Summary: This sermon takes one of the summary paragraphs in Acts and likens them to photos in a photo album of the early church and describes what the church today should learn from these photos.
March 17, 2002
A. [Confusing Signs, Citation: Doug Lansky, signspotting.com; submitted by Lee Eclov]
Doug Lansky has been a travel writer and photographer for many years. In the course of his travels he has collected photos of odd signs from around the world. Some samples:
One photograph shows: A white highway sign in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, which says, "Entrance Only / Do Not Enter."
Another photograph shows: A yellow diamond-shaped sign from Mill Valley, California, which says, "Not a Through Street." Right below it is a blue circle with a white arrow pointing straight ahead and the words, "Evacuation Route."
Another photo shows: A sign in Pennsylvania which says, "Invisible Fence Now Open."
Another: A sign from Rome, Georgia, says, "Used Rainbows, $250 and Up."
And finally in the last photo there’s a blue sign with white letters that reads: "Pakistan-Narcotics Control Board Investigating Unit." But it is obscured a bit by the marijuana growing up in front of it.
B. Photos can often be curious, but there’s one thing about all photos: they tell a story.
1. Today we are going to look at a set of photos of the earlier church.
2. From looking at these photos, we will learn some things about that church, about the church today, and the church that God is making.
C. [Bring in a real photo album as a prop for the sermon.]
Photo #1: Apostles and Miracles
A. [Hold up photo album and point to a particular picture.] We see in this photo a picture of the apostles performing a miracle.
Acts 5:12, The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.
B. The Scripture says at this point in the life of the early church that the leadership of the church were performing many miraculous signs and wonders.
1. The leadership was performing sings that proved they were men of God.
2. That’s what it means by "signs."
3. These miracles were signs of God that the apostles were representatives of God.
4. God was doing miraculous things as a sign that the leadership had God’s stamp of approval.
C. That’s how it should be today as well…
1. When the leadership of the church is anointed of God, we should see miraculous things happening.
2. You may see miraculous increases in attendance.
3. You may see sick people being healed.
4. You may see miraculous offerings.
5. You may see lives being changed by the power of the gospel.
6. You may see lots of people being saved and baptized.
7. You may see the church doing extraordinary things.
8. When the leadership of the church is anointed by God, we should see God doing things to put His stamp of approval on that church.
9. The miracles may be different from church to church, but there will be signs from God if He is there amongst the leadership of the church.
D. There’s no question that we have seen God show signs that the leadership of Somerset Church is being anointed of God.
1. We’ve seen a miraculous increase in attendance.
2. We’ve received a miraculous offering to enlarge the sanctuary.
3. We’ve seen God finally build an addition to the building after 25 years of talking about it.
4. We’ve seen dozens of people saved and baptized by the power of God.
5. We’ve seen lives miraculously changed by the power of God.
6. We’ve seen miraculous growth in our youth program with 60 and 70 kids in a small, country church.
7. We’ve seen miraculous growth in the fruit of the Spirit being displayed in members’ lives.
8. We’ve seen miraculous movement of the Holy Spirit in worship—especially on Sunday nights.
9. We’ve seen people miraculously healed of physical problems.
10. We’ve seen miraculous unity in the leadership of the church despite Satan’s attempts to fragment us.
E. Does that mean Somerset is a perfect church?
1. No. We have problems just like the early church did.
2. We’ve had our Ananias and Sapphiras just like the first church did.
3. It simply means that we have signs from God that He is anointing the leadership of the church just like He did the leadership of the early church.
Photo #2: Pretenders and Fears
A. [Hold up the photo album and point to another picture.] In this next photo, we see people who don’t have the normal smiles on their faces, but looks of fear.
Acts 5:13, No one else dared join them…
B. Now in order to understand this, we really need to look at verses 14 as well.
Acts 4:14, Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.
1. Now at first reading those two verses would seem to contradict each other.