Summary: study on the early church as a basis for how the church can operate in the blessings of God
Intro: I looked up the definition of community and here are the two parts. Com-with, unity-togetherness
With Togetherness–if you read Acts 2:42-47–our main text for our series on community, you will find they
prayed together, they gave together, they stayed together and they praised together. This is the picture of the early church, it seems so much more personal than the modern day church and it always seemed to meet with a purpose.
I. They Prayed Together–as you read the early church transcript, the book of Acts, you will find that their prayers were broken down into these goals.
a. they prayed for Spiritual power–they didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t bathed in prayer. They wanted an anointing for every ministry.
b. they prayed for Divine leading–they didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t God directed. They wanted to Spirit to give them direction on every decision.
c. they prayed for Spiritual opportunity-the early church was all about impacting the world for Christ. Their prayer time was specific in asking God to help them reach souls for Christ. And the Lord added daily to the church.
II. They Gave Together–v.44-45 giving was a significant part of the early church. So many times giving is said to be an Old Testament concept. But if you truly look at the early church, giving went from a 10% tithe, to total giving. People gave everything to advance the kingdom.
a. they gave so that people in need would be helped. Benevolence was a big part of the early church, no one wanted anyone to suffer need. Everyone contributed to the mission, purpose and plan of God.
b. they gave so that the Apostles could continue in ministry. How shall they preach unless they are sent. Today, we give into the church, so that ministers can give themselves fully to the work of God.
c. they gave to establish new works around the world. They wanted the gospel to be preached in all the world, they were excited about being a contributor for Christ.
III. They Stayed Together–v.46–connection was a vital part of the early church. People ate together, met in each others homes. There was a deeper level of commitment and accountability. So many people in the modern church can slip in and out, and never connect with anyone else.
a. by this they knew each other on a personal level. They weren’t just names on a roll, they weren’t just someone who was a number on a giving statement, they were someone who had a personal relationship with others in the body of Christ.
b. there was a genuine care and concern for each other in the early church. They had a one mind and one heart attitude, that is why they had such tremendous results, because they had a common goal, and met in unity.
IV. They Praised Together–v.47 if you notice Pentecost was an open event. The praise wasn’t locked behind closed doors, it was witnessed by the world. The early church had a boldness to preach, a witness before the world, and open praise to God.
a. praising God was a daily event. They were in their homes praising God with fellow Christians. They had a praise of impact, because it gave them favor with man.
People were touched by their worship, because it was so sincere.
b. True worship to God is a spiritual event–John 4:24, this praise was spiritual, and people could sense the power of God in their praise. If praise becomes anything but spiritual, it will not impact those who are a part of it.
c. this daily worship speaks of connection and spiritual vitality. So many churches have become stale in their existence because the daily has been substituted for a week end event. If the fire isn’t fanned daily, it will be burned out by the week end service. If you don’t come with worship you will never come to worship.
close: I love the study done by the minister on sermon central about the Bible schools in Nigeria. One traditional, one progressive. The 7 years tracking of those graduating from the schools is fascinating. The traditional graduates had planted 3 new churches in the study, the progressive, 102. Another fascinating statement is that the traditional churches established reported one of the main challenges is to keep it’s constituency. How true this is of American churches. If your main goal is to guard the truth and not spread the truth, your main goal in time will be to keep the doors open. If your main goal is spreading the truth, your challenge will be building bigger buildings.
Community is coming together–to pray, to give, to stay and to praise.