Summary: You and I were created for community. That’s why our topic this morning is so important. You were made to have intimate relationships, to serve people lavishly, to share the stuff that you have, to build into the lives of the people around you, to have p

Making an Impact:

Caring for Other Believers

It’s been said that the church is like a family. I’ve always wondered about this because some of the families I know don’t function all that well. In fact, there were times when I was growing up that I wasn’t the best brother to my sisters…

I may have mentioned before that one of my goals growing up was to get all 4 of my sisters to cry at the same time. This was actually quite challenging but I’ll never forget what happened one evening when I finally accomplished my goal.

We were driving in our car on a Friday night heading to our Grandparents’ house in Wisconsin. I decided that this was a good time to launch my attack. I pinched Cathy, pulled Jean’s hair, insulted Mary, and threatened Beth. As I sat there with a big grin on my face while they cried, my dad, who is normally a soft-spoken man, said, “All right. That’s it.” He then pulled over to the side of the road, slammed on the brakes and said, “Get out. We’ll pick you up on Sunday.”

I couldn’t believe it. I had finally accomplished my goal and here I was standing on the gravel shoulder on a deserted country road in Wisconsin. As I shut the door, my dad pulled away and drove off…

It’s difficult for us when someone we know is not living the way we think they should ­ or when they do stuff that hurts other people. I know it was hard for my dad when I had all my sisters crying at the same time. And, as the drama portrayed, it’s difficult for us when someone in the church community doesn’t measure up to God’s standards. When someone is not acting like they’re supposed to.

We’ve been camping in the Book of Acts these past weeks in order to better understand the foundation of the church. If we want to make an impact, we first of all, need to be completely committed and fully devoted to Christ. As we are sold out to Jesus, we will also want to focus on 6 key lifestyle values ­ these key ingredients were clearly evident in the early church ­ and need to be in our church as well:

Instruction in God’s Word ­ get the Word into our heads, our hearts, and our hands.

Mobilizing for Ministry ­ we will see fruit, we’ll be fulfilled, and the church will be fortified when we use our God-given gifts for ministry.

Praying with Faith ­ As we pray earnestly, God will answer ­ even if we have some doubt.

Adoring God in Worship ­ We are to see God as awesome and worship Him with reverent and rejoicing hearts ­ both corporately and in our individual lives.

Caring for Other Believers ­ this morning

Telling Others the Gospel ­ next week

As we’ve been going through this series, we’ve been spending time in Acts 2:42-47. I want you to notice the first part of verse 42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship…” The Greek word fellowship means to “share something in common.” The rest of the passage fleshes out this concept as we learn that they were “all together” (verse 44), they met together in the temple courts (verse 46), and they ate together (verse 46).

This passage mentions three times that they ate together. Shared meals played an important role in the life of the early church. As we learned at our church picnic two weeks ago, the First Rule of Church Growth is this: “If you feed them, they will come.”

Take a look at verses 44-45: “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”

Having my friend Pastor Ray here a couple weeks ago reminded me of something he told me once. As you may know, he’s from the South. One of the most challenging things for him living in Chicago is that it’s difficult to find a restaurant that serves grits. I asked him once what a “grit” was. He told me that there’s no such thing as a “grit”. They don’t come by themselves ­ they come in a community of other grits. You can’t just order one grit.

You know, we’re a lot like grits ­ some of us are “grittier” than others. We’re not here on our own ­ we’ve been created to be in community with others. Other people have touched our lives -- parents, neighbors, friends and teachers (Sunday School). Some touched you for the better, and others may have made you cry.

God made us that way. He said that it is not good for human beings to experience the oppressing, isolating aloneness that wounds the heart. Genesis 2:18 says that “It is not good for man to be alone…” God made one human being and said, "They don’t come by themselves."

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