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The Characteristics of An Effective Church


Sermon shared by John Hamby

January 2000
Summary: How the early church used a time of peace to prepare for even greater effectiveness.
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: Believer adults
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Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:11 “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, (13) till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; (14) that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, (15) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—(16) from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (NKJV)
The church was using the time of peace to continue to grow spiritually. They were building up themselves and they were actively involved in building up each other. The church far to often seems to be actively involved in tearing each other down and in the process tearing the church apart. Gossip and character assassination are two of the negative ways, but we can be guilty even if we have not done these things if we are not doing anything to help ourselves and others grow.

“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord.”
Scripture often uses the image of walking to describe the course of one’s life. Each person is walking to his eternal destination. The word “walk” as it is used here reveals but two ways, “walking in the fear of the Lord, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit,” or walking in rebellion and sin. The Lord clearly established in Matt 7:13-14 that there are only two spiritual paths where men may walk when he said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many that go in by it. (14) Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.”
We must choose to walk in the “fear of the Lord.” Unfortunately, our mental image of the word fear is not very good! We see fear as a bad thing! The Greek word here is (phobos) the word that we get phobia’s from. But this fear is not a trembling, withdrawal from God. On the contrary, it means that a person stands in reverence and awe of Him, desiring to approach and to know Him.
The book of Proverbs has much to tell us about the importance of “fearing the Lord.”
The “fear of the Lord” is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7)
The “fear of the Lord” will cause one to hate evil
(Prov. 8:13)
The “fear of the Lord” will prolong life (Prov. 10:27)
The “fear of the Lord” provides strong confidence (Prov. 14:26-27)
The “fear of the Lord” prompts one to depart from evil.
( Prov. 16:6)
The “fear of the Lord” leads to a satisfying life (Prov. 19:23)
The “fear of the Lord” is the way to riches, honor and
life (Prov. 22:4)

Very simply, to live in the “fear of the Lord” is to live before Him in trust, reverence, awe, worship, and obedience. “The fear of the Lord” means that the church dreaded to do anything that might displease or offend the Lord. Fearing God means
Comments and Shared Ideas
James Hardin
November 22, 2006
This is such a nice sermon in terms of healthy church!

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