Summary: Challenges a declining or plateaued church to begin the process of revival.
Acts 2:40-47 “Characteristics of a Revived Church"
Most churches in America are either plateaued or in decline.
Between 7000 & 8000 churches close each year in America.
One of the greatest needs of the churches in America today is revival.
How do we know whether our church is alive and revived?
A revived church is a:
I. Saved Church (v40-41)
A. We know that we can’t "save ourselves." What did Peter mean by "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation?"
1. Accept the conditions found in Verse 38 (Repent & be baptized)
2. They were warned
3. They accepted the message: Peter began telling them the good news in verse 14
4. They were baptized: in water, yes, but served as identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection
B. 3000 people were saved!
C. Look what these saved people did
1. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching
2. They committed themselves to the Christian fellowship
3. They "broke bread" together
4. They prayed
II Praying church (v42)
A. Most have heard of ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication
B. Six aspects of prayer, using your hand as a reminder
C. A church that prays together is a healthy, revived church
III. Miraculous church (v43)
"Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles."
When was the last time you can remember when everyone was filled with awe over something that God did?
Or something spectacular that happened in church?
Is God still in the "miracle making" business?
IV. United church (v44 & 46)
"All the believers were together and had everything in common."
"Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,"
Not only were they united, they were happy about it!
Jesus Christ was their source of unity!
V. Giving church (v45)
One Sunday morning the pastor encouraged his congregation to consider the potential of the church. He told them, "With God’s help we can see the day when this church will go from crawling to walking." The people responded, "Let the church walk, Pastor, let the church walk." He continued, "And when the church begins to walk, next the church can begin to run." And the people shouted, "Let the church run, Pastor, let the church run!" The pastor continued, "And finally the church can move from running to flying. Oh, the church can fly! But of course, that’s going to take lots of money for that to happen!" The congregation grew quiet, and from the back, someone mumbled, "Let the church crawl, Pastor, let the church crawl."
When we talk about giving we narrow the conversation down to money.
What else can we give? TIME
VI. Worshipping church (v47)
At the turn of the century, James Burns wrote the book “Revivals: The Laws and Leaders”. In the opening chapter he discusses "laws" of revival, as well as the "laws" of the absence of revival. "The first tendency," he writes, "Is for the doctrine of the church to lose its power of convicting the conscience, convincing the mind, or moving the heart."
He goes on to point out that spiritual decay brings with it a formality of worship in which the "ritual" is so exalted that it crushes the spirit.
How do we worship? Is it fun & exciting?
VII. Magnetic church (v47)
People join churches more because they want warmth than light. We Pastors like to think it’s our stunning proclamation of the truth that keeps them in the pews. Sermons may get them into church the first time, but what keeps them coming are friendships that foster inward awareness and support.
VIII. Growing church (v47)
A. Verse 47 says, "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
B. How in the world did that happen?
1. God’s word was proclaimed and people responded
2. When John Grisham wrote a book called “A Time To Kill”, it sold just five thousand copies in hard cover. I don’t think it was advertised, ever made a list or was reviewed by anybody. It was sort of a flop.
Then he wrote “The Firm”, and it wasn’t advertised either. It was hardly reviewed, and the reviews it got weren’t very good. But people read it and liked it and told other people they liked it. “The Firm” sold seven million copies.
John Grisham has written several other books, and during one period in 1998, had the honor of producing the number-one paperback best seller in the United States. During that same period of time John Grisham also produced the number-two and number-three best selling paperbacks. And the number-one hardcover best seller during that same period of time was by John Grisham.