Summary: There are four essential elements to being a healthy and effective church. This sermon can be heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MWq-cbFXYs
Today’s scripture tells the account of God establishing His church, but much happened to lead up to this point.
>Back to the beginning – God made man male & female. >God’s command, “Be fruitful and fill the earth.”
Then sin entered the world and corrupted man & God got fed up so He destroyed the earth with a flood.
God spared only 8 people, Noah & his family >God’s command to Noah, “Be fruitful and fill the earth.”
Noah and his family obeyed and the earth’s population grew & the people were of one language.
They disobeyed God’s command of filling the earth and instead of they chose to settle down in one place.
>So what did God do? He gave them many different languages & scattered them all over the earth.
Then comes Abram; God’s chosen to establish the nation of Israel. >God’s promise to Abram >Genesis 12:1-3<
Israel kept living in sin needed salvation – This led to the Messiah who came to save the world from sin & death.
>This brings us the gospel of Jesus Christ – His death, burial & resurrection.
40 days after coming back to life, Jesus ascended to heaven and 10 days later – Pentecost – the Holy Spirit came.
The Holy Spirit filled the disciples and empowered them with the gift to speak in different languages to preach.
>Contrast: The Tower of Babel & Pentecost (Different languages were used to confuse vs. to unite.)
The Holy Spirit came and established the church – the body of Christ. Ekklesia
body of believers established to do the work of Jesus;
assembly or congregation; body of Christian believers;
universal body of believers God has called out from the world and into His eternal kingdom
>The Holy Spirit brought the church into being, dwells in the church & gives gifts to the individual members.
The church is a living organism – Christ is the head and the members are the body. >1 Corinthians 12:4-14<
Each individual member is baptized in the Holy Spirit and given a gift for service to God.
No one who has truly been born again can say, “I have no gift.”
When we fail to use the spiritual gifts we’ve been given, we are wasting God’s grace.
In order for the church to be strong and effective, all members must work together for God’s glory.
>If we fail to do our part as individual members, the church will suffer. >Video – “Here Comes the Boom”
>Today’s scripture gives us 4 elements that define a strong & healthy church. >Verse 42<
Teaching ~ Fellowship ~ Breaking of Bread ~ Prayer
The members of this newly established body of Christ were fully devoted to these four essential elements.
>Devoted: proskartereó – to attend constantly; to persevere with intense effort, despite difficulty
>Let’s take a close look at each of these elements
>Teaching: didaché – doctrine; instruction; what is taught
These men walked with Jesus and were taught by Him – They witnessed His great acts firsthand.
They were indoctrinated with knowledge and wisdom to pass along to all who believe.
The church that learns and lives by these teaching stays grounded in faith and service.
>Fellowship: koinonia – communion/community; partnership; common relationship among believers
A body of believers with a common faith, sharing a love for God & one another. >Hebrews 10:23-25<
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we share in each others’ joys and sorrows & we worship God together.
>Breaking of Bread: klasis tou artoo – refers to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper/Holy Communion
The sacrament of Holy Communion is a part of our worship together as the body of Christ.
In the upper room: And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them,
saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
A sacred memorial to Jesus Christ – We remember and celebrate the sacrifice Jesus He made.
>Prayer: proseuché – prayer to God; petition; make request; beseech
The discipline of prayer was extremely important to the life of the first church and still is today.
Prayer is essential for the church to remain vital & strong – A church that prays together, stays together.
We need to pray souls will be won to Christ. Pray for those who are seeking to win the lost.
Preachers and church leaders need prayer to sustain them in their work for God.
We need to pray for the physical and spiritual burdens of each other.
Those who are weak and suffering need our prayer support, as do those who care for them.
>Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread, & Prayer: Without all 4, the church is standing on shaky ground.
>Where do we stand as a local body of Christ?