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Summary: the counter-culture vision of Jesus’ church...

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Acts Series: “Completely Irreligious, Yet Radically Christian” Part 9

Pastor Jeff Christopherson

March 9, 2003

Acts 4:32-35

A Snapshot of a Culture where God is Excluded:

Self-centred “I look out for number one!”

Exclusive “I look for people just like me.”

Licentious “I do whatever I feel like doing!”

Fragmented “We all pursue our own thing.”

Impotent “Our problems seem unsolvable."

Suspicious “Everybody has an angle…”

Hollow “I get what I want – but I still feel empty.”

The Counter-Culture Vision for Jesus’ Church:

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” Acts 4:32-35

1. It is United.

“All the believers were one in heart and mind”

2. It is Non-materialistic.

“No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own”

3. It is Selfless.

“but they shared everything they had.”

4. It is Energized.

“With great power”

5. It is Life-tested.

“the apostles continued to testify”

6. It is Focused.

“to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”

7. It is Inclusive.

“and much grace was upon them all.”

8. It is Spiritual.

“and much grace was upon them all.”

9. It is Healthy.

“There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.”

The Sanctuary Blessing Exchange:

Tasting what Jesus had in mind for His Church

We all have needs. There are no exceptions. We all have blessings. Again, no exceptions. That is why Jesus’ invented His Church, ‘the Body of Christ’ – a place where one member of the Body can use his or her blessing to minister to the need of another.

From this Sunday until Easter Sunday, it is our desire to give The Sanctuary ‘a taste’ of what Jesus had in mind for His Church. To participate in The Sanctuary Blessing Exchange requires two attitudes. One is an attitude of humility. You must freely admit that you are not completely ‘altogether’. That you, like the rest of humanity – have needs. You must be willing and able to identify that need.

The second attitude is that of unselfishness. This requires an inventory of your strengths – and a willingness to share your greatest blessing to help someone in their greatest need.

As you have been preparing for this day – please take a few minutes to prayerfully complete the card.

• We all have blessings and needs. Please let others minister to you. Please minister to others.

• Our office will prayerfully match blessings with needs.

• If possible, we will try to make the matches within a Home Church.

• We will take care to let you remain as anonymous as possible.

• If you feel that the ‘match’ (your blessing to another’s need) doesn’t fit you – we will be happy to try again.

Examples of Blessings:

• I’m a dad and I would love to help a family whose father is missing.

• I have seen God move through my prayer-life. I would like concentrate significant time in praying for a specific prayer need.

• I have been blessed financially – I would like to help someone who has a real and legitimate need.

• I would like to help busy parents strengthen their marriage by looking after their children and insisting that they ‘date’.

• I am able to repair cars or houses or washing machines…

Examples of Needs:

• I need time with my spouse.

• I need God to do a miracle through prayer.

• I have specific material needs.

• My children need a positive influence in their lives.

• I am lonely – I really need a friend.

As an act of your worship, prayerfully complete your Sanctuary Blessing Exchange card and place it on the alter as your gift to God.

Scripture passages from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

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Home Church Discussion Guide: being a blessing

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1. What have you found to be the greatest blessing from being a part of a spiritual community? How would a healthy spiritual community be attractive to our culture? What should that tell us? 2. Read Acts 4:32-35. What do you find most attractive in this church? What do you find most intimidating? What personal adjustments would be necessary in order to experience ‘community’ like this? 3. Looking at the 9 pictures of the early church, which one comes naturally to you? Which one do you struggle with most? 4. Thinking of The Sanctuary Blessing Exchange, what was more difficult for you to identify - your blessing, or your need? Why would that be so? 5. Pray for one another, for your Home Church, for The Sanctuary, Oakville, and for our daughter congregations, that God would indeed build a new culture around Himself.

 2003, Jeff Christopherson, The Sanctuary

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