Summary: The Jerusalem church grew daily because there was such a contagious spirit among Christians that drawn others to it. The church today can also follow the example of the early church and become a contagious church.
BECOMING A CONTAGIOUS CHURCH
(Inspired by Bill Hybels book: Building a Contagious Church)
A PARAMEDIC was asked on a local Dallas TV talk-show program: “What was your most unusual and challenging 911 call?”
“Recently,” paramedic began, we got a call from that big white CHURCH on 11th and Walnut. A frantic usher was very concerned that during their WORSHIP service an elderly man PASSED out in a pew and appeared to be dead. The usher could find no PULSE and there was no
“What was so unusual and demanding about this particular call?” the interviewer asked.
“Well,” the paramedic said, “we carried out four guys before we found the one who was dead.”
A. We don’t know whether to LAUGH or CRY.
1. We SNICKER at the story because we’ve been in WORSHIP SERVICES that put us to SLEEP.
2. We SIGH because we know that God DESERVES better than that.
a. Ephesians 5:14b- “. . . Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
b. Revelation 3:1-2 (READ and COMMENT)
We often think that in order to be a LIVE, VIBRANT, EXCITING church then we have to be BIG — a MEGA-CHURCH.
I’ve been in some LARGE churches with a 1500 plus membership that were as DEAD and DRY as can be. And I’ve been in some SMALL churches that were on FIRE for the Lord and could LIFT the ROOF off of the BUILDING with their PRAISE.
B. Our congregation—the Rossville Church of Christ—can never COMPETE with the MEGA-CHURCHES,such as Southeast Christian in Louisville or Willow Creek in Chicago.
1. Of the 7 churches of Asia that Jesus addresses in Revelation, Smyrna and Philadelphia were the
SMALLEST and, yet, Jesus has nothing but PRAISE for those two small congregations.
2. We may never become a MEGA-CHURCH, but Rossville can become a CONTAGIOUS CHURCH.
We can BECOME a community of BELIEVERS so AMAZED by the GLORY of God, so TRANSFORMED by the LOVE of Jesus Christ, and so YIELDED to the POWER of the Holy Spirit in our lives that people in our world would be DRAWN IN and TRANSFORMED by what they EXPERIENCE here.
C. When I think of a CONTAGIOUS CHURCH, the Jerusalem congregation comes to mind.
1. On its very first day of EXISTENCE, there were at least 3,000 people who gave their lives to Christ.
The CONTAGIOUS SPIRIT of the Jerusalem church was not based upon its LARGE NUMBER, but was GROUNDED in the HEART of the INDIVIDUAL Christian. On the Day of Pentecost, the church started out with only 120 members (just a little smaller than this CHURCH). But they were 120 disciples whose ENTHUSIASM and JOY and LOVE for God had a CONTAGIOUS EFFECT that ATTRACTED others to Christ.
2. The CONTAGIOUS SPIRIT of a CHURCH is not dependent upon its SIZE—LARGE or SMALL. It is determined by the way individual Christians feel about God.
Acts 2:42-47 (READ). In the book of Acts we see the FORMATION of the CHURCH—the community of Christ’s followers—who were so CONTAGIOUS with the Gospel and the LOVE of Christ that people from all over the WORLD, from all WALKS of LIFE—all ETHNIC and CULTURAL BACKGROUNDS—were IMPACTED and DRAWN into this new COMMUNITY and TRANSFORMED by what they EXPERIENCED.
This morning I want us to take a look at what made the Jerusalem congregation a CONTAGIOUS CHURCH and honestly REFLECT on our own LIVES to see just what we can do to CREATE this kind of CONTAGIOUS SPIRIT here at Rossville.
I. A CONTAGIOUS CHURCH BUILD AND NURTURE THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
A. This is where it all BEGINS.
1. Before a church can create a CONTAGIOUS SPIRIT, there has to be a DEEP and ABIDING RELATIONSHIP with our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.
We have to LOVE them more than ANYTHING or ANYONE. And that LOVE has to be REAL and has to GROW on a DAILY basis.
2. The church on the Day of Pentecost began with only 120 DISCIPLES.
a. These were the people who knew Jesus the BEST.
They FOLLOWED Him wherever He went. They saw his deep COMPASSION for HURTING people and how He went out of His way to RELIEVE those HURTS. They witnessed His YEARNING to bring LOST people to God—BEFRIENDING them, LOVING them, MAKING them feel ACCEPTED. They WATCHED as He held children TIGHTLY in His arms. They saw Him CRY at a friend’s FUNERAL. And they could hardly believe their EYES as they WATCHED Jesus voluntarily GIVE His LIFE on the CROSS for their SINS.
b. These people fell DEEPLY in LOVE with Jesus during the three years they knew Him.
3. And the 3,000 who were BAPTIZED on the Day of Pentecost?