Summary: We need to make a resolution to be more like the early Church.
A New Year’s Resolution That Means Something
Text: Acts 2:42-47
1. Illustration: At the beginning of a new year, a high school principal decided to post his teachers’ new year’s resolutions on the bulletin board.
As the teachers gathered around the bulletin board, a great commotion started. One of the teachers was complaining. "Why weren’t my resolutions posted?" She was throwing such a temper tantrum that the principal hurried to his office to see if he had overlooked her resolutions.
Sure enough, he had mislaid them on his desk. As he read her resolutions he was astounded. This teacher’s first resolution was not to let little things upset her in the New Year.
2. Illustration: Here are a few less-serious resolutions:
a. “I have resolved to live in my own little world, because at least they know me here.”
b. “I have resolved to stay married, because it is so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
c. “I have resolved to not make any resolutions, because nobody is perfect. I’m a nobody, therefore I’m perfect.”
3. What is a resolution anyway? Well according to Webster’s Dictionary, a resolution is, "the act of determining" to do something.
4. Okay, where am I headed with this? Read Acts 2:42-47.
Proposition: We need to make a resolution to be more like the early Church.
Transition: Let us look at the Church’s resolution.
I. The Church’s Resolution (42)
A. The Apostle’s Doctrine
1. Luke tells us that they early Church "continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine..."
2. The verb translated "continued steadfastly" (proskartereo) is a common one that connotes a steadfast and single-minded fidelity to a certain course of action.
a. The early church made a conscious decision to be devoted to the things mentioned in this verse.
b. They made the decision that these were things that were important to their spiritual growth, and therefore, determined to be committed to those things.
c. Illustration: A chicken and a pig were walking past a church building one day when they noticed the Sunday morning sermon posted on the outside bulletin board, "Helping the Poor." They walked away when the chicken suddenly came across with a suggestion. "Brother pig, why don’t we give all the poor people a nice breakfast of ham and eggs?" The pig thought a moment and replied, "That’s all right for you to say because for you it is only a contribution, but for me, it’s total commitment!"
3. One of the things they were committed to was the apostle’s doctrine.
a. The apostles were called upon not only to witness to the world but also to teach the Christian family - New International Bible Commentary, Pradis CD-ROM
b. The apostles, the eyewitnesses of all Jesus had done, would be the ones whom the Holy Spirit would remind of the crucial truths by which the church would be directed for centuries to come.
c. From the beginning the early church was devoted to hearing, studying, and learning what the apostles had to teach.
4. Just as the early church was devoted to Scripture, so we too need to be devoted to Scripture.
a. We need to be devoted reading the word.
b. We need to be devoted to hearing the word.
c. We need to be devoted to studying the word.
d. We need to be devoted to studying the word.
1. Another thing that Luke tells us they made a commitment to was fellowship.
2. The fellowship (koinonia) means association and close relationships.
a. This was more than just getting together, certainly more than just a religious meeting.
b. It involved sharing goods, having meals together, and praying together.
3. It also carried with it the idea of partnership.
a. Phil. 1:5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
b. Not only did they develop a relationship with the Lord, but also a close, honest, warm, redeeming relationship with one another.
c. Their commitment was not just a commitment to the Lord, but it was also a commitment to one another.
4. We have come a long way in learning what that means this past year.
a. More and more people have come to the realization that if I want the church to progress and move forward then I have to step forward and do my part.
b. Many more have echoed the words of Isaiah "Here I am Lord, send me!"
c. However, we need to continue to be committed to the fellowship.
C. Breaking of Bread
1. Another thing that the early Church was committed to was the breaking of bread.
2. This refers to communion services that were celebrated in remembrance of Jesus and patterned after the Last Supper, which Jesus had eaten with his disciples before his death.