Tuesday, December 1, 2009
We conclude our look at a church in action from Acts chapter 2. Here we see an example of what a church should be today. The beginning of the church, the role of the church, the reason for the church, ordinances of the church, and authority of the church is so discomposed today. There is only one type of church, a local visible one. It is these churches that the Lord loves and gave Himself for, gave His authority to, commissioned, and cherishes and nurtures. Therefore, the church has a great responsibility of which we must take seriously.
We have seen thus far that the early church was....
1. A Place of strong preaching (vs. 22-28)
2. A Place of conviction (vs. 37)
3. A Place of proper leadership (vs. 38)
4. A Place for the strengthening and protection of families (vs. 39)
5. A Place for Godly living (vs. 40)
6. A Place of growth (vs. 41)
7. A Place of proper doctrine and teaching (vs. 42)
8. A Place for Fellowship (42)
9. A Place of Prayer (vs. 42)
10. A Place for fear and discipline (vs. 43)
11. A Place of miracles (vs. 43)
12. A Place of unity (vs. 44)
We will conclude our study by seeing five more aspects of the early church.
13. A Place of sacrifice (vs. 45) Here we read how that the early church 'sold their possessions and goods and parted them to all men as every man had need.' This verse does not demand communism or socialism (sorry President Obama fans), but rather suggests that the church should be a body that will sacrifice what ever it can to provide and care for the brethren. All we have belongs to God, therefore, if there is a need in the church that we could help provide for, we should set out to meet it. They sold their land, their possessions, their goods, in order to put food and clothing on one another's back. In this country we have been spoiled with much, but it is not too far fetched to for see a day soon when we may be called upon to do the same. Look at your church with me. There are some who own land not used, cars undriven, clothes unworn, cable television brought in, boats at dock, and more...will we be willing to part with them for that one sitting in the pew who has been unemployed for 2 years? Will we be willing to sacrifice? Most churches are feeling the affects of our current recession in their tithes and offerings. Will the typical member be willing to cancel their Internet and cable to make sure the pastor and church needs are met? Stay tuned....
14. A place of Joy (vs. 46) They ate and fellowshipped "with gladness and singleness of heart." Every pastor prays for this spirit in their church each week. We have already seen the need for unity and fellowship, but there should be with these a great joy. For too many, the church represents hurt, bitterness, betrayal, criticism, and division; when there should be a joy associated with one's local church. Now if that bitterness or hurt is because of one's sin and the church taking the proper stand, then the trespasser needs to blame themselves for their ill feelings. But far too many church's business meetings, services, and fellowships end up in divisions, fightings, and over criticism. Oh that we knew joy!
15. A Place for Praising God (vs. 47) The early church Praised God! That was their purpose, their motivation, their joy, their objective, their goal, their satisfaction. Oh that every member of every body dedicated and purposed themselves to praising God. There is too much man praising, ministry praising, and talent praising in our churches today. The day Cozaddale Baptist Temple greets me in a service to a standing ovation is the day that I should resign. We do not praise men, we praise God. Our churches are not about size, oratory skills, amounts of ministries, or drama or music entertainment...it is about praising God!
16. A Place that has favour with the community (vs. 47) Now obviously, a church preaching against sin, sharing the Gospel, and living separated lives will be offensive to some. But by this, I believe what is meant is that the members of this church were outstanding citizens in their communities. At work, they were the best employees. At the market, they were the honest ones. At the civic meetings, their words were respected. At the park, they were trusted. Integrity, character, patriotism, a work ethic, were all expected as the normal from folks from this church. Our churches ought to have great testimonies to the community.
17. A Place where souls were saved (vs. 47) The text reads that "the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Where these 17 attributes are being practiced, I believe the Lord will bless those churches with souls saved consistently. We 'amen' the fact that God will not ever put on us what we can not handle, then we wonder why souls are never saved. Could it be that our churches can't handle such responsibility? Our churches are not proper? Understand, by 'church' I do not refer to any other denomination but New Testament Baptist. Our churches are losing ground, our churches are growing dead, our churches are impotent, our churches are becoming flesh pleasing instead of Spirit pleasing...why? We have gotten far away from what a church truly is to be.
May we think on these things.