Summary: We need boldness and strong hearts in our lives. But they will only come when we give ourselves to God in Worship.
You know, as congregations go, each one has their own way of doing things, not one is exactly like the other.
Some congregations have the Lord’s Supper towards the end of their service, while others have it towards the beginning, some right before the sermon.
Some congregations have the contribution collected by posting some kind of receptacle at all exits so that folks can leave their contributions on the way in or on the way out of a service.
There are as many different ways of formatting a worship service as there are the number of different congregations who do them.
But, there are some things in our brotherhood that are exactly the same, no matter where you go in our fellowship. Most of these similarities can be heard in the things we say.
I am going to mention just a few of them to you, listen and ask yourself, if it is not a language peculiar to our brotherhood.
I call this; “You can well be a member of the churches of Christ if . . . “
# 1. You’ve never been to a revival but have attended a lot of gospel meetings.
# 2. If you have ever planned to be back to the church building at the next
# 3. If you were eighteen years old, before you understood that the
phrase, “Guide, guard and direct us” was not one word.
# 4. If you have never seen a mourners bench, but have seen a lot of people
come down front.
# 5. If you have ever wondered what would happen to the preacher if he did
not have a ready – recollection of the things he hath prepared.
# 6. If you have to be reminded weekly that the Contribution is something
separate and apart from the regular worship service.
# 7. If you think that tithing is wrong, but everybody ought to give at least ten
# 8. If you stay out of sanctuaries, but spend a lot of time in auditoriums.
# 9. If before you buy a new bible, you always turn to Acts 2:38 and check out
their interpretation of that one verse.
Turn to the book of Acts 2:42.
“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 daily to their number those who were being saved.”
The book of Acts does not describe for us what the church used to be like, it was written so that we would know what the church is supposed to be like!
These verses point out three characteristics that every healthy growing congregation ought to have.
# 1. Is the characteristic of reaching out. This was a church that had a message, they had a witness and they were sharing that witness and people were responding to that by surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
This church was enjoying the favor of all the people and because of that, people were being added daily to this church.
In any healthy church there must be an aggressiveness in reaching out with the gospel. It will have an evangelistic mindset.
It will be a witness and a testimony to the reality of God living in the hearts of those who call themselves Xian.
# 2. Another mark of a healthy growing congregation is that it will be a church that not only reaches out, but one that reaches in as well.
The Text tells us, that this congregation ate together and they had everything in common and they gave to anyone who had need.
Any healthy church is going to have that kind of dependence and emphasis on fellowship and on loving each other and on keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
A healthy church will be busy in reach out, in reached in and in # 3 reaching up.
It says: they were devoted to prayer and every day they came together to Praise God.
Now all three of these elements are critical in maintaining a healthy growing congregation.
You take away any one of those elements and the church will not be able to advance as Jesus said we should be.
Now, there are some congregations that emphasize one of these elements over the others. There are some churches that are so evangelisticly motivated (Reaching Out) but very cold to new people and visitors.