Summary: What should the church look like?
What kind of Churches will change the world? Acts 11-15
A Different approach, not honing in on details, instead broad brush strokes- I want to paint a picture of a compelling future for the churches
To provoke all of us to give themselves to build such a church- as great as jubilee is we want MORE
TO ask our visitors- why not give your life to such a dream?
Two quotes about church:
"A church is a large, bureaucratic, and hierarchical religious organization, which typically recruits from the upper and middle classes. It has a priesthood, sacraments, and formal liturgy. Lay participation, especially in worship, is not necessarily encouraged."
"I love the local church, I believe in its potential and power. I see it as the hope of the world . . . There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. It transforms lives heart by heart, soul by soul, life by life. That’s why the most important thing I can do is to lay down my heart for the cause of Christ.." Bill Hybels
What Kind of churches change the world?
Churches that are multicultural
"there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists" Acts 11:20
THE SCOURGE OF RACISM
Churches characterised by faithfulness to the Lord and steadfast determination
"he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose" Acts 11:23
Churches who’s leaders are genuine, spirit filled and full of faith
"..he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith" Acts 11:24
NOT IN IT FOR THEMSELVES
Churches lead by teams of very different people
Paul the Driver, Barnabus the amiable encourager- Tope is our Paul, Stuart our Barnabus
Churches filled with "Christ-like" people v26
Churches that care for practical as well as spiritual needs
"So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea." Acts 11:29
Churches who "GO" responding to the prophetic vision
Churches devoted to prayer, worship and fasting
"While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ’Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off." (Acts 13:2-3)
Churches whose leaders have the power and authority to be direct when necessary
Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?" Acts 13:9-10
Leaders MUST be free to lead!
Churches where the preaching leaves people eager to hear more
As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath.....The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.(Acts 13:42,44)
Churches which make the choice clear to visitors
"It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside....." Acts 13:46
ACCEPT OR ELSE ITS NOT A GAME, IF YOU DIED TODAY AND JESUS ASKED "WHY SHOULD I LET YOU INTO MY HEAVEN?"
Churches who’s members are filled with joy and the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52)
Churches who’s focus is on salvation
"....spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed" Acts 14:1
NOT JUST PREACHED IN SUCH A WAY.... DO EVERYTHING
Churches who’s members are filled with joy and the Holy Spirit
Churches who preach grace and see the supernatural
"So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands." Acts 14:3
Churches who direct all the glory to God and not men (Acts 14:11ff)
Churches that persevere through troubles
"...strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22
Churches committed to grace but willing to lay down their freedom for the good of others
Acts 15 & 1Co 9:22-23 "I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel,that I may share with them in its blessings."
Churches that turn team disagreements into opportunities
Churches committed to the task AND the people.
"Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work..." Acts 15:36-40