Summary: Dealing with a number of issues at EBC led me to a series by Pastor Jerry Shirley which God has graciously allowed me to revise and use to speak to our congregation.
Secrets of a Great Church Part 2 Acts 2:37-47
The last time we were together we saw that one major characteristics of a great church is a transformed Membership, which is people who are TRULY surrendered to Jesus.
Today I want to look at another characteristic as we examine the concept of, Continuous Ministry
Continual ministry happened right after these 3k got saved. Look at verse 42.
The test of a great church is not just how many decisions are made in a given time frame, but do they stick? Are they growing into mature and obedient followers of Christ? Has the Seed fallen on good soil?
There are 4 characteristics of a healthy ministry that I want to focus on today:
1. There is ongoing teaching:
In verse 42 the word doctrine literally means “teaching”
Teaching is how we get grounded in our faith. Teaching is how we grow into mature followers, able to please and honor God.
[1Peter 2:1-3 NKJV] “1 Therefore, laying aside all malice (cruelty, spite, hatred), all deceit (dishonesty, cheating), hypocrisy (being twofaced), envy (resentment, greed), and all evil speaking, (in other words; if we are to grow these have to go) 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord [is] gracious.” What Peter is saying in verse 3 is that IF you have definitely surrendered your life to the Lord Jesus Christ then verses 1&2 should be a given…
True believers will desire the nourishment of the Word of God in order to grow…
2Peter 3:18a tells us how we should grow:
[2Peter 3:18a NKJV] “but grow in the grace and knowledge of (Who?) our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…”
It’s the idea of “nurturing”… mentoring …discipling others!
2. There is genuine Fellowship:
Look again at verse 42. The new believers not only were involved in ongoing teaching but they were involved in close fellowship. The word “fellowship” comes from Greek “Koinonia” which means “to have in common.”
If a believer wants to be right with God and grow he/she must have a desire to be around other believers.
I need to be with others of the faith who will encourage me…Who will teach me what I don’t know…who will call me out when I step to the side…
Illustrate a campfire…remove one of the logs and ask; “what will happen to this log if I move it way over here, all by itself? Answer: It will eventually die out and refuse to burn.
One day a man asked a pastor, “Can you go to heaven without going to church?” The pastor said “sure you can” and the man was about to congratulate him when the pastor continued… “But why would you want to?”
I wouldn’t want to try to live the Christian life in this crazy world all by myself! It’s too hard! Even if it’s possible, for me it’s just not probable.
One day two old hillbilly were in the field saw airplane over head. Now they had never been on and airplane before. The 1st guy said, “I’d hate to be way up yonder in that airplane.” The other said, “yeah, but I’d hate to be up thar without it!”
**We need the fellowship of other believers; otherwise we might start thinking that we’re smarter than God.
When we look in the Scriptures we always see that believers are always pictured together
Sheep gather in a flock but if one of them gets separated from the rest he/she becomes an easy target for the roaming lion, whom Scripture tells us is Satan…
He’s just looking for that one that says, I don’t need that ole flock! I can make it without that bunch of hypocrites. Why I missed one Sunday and no one called me so I don’t think they really care!
We need fellowship! We need a church where cliques are a thing of the past and where the rich as well as the poor can work side by side. A place where the educated can rub shoulders with the uneducated, where the cultured, the uncultured, the yard-seller’s, the good-willer’s the blue-collars and the white collars have ALL things in common! We need a place where you don’t have to be a big shot to come but if you are one, come on, you need Jesus, and you need fellowship!
We need to be a place where nobody is anybody but everybody is somebody!
One of the main characteristics of a successful church is fellowship…you need me and I need you!
[Hebrews 10:25 NKJV] “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as [is] the manner of some, but exhorting [one another], and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
We need some people to step up to the next level and say, “I can’t get enough of my God. I can’t get enough of His Word. I can’t get enough of His people, His doctrine, His teaching and His fellowship…