Summary: From the words of Jesus it is clear that His desire and design for the body of Christ is health. For the church to be healhty there must be rebirth and remodelling. Spiritual health does not happen accidentally. It takes devotion to the health plan God
Intro: If you remember from last time we are called and commanded to experience and share the truth of who Jesus is. There is something that is absolutely necessary if we are going to live the Great Commandment of Love God with everything and loving others with everything. We must be healthy as a church!!
Jesus said in Matthew 16 after Peter’s confession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah upon this rock I will build my church. There are many arguments about what the rock is but instead of opinion know that Jesus is the cornerstone. He is what makes the foundation of the church solid. Ephesians 2:20 tells us the apostles were the foundation built upon Jesus. With two very amazing metaphors Paul tells us that the church is supposed to be whole and healthy. The body of Christ is one that all the parts are important and must be without disease in order to function properly. The building has to have every stone in place and solid for it to be secure and stable and fulfill its purpose. The Church as the building and body of Jesus is supposed to be healthy. Just like a body and a building health or proper construction does not happen by accident.
What it takes are rebirth and remodeling. It takes work to be healthy and stay healthy. If we are willing to listen to the Spirit of God and hear the truth of God’s word and work together and support each other and pray for each other we can be healthy. When we get our hearts focused on Jesus and understand that it is a healthy church that is used to encourage each other and impact their city. It is healthy Christians and a healthy Church that sees the hand of God moving among them. What we should ask after we look at the characteristics is why healthy Christians aren’t the norm. Healthy church doesn’t mean perfection but it does mean progress.
We are going to look at Acts 2 to see clear characteristics of a healthy church.
As you imagine these twelve characteristics imagine them supported by very important foundations stones of truth, faith and love.
1) A Healthy church is devoted to God’s Word (Acts 2:42)
Devoted – intense intensely devoted to Jesus -- creates intense desire for His word.
a) It grounds our faith (Romans 10:17)
1) We can be confident when we face false teachers and religious fads (Ephesians 4:14)
3) We can be courageous when we face giants in our lives (1 Samuel 17:45)
Stability and strength to face every day life begins with a solid floor of faith that comes from constantly hearing, taking in and obeying God’s word. The more you read God’s word the more you see the unfailing love of God. You see the justice and judgment of God of sin. You see His providing and protecting. I have a very personal question for you today. Why are you here if this Jesus revealed in the Bible is not changing your life? Romans 8:29 tells us that the aim and goal of God’s goodness revealed in Jesus and the bible is that you would be transformed into the image of Jesus. His word is not meant for cute quotes and bible stories but transformation!!
b) It grows our faith (1 Peter 2:2)
1) For good words Proverbs 18:21, Eph 4:29,
I have been on the receiving and giving end of powerful words that were not encouraging and did not build up. A goal I have for myself and I challenge you to make your own goal to let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth. If we apply Ephesians 4:29 this year it will bring radical change in all our relationships. What is it that makes this goal a reality? From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Rotten words come from a rotten heart. Paul before Jesus was breathing threats and murder. After meeting Jesus he was praying. Closeness to Jesus equals cleanness of words.
1 Peter 2:12 “Keep (our) behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander (us) as evildoers, they may because of (our) good deeds, as they observe (behold with their own eyes like a spectator or overseer) them, glorify God in the day of visitation."
We are called by Jesus Christ to let our light shine that others may see our good works and glorify God. We are called to be lamps shinning God’s glory. Lamps do not talk they shine. Our good works are our behavior. The way we act and react to each other reveals the reality of Jesus in us. We should ask ourselves does my life reveal the character of Jesus? Am I forgiving, patient, kind, good, gentle, self-disciplined and loving. Closeness to Jesus brings clean and clear conduct. Ephesians 2:10 we were created in Christ Jesus unto Godly conduct. Our good works go back to relationships and how we treat each other!! How are we supposed to treat each other? (audience answers.)