Summary: 7 Key things that should characterize every New Testament church.
In this passage we have recorded one of the most exciting events in all of scripture. After Christ ascended into heaven, the people who were believers met, and in Acts 1 it says, "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer." Then on the day of Pentecost, Peter stood and preached and our text says that 3,000 souls were brought into the kingdom of God. Can you imagine, if on a Sunday, you showed up and the parking lot and all the grounds of the church were filled with people standing around and all of a sudden the message was delivered and 3,000 people gave their hearts to Christ. Of course, this is the New Testament church we are talking about. And yet, isn’t that what we claim to be? A New Testament church.
How on earth can that happen to us?
This evening, I want to share with you 7 keys to victory for every New Testament church.
1. Our Savior must be sovereign.
Colossians 1:18 says, "And [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in ALL things [Jesus] might have preeminence."
Jesus Christ is the head of the church. Too often, people have the misconception that the church is the pastor’s. Listen, this is not the pastor’s church. It is not the deacon’s church. It is not church council’s church, or the Sunday School teacher’s church or the tither’s church. This church is the church of Jesus Christ. Everything you do in this church should be bathed in prayer in order to insure that what you do will bring honor to Jesus Christ.
Too many churches today want the pastor to simply be a chaplain. To simply come week after week and comfort the afflicted. And I do believe that part of my job is to comfort the afflicted. But, according to God’s word, my job is also to afflict the comfortable.
Too many people in the church want to come on Sunday morning so they can be labeled Christian or faithful or even Baptist, but you need to know that Jesus did not come to give us labels but to give us life. Can you honestly say, that in the last year you have experienced an abundance of life because of your relationship with Christ. If the answer is no, whose fault is it? It is certainly not Christ’s because He said that He would give us an abundant life;
a life characterized by joy. He did not say that He would give us a life free from adverse circumstances. But He did say, that in spite of those circumstances and in the midst of those circumstances, whatever they may be, that He would give us an abundant life. The only way that will be possible is if He is Sovereign in your life. And the only way we will experience the kind of church described in the first century in the New Testament is if the Savior is sovereign.
2. Friendship in the fellowship.
John 13:35 says, "By this will men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." You know I have been in churches where it seemed as if the church needed a referee instead of a pastor. I have attended business meetings where it looked more like an Arnold Swartzaneggar movie than a church meeting.