Summary: Sermon incorporates results of Reveal Survey and closes with what Jesus thinks about our church.
Rev. Brian Bill
Pastors get asked a lot of questions, they receive a lot of requests and sometimes people just need to share their ideas. Here are some actual letters from some children to pastors.
“Dear Pastor, I know God loves everybody but He never met my sister.”
“Dear Pastor, My father should be a minister. Every day he gives us a sermon about something.”
“Dear Pastor, I’m sorry I can’t leave more money in the plate, but my father didn’t give me a raise in my allowance. Could you have a sermon about a raise in my allowance?”
“Dear Pastor, I think a lot more people would come to your church if you moved it to Disneyland.”
“Dear Pastor, Please say a prayer for our Little League team. We need God’s help or a new pitcher.”
“Dear Pastor, My father says I should learn the Ten Commandments. But I don’t think I want to because we have enough rules already in my house.”
“Dear Pastor, I liked your sermon on Sunday. Especially when it was finished.”
Grown-ups have suggestions and comments about church as well. Five months ago 222 PBC people had the opportunity to express their thoughts not just about our church, but also about their spiritual journeys. This morning I’ve titled this message “PBC Revealed.” I hope you find it interesting, encouraging and challenging.
Let’s just say up front that there is no perfect church. Although I did come across a website that claimed to find one – it’s one with no people in it! Constructed out of 75,000 Lego’s, it took a year and a half to build.
Actually, there is a church in the Bible that while not perfect comes close to the model ministry. Turn to Acts 2:42-47: “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.”
They Devoted Themselves
Look at the first three words of Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves.” The NASB renders it “continually devoting themselves.” Literally it means that they were “continuing steadfastly.” The idea is to give “one’s self continually…to be steadfastly attentive unto.”
Nine years ago, in my very first sermon as pastor of Pontiac Bible Church, I made this statement: the depth of our devotion determines our impact. We then looked at six essential elements of the early church that helped it make a lasting impact, using the acrostic IMPACT.
* Notice verse 42: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching – that’s the “I” --> Instructing in God’s Word.
* Now, drop down to verse 45: Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need – that’s the “M” in IMPACT --> Mobilizing for Ministry.
* Look at the last phrase in verse 42: They devoted themselves to…prayer. The “P” stands for --> Praying with Faith.
* Notice verse 43: Everyone was filled with awe; and in the first part of verse 47: praising God. That’s the “A” --> Adoring God in Worship.
* The next ingredient is found initially in the middle of verse 42: They devoted themselves…to the fellowship. This is also fleshed out in verses 44-46: All the believers were together and had everything in common…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. The “C” of IMPACT is --> Caring Community.
* Finally, in verse 47, we see the “T” of Impact --> Telling Others the Gospel…enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
I want to say this morning that the depth of your devotion has made an impact! Before we take a look at our survey results, let me remind you of our mission statement: The mission of PBC is to connect people to Jesus and equip them to become growing and faithful followers. Incidentally, these results are in a PowerPoint format and are available on CDs at the Resource Center or you can check out a hard copy in the church office. I am indebted to the pastoral staff, to the Elders and Deacons, and to Geoff Trembley for his work in helping to understand and analyze these results.