Sermons

Summary: A deductive exposition of the text that reveals the six vital ministries of the church.

Purpose: to be the Holy Spirit’s second witness calling God’s people in my care to work for health and vitality in our local congregation.

Response: individuals prompted by the Holy Spirit will pray at the altar rail and commit themselves to working for even greater vitality in our church.

Visual Illustration: A blood pressure cuff, stethoscope and thermometer.

Introduction:

What’s one of the first things a nurse will do when you visit your doctor? What will they check? (Wait for verbal responses and hold up the Visuals as they are mentioned.) Blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate and breath sounds are all regarded as “vital signs.” Why? (Wait for an answer that shows that these measurements indicate either life and health or sickness and death.)

Thesis: The church is like the human body and has vital signs too. They are described in the book of Acts.

Key Question: What are the vital signs for a church?

ACTS 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. [43] Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.

1. The church should be a LEARNING place. Discipleship always results in CHANGED LIVES as we think and act more like Jesus. When we are committed to learning and practicing the principles of the Bible God gives us new ideas, new relational skills and new risks to seize. The message of God’s Word never changes but it always changes us.

2. The church should be a PRAYING place. We need to UNDERSTAND what God wants. If we don’t know how to pray we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us and He will give us wisdom. Then we must AGREE with what God wants. That’s often a matter of submission – learning to pray “Not my will, but Yours be done.” Finally, we should ASK for and RECEIVE what God wants. He has chosen to wait for us to pray before He acts in many situations. If we want God’s best then we need to ask him to give it to us.

ACTS 2:44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. [45] Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. [46] … They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts….

ACTS 6:1 [Later] when the number of disciples was increasing, the [Greek-speaking] Jews among them complained against the [Hebrew-speaking] Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. [2] So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. [3] Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them [4] and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."

ACTS 6:5 This proposal pleased the whole group. … [6] They presented [seven] men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

3. The church should be a CARING and SHARING place. Fellowship involves SPENDING time together. Stewardship of our time, talents and finances always aims at MEETING needs.

ACTS 2:46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts … [47] praising God….

4. The church should be a WORSHIPPING place. Praising God needs to be our DAILY practice and our focused MINDSET.

ACTS 2:46 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, [47] praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

ACTS 6:7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

ACTS 13:1 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers…. [2] While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." [3] So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

5. The church should be a WELCOMING and a SENDING place. We must remember that the church is the place for MEETING JESUS. We work together to reach LOST PEOPLE in our community and around the world with God’s good news.

Conclusion:

A church is healthy when these vital signs are BALANCED and GROWING. The Bible says, “Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15-16).

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