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.
Part of the problem is too many people are saying I have a right to say anything I want to say, I can speak any way I want to speak. But the Bible says, when you gave your heart to Jesus Christ, you gave up your rights. You no longer have any rights. Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." Your rights have been suspended. Your life should be controlled by Christ. If that were true, business meetings and committee meetings, and all of our gatherings would be characterized by the Sweet Sweet Spirit that we like to sing about.
There is a little limerick that says,
"To live above
with saints we love
that will be glory.
To live below
with saints we know
well that’s another story."
I believe that one of the biggest deterrents to the spirit of this church is that we conduct all of our business on Sundays. And we have stopped providing for the spiritual growth on Sunday afternoons. We don’t develop leaders any more. We develop committee members.
One pastor I know said the problem in the church is sissy men, silly women, and spoiled children. There are too many men today who have stopped being the spiritual leader of their home. Men if you abdicate that role to your wife, you are in direct disobedience to God’s Word and God is not going to bless your home. Ladies, if you take on the role of spiritual leader and shove your husband to one side, the same problem is going to happen. And folks, if you don’t take your God given responsibility as parents according to God’s Word, your going to reap the consequences of your disobedience in children who