Summary: What kind of church does God want us to be?
October 25, 2009
Text: Acts 2:42-47
Subject: The Early Church
Title: A Church for the Ages
I am in the process of taking a leadership class. The goal is to see if there are things in my ministry I need to change in order to take the church to the next level. What am I doing that isn’t working, what is working, and what things should I be doing? These are all questions that I am asking myself as I go through the class.
One thing that I have learned is that for the church to move forward and be effective I must have a vision for the church. Proverbs 29:18, KJV says, 18Where there is no vision, the people perish: Then, I must be able to verbalize the vision that the Lord has given me for the church and communicate it to you on a regular basis. In order to communicate the vision I needed to get it written down so I can go back to it on occasionally to see how we are doing.
Here is the vision I have been given:
I see a church full of worshippers. The music of the church will be so compelling that it attracts new musicians. I envision a family friendly church with programs for every age group. I also see a church that reaches out to dysfunctional families and families in need.
The fact that this is a church that is Spirit – filled and believes the whole word of God and anticipates miracles will continue to attract outsiders who will come for salvation, healing and the Spirit Baptism.
The vision is based on the core values of our church that states that we are a church that Loves God, Trusts God and Loves people.
Now, in order to see if this vision for the church actually lines up with the scriptural evidence for what the church should look like I have gone to Acts chapter 2. In verses 42-47 I found five aspects of what the church should be and noticed that it lines up nicely with the vision God has given for this church.
Read Acts 2:42-27.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
We are a church for all ages.
I. THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. According to the A/G pamphlet “Our 16 Doctrines” there is a three-fold purpose for the church. 1) To be an agency of God for evangelism, 2) to be a place where individuals gather together to worship, and 3) to be a place of ministry where God’s people can come and be perfected through teaching and preaching and be built up into the ministry. That’s a pretty good picture of the kind of church that was being established in Acts 2. First, people were being saved. Verse 41 says, those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. You know that evangelism has never been just about increasing numbers. However, numbers mean people – lives that are being changed by the gospel of Christ. Jesus’ last words to His disciples in Acts 1, before He was taken up in the clouds, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Second, people were being taught. …42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching… This teaching is not so those in the church can have great head knowledge. It is so they can be raised up to places of ministry. Ephesians 4:11-12, 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up… Third, people were coming together to worship. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. All these things done in a corporate setting equal church – the kind of church that Jesus is still building. Having said that, how does that line up with the vision for this church? The first part of the vision fits right in with God’s desire for the church in general. I envision a family friendly church with programs for every age group. I also see a church that reaches out to dysfunctional families and families in need.
II. THE POWER OF THE CHURCH. I have been saying this for the last eight years and I will continue to do so until the Lord comes back or moves me somewhere else – and if He does I’ll still proclaim it – the church is intended to be a place where miracles take place. It is a place of power. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. This is a verse that people use to try to convince us that signs and wonders were only for the apostolic age. And I can understand how, if you just look at this verse, that one could be led to believe that. However, we cannot simply look at this verse and make a doctrine out of it without looking at what the rest of scripture says. The best way to make a decision on this topic is to look at what Jesus Himself had to say about it. Mark 16:17-18, 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” That is pretty clear isn’t it? If that isn’t enough for you then go to John 14:12-14, 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. Not enough yet? Go to Luke 10. Verse 19, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. Now you make the call. Are we supposed to be a church of power or not? Paul said that the last days church would be one that would have a form of godliness but denies it’s power (2 Timothy 3:5). If we ever become that church this is what we’ll do. I will go and get my framing hammer and some nails and we can just nail the doors shut, because when we deny God’s power at work in the church we have become a glorified social club. How does that line up with what God is calling this church to through the vision? Paragraph two: The fact that this is a church that is Spirit – filled and believes the whole word of God and anticipates miracles will continue to attract outsiders who will come for salvation, healing and the Spirit Baptism.