Summary: This is the second in a short, end of the year series on being a Biblical Church. In this sermon we are looking at how a Biblical Church must be engaged in learning Scripture.
Biblical Church 2019 (Biblical Learning)
Text: Acts 2:22-47
So, we’re continuing on with our series that we started last Sunday… We’re looking at how to be a Biblical Church. And if you remember, I said we’re going to look at five marks… or five elements of a Biblical Church. Last Sunday we looked at Biblical Conversion. We said, “If we’re going to be a Biblical Church, we have to have Biblical Christians.” You can’t have a Biblical Church if you don’t have Biblical Christians. Today; we’re looking at Biblical Learning. A Biblical Church is a Church that is learning.
So if you will, open up your Bibles to the Book of Acts 2:22-47 (READ TEXT).
Now what’s happened here is that we see Peter get up, preach an evangelistic sermon, and we see 3000 people get saved. But that’s not where their Christian experienced ended. That was just the beginning. Verse 42 says, “They DEVOTED themselves to the Apostles teaching, and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Now that word “devoted” is the Greek word “proskartereo” And it means to continue to do something, day in and day out, with intense effort. To persist in something, no matter how difficult it is. In other words, they were not only listening to what the Apostles were teaching; they were digging into it, they were wrestling with it, they were diligently studying it. You know when I was teaching the girls, I would have them exegete a text from Scripture. It might be one or two verses and they’d have to write full length papers on just what those one or two verses were saying. So we’d take something like verse 42 there and they’d have to write papers on it… They’d have to use the 5WH-S method… “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why” “how” and “significance”… So let me give you an example. Verse 42 starts out by saying, “And they..” Who’s the “they” – the 3000 that were saved in the verse before this… so the 3000 new Christians… “they devoted” – what does devoted mean? It means they gave themselves to diligent, persistent, rigorous study… what did they devote - “THEMSELVES”… What did they devote themselves too? – “The Apostles Teaching”… What was the Apostles Teaching? And we’d go on and on doing that. They’d write papers on it, and then have to re-write them. Both of my girls have told me, “Dad, college is easy.” How did I come up with that model of education? Partially from this verse right here. From this idea of devoting yourself (“proskartereo”) to a certain teaching.
So let’s back up a little bit, so that we can see how this all came about. It started with Peter’s sermon. Peter starts out by referring back to the Old Testament Prophet Joel. The 120 disciples came out of the upper room, speaking in tongues, and people were confused, they were astonished… they knew something was happening. It caused a ruckus, and some people were accusing them of being drunk…
So Peter stood up, and started preaching, and like I said, he refers back to the prophet Joel… and he says, “What you’re seeing here is what Joel prophesied about.”
But then we get to verse 22 and look at what Peter does. He shifts gears. Basically Peter is saying, “What you’re seeing here is what was prophesied by the Old Testament prophet Joel… and here’s why it’s coming to pass. JESUS OF NAZARETH, a man attested to you by God, with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through Him in your midst…” So Peter takes that… and he goes, “All this that you’re seeing… this speaking in tongues… it’s all because of Jesus.” And I love how Peter starts that… verse 22, he says, “Men of Israel, HEAR THESE WORDS.” That’s Peter saying, “Listen up!” If you’re going to learn, you’ve got to pay attention. If you’re going to understand, you need to listen. The other day I was reading a blog post from a pastor in Australia, and he challenged his congregation to do something very interesting. For one month, when members of the congregation came in the front doors of the church, they handed their cell phones to a deacon, and were given a small notepad and pen. The first week, about 98% of the congregation refused to do it. The second week, about 75% refused. The third week, it was about 60% that refused, and the final week, 54% refused.
But something happened to those who did turn in their cell phones, or left them in the car or at home. They began to grow, and engage, and take an active interest in the church. That’s a novel idea… especially since studies are telling us how cellphones are re-wiring our brains and flooding them with dopamine, every time we turn it on, just like cocaine. Don’t believe me? Come with us to youth camp next summer and watch how the youth react when we take their phones away for the week…