Summary: God’s template for church gatherings is straightforward. Let’s look at four focuses that describe what a church should accomplish internally, though not always all at once, but through its overall ministry.
1. Sometimes people do not like to think too much:
A fellow stopped at a gas station and, after filling the tank on his car, he paid the bill and bought a soft drink. He stood by his car to drink his cola and he watched a couple of men working along the roadside.
One man would dig a hole two or three feet deep and then move on. The other man came along behind and filled in the hole. While one was digging a new hole, the other was about 25 feet behind filling in the old. The men worked right past the fellow with the soft drink and went on down the road. "I can’t stand this," said the man tossing the can in a trash container and heading down the road toward the men.
“Hold on,” he said to the men. "Can you tell me what’s going on here with this digging?"
"Well, we work for the government, " one of the men said.
"But one of you is digging a hole and the other fills it up. You’re not accomplishing anything. Aren’t you wasting the People’s money?"
"You don’t understand, mister," one of the men said, leaning on his shovel and wiping his brow. "Normally there’s three of us--me, Sam and Jesse.
”I dig the hole, Sam sticks in the tree and Jesse here puts the dirt back.
Now, just because Sam’s sick, that don’t mean that Jesse and I can’t work."
2. When it comes to the church of Jesus Christ, sometimes people do not think very much, either. We often fail to go back to the source, God’s instruction manual, the Bible.
3. True, many things have changed since the days of the early church
1. No more Apostles in the sense of men trained personally by Jesus Christ
2. Jewish believers are not the majority of the church as back then, nor do the Jewish Temple courtyards come into play as a gathering place. So when we take a glimpse of the nature of the early church today in Acts 2:42, we have to adjust to this.
3. These events are what we call DESCRIPTIVE. But couched within this text are some PRESCRIPTIVE teachings that describe what the church should be doing in any age and era.
The Church DISBANDS for evangelism in SOCIETY
The Church gathers for STRENGTHENING (edification)
MAIN IDEA: God’s template for church gatherings is straightforward. Let’s look at four focuses that describe what a church should accomplish internally, though not always all at once, but through its overall ministry.
I. A Focus Upon ORIGINAL Teaching
Acts2:42, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers.”
Two-thirds of our church’s mission statement is highlighted in today’s message.
The mission of Highland Park Church is to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to connect believers to one another and to God, and to deepen them in their Christian walk. Our focus today is on connecting and deepening. This begins with teaching.
A. Not just ANY teaching or opinions
---but the Apostle’s teaching
--not man made traditions….back to the originals
1. You need not only to learn information passively, you need to learn to think, to assess and evaluate….
2. Some people just want to follow a man or group of people…you must learn to evaluate and anchor your beliefs to Scripture, not to a man. Men and women will disappoint you: but truth is truth and error is error.
1. This teaching is preserved in the BIBLE
• We have to answer a host of questions in the meantime, like:
• How do we know that the Bible we have is accurate to the originals? Answer: over 10, 000 ancient documents, quoted in length in other ancient writings, dissemination throughout the ancient world
• No other book of antiquity compares to the documentation of the NT
• Secondly, what does the Bible really teach? We call Bible interpretation: hermeneutics; this is precisely why every believer needs to study the Bible; we should all feel a burden to prove what we assert…not just blindly follow anyone…this requires us to think…
• We should interpret with integrity: what was the original intent of the author, rather than reading into the Bible what we want to find…(agenda)
2. SEVERAL emphases
• Theological (knowing and loving God)
--level one: knowing what you believe and what you do not believe
--level two: being able to explain what you believe
--level three: knowing WHY you believe what you believe: Is it true?
• Relational (enjoying, getting along and loving others)
--the Christian life is described by 2 relationships: loving God & others
--if you fail at your relationships, you have missed out