Summary: 6 Convictions of the early church that can change the world today (Based on an article by Rick Warren on Pastors.com: http://pastors.com/6-convictions-church-changes-world/)
“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:41, NIV. Much present day evangelism seeks to make coming to Christ easy. Many today would be appalled that Peter made the cost of coming to Christ so high. How could he expect them to turn their backs publicly on their culture? How could he ask them to risk becoming outcasts among their families and society? How could he demand that they accept as Messiah the very One their leaders had rejected and executed? They would no doubt predict that the results of Peter’s sermon would be minimal.
Such was not the case, however. Those who had received his word accepted the conditions and were baptized. Further, they amounted to more than an insignificant handful; there were added to the church that day about three thousand souls. Not only that we find that they followed through. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42, NIV.
We tend to base our decisions on one of 4 motivations in life: circumstances, conveniences, criticisms or convictions. Only decisions based on our convictions will last and leave a legacy.
The people who have made the greatest impact on this world, for good or bad, are those who had the deepest convictions like David. They were not the smartest people, the brightest people, the most educated, the wealthiest or even the most famous.
If we are going to build convictions, we need to build them on something that’s going to last. Everything changes. Fads change, fashions change, psychology changes, even science textbooks change. There is only one thing that never changes. That is the truth of God.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever.”” Isaiah 40:8
If the church is going to change the world we need to have strong convictions. We find the actions of the early church outlines in Acts 2:42, but what convictions lead them to these actions? We find these convictions coming from the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels
Thesis: 6 Convictions of the church that change the world
1. It’s all about God.
The church is not about me or you or about profit, politics or anything else. It’s about God.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.” Romans 11:36, NIV.
Loving God and exalting Him is more important than anything else. “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37, 38, NIV.
British actor Michael Wilding was once asked if actors had any traits which set them apart from other human beings. "Without a doubt," he replied. "You can pick out actors by the glazed look that comes into their eyes when the conversation wanders away from themselves."
2. Only the church will last forever
“On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18, NIV.
This means a lot but I want to focus on the fact that nothing will overcome the church. Nothing on earth will last forever- no business, government or nation. The church will overcome and endure. Nothing will overcome the Church. It has the strength of God Himself to overcome the gates of Hades or hell. Hell will not win the final victory over the church. Jesus doesn’t say that there will not be sorrow, danger, and pain for the church. He does say that the final victory will go to those who have been blessed by the Father to see Jesus as their life and hope.
What does this conviction mean for us? If we’re all going to live together forever, we better get along. It’s not enough just to love God, we must love the church, Christ’s bride, as well. Christ died for the church, the whole church, anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ.
Love is more important that personal differences in the family of God. Love is more important than political differences. We need to love our brothers and sisters in Christ
3. God expects me to love everybody else
Life is not about the acquisition of things or achievement or popularity. It’s about learning to love. “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”” Mark 12:31, NIV.
So who is our neighbor? Jesus was asked this and he gave the story of the Good Samaritan. The short answer is everybody is our neighbor. That means we are to love the unlovely, those who are different and difficult.