Summary: how the church must become a community of faith to reach the world for Jesus Christ

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Intro: bowling, concerts, even movies, overall attendance is in steady decline. Up in attendance coffee houses, bars, hiking, biking and Rving. Evidently, closeness, community, personal interaction is becoming more important in our society. Church attendance, down. What is the key to survival, building a community of faith.

People are lonely, depressed and hurting, and it is the churches responsibility to identify needs and touch them. Three loneliest groups are college students, people who have gone through divorce and shut ins.

Building community is the key to survival in the church.

Building the Community of Faith

Acts 2:42-47

And the Lord added to the church daily

*as we read this verse we realize it is impossible for this verse to be realistic if the church only gathers on a scheduled time. It is only when the church is activated to touch lives every day, that this becomes a possibility.

George Barna reports that 10 million professed Christians haven’t attended church services in the last 6 months. If we can’t get church people to come to church, then what are the odds of attracting sinners. The whole concept of the church will have to be revised for many churches to survive in the coming years. If the church doesn’t build spiritual vitality, purpose and vision into people’s lives, it will fail because of lack of interest.

Here is how community is built

v.42-Christ centered theology—churches are trying to be built on personality, talent, gifts and performances. No program will replace the cross, no person will be a substitute for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Where there is individualism, there is division. Unless the concept is how will it benefit the whole, it will split people into special interest groups. The church must be all about Him, we focus on His mission, we gather in His Name.

v.42b-in breaking of bread—we come together to remember the sacrifice that was paid. We are united under the banner of the blood. Fellowship with other believers is essential, we all need relationships that build us up in the most holy faith.

v.42c- in prayers-there is power in unified prayer. We come together because one can put a thousand to flight, while two can put ten-thousand to flight. The local church isn’t built with lone rangers, but like the four musketeers, all for one, and one for all.

v.43-there is miracle power when we come together in the Spirit of God. We are spiritual dynamite when we are united by faith in God’s Word. If the church is to survive there must be supernatural encounters in the Spirit of God.

v.44-45-a true community cares about one another. When one hurts, everyone hurts, when one rejoices, we all rejoice. There are no schisms in the true body of Christ. It is never just about us, but about the entire body working together as one. Sometimes the competitive spirit of our society infects the local church where no one is operating with the whole in mind. Sometimes even ministries within a church can compete against other ministries. For the church to impact our world, we must see everything in light of community.

v.46- the church was never meant to be one building with a certain schedule and a particular order of service. The church must be active, it must be on the move every day in every place. Fellowship from house to house, building relationships as the family of God, doing things together is important for us to grow. The early church saw themselves spiritually connected to each other, while religion, denomination, doctrine has divided God’s family into sections, groups.

v.47. this community of faith is a worshipping community. We get together to worship Jesus. Our desire is to see people saved, so the local community can grow. The greatest thing that could ever happen at any church is to see more people get saved during the week, than on the weekend. More people get saved outside the church building than inside of it.

close: a while back the breaking news of the day was that Bob Denver, ie. Giligan had died. People from my generation were saddened by the news, because he was part of our lives, most of us know the lyrics to the song that started every show. Even though some have called this a silly show, it had a great impact on many people. The reason was simple, we watched to see what would happen next with the community of castaways. Different people, from different places, with totally different personalities, had to learn to survive as one. For the church to survive in this ever changing world, it must become community. We must put aside differences, and concentrate on the common mission, touching the world for Jesus. Today, I challenge each of us to be Bethel community 24/7, 365 days a year. Jesus prayed His church would be one. I pray we will be one in purpose. May God bless the community of faith.

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