa Mesa Santa Ana California CAL Chuck Smith, Sr. 18000
Christian Cultural CenterBrooklynNew York NONDENOM A.R. Bernard, Sr. 10000
CrenshawChristian Center Los Angeles California COG Fred Price 16000
FellowshipChurch Grapevine Texas SBC Ed Young 16000
Fellowship of the Woodlands The WoodlandsTexasNONDENOM Kerry Shook 10000
FirstBaptist Church Hammond Indiana NONDENOM Jack Schaap 12000
FirstBaptist Church of Central Florida Orlando Florida SBC Clayton Cloer 10000
GraceCommunity Church Sun Valley California NONDENOM John MacArthur 10000
Greater St. Stephen Full GospelNew OrleansLouisiana FGBCF Paul Morton 10000
Harvest Christian FellowshipRiversideCalifornia CAL Greg Laurie 15000
LakewoodChurch Houston Texas NONDENOM Joel Osteen 18000
MarsHill Bible Church Grandville Michigan NONDENOM Rob Bell Jr. 10000
New Birth Missionary BaptistDecaturGeorgia ABC/NBC Eddie Long 15000
NewLightChristian Center Houston Texas NONDENOM I.V. Hillard 14000
NorthPoint Community Church Alpharetta Georgia NONDENOM Andy Stanley 14000
SaddlebackValley Community Church Lake Forest California SBC Rick Warren 15000
SecondBaptist Church Houston Texas SBC Edwin Young 18000
Southeast Christian ChurchLouisvilleKentucky CHRISTIAN Robert Russell 18000
The Potter’s HouseDallasTexas NONDENOM T.D. Jakes 18000
West Angeles COGICLos AngelesCalifornia COGIC Charles E. Blake 13000
WillowCreek Community Church South Barrington Illinois NONDENOM Bill Hybels 17500
WorldChangers Ministries College Park Georgia NONDENOM Creflo Dollar 18000
There are churches all over the country creating the IRRESISTIBLE BEST for their regions.Do you know how many churches there were with over 10,000 in attendance on Sunday in 1980 in the U.S.A.? I do not know either and I cannot find the information. There may have been some, but I cannot find them. Let’s say, for safety sake, that there may have been 10. Today there are at least 25. My point is that I want you to see what is happening in the kingdom of God. This phenomenon is not being talked about because “things,” according to Pharisaical religion, are supposed to be getting worse. Church is supposed to be weak and impotent. Not so! The kingdom ofGod is growing at an unprecedented rate, which shows that it is more irresistible today than ever. IT IS THE BEST.
Let me give you one more piece of information concerning the IRRESISTIBLE KINGDOM of which we are a part. Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas has today about 25,000 in weekend attendance, which consists of five different services. Joel Osteen is the pastor and I am certain that most of us have seen Lakewood on TV. Last weekend (July 16, 17, 2005), they moved into the Compaq Center. Here is a quote from Business Week Online. “Flush with success, Osteen is laying out $90 million to transform the massive Compaq Center in downtown Houston — former home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets — into a church that will seat 16,000, complete with a high-tech stage for his TV shows and Sunday School for 5,000 children. After it opens in July, he predicts weekend attendance will rocket to 100,000. Says Osteen: ‘Other churches have not kept up, and they lose people by not changing with the times.'”
Last weekend they filled the Compaq Center Saturday night and Sunday. The Interstate was backed up for miles in both directions and they turned away 10,000 people.
One reason I have shared all that is so you will know that the kingdom of God is growing, not the kingdom of darkness. When you hear doom and gloom projections about how bad things are and how the devil is taking over, laugh and say, “That is not true. The kingdom of God is bigger and stronger and more powerful than it has ever been. It is bigger and stronger and more powerful now than it was in the book of Acts.” It is the IRRESISTIBLE BEST.
Another reason I am sharing this is to make us look at ourselves and at our area. How many would want to be a part of something as phenomenal as Lakewood right here? You may say, “Delbert that is Houston, Texas. We cannot do here what they do in Houston.” I say to you that it can be done. They began by converting an abandoned feed store and with 80 people. We have converted an abandoned feed store and we have more than 80 people. It will require our creating a church that is the IRRESISTIBLE BEST. What are you doing to make it that way? It needs to be the BEST location, BEST facility, BEST children’s ministries, BEST teen ministries, BEST praise and worship, BEST word ministries, and BEST of everything else. You work hard to get that person you love to come to church. If they come and experience the IRRESISTIBLE BEST, they will come back.
I want to close with a story that happened a short time ago. We had gone to my son-in-law’s and daughter’s house and were going to Sunday service at North Point church in Alpharetta, Georgia where Andy Stanley pastors. Jody, my son-in-law, had never gone there with us. We attended the service which lasted one hour and ten minutes. Then we took their two boys to the children’s ministry called “Kid’s Stuff.” A few days later Jody talked to Bonnie about the church. He said he enjoyed the church service and appreciated how they “respected his time.” Then Jody said “but when I saw what they offered my children, how could I not go there?”
In other words, he liked the praise, preaching, and the efficiency of the service, but what was IRRESISTIBLE to him was the ministry provided for his children. My point is everyone’s thing is not praise, or teaching, or preaching, or children’s ministries, but it is something. That is why everything must be the IRRESISTIBLE BEST.If we are going to reach this region, we need you to help us create something that is SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE.What are you doing to help us? If you do not have something that you want to do, come and tell us. We will get you signed up to help us where there is the greatest need. Then, as you serve there, God will show you more clearly where he wants you serving. Please do not do what most seem to do and that is to say, “I am going to do something.” But, when you wake up tomorrow you have found something else that you would rather do. Then you say, “I don’t have time to help at church.” We do what is important to us and what we do here to expand the kingdom and reach souls is the most important thing we will ever do. Do you agree with that?
I want to thank all of you for what you have done over the years. THANK YOU! One thing we need now is for people to begin praying that what I have talked about will happen right here.
God offers and wants us to offer the IRRESISTIBLE BEST so that his kingdom will be SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE. I want to close by asking you to bow your heads right where you are and ask the Lord if you should do anything. If you hear, “No,” then you are listening to the wrong voice. Of course, the Lord wants you to do something. Then ask him what. If you do not get a clear answer, then let us hook you up in some areas that we need help.
Other Related Sermons:
Charles Whitaker, Today’s Christianity (Part One): Christianity Goes Global
Douthat, Ross, “The Christian Future,” Policy Review, February/March, 2003, p. 89-91. Mr. Douthat, an editorial analyst for the Atlantic Monthly, brings these facts out in his review of the Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins.
Dr. John N. Vaughan, The Church Report, America’s mega-church future: factors to watch
2000 Hartford Institute for Religion Research, http://hirr.hartsem.edu/org/faith_megachurches_database_cong.html
The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_21/b3934001_mz001.htm