The Two side of Church Repulsive & Beautiful
Scriptural Text: Acts 2: 41-47
Intro: As I was driving down the road I found myslef looking at the many different churches that I find in that part of the ciy. I commented to myself about the churches, their windows, architecture, landscaping and their parking lots etc. But the church isn't the building. True, the buildings reflect the devotion and care of the congregation (messy vs clean etc.) but the Church would be the church even if the building was destroyed. The church is the people. The bricks, mortar, and other building material that make up the churches are not red clay, they are flesh. They are you.
In this section of scripture please notice the people.
What were they like?
Why were they such a miraculous church?
How were they able to be used of God in such a mighty way?
I believe that there are seven features that allowed them to be useful to God and be a church that was attracting men to the Lord Jesus.
I. 7 Factors That Made the Early Church Great
1.THEY WERE LEARNERS. VS 42
A. Jesus said, "Come unto me. . . and learn of me. The Christian life is a life of learning. Not of Worlds ways but of Gods ways.
1. A never ending study. You never know it all.
a. To study infinity takes Eternity.
B. This Wonderful church had a Sunday School. They might not have called it that but that is what it was. A group learning about the Lord together. Sharing their experiences and discoveries.
WITHOUT STUDYING, Gods word a Christian weakens and dies W/O A Bible Studying School of some kind churches weaken and eventually die.
ILLUS. Pastor walked into a Home and asked the little boy who knocked down the walls of Jericho. Kid said "not me!" Pastor said to the father, "I can't believe the answer that he gave." Father said, "I believe him, if he said he didn't do it, he didn't do it."
THESE EARLY CHRISTIANS WERE LEARNERS, you need to be a learner too.
2.THEY WERE FELLOWSHIPPERS VS 42
A. What is fellowship? 2 fellows in a ship?
1. It is the uniting of people in the common bond of the Gospel. Where else can two people from different backgrounds come together except in Church, in the lord.
B. The fellowship of Jesus Christ is why we call one another bro. and sister. We are a gigantic family.
Sharing trials, victories, heartache, Joy.
3.THEY WERE PRAY-ERS VS 42
A. It is of the utmost importance that we recognize that the church in the book of Acts was powered by prayer. Of course they worked hard, but their work was preceded by prayer carried out with prayer and concluded with prayer.
Until we learn to meet the challenges of life with the experience of prayer we will be weak Christians. It is prayer that God wants. It is prayers that God hears. If you want to experience the power that the early church experienced you must PRAY.
A. Don't get involved in this world until you have gone to the next world. Don't talk to anyone until you have talked to God.
4.THEY WERE AWE-STRUCK VS 43
A. Fear. Not that they were afraid. It was an awesomeness they experienced. They recognized the terrible awesomeness of their task.
To win the world to the Lord. THEY RECOGNIZED THAT THEY COULDN'T DO IT! BUT GOD CAN. You see, this Christianity isn't a game. It is life and death. Today someone in this room can obtain eternal life. someone also can reject it, and suffer HELL. They were awed by the Power of God, and the MAGNITUDE OF THE RESPONSIBILITY. ISN'T IT TIME SOME OF YOU HERE GOT SERIOUS ABOUT THE LORD.
5.THEY WERE ACHEIVERS VS 43
A. Not in the sense that they wanted notoriety. But in the sense that they were part of many miracles. HOW? They believed God was with them and they didn't hesitate to ask for the miraculous. How? They got busy with the Lord's work. SOME HERE WANT TO SEE MIRACLES BUT YOU DON'T WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN THE LORD'S WORK. You will never see miracles.
1. Miracles come on the heels of faithful labor.
When you are faithful to sow, the miracle of growth and harvest occurs. If you will be as faithful to the work of the Gospel as they were you would see more of the miraculous.
B. They were achievers because they wanted what God wanted.
GOD WANTS HIS WORK TO GROW. GOD GAVE THIS CHURCH THE GREAT COMMISION. Not great , as in famous, but great as in BIG. IT IS THE BIG COMMISSION. So they set out to obey him and win the world.
6.THEY WERE GENEROUS VS 44-45
A. This generosity is the evidence of a life wholly committed to the Lord. Jesus said," you cannot serve God and money." When you see things from the Lord's perspective, money seems to lose its value. It becomes the tool that it ought to be instead of the master it has become.
7.THEY WERE HAPPY VS 46
A. "with gladness" Were they happy because they were being persecuted. Because they had lost their jobs for their faith?
Because they were being arrested?
They were happy because Jesus had given them his JOY.
1. In the Gospel of John, he tells us that Jesus prayed "that my joy may be in you."
B. When you met one of these Christians you sensed their Joy but couldn't find any earthly reason for it. WHY? There was no earthly reason for it. IT WAS A HEAVENLY REASON.
II. WHEN YOU BECOME LIKE THE EARLY CHURCH IN THESE 7 WAYS YOU WILL ALSO BE LIKE THEM IN WAYS DESCRIBED IN VS 47
8.THEY WERE ATTRACTIVE VS 47
Enjoyed the favor of all
A. We need to be careful that our un-attractiveness doesn't stand in the way of someone being saved.
1. This early church was attractive, WHY?
Because they were:
THEY FELLOWSHIPED WITH EACH OTHER,
THEY PRAYED FOR EACH OTHER AND FOR OTHERS,
THEY WERE AWE-STRUCK IN WHAT GOD WAS DEWING
THEY WERE ACHIEVERS, DOING WHAT THE LORD HAD COMMANDED THEM
THEY WERE HAPPY,
We need to be as beautiful as we can, NOT TO ATTRACT MEN TO OUR CHURCH because of our pleasant atmosphere BUT to remove every barrier that can turn men from receiving Jesus Christ as Savior.
B. We need to concentrate on these seven attributes if we are to win this area to the Lord.
9.THEY WERE GROWING VS 47
A. Folks were being saved.
1.This is the main thing. Everything else is done so that the main thing can be accomplished.
a. Bible study program to teach the Bible so lost can be saved and the saved can learn how to win the lost.
b. Training program to train Christian workers, to win the world.
c. Mission organizations, to educate folks about missions and promote their cause so men can be saved.
d. Music, to prepare the soul for the Word of God. To speak to that part of man that is deep within of the things of God, so he will be saved.
EVERYTHING IS FOR ONE REASON, THE REASON CHRIST CAME AND DIED, THAT MEN MIGHT BE SAVED.
B.GOD WANTS US TO BE THAT KIND OF CHURCH.
1.Must start with you, today.
a. CHRISTIAN, do you want to see folks in heaven or hell? Are you doing anything that will hinder your neighbor from accepting Christ?
Is there anything you know to do but aren’t doing to help folks come to Christ. DEDICATE YOURSELF TO IT TODAY.
c. Some here don't know Christ as their savior.
GOD WANTS YOU IN HIS FAMILY!
WOULD YOU COME TO HIM TODAY?
HOW? Rom 10:9-13
Invitation: hymn 107 there is a fountain