Summary: This message is the final lesson in a church series using key verses in Acts 2, this one specifically deals with how the followers worshipped together and how the Lord added daily to their church.
CHURCH SERIES #7:
BIBLE VERSE: ACTS 2:42-47
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
TRANSITION: The book of Acts lays out the foundation of the early church, and quite honestly, the modern church as well. Specifically, these 5 verses here explain perfectly the role of the church and what the church is supposed to be and do. So this next series, which continues our Acts 2 series, will be a look at the specific role of the church breaking down part by part week by week.
A. Devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.
B. Devoted themselves to fellowship.
C. Devoted themselves to the breaking of bread.
D. Devoted themselves to prayer.
E. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs.
F. All believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
G. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.
H. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.
I. They praised God.
J. They enjoyed the favor of all people.
K. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
INTRO: For the last series of weeks, we have been studying what it means to be a church. We have discussed various aspects, and today will be the last message in this series.
I read this memo about church attendance, thought it was creative, so I cut and pasted here for you guys, thought it would be a good introduction (it was written by a pastor named Dean Kennedy, Wellspring Community Church).
Why Go To Church
A Churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I’ve gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all." This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor.
It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"
OPENING: From these verses, the last part in a rather long series based upon the role and responsibility of the church, we learn that there are two more aspects that is expected from the church (honestly, this church series could go on for weeks, months and maybe even years). But we learn from the last three verses, that:
GOD EXPECTS US TO BE A WORSHIPPING CONGREGATION
GOD EXPECTS US TO BE A WITNESSING CONGREGATION
1. GOD EXPECTS US TO BE A WORSHIPPING CONGREGATION
A. What is Worship?
Grammatically, worship can be either a verb or noun. According to Webster's Dictionary, its verb form includes such synonyms as "esteem," "exalt," "revere," "glorify" and "respect." As a noun, it can encompass adoration, veneration, devotion, supplication and invocation. Its actual definition, though, is "reverence, honor or homage paid to God; ceremonies or services expressing such reverence." Worship thus includes both an attitude and the actions that accompany and are motivated by it.
The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery says, "Worship is first and foremost a verb, an action" (p.970). This is revealing because so many equate worship with either a place (usually a building) or a feeling. That worship is an action becomes clearer when we examine the roots of the Hebrew and Greek words for "worship." According to the New Bible Dictionary, both the "Hebrew aboda, and the Greek latreia originally signified the labor of slaves or hired servants" (p. 1262). Therefore, the underlying concept of worship in Scripture is that of service to the One revered. This understanding greatly expands the application of worship far beyond the walls of a building. It includes any activity done in service to and because of the one worshipped.