Summary: We can learn what kind of church Jesus wants us to be by looking at the distinctive identifying marks of the church in Jerusalem.
THE CHURCH IN JERUSALEM
INTRO. The verse we have just read is an excellent description of the church in Jerusalem. That church was the hottest church in the New Testament...or since. They were the poorest church (Paul took offerings from other churches to support them) and yet they won more souls and offered the greatest threat to Satan. They suffered more and yet had the greatest fellowship. They were the oldest of the Lord’s churches and they were looked upon by other churches as the most doctrinally sound. So much so that when the other churches were in doubt they would ask Jerusalem. What made the church in Jerusalem so mighty in the Lord’s work? Because the Apostles were there? A good reason but not the main one. Today let’s look closely at the church in Jerusalem, compare it to our own church and see what they had that we do not have; see what they practiced that we do not; see where they were strong and where we are weak.
I. THEY WERE A WAITING CHURCH.
A. From Passover to the Ascension is 40 days and from Passover to Pentecost is 50 days. So the disciples had to wait 10 days for the expected power to come on them.
B. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is wait until the Lord is ready. But even in waiting we can find time to honor God and glorify Him. They spent the entire 10 days in prayer meeting. Acts 1:14
C. But waiting on God is good sound advice. God is never too early or too late. And the blessings of waiting for Him to move are immeasurable. (Isa. 40:31) -- "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
II. THEY WERE A PRAYING CHURCH.
A. Can you imagine a 10 day prayer meeting? Rather can you imagine the result of a 10 day prayer meeting?
1. Acts 2:1-4, 41
2. I have often wondered what God could do if He had just one man on earth that really prayed. But look at just one day with a church that really prayed.
a. they were all with one accord
b. there came a sound from heaven
c. filled all the house
d. they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
e. there were added about 3,000 souls.
3. The examples of God answering prayer is just too numerous for us to overlook.
a. Hannah -- I Sam. 1 & 2
b. Zacharias -- Luke 1:13
c. Elijah -- James 5:15-18
B. But look what God can do when a whole church prays!
1. In their first preaching service they had 3,000 souls saved. The second time they had preaching 5,000 were saved (Acts 4:4).
2. They prayed all the time.
a. Whenever they met together they prayed (Acts 4:31), and great things happened.
b. When the preacher was arrested and put in jail they did not march or demonstrate or burn but they knew they could get help from above. (Acts 12:1-5)
III. THEY WERE A WITNESSING CHURCH.
A. These people had something God had promised to Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham. All the promises of a Saviour had been fulfilled and they never passed up a chance to tell someone about the power of God to save through Jesus.
1. On Pentecost when they were accused of being drunk, they used the occasion not to argue religion but to witness.
2. Peter and John before the Sanhedrin Council did not cower in fear of what men could do but preached Jesus (Acts 4:10-13).
3. After being beaten and hauled before the council a second time and ordered not to preach they replied, "We ought to obey God rather than you."
4. They witnessed at the Temple, in the streets, on the corners and on their jobs. Everywhere they went they told others of what Jesus could do. "And DAILY in the temple, and in EVERY HOUSE, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." (Acts 5:42)
B. How many people complain that they do not know enough about the Bible to talk to someone about their soul.
1. A deacon said he went to tell his friend about the Lord. The friend said he did not want to talk about the Bible. The deacon said he put his Bible away and told his friend about how he had been saved and asked the friend to try it. The friend did.
2. You can tell about how YOU were saved to someone. Someone is waiting to hear it.
IV. THEY WERE A GIVING CHURCH.
A. These people had gone far beyond tithing. Acts 4:32-35.