Summary: A church must seek change in order that it continue to be relevant John Stott promotes this while holding on the 4 essential marks

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***NOTE*** I have to confess that at a late hour the night before preaching this sermon the ’goat’ ate my sermon and 11 months of sermons in a folder on my computer. I had to re-write it late that night. I was desperate so I used more of John Stott’s words than was in my original script. I am indebted to Stott’s thoughtful treatment of the material. I wish to indulge his forgiveness and thank God for his work.




Problem: Growing healthy churches

As WCBC gets bigger



Challenge in moving larger group of people

John Stott: The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor

Says – “... the Church lies at the very centre of the eternal purpose of God.” – It is a part of God’s plan to bring good news to all people

A church must seek change in order that it continue to be relevant

John Stott promotes this while holding on the 4 essential marks

AN alive church must seek to be these –

1. A Learning Church

2. A Caring Church

3. A Worshipping Church

4. An Evangelizing Church

READ: Acts 2:42-47


1. A Learning Church

(v. 42) “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching ...”

Truth matters

How do we discern truth? – Everyone promotes what they believe to be true

The early church adopted the notion of Apostolic Succession

Links to those who witnessed Jesus in action

Upheld Church Doctrines – Teaching concerning Jesus

In particular: The Gospel

i.e. centred around – Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus

Signs and wonders – (v. 43), “Everyone was in awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles

READ: Acts 2:22-24

In a learning church ...

I. The people submit to the teaching authority of the apostles

II. The pastors expound (explain/expand on) Scripture from the pulpit

III. The parents teach their children out the scriptures at home

IV. Its members read and reflect on the Scriptures everyday

V. The Spirit of God leads the people of God to honour the word of God

2. A Caring Church

(v. 42) “They devoted themselves to ... fellowship ...”

Word fellowship from GK koinōnía

I. Sharing in together

II. Sharing out together

Jesus called some of his disciples to total voluntary poverty

i.e. Rich young ruler (Mark 10) sell everything – give to poor

This is not for all – (v. 46)

“ ... They broke bread in their homes ...”

Some still had homes, which they met in

Still – it is apparent they cared for their poor brothers and sisters in the church

A living church is a caring church. Generosity has always been a characteristic of the people of God. Our God is a generous God; His church must be generous too.

Home Groups – Greater intimacy as church gets bigger

3. A Worshipping Church

(v. 42) “They devoted themselves to ... the breaking of bread and to prayer ... (v. 46) “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.”

I. They continued to meet daily in the temple for prayer services

When new Christian movements come along, it is easy to get caught up in the newness of whatever is going on.

The early church did not immediately dismiss more formal forms of worship

They would have been keen to reform worship in accordance to the gospel

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