Summary: Today, thousands of churches are starting each year all across America but the question is, “Are they accomplishing the main purpose? Are they making disciples?
An engineer who worked for the General Motors Corporation; once showed his friend a plant that was all of a mile long. He told his friend that "raw" materials went in one end of the plant and cars came out the other, then he told his friend something revolutionary. That building exists for one purpose and one purpose only, to make cars.
Something similar can be said of the church. Her primary purpose according to Matthew 28:19-20 is to make disciples.
Today, thousands of churches are starting each year all across America but the question is, “Are they accomplishing this purpose? Are they making disciples?
As we begin, I would like to submit to you that if a church is healthy it will grow. When people are about the Father’s business of living pure lives, sharing the Good News of Jesus, death, burial and resurrection, giving their time, treasures, talents and temples in loving and serving one another in the church, the church will grow.
However, a church will grow without any of these things happening.
It will grow as people flock to sit in air conditioned, spacious facilities, send their kids to exciting children’s ministries, hear awesome sounding choirs, praise groups and bands, and watch tear-jerking drama and laugh at comical skits.
It will grow as a result of people flocking to hear eloquent preachers who articulate messages that tickle the ears and numb the conscience; preachers who fail to preach against sin; pastors who fail to mention judgment, hell and the lake of fire to follow.
As a new church, how do we know when we are “doing church” God’s style? This question will be answered as we look to Scripture.
Chapter two of the book of Acts begins with the day of Pentecost arriving some 50 days after Passover. We all know what happened during the week of Passover. The Passover Lamb Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins and raised from the dead so that we might be declared righteous (Romans 4:25).
The disciples were all together in one place and the Holy Spirit came with a noise like a violent, rushing wind and it filled the whole place where they were. They all began to speak with other languages and the Holy Spirit filled each person assembled.
Because it was the time of the observance of Pentecost, the Bible says in Acts 2, verse 5 that many foreigners from every nation under heaven were in Jerusalem and heard the disciples speak in their own native tongue.
These foreigners, “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs” all heard the disciples speaking of the mighty deeds of God in their own language (vss. 8-12)
Some were both amazed and perplexed; others mocked and accused the disciples of being drunk.
The Apostle Peter stood up and preached saying that these men aren’t drunk because it was only 9am. He went on to say that what was happening was spoken of through the prophet Joel. Peter continued and preached a sermon that is summarized in verse 22 – 24:
"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know--this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
The amazing thing is that at the end of Peter’s message you will find no invitation. You will find no chorus being sung by a choir with the words, “Come to Jesus, come to Jesus, come to Jesus just now…” There was no crusade choir singing, “Just as I am….”
Peter did not beg people to get saved (though there is nothing wrong with begging people to trust Christ-Paul did it in 2 Cor. 5:20: “Be reconciled to God!”). Peter hadn't even finished his sermon in verse 36 when in verse 37 the people “were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the disciples, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
Peter answers in verse 38, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Verse 40 says that Peter kept on encouraging them saying, “Be saved from the perverse generation!”
Verse 41 goes on to tell us the results of the preaching of God’s Word: