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Summary: Four marks of a healthy church, as seen reflected in the lives of the believers soon after Pentecost.

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What if somebody asked you, “Are you Pentecostal?”

“Do you mean do I belong to the Pentecostal Church?”

No… I mean, are you Pentecostal?”

“Are you asking if I am charismatic?”

No… I mean, are you Pentecostal?”

“Do you want to know if I speak in tongues?”

No… I mean, are you Pentecostal?”

In frustration you might respond, “I don’t know what your question is then!”

Then I would say, “Well, obviously, you are not Pentecostal!”

Christians generally come to one of two conclusions when they hear the word “Pentecostal”:

1. They immediately think of the charismatic denomination – the Pentecostal Church.

2. Or, they think of it as a noun - it represents a date, a place, an event in the history of the church. It’s simply a memory, an item, something back there somewhere.

But I want to offer another outlook:

3. We should understand it as an adjective. In that case, I believe every church should be a Pentecostal Church! I would like OUR church to be a Pentecostal church! (Hopefully, by the end of this message, you will want it too.)

History:

The Church began nearly 2000 years ago during the festival called Pentecost. In Israel, the word “Pentecost” was Greek for the Hebrew Feast of Weeks. It was so named because it was celebrated 50 days after the First Fruits.

When the church began, it was exciting and exuberant. New and wonderful things were happening. The book of Acts records the birthday of the church, and the healthy qualities it displayed.

Call for Caution:

Before I proceed in my message, I want to mention that the book of Acts is one of the most misunderstood books in the Bible. It is so misused and misapplied in many churches today.

To avoid these pitfalls, we need to remember these things:

· The book of Acts is a fantastic book. It is full of incredible stories of the Holy Spirit’s power – miracles, signs and wonders. As in the ushering in of the Old Covenant under Moses was accompanied by fantastic signs from heaven, so too is the ushering in of the New Covenant under Jesus Christ and His apostles. It was necessary to have these fantastic events in the early days so as to validate the new Christian movement as having been wrought by God and not simply by zealous men.

· The book of Acts is a transitional book. It records the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. A sharp line of distinction can be drawn between the ending of the old and the beginning of the new at the cross. But it must be remembered that it takes time for such a change to take place in human experience. Acts records this time frame. (i.e. transition from adolescence to adulthood)

· The book of Acts is a historical book. It DESCRIBES the beginnings of the church. It does not necessarily PRESCRIBE how churches are to operate today. Unlike Romans, I Corinthians, or Titus. (We’ll see a good example of this in today’s message…)

But there are some transcendent principles that we can glean from the practice of the early church and apply to ourselves today.

· I want to share with you four marks of a healthy church. These four marks were very evident in the earliest church, and I believe that they can be evident today.


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