Summary: This sermon explains that if we want to experience the abundant blessings that the first church received, we must devote ourselves to the same things they devoted themselves to.
The Devoted Became the Devotees
February 3, 2002
A. [Church Growth, Church Depth, Citation: Vance Havner in On This Rock I Stand. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 13.]
I heard of a preacher the other day who was asked, "What’s the size of your pastorate?" he said, "Twenty-five miles wide and one inch deep."
That is what bothers a lot of preachers these days.
B. Last week we studied the beginning of the very first church.
1. We saw Peter preach the first sermon in the NT era.
2. 3,000 people responded to the message and were saved and baptized.
3. 3,000 plus the 120 disciples that were already there and we see that the first church was a mega church on the first day.
4. Thus was the beginnings of the very first church.
5. Today we come to the end of Acts 2 where we get the very first information recorded about the first church.
6. I believe that there is valuable information to be gleaned here from that very first church as to what the church of 2002 should be like.
7. So let’s stand together out of reverence for the reading of the Word of God. [read text]
C. So what is the first thing Luke tells us about the first church?
I. They devoted themselves to God.
Acts 2:42, "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
A. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.
1. The very first church members devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.
a. They devoted themselves to hearing what the apostles had to say.
b. They devoted themselves to studying what the apostles had to say.
c. They devoted themselves to applying the apostles’ teaching to their lives.
d. It wasn’t just a passing fancy; they DEVOTED themselves to it.
e. They were earnest about it.
f. They were steadfast about it.
g. They continued in it.
h. The apostles’ teaching was a priority in their lives.
2. And if the church today is to be like the church of the NT, then we must be devoted to the apostles’ teaching as well.
a. The apostles’ teaching is recorded for us through out the NT.
b. And we must be devoted to it as the first church members were.
c. Somerset is part of what is known as the Restoration Movement; we are trying to restore the church to its original condition; we are trying to make the church today as much like the church of the NT as we possibly can.
d. And if we are to restore the church to its original condition, then this must be one of our priorities.
e. We must devote ourselves to being taught the Word of God.
f. We must devote ourselves to the apostles teaching.
g. It cannot be just a passing fancy.
h. It cannot be something that we just pay lip service to.
i. It must be something that we are deeply committed to.
j. It must be something that we are steadfast about.
k. It must be something that we continue in.
l. Are we there?
m. I don’t think so.
n. I believe it would be pretty embarrassing if I were to take a poll and ask how many study their Bibles simply for the own devotion during the week.
o. I know that worship attendance is very sporadic.
p. I know that attendance at weekly Bible studies is pretty abysmal.
q. We are not as devoted to the apostles teaching as much as we say we are, are we?
r. All the slick sermons in the world will not build a church like the first one if we are not DEVOTED to the apostles’ teaching.
s. All the slick programs in the world will not build a church like the first one if we are not DEVOTED to the apostles’ teaching.
t. We simply must get serious about this and make it a priority in our lives.
u. We must DEVOTE ourselves to the apostles’ teaching like the first church members did.
B. They devoted themselves to fellowship.
1. These people genuinely liked each other.
a. They liked spending time with one another.
b. It wasn’t just, "Hi, how are ya?" on Sunday morning as you put your coats on the coat rack.
c. Verse 44 tells us that all the believers were together and they had everything in common.
1) That means they were united. They were of one mind.
2) They were in the same place.
3) And they shared their possessions with one another.
4) What was one’s, was all’s.
d. Verse 45 tells us that they gladly and voluntarily sold their possessions and gave their money to anyone who had need.