Summary: Is the Church of today the same as the original church? Would first century Christians recognize the church of today? Here are the 4 things we should we do to look like the early church.
ARE YOU THE CHURCH OR SHOULD WE LOOK FOR ANOTHER?
A. HUMOR: POWER OF MOTIVATION
1. Bobby Dodd, the former great football coach at Georgia Tech, tells the story of a game in which his team was leading 7-6 with just a minute to go.
2. He instructed his quarterback not to pass the ball under any conditions. He said, "Whatever you do, hold onto that football; do not pass the ball."
3. In the next 10 or 15 seconds of play, they moved the ball down the field to within 10 yards of the opposing teams goal line. As the quarterback began to execute the next play, he just couldn't resist, and he threw a pass.
4. The pass was intercepted by a player on the other team who began running toward the Georgia Tech goal line. The entire team had given up the chase -- except the quarterback.
5. He somehow tackled the runner, the ball was fumbled, and the quarterback recovered the ball. Georgia Tech won the game 7-6.
6. After the game, the losing coach said to Coach Dodd, "I will never understand how that quarterback was able to do what he did."
7. Dodd explained, "Well, it's actually quite simple -- your boy was running for a touchdown; my boy was running for his life!"
B. TEXT: Luke 7:18-23
18John's disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19he sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" 20When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we [“look for another”] expect someone else?'” 21At that very time Jesus cured many who had
diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 23Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."
1. John the Baptist saw the Spirit fall upon Jesus when He baptized Him in the Jordan. This was evidence to him that Jesus was the Messiah. But later, due to a lengthy imprisonment, the resulting depression, and a faltering memory, John entertained doubts.
2. Now John wasn’t the kind of guy to lose his head…so he sent disciples to confirm his former belief that Jesus was the Christ.
3. Jesus’ answer should give us encouragement. Jesus wasn’t condescending; He wasn’t reproachful. Instead, Jesus was respectful, understanding, and generous to give John extra proofs of His divinity and mission.
4. What proofs did Jesus give to confirm His divine mission?
a. Compassion for the sick and infirm;
b. Confirmation of His ministry by the supernatural;
c. The fact that He was witnessing to the poor.
5. If the Church today were asked what evidence it could supply to prove it was more than just a worldly organization, but of divine origin and fulfilled a divine mission, would we be left stuttering?
6. If people from the first century were transported to our century, would they see the same kind of church they saw in their own century? They might ask, “Are you the church, or do we look for another?”
7. I want us to look at four evidences of the true church and assess whether we meet the criterion. DO WE HAVE…
I. THE SAME LOVE?
A. NEVER HAD THE WORLD SEEN SUCH LOVE
1. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35
2. The Early Believers. “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” Acts 2:44-45.
Love was not simply a feeling they felt for each other, but a commitment. Love was a verb; it was an action.
3. Greek writer, Lucian (A.D. 120-200), said, “It is incredible to see the fervor with which those people help each other in their wants. They spare nothing. Their first legislator (Jesus) has put it into their heads that they are brothers/ family.”
4. Tertullian, an early Christian, said, “It is our care for the helpless, our practice of loving-kindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. “Look”, they say, “How they love one another! Look how they are prepared to die for one another!”
5. Paul captured the attitudes toward others when he wrote, “When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly.” 1 Cor. 4:12-13.