Summary: Acts Series: 13th Sermon--4 Characteristics of a Great Ministry: Converted Membership, Constant Ministry, and Continual Multiplication.
The Day of Pentecost, pt. 6
Secrets of a Great Church
v. 41 last time:
• A Converted Membership
• Constant Ministry
Notice what happened right after they got saved:
v. 42 That rings my bell…because the test of a great church is not just how many decisions are there, but are they continuing? Do they stick? Are they growing, developing?
4 characteristics of a healthy ministry:
[avoid being anemic!]
1. Ongoing teaching
v. 42 doctrine [lit. “teaching”]
How we get grounded [new life class]
1Pe 2:2 -
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
2Pe 3:18 -
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
It’s the idea of “rearing”…mentoring…discipleship…reproducing in another!
v. 42 comes from gk. Koinonia = to have in common
Fellowship is 2 fellows in the same ship!
If a believer wants to be right w/ God and grow, they HAVE to be around other believers to encourage them…no coal can remain hot if it’s alone, away from other coals!
Ill.—man asked preacher: “Can you go to heaven w/out going to church?” Sure, [man was about to congratulate him when he continued…]but why would you want to?
I wouldn’t want to try to live the Christian life by myself! Too hard! Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s probable.
Joke—2 hicks in the field saw airplane over head, had never been on one…1st said, I’d hate to be way up yonder in that airplane/other said, yeah, but I’d hate to be up thar w/out it!
We need the f’ship of other believers, otherwise we think we’re smarter than God.
In scripture, believers are always pictured together
Sheep in a flock: if divided, easy target for the roaming lion, Satan…he’s just looking for that one that says, I don’t need the flock, bunch of hypocrites, I missed and no one called me, they must not care! [that’s a baaaaad attitude!]
Soldiers in an army: cuz we’re in a war…and the safest place to be is in your unit, w/ your C/O…don’t get separated like the 507th maintenance company, or be taken captive by the enemy!
We need fellowship! One thing I love about ours here is that the ground is level…cliques are a thing of the past, and by God’s grace and continuing efforts they should remain in the past…we’re open to the rich as well as the poor/educated, uneducated/cultured, uncultured/yard-saleing, good-willing and the Von Maur’s/blue-collar, white collar/you don’t have to be a big shot to come here, but if you are one, come on, you need Jesus, and you need fellowship!/you don’t have to be part of the upper crust [which is just a bunch of crumbs held together by dough!]
Thank God for a church where the ground is level!
Nobody is anybody but everybody is somebody!
One of the main characteristics of a successful church is f’ship…you need me and I need you!
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Obey your thirst…how much of God is enough for you? Small, medium, or large? Am, pm, wed. nite! We need some people to step up to the next level and say, Super-size it, baby, I can’t get enough of my God/His Word/His people/doctrine/teaching/fellowship…
42b We can try education, we’ll see what education can do/science/technology/industry/programs/promotions…but try prayer and you’ll see what God can do!
Ill—devotions: 2 way street!
Ill.--Early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, "Brother, the grass grows on your path."
Prayer moves the hand that moves the world! For later in Acts: The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer fetched the angel.
Fellowship, teaching, prayer…
v. 43-44 They didn’t sit back and let the apostles do it, they ALL got involved. Each one shouldered their part of the load, each acc’d to their ability, they had all things common, each one was in the rotation for nursery, kids’ ministries, each was at the work day, each one tithed and did their fair share!
Churches today have 80% of the work being done by 20% of the people! Many churches are like a NFL football game…50k spectators who desperately need exercise watching 22 people work, who desperately need rest!
v. 45 This is not a mandate for the church, this was a temporary situation based on special circumstances. These 3k who just got saved were Jewish, and when they were born again, they would lose their jobs, be persecuted, be disowned by family members. Still today, when an orthodox Jew converts and is born again, becoming a Messianic Jew, the family has a ceremony like a funeral, declaring that one to be dead!