Summary: The church must adjust to the times and circumstances, but she should never forsake the basics.
The Earliest Church and Modern Times
1. Some people just don’t get it.
2. From Reader’s Digest:
After booking my 90-year-old mother on a flight from Florida to Nevada, I called the airline to go over her needs. The woman representative listened patiently as I requested a wheelchair and an attendant for my mother because of her arthritis and impaired vision. I also asked for a special meal and assistance in changing planes.
My apprehension lightened a bit when the woman assured me everything would be taken care of. I thanked her profusely.
"Why, you’re welcome," she replied. I was about to hang up when she cheerfully asked, "And will your mother be needing a rental car?"
3. Some people do not seem to get the purpose and nature of the church. Some anchor church to their childhood, others to what they see on TV. Others go by emotions. Few search the Scriptures.
4. The nature of the church is dual: some things change, and some things do not. But underneath it all, the important emphases remain the same.
5. When we interpret scripture, we must note the difference between description and prescription…
Main Idea: The church must adjust to the times and circumstances, but she should never forsake the basics.
I. The Typical: What Believers Do When Meeting TOGETHER (42)
1. The New Testament frequently puts the emphasis upon teaching and preaching when it comes to church life and growth. Here it is placed in the first position for emphasis.
2. The Great Commission includes, “teaching them to observe all things.” The
pastoral epistles, the instruction manuals for church life (I & II Timothy and
Titus) put the emphasis upon teaching. Here are just a few verses:
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching…” (I Timothy 4:13)
“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching…” (I Timothy 5:17).
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16)
“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine…” Titus 2:1
Amos 8:11 talks about a judgment from God, namely Biblical ignorance, “"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.”
Fellowship means having things in common, sharing, enjoying one another’s company, a sense of community, support, and camaraderie.
We need one another! Life is scary, and those who do not know Christ interpret life very differently than we do. Some of you are hurting, confused, depressed. You need us. We certainly need you. Loosen up and share your heart with your brothers and sisters.
C. Breaking BREAD
Matthew 26:26 reads, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’"
Acts 2:46b, “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”
Or both, as in I Corinthians 11, where the church would hold a “love feast” followed by communion…as you recall, Paul scolded them for getting drunk and eating all the food before everyone got there…
Prayer is a true form of worship; to pray to God is to confess He is there
• But when believers pray together, it is a triangular experience.
• We need to learn to pray more freely, as a habit. Just say, "Let’s pray."
• The Jewish people used the term “Amen,” meaning, “So be it” as a term of agreement, thus including the listeners with those praying.
APPLICATION: God built the church with some flex in her, but the basics must stay the same. Studying, interpreting, and applying the Word of God must always be the emphasis of a church that is true to Jesus Christ, the teaching of the Apostles. One of the earliest historical descriptions of the New Testament is the “memoirs of the apostles.”
But church must be a shared experience: we need to pray together, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together, to chat with one another, and to enjoy meals together.
You can see this in our church’s mission statement: The mission of Highland Park Church is to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to connect believers to one another and to God, and to deepen them in their Christian walk.
The church must adjust to the times and circumstances, but she should never forsake the basics.
II. The Exceptional: The UNIQUE Position of the Jerusalem Church (43-45)
God commands us to study His Word, to fellowship with one another, to celebrate communion and eat together on occasion, and to pray. Those are prescription. But these next few verses are more description of a unique time that can never be replicated.