Summary: We are a people group whose essential business is to love others as Jesus loved us and who routinely come together to share faith, enjoy testimony and most importantly pray with confidence, boldness and power. We are the people group of Jesus Christ and
Two weeks ago we introduced the question, “What is church?” and we started with the first part of the answer, which is, “the church is a people group.” Last week we continued to ask the same question, “What is church?” and we added to the answer, “it’s a people group whose essential business is to love others as Jesus loved us.” In Acts 1:8; Jesus told his disciples before he ascended back to His Father, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
If we think of Weymouth as Jerusalem and Nova Scotia as Judea and the Maritimes as Samaria and the rest of the world as the ends of the earth, we could read Jesus words to us like this: And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere, in Weymouth, throughout Nova Scotia, in the Maritimes and to the ends of the earth.
We are a people group with the privilege and the honor of living the Word of God as witnesses. I believe that if we start accepting ourselves as the people group of heaven who are in place on earth to share the Gospel of Jesus as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to engage this mission; our lives, this church, our worship will be anything but boring.
And during the course of our discussion on “What is Church?” there has been another question for each of us as individuals to consider and that question is, “Are you living as a witness for the gospel?” Last week we discussed why this question is important and what the answer means for you. Love is the motive, the driving force behind your witness of gospel of Jesus. Love, according to Jesus himself, is at the core of every follower. Paul shares with us in Romans 12:9-13 that we are to be genuine in loving others. Love is the motive that drives everything we do as a church. He tells us to serve the Lord enthusiastically. The word that Paul uses in Romans 12:11 is zeontes which means “I am boiling.” Paul is saying to be so hot in your desire to serve and to work for Christ that you’re boiling. And yes, you can reference this to Revelation 3:16, “But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” We don’t want to be lukewarm. And it’s really not enough to be hot, God expects us to be boiling over with compassion and love.
And this leads us to the conclusion of the answer to the question “What is Church?” The church of Jesus is a people group whose essential business is to love others as Jesus loved us and who routinely come together to share faith, enjoy testimony and most importantly pray with confidence, boldness and power.
One of the things that I discovered as I read from Acts through 1 Corinthians is how intentional the church was when they came together. They had a purpose for being together. Here are a few examples: In Acts 4 Peter and John ask the church to meet so they can share a report that they were told not to speak of Jesus anymore by the local religious authorities. So the church prayed with confidence, boldness and power and here is what the Scripture said happened next, “After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.” There was no shutting up this church.
In Acts 6 the apostles called a meeting of all the believers so that they could appoint men as deacons to administer a food program that was fairly distributed among Jewish and Gentile widows. The apostles felt they needed to dedicate themselves to sharing their faith and as a result of this meeting Acts 6:7 says, “So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.”
We don’t have time to look at every example of the meetings of these first followers but there is one more example in Acts 20 that I want to look at because it leads to our discussion in 1 Corinthians. Luke shares with us in verse 7 that the church in Troas met on Sunday to break bread. Modern translators have changed the phrase “break bread” to the phrase, “Lord’s Supper.” In our time we understand a liturgical and religious ceremony we call the Lord’s Supper but in the day and time Luke was writing the phrase “break bread” most often meant they met for a meal with the purpose of remembering the sacrifice of Jesus at the same time. And this is why the church in Troas was coming together. They didn’t come together for a meal, we’ll talk about what Paul has to say about that in a moment, they came together to enjoy testimony of Jesus, his death, burial and resurrection and what this meant for them. And they like many churches during this time enjoyed this testimony with a meal.