Summary: God wants us to be: 1. A growing church (vs. 36-43 & 47). 2. A gathered church (vs. 42 & 46). 3. A generous church (vs. 44 & 45). 4. A glad church (vs. 41 & 46-47).
God’s Dream for Our Church
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - June 3, 2012
*God has a dream for our church, and we can discover this dream by looking back at the first church in Acts 2:36-47.
*Here’s the background: Jesus Christ has died on the cross for our sins and risen from the dead. The Lord then met with many of His followers at different times in different places over a 40 day period. Then Jesus ascended back up into Heaven, telling His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had received the promise of the Holy Spirit.
*Ten days later, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down in power. And the 120 believers flooded out into the street to proclaim the wonderful works of God. God miraculously gave them the power to speak in foreign languages, so the Jews gathered from all over the world could hear the good news about Jesus.
*Then Peter began to preach, and the church exploded with new members. Let’s start with the end of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:36, thinking about God’s dream for our church.
*Almost 10 years ago a young Youth Pastor told me about a conference he had just attended in Houston. He was really excited. And one of the things that touched him the most was something Bruce Wilkinson told them to do: “Get a dream from God that is so big that only God can take you there. Then ask the Lord to show you how to get there.”
*I have thought about that quote hundreds of times since then: “Get a dream from God that is so big that only God can take you there. Then ask the Lord to show you how to get there.”
*God wants us to have a big dream for our church, a God-sized dream.
-And as we look back at the first church, we can see how to dream.
1. First, dream of being a growing church.
*That’s the kind of church God wants us to be: a growing church. Peter reminds us of this truth in vs. 36, where he said: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
*Let them all know Peter said. Everybody needs to know:
-That Jesus is Lord!
-That He is the Savior of the world.
-That He died on the cross for our sins.
-That Jesus rose again from the dead.
*And in vs. 37, we see that everybody needs to know how to respond to Jesus: “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’”
*Church: We need to speak and live so that people are compelled to ask this question to us: “What should we do about Jesus?”
*Peter had the answer in vs. 38 & 39:
38. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (or forgiveness) of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
*What shall we do about Jesus?
-Repent: Turn away from sin and selfishness.
-And turn to Jesus Christ.
-Put your trust in Jesus.
-Receive Him as your personal Savior and Lord.
-Then seek to follow Him in every area of your life.
*That’s what God wants:
-For us and our children.
-For people all over Caldwell Parish.
-And for people all over the world.
*God cares about all people! -- And vs. 41 reminds us that He cares about numbers, because this verse tells us that 3,000 people got saved that day.
-God cares about numbers, because each one is a precious soul.
-And God wants our church, His church to grow.
*So what should we do? -- One of the most important things we can do is invite people to church. Harold Lentz once said: “A study of new members who join churches has revealed that the vast majority of them were moved to join a church because someone invited them. This is by far the best method of achieving results.” And Harold asks: “How long has it been since you invited someone to church?” (1)
*There are people around us today who, when asked why they do not attend church, will answer, ‘Because we have never been asked.’”
-God wants us to ask them, and we can see this in His Word.
*After Andrew met Jesus, John 1:41&42 tells us that:
41. He first found his own brother Simon (Peter), and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ).