Thus far, we have seen what a church is not, where the church started, and some Biblical facts about the church. We will now direct our attention to an early New Testament Baptist church in action as found in Acts chapter 2. Here, the early church was being blessed and we see what was truly important to the church then, that should be important to a church today.
1.There was Preaching of the Gospel (vs. 22-36) Here Peter was preaching the Truth. Here Peter was not preaching wishy-washy sermons. He was not worried about not offending any lost person with the Truth, nor offending another brother. He preached the Truth as it is to sinners as they are. He says in verse 23, "Ye have taken..." Christ was crucified because of our sins. "Ye have crucified him (vs. 36)". He preached the death, burial, resurrection, and glory of Jesus Christ. He preached the Gospel. If we desire to be a true Biblical church, we need more preaching of the Gospel-the Truth. It may be offensive to a lost person, but it is what this once lost person needed to be saved, and it is what they need too.
2. There was Holy Ghost Conviction (vs. 37)The preaching of the Truth brought conviction. I remember days when my grandfather would preach when the conviction of the Holy Spirit was seen and experienced by all. When people were white knuckled as they held on to the pew. When people cried out in despair as they saw their sinful state. When preaching of the cross and its agonies brought shame and reproach. Hot tears would flow down cheeks. People had to go to an altar to get right with God. People dare not leave with their sin still active in their life. When was the last time we saw that conviction steadily displayed in our churches. Getting God's people to give a testimony seems like pulling teeth at times. Churches have not had people at the altar for weeks and months. People can hear the Word of God concerning their sin and leave unmoved. A church in action with God's hand moving will be a place of conviction.
3. It had proper leadership (vs. 37-38)Peter and the rest of the apostles were the ones the people looked to for counsel and wisdom. A church with God's hand upon it will have Biblical leadership. It is blasphemous to God at the amount of 'disqualified' men in the pastorate today. The Books of Timothy and Titus give us distinct qualifications that should be met if one is to pastor. Please let me preface that I know that there is no such thing as a perfect man, but God does not require a pastor to be perfect, but He does require the following things from a man to be a pastor: (1 Tim. 3)
1. Be a Man (1)A woman cannot be a pastor.
2. A God given desire to pastor (1)A desire not given by a parent, friend, or relative, but by God
3. Blameless (2) Again, not that he is perfect, but that he is not continual in a sin, unrepentant. That he not have ruined his testimony. I believe adultery permanently disqualifies a man, for that wound and reproach is not wiped away (Prov. 6:32-34).
4. The husband of one wife (2) Again, not a woman (for how can a woman be a husband?). A pastor cannot have been divorced. These qualifications may seem extreme, but it is because the role and office of a pastor is of great importance to the Lord's church. The testimony must be one that is above reproach. Because the husband and wife are one flesh, and due to the fact that it is the testimony that is to be protected, I also believe that the wife of a pastor should not have been divorced. One may argue that I am adding to Scripture, but taken in context with the purpose of the qualifications, I believe one can see the importance of testimony.
5. Vigilant (2) On guard against sin
6. Sober (2) Control of ones flesh
7. Of Good Behavior (2) Behaving Good
8. Given to hospitality (2) Accepting people into their homes, their lives, and their hearts.
9. Apt to teach (2) A God given ability and desire to teach the Truth
10. Not given to wine (3) Abstain from alcohol
11. No striker (3) Not a Quarrelsome person, looking to hurt others
12. Not greedy of filthy lucre (3) The pastor should not be pastoring for money. Consumed with making money and building earthly treasures, for he will be a most miserable person.
13. But patient (3) Fair gentle gracious
14. Not a brawler (3) Thinking himself to be a tough guy, invincible
15. Not covetous (3) Of others possessions, churches, abilities
16. One that ruleth well his own house having his children in subjection with all gravity (4)........to be continued, and this is a big one!!!!!