Summary: An intentional life is one with purpose. The purpose is followed with a bold and steady determination until the desired outcome is realized.
Intentional Life: Going to Church
This week, we will continue our series on living an intentional life. Remember: An intentional life is one with purpose. The purpose is followed with a bold and steady determination until the desired outcome is realized. In other words, an intentional life has three foundational characteristics—purpose, discipline and vision.
So far, we have looked at the fact that God works intentionally. That means he is always in control and has never had an accident. We have also considered an intentional spiritual life. Today, I want to pursue a topic that is actually an ingredient of our spiritual lives—going to church.
Acts 2:42-47 NIV
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
I. Purpose in the church—What are we here for?
A. Teaching—“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…”
1. The focal point of the church is the word of God. Everything we do is governed by this book.
2. Romans 10 tells us that “faith comes by hearing the word.”
a. Your faith grows and matures in response to the word of God.
b. Notice that I said growth and maturity takes place in response to the word. It is not enough to sit through a sermon. The word must be acted upon and put into practice. James 1 tells us that if we fail to do what the word says we deceive ourselves.
B. Belonging—“They devoted themselves…to the fellowship…”
1. The church is a place where everyone belongs. In other words, it is a place where everyone is welcome. The church is to be a place with open arms. We accept everyone because God accepts us. We love everyone because God loves us. We forgive everyone because God forgives us.
2. Church should provide a sense that says, “I belong to something bigger than myself. I’m not alone in this.”
3. Church should do the same for everyone who walks through our doors. We are all different people with different backgrounds, lives, personalities, family make-up, etc. But when we gather together, we understand that though we are different, we are not alone in serving God. There are others and we all belong to the family of God and it is bigger than any individual.
C. Worshipping—“They devoted themselves…to the breaking of bread…”
1. This would be a meal that believers shared together and more often than not would include what we now call communion.
2. Church is also a place where God is worshipped. Worship can take many forms. We can sing hymns, we can sing choruses. We can stand, we can sit. We can be loud, we can be silent.
a. The form of worship is not nearly as important as the object of our worship—God himself.
D. Praying—“They devoted themselves…to prayer…”
1. When Jesus cleansed the temple of those who were using it for profit he said, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.”
2. The church is a house of prayer because it is understood that it is a place where people come to meet God.
E. Ministering—“Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” (vv. 43-45)
1. In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul listed one of the primary objectives of ministry as “preparing God’s people for works of service.” This means that God never intended for the pastor and his family to monopolize the ministry opportunities in the church.
2. Only God knows how long I will serve as the pastor of this church. Let me go on record as saying that the test of my effectiveness will not be in numbers. To be a success as your pastor will mean that if I ever leave here the ministry of the church will not skip a beat because you are carrying it on.
3. The church is not a place for only sitting, it is a place for service. It is where we learn what gifts the Lord has given us and how we can use them to build his kingdom through this local body.