Summary: This sermon looks at three characteristics of the church in Antioch that teach us about church growth.
The First Christians
June 30, 2002
John Bisagno former Pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church tells the story of his coming there to candidate for the position of pastor many years ago.
He said that as he entered the auditorium it was dimly lit, with just a few people huddled together.
They were singing an old slow funeral type song that was depressing.
Later that day he took a walk in downtown Houston and came upon a jewelry store.
It was some sort of grand opening and there were bright lights and a greeter at the door to welcome you in with a smile.
Inside there was a celebration going on.
There were refreshments and people having a good time talking and laughing with each other.
They welcomed him and offered him some punch.
He said that after attending both the church and the jewelry store, if the jewelry store had offered an invitation, he would have joined the jewelry store!
B. What kind of church do you want to attend?
1. What kind of church do you think most people want to attend?
2. Is Somerset that kind of Church?
C. Let me say a few things about the Restoration Movement as we begin…
1. Somerset is part of what is known as the Restoration Movement.
2. The Restoration Movement is a body of churches whose intent is to restore the church to its original condition.
3. We want to continue working to make the church today as much like the church of the NT as we possibly can.
4. Today we are going to read about the church in the city of Antioch where the believers were first called Christians.
5. I believe there is some important things we can learn from the First Christian Church.
6. You will see that one of the most prominent characteristics of that First Christian Church was that it was a large, growing church.
7. There at least three things that I believe we can learn from them; first…
I. Evangelism brought great numbers.
Acts 11:19-21, Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
A. Now lets start with verse 19…
1. First Luke tells us that the scene is changing from what we have been studying in the last chapter and a half.
2. The story in chapter ten and the first half of eleven is about salvation coming to the Gentiles.
3. The story takes place in three cities: Caesarea, Joppa, and Jerusalem.
4. Cornelius lived in Caesarea and Peter was in Joppa at the home of Simon-the-tanner.
5. Peter went to Cornelius’ house in Caesarea and shared the good news of Jesus Christ and for the first time, Gentiles received salvation.
6. Then Peter was called to a meeting in Jerusalem to explain his actions.
7. But now in verse 19 we come to another story.
8. Luke now is harkening back to chapters seven and eight.