Summary: The first church in Acts was a champion church. This sermon examines the characteristics of the New Testament church that if adopted would turn any church into a winning church.
Super Bowl Church
July 27, 2014
The opening illustrations come from Mike Gilbert’s sermon found on SermonCentral.com titled Reading the Map / Visualizing the Goal.
[There is a PowerPoint presentation available for this sermon which is available by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
TEXT: Turn in your Bibles to Acts 2
Opening Illus. – We’ve all heard the little saying [SHOW THE ACTIONS WITH HANDS LOCKED TOGETHER, FINGERS ENTWINED UPSIDE DOWN]…“This is the church, here is the steeple; open it up [WIGGLING FINGERS] and see all the people.” However, that is NOT the way it really is, biblically speaking; this way is actually upside down from what it should be. The saying SHOULD say [SHOW WITH FINGERS], “Here is the church, it’s made up of people, and where they meet together, sometimes there’s a steeple.”
Please stand in honor of God’s Word as I read our text this morning in Acts:2:41-47 – “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Illus. – Listen as I describe four teams desperately desiring to go to the Super Bowl:
TEAM #1: This team can be seen huddled together on the sideline before the game, heads bowed in prayer with the coach in the middle. Suddenly they give a great cheer, and the coach trots out on to the field by himself, while the other players go and sit on the bench.
Now, as a sideline reporter, you go up to a 300-pound offensive guard and ask him, “What’s the coach doing out there?”
“Oh,” the guard replies, “HE’S going to play today.”
“All by himself?” you ask.
The guard explains: “Why not? He’s had a lot more experience and training than the rest of us. We’ve got a lot of rookies on this team and we might make mistakes. Anyway, they pay the coach well. We’re all here to support him, of course. And look at the huge crowd that’s come to watch him play!”
As the opposing team kicks off, the coach catches the ball, valiantly charges up-field…but is buried under eleven tacklers and is carried off half-conscious.
Sound crazy? The same is true with the church. God has called ALL of us to serve. God has given pastors and teachers and leaders, but their role is primarily to EQUIP the members for doing the work of the ministry. Never is the pastor or staff supposed to carry the ball on every play, do all the work, and try to defeat the foe all by themselves.
TEAM #2: This team realizes they all should play, so they’re huddle on the field. They huddle and huddle and huddle and huddle. The referee calls a penalty for delaying the game and moves the ball back five yards, but the team STILL huddles and huddles and huddles and huddles. The referee calls penalty after penalty, until finally the ball is moved all the way back to their own goal line.
The quarterback then yells back to the sidelines, “Hey, Coach! This is the greatest huddle I’ve ever been in! What a group of guys! We have the best fellowship...and some of these guys are amazing students of the playbook...some have memorized over a hundred plays! We LEARN SO MUCH in this huddle!”
But you holler back to the quarterback, asking him, “But why don’t you get up on the line and play?”
He responds, “Why should we? What we want is bigger and better huddles! Besides, this way no one gets hurt. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. And it makes us really feel good to be huddled together.”
TEAM #3: This team brings every player out on to the field, and breaks out of its huddle, just like a team is supposed to. However, instead of lining up against the opposing squad, they break into groups of two or three, arguing with one another. Soon they start shoving, and two of them actually get into a fight! As the referees call a penalty for delay of the game and are moving the ball backwards, you run out on to the field and ask a player, “What’s wrong?”