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Summary: The church today is called to be an Acts 29 church. This message reveals what is required to continue the ministry and mission of the church in Acts,

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INTRODUCTION

* WE are Acts 29: we are living in the unfinished chapter of the church’s ministry

* Our journey through Acts saw the church’s beginning, success, and some failures

* Acts ends with Paul under house arrest and using that house as a base of operation as he shares the Gospel (28:30-31)

* The end of Acts is not the end of the church; almost 2000 years after the events of Acts, the story continues

* An Acts 29 church is a church that continues the ministry and mission of the church in Acts, a church that is faithful to fulfill the Great Commission, a church that writes the next chapter of its journey with God

* Read Matthew 16:13-20, emphasizing verse 18

- God still desires to build his church into what he wants

- The church is to constantly be under construction to become the church God wants us to be

* Becoming an Acts 29 church doesn’t just happen; it requires work on the part of God’s people

* Purpose of this message: review this church in Acts and notice some of the themes of their existence (times have changed, but the message and mission of God has not)

* What does it take to become an Acts 29 church?

1. We must be committed to the Great Commission

* The commissioning of the apostles and church: Acts 1:8

* The Great Commission is the same for us today: to take the Gospel to our community and world

* Why we must be committed to the Great Commission:

A. Because we’re commanded to do so

- not the Great Suggestion; it is an authoritative order; God expects us to fulfill it

- often we make the Great Commission become the Great Omission

- fulfilling the Great Commission is a matter of obedience

B. Because heaven and hell are real

- Acts reminds us that our choices have consequences

- heaven is a real consequence of choosing to place faith in Christ; hell is a real consequence of choosing to reject the love and forgiveness of Christ

C. Because of what is at stake = the souls of people

- eternal life is a matter of quality, not quantity

- the very essence of individuals is on the line

2. We must understand the nature of the church

* The nature of something is discovered by what it does (“If it walks like a duck...”)

* The nature of what your church actually is (opposed to what you say it is or what it should be) is discovered by observing what it does as a church

* What Acts reveals the nature of the church is NOT...

A. The church is not a private club (with access granted only to a few)

B. The church is not a social club (just a place for people like me)

C. The church is not a Sam’s Club (to get a lot of what I want)

* The nature of the church centers on the message of redemption

* The church is an extension of Jesus’ ministry and mission on earth!

* John 20:21 (still applies today)

3. We must embrace the gospel and its implications

* The gospel is a major theme in Acts and a vital part of the church

- the message preached by the church was the gospel (8:25; 8:40)

- the will of God was for the gospel to be preached (16:10)

- the gospel was worth the effort to spread it (20:24)

* The gospel must be embraced by the church because of its implications...

A. The gospel reveals that God alone is Creator and Judge (man is accountable to him)

B. The gospel reveals that man is separated from God

C. The gospel teaches us that the death of Christ was offered for us in order to appease God’s wrath

D. The gospel teaches us that we can respond to God and experience forgiveness

* Romans 1:16

4. We must seize the opportunities God gives us

* Over and over in Acts, God’s people seize the opportunities to share the Gospel, in both good and bad situations

* Paul used every circumstance as an opportunity to point people to Christ (give examples)

* If we are not sensitive to the Spirit and walking with Christ, we’ll miss those opportunities

5. We must be committed to finish the task

* Time and again, Satan attempts to stop the people of God from doing the most fundamental task of the church

* In Acts, he did not succeed. Is he succeeding today?

- some churches face outward persecution

- some churches face inward strife

- some churches face misguided priorities (doing “good,” but not doing the “best” thing)

* The pattern in Acts: as long as the people of God stayed focused on their task and remained faithful to it, God used them to finish their task

* The mission of God has yet to be completed: will we do our part to finish the task God has for us?

* Acts 13:36

* 2 Timothy 4:6-7

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