Summary: What was there about the early church that gave it the strength, enthusiasm, & unity to face incredible odds & outlast strong opposition in its conquest of the hearts & lives of those around them?
“The First Christian Fellowship”
Pastor Allan H. Kircher
Sermon series: God’s vision and power for Shell Point.
The early church, as recorded in the Book of Acts, was a dynamic, growing church that turned the world of its day upside down!
In spite of incredible opposition & terrible persecution - first from the Jewish authorities & then from the might of the Roman Empire itself –
the church began & grew so dynamically that within 300 years the Roman Empire had surrendered to the gospel of Christ, & the emperor himself had become a Christian, too.
How was this possible? Why did it happen?
What was there about the early church that gave it the strength, enthusiasm, & unity to face incredible odds
& outlast strong opposition in its conquest of the hearts & lives of those around them?
They possessed a purity of devotion to the risen Lord unmatched in succeeding generations.
They had the direct connection between receiving the Word and acting on it.
A contagious commonality sprang up among them.
This was really a church, nothing more and nothing less.
Its life was completely defined by the devotion to those spiritual duties which make up the unique identity of the church.
Shell Point will continue to be effective in bringing sinners to Christ when it manifests the same key elements of spiritual duty that marked this first fellowship.
To have a new beginning in Christ we must understand the primary force behind Christian fellowship,
The nature of the fellowship and the response we make in fellowship.
Nowhere do we get a closer look at the nature and character of the first fellowship of believers than in the later part of Acts 2.
Here we have a brief but clear description of the fellowship of the first believers.
It serves as a model for all believers today.
It was a Scriptural Church
The amazing thing about Pentecost is that their attention was not drawn to some man or church doctrine.
It was drawn to the apostles' teaching.
A commitment to the apostle’s teaching is foundational to the growth and spiritual health of every church
Peter wrote, “Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).
A believer should count it a wasted day when he does not learn something new from, or is not more deeply enriched, by the truth of God’s word.
The church today ignores the exposition and application of Scripture at its peril,
as the warning of Hosea to Israel suggests; “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6).
The church cannot operate on truth it is not taught; believers cannot function on principles they have not learned.
At Shell Point it is not so. That’s what wed. and Sun nights are all about. Learning and growth.
We have had over 40 saints here on those nights yearning to grow and be fed biblical truth.
What is even more awe-inspiring of this first church is their preaching was entirely from the Old Testament.
The New Testament believers were founded upon the fulfillment of God's promises as revealed through Moses and the prophets.
It is troubling to think that at times we think we only need the New Testament.
We really can't understand how our faith is undergirded by the power of God until we see it supported by everything that God has done in redemptive the history of the Old Testament.
It was a spirit guided church
They weren't passive listeners; they were active listeners.
There is a thirst to hear and learn more about their newfound life of spiritual freedom in Jesus Christ.
they were active participants in what was being taught by the apostles.
I believe we are getting there, but I also believe we have some ground to cover.
What they were being taught was impacting their hearts and lives.
Isn’t God impacting your hearts through His messages and studies?
Try to imagine the pioneer spirit of the first settlers in this country as they probed deeper and farther into this vast wilderness. They were seeking new horizons. There was a great excitement in this newfound country. The excitement led them to probe into the deep wilderness.
It is here in Acts 2 that we catch a glimpse of the pioneering spirits of our spiritual forefathers.
When Peter stood up and proclaimed the possibility of their spiritual freedom, they only had a thirst for more.
They were looking for new horizons. The excitement of seeking and finding God was in the air.
The excitement of a New World created in the image of the Firstborn was in the air. (Ephesians 2:10)
"Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God; it wets our appetite."