Acts Series #32
Back to the Beginning:
When Church was Church
A Noble Church
What can we learn from the 1st Century church that we can emulate in the 21st century that we might be a Church that is a FIT BRIDE toward our groom, the Lord Jesus Christ?
Well after the hassle and trouble in Thessalonica, Paul and Silas left for Berea … let's read about it in Acts 17
READ ACTS 17:10-12
The church in Berea were described as of "more noble character"
What does that mean? That they were more NOBLE than the Thessalonians
What separates ONE body of believers from another body of believers
The word "NOBLE" means "well born, of noble race 2 noble minded"
Well … every Christian is "well born" … because EVERY believer is BORN again, born of the Spirit of God, born not by the will of man but born OF GOD. To as many as received him, to those who believed in Jesus' name, he gave the right to become the children of God
I've told you we are ALL God's creation but NOT everyone is God's child.
Only those who receive Christ are the children of God … so ALL believer's are WELL born and noble in their rebirth … there is NO other way …
What then about being of NOBLE RACE … well WE are, according to Hebrews 12:1, "surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses" . Since we are ALL of noble birth, we come from a Noble race, and there are great spiritual ancestors that have gone before you and they have left us a legacy of faith and obedience, they have left us a legacy of greatness for the Kingdom. As our Noble ancestors, and they are encouraging us to THROW off everything that gets in the way, and the sin that trips us up and RUN in their footsteps the race of champions of the faith
So ALL Believers are of Well born and of Noble Race … so what separates some from others … could it be the last piece ?… being NOBLE Minded?
For Me … being Noble Minded means you have the heart, the desire, the attitude, the passion to BE who you were born to be
We can NOT earn our salvation, but we can do all in our power to live UP to that for which Christ has called us Heavenward
So what was the mindset that these Bereans had … it's right there in verse 11 …
"They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was TRUE"
Three things I want us to see about a NOBLE MINDED Church … and then I'm going to give you a by-product of that mindset
A Noble Church is …
1. Hungry to Receive the Word of God
they received the word of God with EAGERness because they were HUNGRY
the Thessalonians didn't want to hear it …
they were full of themselves
they were full of their own way
they were satisfied with what they had
What are you hungry for?
1. Some churches fail to be Noble Churches because they are hungry for Notoriety
2. Some churches fail to be Noble Churches because they are hungry for the "good old
1. it's ok to look back for encouragement and strength
2. but if we look back trying to regain some lost glory … we will NEVER move forward
3. don't LOOK back - Isa. 43:19 See, I am doing a NEW THING! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" OH Church sometimes we are looking back and longing for the lush pastureland of the Past when GOD is making a WAY in the desert before us, God is springing forth a fresh well
3. Some believers fail to be Noble Christians because they are hungry for control … hungry to have things their way … hungry for authority that is not theirs … hungry for spiritual gifts that they do not have
4. Some people are NOT hungry for the Word of Truth because they are FULL of false truth,
5. Some people are not hungry for the Deep truth of the word because they are full of FRILLY stuff
6. Some churches place their emphasis on ONLY the emotional part of the worship experience and they get FULL on emotion and don't have ROOM for the word
- The purpose for our worship is NOT to fill us up but to wet our spiritual palate for the Word of God.
- authentic worship removes the obstacles that would keep us from encountering God but WORSHIP is NOT GOD … but the WORD of God is, because the Word of God is a person … JESUS Christ …
So if we are HUNGRY for the WORD we are HUNGRY for JESUS
When you TASTE and SEE that the Lord is good … you will be HUNGRY for MORE …
I have NEVER met a person rightly related to JESUS Christ that says "I've had enough"
I've never seen someone rightly related to Jesus that Says "I'm full, that's all I need".
NO, but I've known some people puffed up on False Truth and filled with pride who say "I've got all I need"
False Truth puffs up:
Real truth makes us Hungry to know More
When I taste the goodness of Jesus Christ I am HUNGRY to know more of him
A Noble Church has people that say, "I don't care about position, I don't care about worship style, I don't care about control, I don't care about schedules, I WANT to KNOW CHRIST, so GIVE IT TO ME, FEED ME
Am I good to just read my word by myself? "I don't need the teaching of My Pastor or Bible Study teacher right?"
REMEMBER that in the disciplines of the early church, one of the critical components was that they "devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching".
"Yeah but YOU aren't one of the APOSTLES Pastor" … you are right BUT
REMEMBER Eph 4:10,11 says that Jesus ascended in order to FILL the universe and verse 11 tells HOW … it was HE (Jesus) who gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers … God GAVE me to you to lead you into new things, to proclaim the truth, to proclaim the good news that Jesus saves, to Shepherd you which is to (direct, correct, and protect) and to Teach you.
So part of being HUNGRY to receive the WORD is being GRATEFUL for what God has given you in me as your Pastor and filling up on what I'm feeding as I'm feeding the truth and obeying the leading of God …
I know work schedules are tough and we are working and praying for new ways and opportunities to share the truth with you, but THINK about all the things you fill your schedule with … do you need to make room for what the Lord is giving you through me?
Hey this is NOT about me, it's about YOU, I want you to have what the LORD is giving me FOR you.
Are you HUNGRY?
Do you need to clear your schedule or you PLATE to make room for what the Lord has for you?
Are there things that need to be removed that you can be hungry again?
Have things gotten into the way that have deadened your spiritual taste buds?
Alright … now I said it's NOT enough for you JUST to feed YOURSELF but it's also NOT just enough for you to let me feed you …
YOU have work to do as well to be a Noble Christian and for us to be a Noble Church
2. Diligent to Know the Truth
I've told you before and I'll tell you again … don't just take something as truth because a preacher said it … it's OK to assume that I am bringing you revelation of Biblical truth BUT … Check it out for yourself
A. Search - EXAMINED
Anakrino /an-ak-ree-no/ - examine or judge, investigate, scrutinize, sift, in a forensic sense of a judge to hold an investigation
When I stand up and proclaim God's word to you each week, what do you do with it?
These Noble Bereans took the Proclamation of Gospel from Paul and they searched it out, examined it DAILY …
Do I need to break that part down? Is that plan hard to understand?
They TOOK the message God gave Paul, and they Checked it out in scripture for themselves …
B. Wrestle with the Truth
I know some of you watch CSI or HOUSE or Law and Order … do those men and women just take the FIRST conclusion that they come to? NO, they forensically search it out … That means the debate it, to break it down, to be able to defend it
Are you doing that with the Word of God I proclaim, with the word of God that you read in a book, hear on the radio, or see on Television?
Get together with your spouse or with another member of the body and discuss the truth
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to explain things too you that are tough to understand
John 14:26 - Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will TEACH you ALL things and remind you of everything Jesus has said
John 16:13 - He will guide you into all truth … Jesus says he takes what is Christ's and makes it known to you …
C. Don't Rest until you Know and are Certain
Ask the Lord
Seek answers from reliable commentators
Get the TRUTH
1. Take NOTES on Sunday …
2. ON Monday open your notes and open a fresh notebook page … Reread the Text and the Opening premise or First Point in my message, Pray and ask the Spirit to reveal truth to you, ask him to use this passage to shape you into God's image … read cross references to the main themes of the passage
3. ON Tuesday move on to the next part of the message or continue wrestling with anything you didn't get the day before
4. continue daily
5. TOOL? Your Bible, a topical bible is a good tool for finding other scripture … there's one called "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge" … If you like these in hands on BOOK form, you can get a topical bible or the Treasury of Scripture knowledge at Lifeway book store. If you like the internet … bible.crosswalk.com is full of tools for looking up scripture, commentaries, etc. Matthew Henry's Concordance is a handbook especially the condensed version. Warren Wiersbe is a easy to understand commentator
You can't build a house without dirt, sweat, and tears
And you can't build a life without digging in, sweating, and weeping. And you absolutely can't do it without the Holy Spirit
A Noble Christian is Hungry for the Truth
Diligent to Search it out for themselves
And approaches it all with a Noble Mindset that is …
3. Ready to Obey
One of the biggest obstacles to the Christian and the Church being NOBLE is that we often approach the Word of God with either; indifference, indecision, or insolence.
That is either we don't care, don't move, or don't respect the truth of God's word, which is tantamount to not caring, not responding or respecting Jesus Christ himself
Not these Noble Berean Christians:
They received it with eagerness because they were HUNGRY and they were planning to DO SOMETHING with it and about it
They were EAGER - Prothumia /proth-oo-mee-ah/ - zeal, spirit, inclination, readiness of mind
To be eager means I WANT it because I'm going to OBEY it, LIVE it, and Pass it along
Do you come in hear on Sunday morning with that Attitude?
Do you come in saying "alright Lord, what do you have for me?"
Do you say "Lord, you've brought me so far, where do we progress now?"
Do you say "Lord, you've done so much for me, I'm ready for the next phase, the next level"?
Do you study the word of God with the thought "Spirit teach me and I will do as you say, go where you lead, follow where you walk."
The proclamation of the truth serves to teach you where to go as well as to prod you in the right direction.
Ecclesiastes 12:11 - the words of the wise are like goads … given by one Shepherd
But sometimes we KICK at the prods and just injure ourselves
When Paul met Jesus on the Damascus road Jesus asked him why he was kicking against the goads, the prodding of God's Spirit … Acts 26:14
Don't kick against the truth that will set you FREE
Jesus told his disciples "if you continue in my words then you will know the truth will set you free"
He didn't say if you get the truth once in awhile, or once a week, he said if you continue in it … That is personal study, pastoral proclamation, faithful teaching AND application of the truth into your life.
It isn't enough to know the truth you must CONTINUE in it
Do you lean forward Ready to Go or
Lean Back, Resistant to change that calls for Action
The Truth is ONLY as good for YOU as the application into your life that you allow
Then we can be Noble Christians and that mindset will make New Life a Noble Church
And what's the byproduct … v12 --- "Many believed" many Jews, many Greeks, many men and many women
Awakening of the Soul of America, begins in reviving the Soul of the Church
and BOTH are centered in the WORD of God, Received, Searched, and Applied
A Noble church is a productive church
A noble church is used by the Spirit to produce Noble Offspring
Will we be a church of slackers or a church with patience for the truth?
Will we be a church with a heart to learn or a church selfishly desiring just to be stroked?
A Church that seeks NOT the Word of Truth will produce offspring that are the same
A Noble Church will produce Noble Offspring
A Noble Church
is HUNGRY FOR
Diligent to SEARCH
READY to OBEY
the Word of God
It is the Book of the Lord is ISa 34:16
The Book of the Law in Neh 8:3
The Good Word in Heb 6:5
The Holy Scriptures in Rom 1:2
Book of Truth in Dan 10:21
Sword of the Spirit in Eph 6:17
The Word of God in Luke 11:28
The Word of Christ Col 3:16
Word of Life in Phil 2:16
Good seed in Mat. 13:3-8
A double edged sword Heb 4:12
It's to be read aloud in Public and Read Aloud in your home
It's to be taught to our children and proclaimed to the world
It's to be Hidden in our hearts and shouted from the mountain tops
It brings health to our body according to the Psalms and makes beautiful feet of the one who proclaims it in Isaiah
It gives secure footing to the spiritual armor of the believer in Eph 6
We're to talk about it in the morning, noon and night
To write in on our heads and hearts, on our door posts and billboards
It convicts of sin and testifies about Jesus
HUNGER for IT
SEARCH IT for TRUTH
OBEY it LIVE IT PROCLAIM IT
Oh and it won't make you overweight and slow you down; ON THE CONTRARY, it will make you FIT for life, fit for the Kingdom;
you'll never be greedy and you'll share it freely
The WORD of GOD … DOES A BODY GOOD