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."