Summary: The birth of the early church / an Intro to Acts/
The New Church
a. The book of Acts is a first-hand account of the beginnings of the church. But, the book of Acts is more than history. It tells us about the love of Jesus for the world, and how that love was poured out to the ends of the earth. I think it is fitting with this being our first service, to look at the church’s beginnings, just as we are beginning here. At Calvary Chapel, most of us teach expositionally, verse-by-verse, through a book. That may be a little different to what you are used to, in most other churches, the pastor teaches topically, going from topic to topic as he sees fit, or as instructed by a denomination.
b. At Calvary, we make it simple. We believe that God’s Word is both relevant and applicable to our lives today. This is why it is so useful to teach through it verse by verse. In teaching this way, we get to see scriptures in context, as the writer intended. The flock will be fed as God intends, not as I intend. Along that same line of thought, it guards against me having a pet doctrine of topic. I have heard a lot of people complain that every time they go to church, all the Pastor teaches about is tithing, or drinking, or whatever. Well, you’ll never get that here. I will teach on a subject as we get to it in scripture. So, when we get to some verses about tithing, we’ll talk about it. That way the teaching is balanced. You know, my pastor taught me that I’m just a waiter. My job is to get the message from God, the chef, to you without messing it up! So if you have a complaint, take it up with the chef. A lot of times, when I hear a message, I think wow, that just spoke to my life where I was at right now. I think, was that written for me? The answer is yes. As we study through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will move on your heart. The question for you is, are you going to let Him work? I pray that the Lord would work in each of our lives, and that we would do noting to hinder that.
c. In the book of Acts we are told that when the Church was born the believers continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. These are the four features that marked the early Church and these are the features that mark Calvary Chapels. These are the things that we emphasize, that we seek after, and we have discovered that--as in the early Church--the Lord will add to our number daily.
d. You know, the early church started out teaching in homes, or in hostile synagogues or the temple. They were hostile because the Jewish religious establishment didn’t want to hear about Jesus. Well, as you can see, we’re meeting in a dance hall. After looking around Bryan and College Station for 3 months, this is the place that the Lord has provided to us to use. It’s not the Taj Mahal, but we’re thankful that He has provided this to us. We obviously didn’t hang up the beer signs, but we are going to work every week to make it a better place to worship, until the Lord leads us and provides us somewhere else to meet.
e. Remember I just said that in Acts we are told that the early Church continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. We are serious about all of them, but definitely in the last one, prayer. Prayer has been described in many ways, but basically prayer is talking to God. Prayer is God’s gift to His children which enables them to make their requests known to Him and have God respond to their individual needs. Prayer is our access to the throne of God to express whatever it is on our heart. One of our goals, one of the things I pray for, is that we will be a prayerful church. Once Stacie and I get established up here, we will hold prayer meetings weekly. But, know that before that, your prayer requests will be prayed over, and they will be anonymous as you need them to be.
f. With that, let’s pray.
a. Father God, we thank You for this day and the blessings you have provided us in it. We thank you most of all for sending Your Son, who died on the cross for our sins. We thank You for your Word and the mysteries you reveal in our lives through it. Lord, we ask that you would bless this body, and the families represented here. Finally, Lord, we ask that you would bless the study of your Word this morning. Open our hearts and minds to hear and apply your Word in our lives. For it’s in Jesus name we ask, Amen.