Summary: The purpose of the Church as expressed in Acts 2:42
What Can the Church Offer? Acts 2:42
INTRO.: Many are not aware the Day of Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. On the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit fell on the Apostles of Jesus in fulfillment of Jesus’ promise. Through the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were empowered to preach the Gospel flawlessly in many languages.
On that same day, the very first Gospel sermon offering salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus was preached. The Church began when the Gospel invitation of verse 38 was offered and 3000 accepted the invitation and became the nucleus of the New Testament Church.
This was an auspicious start. But, there was an immediate need to determine what could be done with 3000 new converts. Under the direction of the Spirit, the Apostles led the new congregation in doing the things necessary to ensure survival and to meet certain necessary goals.
Their goals were threefold: to establish a community that would endure, to spread the Gospel message in fulfillment of Jesus’ commission, and to help believers mature in faith.
They must have done something right. We are here today after 2000 years. However, sometimes it is necessary to remind ourselves WHY we are here. Many in our day have lost sight of the nature and purpose of the Church.
To get a better idea of what we should be doing, let’s go back to the birthday of the Church and see what they did, to what did they devote themselves. Let’s see what the early Church offered its people and the world. Acts 2:42 tells the story.
I. Early Christians devoted themselves to the Word of God:
A. This is how the work was begun
1. 12 men were carefully chosen and trained by Jesus to teach His Word.
2. He commissioned them to carry His message. Matt. 28:19, 20
3. He gave them His power & authority. John 20:21-23
B. On Pentecost, their work began. Their work was teaching.
1. The Holy Spirit enabled them to speak in many foreign languages and they used the ability to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus. Acts 2:4-11
2. 3000 were convinced of Jesus’ claims and baptized for forgiveness of sin. The Church had begun.
3. The Apostles continued to teach in obedience to Jesus’ commission.
C. The Apostles’ teaching is important.
1. They were entrusted to teach God’s will for men.
2. Their teaching frees men from sin. Rom. 6:17, 18
3. The Church carries on this work by teaching the Bible, which is the recorded words of Jesus’ Apostles, along with prophets and others through whom God has revealed Himself.
4. The Church offers opportunities to learn God’s will for your life.
II. Those who learned the Word of God and obeyed it were added to the Church. Acts 2:41
A. They became part of a fellowship:
1. That is, they all became "fellow Christians."
2. They became concerned for one another. They shared food &possessions & prayed for one another.
3. They saw themselves as spiritual brothers and sisters, part of the family of God.
B. When we become part of the Church we become part of something very important.
1. We enter fellowship with the Apostles, men who had the words of eternal life.
2. The only organization on earth going to Heaven.
3. The Church offers an opportunity to become part of the most important organization on earth.
III. One expression of their fellowship was "the breaking of bread."
A. They ate together every day in their homes and met to worship God in the temple courts.
1. We can’t imagine thousands of people eating together every day or worshiping in one place. There were too many of them.
2. But, every day there was a get together of Christians for worship and a common meal.
3. I Cor. 10:16: "breaking bread" had special meaning. Not just eating, but this refers to the Lord’s Supper.
B. When they met, they came to worship and remember Jesus.
1. It was natural to do what He said, "this do in remembrance of me."
2. Also provided an opportunity for self examination.
3. Also an object lesson on the unity of the Church.
4. Most of all, it gave a sense of inner strength and courage to face life’s trials knowing God’s Son cared enough for them to give His life in their place.
5. If you want a chance to worship Jesus with others of like mind, the Church offers that.
IV. They also devoted themselves to prayer:
A. Following the example of Jesus and God’s instruction: I Tim. 2:8
1. Jesus prayed constantly. Sometimes all night.
2. First miracle and defense of the Gospel began while apostles were on their way to pray. Acts 3:1
3. When released from prison, they prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. Acts 4:25, 31