Summary: By studying how the church in Acts won so many souls the church today can learn how to be faithful and fruitful in our mission.
* The primary task of the church must be to carry on the work that Christ began.
* His work = Luke 19:10
* Of all the "work" the church does, evangelism (reaching the world with the gospel) is the only duty of the church that cannot be better done in heaven!
* The church in Acts understood their responsibility to the Gospel. As a result, they experienced explosive growth...
- Day of Pentecost: 3000 saved (2:41)
- After Pentecost: daily conversion (2:47)
- At the end of Peter’s 2nd sermon: grown to 5000 men (4:4)
- 5:14 = multitudes of men and women
- 6:7 = disciples increased greatly
- 9:31 = church in Judea, Galilee and Samaria continued to increase
- 11:21 = a large number believed and turned to the Lord
* How did the church accomplish this? How can the church today see the same kind of results?
1. The church that wins the world has purity (v. 12-14)
* God cannot/will not use those who are not pure!
* 2 Tim. 2:19-21
* The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was dealt with quickly because church leaders knew God needed purity in order to use them.
* Lack of confronting sin leads to an impure, worldly church, and that leads to an ineffective witness to the world
* When the impurity was removed (Ananias and Sapphira), the church was again in one accord, and the world took notice and respected the people of God.
* Purity is necessary because Christ demands a high level of commitment from those who would follow him (Luke 9:57-62; Matt. 10:37-38)
2. The church that wins the world has power (v. 12a, 15-16)
* The seeming absence of the power of God in the church today (Ichabod: the glory has departed)
* We fail to see God’s power (things that only God can be credited with) because we are content to get by on what our limited power can accomplish.
* Paul’s desire: to know the power of Christ = Philippians 3:10
* God’s desire: to give power = 2 Tim. 1:7
* How do we get that great power of God into the church?
A. We must live the Gospel and use the Gospel...because it is the power of God
- 1 Cor. 1:18
- Rom. 1:16
B. Our lives must be directed by the Holy Spirit
- Rom. 15:13
- Eph. 3:16
3. The church that wins the world has persecution (v. 17-28)
* To be persecuted because of Christ and our testimony is a position of privilege and honor
* Matt. 5:11-12
* Lessons this persecution teaches us...
A. Persecution is a natural outcome when the church fulfills its mission (v. 17-18)
B. Persecution provides an opportunity for God to display his power (v. 19)
C. Persecution is no the time to forsake the mission (v. 20-28)
4. The church that wins the world has persistence (v. 29-32)
* Verse 29: “We’re going to continue with the mission!”
* Lack of persistence removes the possibility of winning the world!
* David’s prayer for persistence = Psalm 51:10
* Our persistence will enable us to stand before God unashamed! (1 John 2:28)
* Heb. 11:32-38
* What would have happened had they given up? What will happen if the church gives up today?
5. The church that wins the world has productivity (v. 33-42)
* Three reactions occurred with the church in Acts (and can occur today)...
A. Violent hostility (v. 33): If the gospel is not convicting enough to make some angry, how can it be convicting enough to bring salvation?
B. Tolerant indecision (v. 34-40): Gamaliel was indifferent = a wait-and-see thinker (cf. 2 Cor. 6:2)
C. Saving acceptance (v. 41-42)
* The reward of persistence = Gal. 6:9