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Summary: Learning how to be the church in today's world through learning from the book of Acts.

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It’s good to get a time of refreshing…What does God want for our church in 2009?

You know, we’ve been going through the book of John for the last year and a half having just finished it before the holidays. And the book of John ends with Jesus preparing His disciples for His return to Heaven after having been crucified and risen again. He’s got to get them ready to be without Him at their side. The story picks up in the book of Acts where we see Jesus giving them some final instructions right before He ascends into Heaven.

Now the last time Jesus left His disciple’s side, when He was crucified, the disciples all fled and kind of fell apart for a few days. But not this time. There would be no more self-pity and remorse. They had seen the risen Lord and were ready to take on the world. And that’s exactly what they did. They continued the spiritual revolution that Jesus started and formed the early church.

Remember, these weren’t a bunch of seminary students who followed some kind of church-growth model. These weren’t businessmen building a corporation. These were ordinary men who wanted more than just to go to church. These were men who had been changed by the power of God and now wanted to [2] be the church!

They had been so touched by the Lord that their passion was to be the church every day, every where. This is the call on us today. God wants us to not just come to church, to not just help out at church, to not just pray for church, but to be the church every day, every where.

Now some of you already understand this. Some of you realize that Christianity is about being the church, not just going to church.

But some of you haven’t made that connection yet. Some of you still think that Christianity means you go to church and going to church is all about you.

But going to church is only a part of this Christ-life that we seek to live. It is important, but it isn’t the end of our faith. It’s simply a help to our faith. You see, if we’re going to say that we love God and love others, then we will seek to be the church every day and every where. That’s true Christianity.

[3] Go with me to I Corinthians chapter twelve that’s going to show us why it’s important for all of us to understand this.

[Read I Corinthians 12:12-20.]

Church, we are all a part of the body of Christ. If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ then you are a part of His body here on earth. We are His hands and feet that move through this world. And according to the Scriptures, we are all important. We are all useful. We are all needed. God has gifted you and placed you and empowered you to be the church in this place and at this time. We are all in this together.

[Bolt missing from distributor cap story.]

Listen, you might not feel very useful to God. You might feel like you can’t do anything for Him. You might even feel unworthy to be used by Him. Hey, we all feel like that at times. We need to get over our self and remember it’s a God thing when He uses us. We don’t have to be all that to be used by Him. We simply need to be willing and obedient.

To help and inspire us in this we’re going to study through the book of Acts and see the early disciples being the church. And I tell you what, I am so excited about this series because the book of Acts is an amazing display of what God can do through His people.

I encourage everyone here to start reading through the book of acts on your own. Set aside some quality time where you can get into this book and let it get into you. It will!

And as you read through it, what you’re going to see is [4] the power of God equipping passionate people to proclaim the gospel to a perishing world. That’s really what the book of Acts is all about - the power of God equipping passionate people to proclaim the gospel to a perishing world.

[Read Acts 1:8.]

The power of God equipping passionate people to proclaim the gospel to a perishing world. You see, the early disciples got it. They understood that life was too short and eternity was too long to just go to church. They were going to be the church to a dying world. And that’s exactly what the early disciples did.

They went throughout the world and became the church. They weren’t out there trying to build buildings and develop Sunday school curriculum. They simply were the church every day, every where, to every one they came in contact with. I tell you what, what an exciting time in the history of the church.

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