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Summary: A sermon that looks at the essentials of a healthy, Biblical, growing church.

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Acts 2:42-47 (NET Bible)

42 They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

43 Reverential awe came on everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles.

44 All who believed were together and held everything in common,

45 and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need.

46 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts,

47 praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.

A L.I.F.E. giving church will be a WELL- Balanced Church

o Worshiping

o Evangelizing

o Learning

o Loving

A LIFE - Giving Church

I. Lifting up the name of Christ (Worshiping Church)

2:42 They were devoting themselves...to the breaking of bread and to prayer...2:43 many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles... 2:46 sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, 2:47 praising God.

At first glance this principle may be self-explanatory, but what is true New Testament worship?

"continued steadfastly" (KJV)

The underlying principle of their devotion "continued steadfastly."

A. John 4:24 (NET Bible)

24 God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

"Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by his holiness, nourishment of mind by his truth, purifying of imagination by his beauty, opening of the heart to his love, and submission of will to his purpose. All this gathered up in adoration is the greatest of all expressions of which we are capable." Archbishop William Temple, quoted by Ravi Zacharias

Worship that is in "spirit and truth" unifies the totality of man’s being in a God- ward direction.

B. The importance of music in the worship service should not be over looked in moving people’s souls to direct their thoughts and emotions toward God.

All one has to do is look at the music industry today to know the power of Music and the Arts.

1. The importance of music in our culture, (The churches need to be culturally relevant i.e., getting out of the fifties).

o The Arts are the second level of philosophical expression in our culture. (Listen to the lyrics of pop music and you will know the beliefs of a generation). (The first level being formal, academic. The third being the expression of our world-view in day to day life).

2. The effect of Music and the Arts

Andrew Fletcher, a Scottish political thinker, said, "Give me the making of the songs of a nation, and I care not who writes its laws."

II. Investing our lives into others (Loving Church)

2:44 All who believed were together and held everything in common...2:46 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad...hearts... 2:47 having the good will of all the people.

A. Loving and accepting others.

John 13:35 (NET Bible)

35 Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.”

B. Our model- God is Love

1 John 4:7-5:4

III. Following Christ in discipleship (Learning Church)

2:42 They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship.

The most basic essential of a healthy church is a commitment to preaching and learning God’s Word.

"devoting themselves"

A. There is a tendency to neglect or pervert sound teaching.

Galatians 1:6-9 (NET Bible)

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and following a different gospel—

7 not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ.

8 But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell!

9 As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell!

B. A problem with immaturity.

Hebrews 5:11-14 (NET Bible)

11 On this topic we have much to say and it is difficult to explain, since you have become sluggish in hearing.

12 For though you should in fact be teachers by this time, you need someone to teach you the beginning elements of God’s utterances. You have gone back to needing milk, not solid food.

13 For everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced in the message of righteousness, because he is an infant.

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