Summary: If we observe the days, times, and seasons that we live in there are many things that we as a church family can come to conclude. One conclusion that I have come to is that if there has ever been a time that the church must be genuinely healthy, now is th
Four Characteristics of a Healthy Church
Text: Acts 2:37-47
Introduction: If we observe the days, times, and seasons that we live in there are many things that we as a church family can come to conclude. One conclusion that I have come to is that if there has ever been a time that the church must be genuinely healthy, now is the time. In the community, that Intercultural Assembly of God is a part of, being spiritually vigorous is not an option for us. Moreover, it is necessary and mandatory that we as a church be spiritually vibrant and healthy in these last days.
In our text, we observe the church immediately after Pentecost. The Church immediately after Pentecost appears to be at its happiest, most vibrant, most powerful, and healthiest stage in the entire history of The Church, as we know it. The New Testament Church of Acts is the model that we should pattern ourselves after. Therefore, it seems fitting that if we want to discover how to have a healthy Church, we learn from the example of the Church in the book of Acts immediately after Pentecost.
In these incredibly diverse times, that we live in, there is much debate as to what it takes for a church to be a truly healthy Pentecostal church. You too may ask the question, Pastor, what does it really take for a church to be truly alive, vibrant, robust, and healthy? First, healthy, and living churches are healthy and alive because of an intentional decision they made to be healthy and living. Healthy churches are not healthy and vibrant because of an accident. Healthy churches do not just happen by chance.
Living healthy churches are constantly changing. Dead sick churches do not have to change. Living healthy churches have many noisy kids. Dead sick churches are rather quiet. Living healthy churches are constantly improving for the future. Dead sick churches worship their past. Living healthy churches step out in faith. Dead sick churches always operate within the realm of human sight. Living healthy churches focus on people. Dead sick churches focus on programs. Living healthy churches are filled with tithers. Dead sick churches are filled with thieves. Living healthy churches dream great dreams of God. Dead sick churches are constantly reliving nightmares. Living healthy churches evangelize and make disciples. Dead sick churches just simply fossilize.
The Bible clearly defines for us what characteristics comprise a healthy church. These traits are the characteristics of God’s Plan for His church to be utterly triumphant and conquering. Let us examine our text and learn the four characteristics of a healthy church.
I. Commitment to doctrine.
A. Acts 2:42 reads, (KJV) “42And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
1. The first thing stated that this Church was devoted to that made them healthy is Doctrine!
a. It is rare for this to be considered of utmost importance today in Churches!
1. 2nd Timothy 4:3, 4 says, (KJV) “3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (AMP) “3For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, 4And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.”
2. It is extremely tragic that the world does not care anything about doctrine. However, it is yet even more tragic that most of the church cares nothing about doctrine as well.
b. Too often, even in some revivals, doctrine is pushed aside for experience!
c. Healthy experiences however must be guided by doctrine, and not the other way around!
B. All healthy revivals in history had as a characteristic an increased emphasis on preaching and the Word, not a decrease!
1. Lasting revivals are nourished by solid biblical preaching.
2. Momentary revivals that last only like a brushfire usually are evidenced by an avoidance of preaching in favor of experiences.
C. The Bible is quiet clear concerning the importance of the Word.
1. Romans 10:17 declares, (KJV) “17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
a. Sometimes the Church can be misled into thinking that other things are more important than the Word of God, emphasis sometimes incorrectly shifts to physical needs over the Word of God.
b. We must be careful not to neglect the Word in favor of other things as greater priorities!