Summary: Acts Series: 12th Sermon--Dynamics of a Great Ministry
The Day of Pentecost, pt. 5
(Secrets of a Great Church)
Last week: Great 10 min. sermon Peter preached on the day of Pentecost…afterwards, several things happened which we can identify as secrets of a great church! [ingredients of a great church]
How can a church be defined as “great”?
A church that’s serious about Christ, and His command to go into all the world and preach the gospel. No church is truly great if they are not fulfilling the great commission.
Dynamics of a Great Church:
• A Converted Membership
v. 41/47 The LORD did it, it was genuine! Unfortunate the lack of emphasis many churches give to being saved!
Ill.—church placed ad in paper making fun of churches like GBC saying, “you’re welcome at our church no matter how many times you’ve been born!” [sad!]
The lost are welcome, invited, even honored here, and…they’ll be instructed in their greatest need: how to be born again!
We should examine what salvation is from 2 major perspectives:
God’s part/Man’s part
Divine side/human side
Many denominations emphasize just one to the exclusion of the other…for example, they might emphasize the divine side about predestination, irresistible grace, and so cancel the human side of man’s free will [free agent]…others do just the opposite…but there needs to be a balance of the 2…let’s examine both:
God’s part in salvation
v. 37 We should earnestly pray for genuine conviction…I cannot “sell” someone on salvation/you cannot talk someone into being saved!
3 step process:
• The Holy Spirit calls the sinner
v. 39 God arranges circumstances in a person’s life so they may be exposed to the truth…I like to call them “divine appointments”
ill.—dad’s divine appointment
that’s not an accident/coincidence…that’s providence!/a divine appointment!
You’re not here today by accident! We serve a sovereign God that has brought you here for a reason/He’s arranged the circumstances to cross our paths!
The Holy Spirit calls…
• The Holy Spirit convicts the sinner
v. 37 “pricked in their heart”
no one can get saved until they are convicted of their need as a sinner that is lost!
No matter how great our message/heart-rendering our illustrations may be/touching, emotional our worship service may be…only the Holy Spirit can sweep in bringing true conviction!
• The Holy Spirit convinces the sinner
Ever thought about what we ask people to believe here at GBC, week after week?
That a woman never touched by a man gave birth to the son of God, who lived a perfect life, never fought w/ siblings!, died but came back to life, went away on a cloud but is coming back on a white horse!
[when you put it like that it’s a wonder we EVER convince anyone!]
That’s the whole point, we don’t! But the Holy Spirit DOES!
He not only calls and convicts them of their need, but then He convinces them of the truth!
That’s God’s part in salvation…He takes the initiative, He makes the first move, then the ball is in our court!
Ill.—Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden…and they didn’t go looking for God, He came looking for them! “Adam, where art thou?”
The ball is in our court now…let’s look at salvation from the human side, man’s part in salvation:
v. 38 Repent is God’s first word to a lost soul!
…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Repentance = a change of mind which leads to a change of action
Repent and Believe are used interchangeably in the Bible, like 2 sides of the same coin [turn from/turn to].
-We must change our mind about sin
[prodigal son “came to himself”, then he decided to leave the hogpen and go home]
This notion today that you can get saved and it not result in a change in their lifestyle is foreign to the Bible.
II Cor. 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
You’ve gotta worry about people who claim to be saved, yet have never changed their mind about sin! Were they just looking for fire insurance? Their policy will be terminated!
They may have gotten their name on a church roll, but is it in the Lamb’s book of life?
Let’s be reminded that the word Christian means Christ-like/follower/imitator of Christ!
v. 41 they got saved…v. 42 they CONTIINUED!
Adrian Rogers: “if nothing happened to you after you walked the aisle to get saved, then nothing happened to you WHEN you walked the aisle to get saved!”
It’s a change in attitude toward sin.
Not saying a Christian becomes sinless, but rather that they should desire to sin LESS!
[it’s the difference between falling in a mud hole and wallowing in it!]