Summary: keys to a powerful church
Intro: we all are familiar with signs, everyday signs are part of our lives. Stop signs, yield signs, speed limit signs, signs that advertise, signs that warn. During the 60’s people held up peace signs. There are protest signs, and at football games people hold up signs that show support of their team. Most churches have a sign out front that is used to announce up-coming events, or give important information, or maybe have an inspiring quote for the week. But more important than these signs: the church is suppose to have supernatural signs. As we read the book of Acts, we find the church didn’t start out as an organization, but a living, on fire organism with signs and wonders following the believers. Today, I want to encourage us as a church, to be the church of supernatural signs.
A CHURCH OF SUPERNATURAL SIGNS
Background: an overview of the book of Acts clearly shows the disparity between the early church and the modern church. In church today appearance is more important than substance. Results are generally measured in buildings and finance, over souls and miracles. I desire for Bethel to be a church of supernatural signs and today we will look at the important signs of an Acts church.
I. Convicting Message—2:37—pricked in their heart—every preacher, every member should study the messages of Acts to see if the early message of the church and today’s message of the church are the same. I think it is clear that the message has been watered down, the message has been sapped of all it’s strength and power, and the message has been totally changed from it’s original origins.
a. the message is about Jesus—if our message is blessing and prosperity, if our message is about how many horses are there in Revelation, if our message is a deep theological hodgepodge of useless genealogies, then we have the wrong message. The message is about Jesus, about an old rugged cross, about blood that makes you white as snow, about strips that can heal your body, about Jesus being the only way to God.
b. The message is about change and repentance. The early message of the church was this: you put Jesus on the cross, your sin is why he had to die, repent of your terrible sins, get right with God, and be born again. That message still works today, if any message doesn’t ultimately point people to Calvary, it is the wrong message.
c. The message is about Messiah—Peter’s message, Stephen’s message, Phillip’s message and Paul’s message all were the same. That Jesus was the Son of God, Jesus was the Messiah that Israel was promised, that Jesus was crucified but no grave could hold his body down. That Jesus was coming back for his bride, the church, and you needed to be ready for that day.
Ill) Buell Pitts—preached four sermons everywhere he went. Salvation, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Healing and Rapture. Thousands saved and filled with the Spirit. Why? Because that is the message of the church.
II. Total Commitment: 2:44-45 as we view the early church we see another important sign—totally committed Christians. They were all 100% for the Lord. They gave everything they had, they lived the life every day, there was no such thing as a week-end warrior, Jesus Christ was the continual thought of their lives.
a. they all had an obsessive, compulsive behavior. They walked Jesus, they talked Jesus, they breathed Jesus, they lived Jesus. It was all about him, 24/7—365.
b. They gave willingly, cheerfully to the work of God. They wanted the work to prosper, they wanted the message to spread, so they gave of their time, talent and abilities.
c. They worked harder for Jesus as Christians, than they did for the devil when they were lost. They were willing to suffer, be put down, they all had the sign for me to live is Christ to die is gain.
III. Unified Effort---46—one accord, singleness of heart—the early church was all about Christ and others. One of the greatest signs a church can have is the sign of unity, oneness in Jesus Christ.
a. in the early church the thought was; what can I do for the church, not what can the church do for me.
b. They all had the same goal and dream: to spread the gospel or good news into all the earth. Jesus had given the church the great commission, and everyone was on the same page.
c. from house to house—it wasn’t from service to service, it was a
daily experience. People were constantly sharing Christ, they
were constantly praising God, every meal turned into a
IV. Supernatural Results—2:47—Lord added daily –a supernatural church is so exciting because people get saved inside the building and outside the building. They get saved on Sunday, but they get saved on Monday through Saturday. The Lord is continually adding to a supernatural church.