Summary: Likewise, in the Bible, God put together a little instruction tag that should be attached to every church. If our church wants to operate correctly, run smoothly, and make the right plays, then it’s imperative that we follow God’s directions
Making an Impact:
Determined by Devotion
I had the opportunity this week to play softball with the church team. I guess they were hard up for players. I started the game OK but ended up dropping a couple fly balls and striking out. I think they’ll think twice about inviting me to come back…
Now that we’re moved into our house, we’ve been taking time to figure out how some things work. It’s amazing how many instructions come with household items. Some things, like a garden house, are pretty easy to use though I did forget to put a washer in the fitting and got sprayed with water when I turned it on! A washer and dryer, on the other hand, come with Owners Manuals that look like phone books we’ll be lucky to finish reading them by Christmas!
Have you ever noticed how unnecessary some product labels are?
On a Sears hairdryer:
Do not use while sleeping.
On some frozen dinners there was this serving suggestion:
On a Bread Pudding label:
Product will be hot after heating.
On Children’s cough medicine:
Do not drive car or operate machinery
I guess that’s one way to keep kids off fork lifts…
On Nytol sleep aid:
Warning: may cause drowsiness
Gee, I hope so…
On Sainsbury’s peanuts:
Warning: contains nuts.
On an American Airlines packet of nuts:
Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.
On a Swedish chainsaw:
Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or any other body part.
God’s Instruction Manual
Fortunately, not all the advice we receive today is as useless as the directions on these labels. Some information we receive is actually quite helpful like keep your eye on the ball and remember to close your glove once the ball hits it.
Likewise, in the Bible, God put together a little instruction tag that should be attached to every church. If our church wants to operate correctly, run smoothly, and make the right plays, then it’s imperative that we follow God’s directions. This tag is found in Acts 2:42-47. If you have your Bibles, please turn there.
Read Acts 2:42-47
We’re launching a series today based on this passage called, “Making an Impact: Snapshots from the Book of Acts.”
We need God’s instructions, don’t we? Without them, we’re left to flounder and experiment. If there was ever a church growth plan that worked, it was the one used by the first-century church. Why? Because the believers knew why they were there and what they were supposed to do. You see, they were firmly committed to this truth: That the depth of their devotion would determine their impact.
When God set up the first church, He did it right. As we strive to consistently prioritize 6 key areas the same way the first church did, we’ll make a lasting impact in this church, in the community, and around the world. These 6 areas follow the acrostic IMPACT and will serve as our preaching themes for the next several weeks.
Let’s look again at verse 42: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching that’s the “I” - Instructing in God’s Word. We’ll learn more about this next Sunday.
Now, drop down to verse 45: Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need that’s the “M” in IMPACT - Mobilizing for Ministry.
Look at the last phrase in verse 42: They devoted themselves to…prayer. The “P” stands for - Praying with Faith.
The next item on the instruction label is found in verse 43: Everyone was filled with awe; and in the first part of verse 47: praising God. That’s the “A” - Adoring God in Worship.
The next ingredient is found initially in the middle of verse 42: They devoted themselves…to the fellowship. This is also fleshed out in verses 44-46: All the believers were together and had everything in common…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. The “C” of IMPACT is - Caring Community.
Finally, in verse 47, we see the “T” of Impact - Telling Others the Gospel: …enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Which Way to Grow?
I really like this passage of Scripture because it helps me keep things in perspective. God’s instruction manual contains 6 key ingredients, not just one or two. If we want to be impact believers and if we want Pontiac Bible Church to be an Impact Church, then we must devote ourselves to all 6 of them.
You see, some people say that the church should focus primarily on evangelism. We should be reaching out more than reaching in. As we do, the church will grow.