Pencoed Sun Am 10th Feb 2008
Place: Pencoed AOG. Date: Sunday am 10th Feb 2008.
Text: Acts 4:33. Theme: What makes a church great?
“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”
I believe God is building a great church! God is doing great things! But there is greater still to come, revival is in progress, but it needs to continue and grow, mercy drops need to give way to showers of blessing!
This great church at Jerusalem is our God-given example of “How to do it.” These folk got in touch with Heaven, and received the power to please God. Let us look at some things (using the letter P) that made the early New Testament church one of the greatest the world has ever known.
1st POINT: THEY HAD GREAT PEOPLE.
The people in this early Christian group were those willing to give up all for Christ. It takes great people to make a great church. So many sacrifices every week, day after day, to see God’s church here succeed! We are blessed with faithful people that make every effort to come out to every service.
We have a great message, a great mission, and great members. A church is people, not a building. We have a great people, and that makes this a great church! What a blessing to look out over any congregation of people at church and see those who have been willing to do all to further the cause of Christ.
2nd POINT: THEY HAD A GREAT PURPOSE.
A. Their purpose was to obey the Saviour.
Jesus had asked them to tarry in the Upper Room. He said, “But tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high” Luke 24:49. Obedience is always a vital link to power and blessing from God.
B. Then, their purpose was to obtain the promise.
The promise, of course, was the blessed Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you.” This promise is made to every person who desires to receive it from the Lord.
C. Their purpose was to offer the Gospel.
They were to be Witnesses “Both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” Acts 1:8. Peter stood before the great crowd in the streets of Jerusalem and offered the Gospel to the Jews from many nations. The sermon was simple, and his purpose was plain. He wanted to help people get to Heaven.
3rd POINT: THEY HAD GREAT PRAISE.
We read that “They continued daily with one accord, praising God, and having favour with all the people” Acts 2:46-47. As miracles took place, such as the healing of the blind man at the gate of the beautiful Temple, all of the people joined him in praising God. David must have caught the spirit of this when he wrote Psalm 107. Five times he cried out in that Psalm, “Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”
There ought to be great praise for God, and for His Goodness. The world is sinful, so there ought to be great praise for His grace to save this world. There is always something to be thankful for. A good, positive attitude of gratitude will keep this a great church!
One shabby little old lady with grey hair listened to the testimonies of people in the church about the goodness of God. She stood to her feet and said. “I don't have much of this world's goods. My health is not so good. I only have two teeth, one up and one down; but, praise God, they meet together!” This certainly ought to be the attitude of all true Christians.
4th POINT: THEY HAD GREAT PREACHING.
Peter was an ordinary man and not really a great preacher, but the content of his sermon was great preaching. Great preaching in the early church had a THREE FOLD characteristic:
1. It exalted the Saviour.
2. It edified the saints.
3. It uncovered sin,
These great characteristics are present in all great sermons, which exalting Christ and would explain the purpose of the cross and the judging of Satan and his followers. Three thousand people responded to the invitation and then five thousand, at a later sermon. No one can deny that this is great preaching!
5th POINT: THEY HAD GREAT POWER.
The power at Pentecost was the same power used at creation, to divide the Red Sea, to keep Daniel safe in the lions' den, and to rescue the three Hebrew children from the fiery furnace. This was also the same power that turned the water to wine, healed multitudes, fed the five thousand, gave sight to the blind man and raised Lazarus from the dead.
This great power is available to every Christian who will seek God
and pay the price. Notice this power depends on certain things:
1. It is dependent upon a clean life.
God will not fill a dirty vessel with His Holy Spirit power. We must be clean.
2. It depends on consistent walking with God.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. The fly-by-night, blow-hot-blow-cold, in-and-out kind of Christian does not know the power of God.
3. Then, great power depends on continual asking.
Great power comes through great prayer. Will you pray for the pastor, for your church, and for its members every day? Jesus said, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:11, 13.
Do this: allow preaching to speak to your head, your heart, and your hands! God is looking for a clean heart, a clear head and willing hands. Let the Word of God put you into the Work of God by prompting you to action! And He only puts His mighty hand into a clean glove. He uses willing hearts, wise heads, and clean, consistent, working hands!
6th POINT: THEY HAD GREAT PROMISES.
These people had a promise of Heaven and so do we. These
people had a promise of the Holy Spirit, and so do we. They had a promise of genuine Happiness, and so do we. “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life” I John 2:25. Thousands of promises in the Bible are for your benefit and mine.
7th POINT: THEY HAD GREAT PERSECUTION.
It is sad that those who do the work of God upon the earth are persecuted, but this is history. Christians have always been persecuted. Jesus said to His disciples.
“In the world you shall have tribulation” John 16:33. The Apostle Paul promised, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” 2 Timothy 2:12. Today, though’ Christ does not ask us to die for Him, He does ask us to live for Him, which still involves paying a price of persecution.
Surely the need of this day is to analyze carefully these seven great things that this great early church had, and apply them to our situation, that we, too, might always have a great church for our great God.