Summary: Looking at the first Church in Acts for a model of who we can be.
“Prayers, Food, Praise, Growth”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor, Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
This is the first picture of the first group of individuals who made up the first Christian Church!
They are our forbearers.
They are our brothers and sisters in the faith.
One day, when we all get to heaven, we will know them intimately.
And the model of church which the Holy Spirit formed through them lays out, in embryonic form, what it means to be the Church—both then and ever since!
These first Christians involved themselves in teaching and learning, fellowship and worship, and Communion.
They were generous with their resources.
They went way beyond tithing!!!
Compared to the average 21st Century church member who gives less than 2% of their income to the Church—these folks gave everything—and no one was in need!!!
They witnessed to their faith.
They led others to Christ.
“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”
They spent their time praising God and the people in the community were impressed by them.
They were thought well of by the common folks…
…not by the religious and political leaders…
…but by Joe, Jane, Mary, Tom and Harry…
… “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
What a remarkable witness and we can praise God that Luke, the author of Acts, wrote this down!!!
Let’s ask ourselves this morning, “How does Grace United Methodist Church here in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee measure up to the first believers?”
Do you see some elements in them that you witness here?
What are the areas where we could use improvement?
What are the areas where we are doing well?
This passage gives us a picture of the Church when it was days or weeks old.
There were already over 3,000 members and they were growing daily!
But even with these impressive numbers, there is still an intimacy, a love for God and neighbor, a measure of commitment that is very appealing and desirous.
Everyday they continued to meet in the temple courts, and I suppose that was all 3,000 or so of them.
And they all had different backgrounds, but this diverse group were able to come together as one.
They possessed the koinonia which we discussed a little bit last week—which is the Greek word for “fellowship” but more than that, it means a profound oneness or unity.
They felt so close to Christ and to one another that the grip of materialism which often the cause for much tension in many churches lost its grip on them!!!
They sold their goods and made a common fund from which the needs of any and all could be met.
And no one was compelled to do this!
It came as an expression of their love for God and for one another.
Such actions are truly miraculous!!!
We need miracles like that today!
We need them as the Church, and the world around us needs them—in order that they will be found by Christ and join in the life of faith which brings abundant life to all!!!
There was something about these early believers—these brothers and sisters of ours in the faith—there was something about them that was so attractive to outsiders that persons, by the power of God, were joining them daily!!!
What was it?
What is it?
And how can we re-capture this love and power?
These folks in Acts Chapter 2 were so excited about their faith in Jesus Christ—they could hardly stand it!
They were devoted—100% percent devoted.
Are we this devoted?
Are we this excited about our faith?
They were devoted to learning more and more about their faith.
They were devoted to the fellowship they had one with another.
They were devoted to sharing Holy Communion with one another.
They were devoted to prayer!!!
And with all this devotion and putting their faith into action—they had a powerful focus on their mission.
Daily, they were growing more and more deeply in love with Jesus Christ!!!
Are you growing more deeply in love with Jesus?
Do you have a passion for Jesus, for His Church, and its mission?
If so, how is this love and passion showing itself out in your life?
When we have a work-day, do you come out?
When we have Bible study, do you come and grow and learn and share?
Are you in church every Sunday—no matter how beautiful the weather?
Are you part of a Band Society…a small group?
This early church had over 3,000 members, and they all met together in the temple courts each day—but they also met together in one another’s homes—in small groups!
Small groups are so important to our spiritual lives—they are vital.