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Summary: Learning how to be the church in today's world through learning from the book of Acts.

[Computer comparisons – slow vs. fast.]

You know churches can be a lot like those two computers. Some churches can be so cluttered with stuff and so outdated that they don’t operate efficiently. They’re more frustrating than joyful. They take so much effort to do what they’re supposed to do.

But some churches are like a new computer that runs efficiently. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do. And it’s a joy to work with them because they’re doing what God has intended them to do.

And you know, that’s the kind of church we want to be. We want to “be the church” that God’s created us to be. And when we are, then we become a church with favor. [2] Go with me to Acts chapter two as we’re going to continue our look at a church with favor. The first church that ever existed just days after Jesus ascended to the Father.

[Read Acts 2:40-47.]

This was a church that had favor with all the people and it had favor with God as indicated by the Lord adding to their number daily. This was a truly great church. When all kinds of people respect the quality of people you are and when God’s hand of blessing is upon the ministry, that’s a church with favor.

As we saw a couple of weeks ago, the people of this church were characterized by many things. [3] They were devoted, awestruck, selfless, outwardly focused, joyful and fruitful people. Because of that this church had favor with the people and with God.

Now there’s a couple of dynamics about this church that I want us to revisit this morning. Things that were key to them having favor. First of all their devotion. These were a people that were completely focused on Jesus and it showed in their devotion.

[Read Acts 2:42.]

[4] Four things typified their devotion. They were devoted to the Apostles teaching or to God’s Word. They were devoted to fellowship or to each other. They were devoted to the breaking of bread or to worship. And they were devoted to prayer. These are the four things that kept the people focused on Jesus Christ. This is what held that church together! If we as individuals and as a church will remain devoted to these four things it will keep us focused on Jesus Christ and we will be a church with favor.

Devotion to the Word of God. Go to II Timothy 3:16-18.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

God Word gives us everything we need to know Him and to grow in Him. It equips us for life, it guides our life, it comforts our hearts and gives us hope. A Christian who isn’t devoted to God’s Word is like someone walking through a jungle blindfolded. Sooner or later the jungle will stop you in your tracks. We must be devoted to God’s Word.

Devotion to each other. Go to I John 3:16-18.

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (Drop down to 4:7.)

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

The people of the first church decided to partner through life together simply because they had a very real love for one another. Life can be hard at times and we need each other to make it through with our faith and our sanity intact. A Christian who isn’t devoted to fellowship with other believers is like someone walking through the jungle alone. You’re going to get lonely and scared when nightfall comes.

Devotion to worship. The early church set aside regular times of coming together to worship. Something we should be devoted to as well. Go to Hebrews 10:23-25.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

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