Summary: In the first church God laid down 4 priorities for the 3,000 new believers. Any successful church will devote themselves to these priorities in all that they do.
Please e-mail me with any comments or if you use any part of this at your church at Mail4ChrisR@aol.com. I would love to hear about it. God Bless! - Chris
Think about this for one second. What are the priorities for the church. When we do that we can’t help but have a long list of things the church needs to do. You know like
The number of people – growth
Youth and children’s ministry
Tithes and offerings
Missions – local and global
Music – traditional or contemporary
Address social issues in the community, state, and nation
The are all essentials that the church must do… but guess what these are not priorities.
So you ask … “Ok Chris, these are all very important things, where do you get the idea that our church should not make these are priorities?”
Well, I will tell you. We have to look at what God intended the church to be .. and what better place to look than at the first Christian church in the book of Acts. Here the disciples are building that first church. And if I am going to be a leader in the church the model for that church has got be this first church.
So Let’s read the passage. Acts 2: 41-47
So here we have the first church .. with 3,000 brand new members. Let me tell you folks if 3,000 new member join New Burlington church next week … I might just quit while I am ahead.
3,000 brand new members … babies of the church. That is a frightening thought. I can’t help but think of little Bethany. It is a frightening thing being a new parent. I just think of all the hurts and mistakes and heartbreaks and accidents and illnesses. But I can also think of all the good and great things that she will do for God one day. This is the church. The were set up to make mistakes.
So what is the first thing they did? They were ready to go out and do God’s work. Did they go form a committee to explore the needs, perhaps where a church should be built, make a nominations committee to appoint leaders? Look into who would start the coffee in the morning and who would be on nursery duty? No!
They did 4 things – Look at verse 42. They devoted themselves to the 4 priorities of the church that God set before them. They devoted themselves to Learning, Fellowship, Worship, and Prayer.
So let’s briefly discuss each one, then in the following 4 weeks we study each one on greater detail.
If you have a pen or pencil and you like to write in your Bible for study do this.
God’s inspiration of the Bible is incredible. This is great.
- Circle the word teaching and draw a line down to verse 43
- Circle fellowship and draw a line to 44 and 45
- Worship goes with 46
- and yes, prayer with 47
SO we go back to teaching. These 3,000 babies had no tradition, doctrine, past experience, no seminary trained leader – nothing – In fact, listen to this, they did not even have a building to go to.
But what’s even more striking than that is that they did not have a Bible. Can you imagine Christianity without a Bible? So the questions has to be asked – how did they know what was truth? How did they know a true teacher from a false teacher? Simple, look at verse 43. Because they had signs a wonders.
They knew because God was blessing the apostles – the true teachers – with miracles to affirm the truth.
I used to teach Sr. High Sunday School and one of the greatest perks from doing that is to see the truth click. I would be teaching the lesson sand kids would be falling a sleep, drool hanging out the side of their mouths – and then boom! – one of them gets it. Their eyes would light up and they would understand the truth and how it relates to them.
This is that same sense of awe. And you know that we still have this problem today. Our post modern society has many perverted forms of “truth.” Like that psychic hotline garbage and the zodiac and horoscope trash, or Ms. Cleo crap!
This is why learning is the number one priority. We get the apostles teaching in this book. We must devote our selves to studying it daily. And we should defiantly bring it to church with us on Sunday. But we should use it the other 6 days a week too. Or else, how will we know the facts from the fiction?
So what else – fellowship. You know get together after church for lunch or a football game. Maybe a church picnic. No, that’s not what were talking about here – although that is good fellowship.