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Summary: 7 Qualities which make a church great. Link included to Formatted Text Version and Powerpoint, audio/video.

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What Makes a Church Great?

Acts 4:33

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/GreatChurch.html

"And with great power gave the apostles witness of the

resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them

all."--Acts 4:33.

I believe this is a great church! God is doing great things! But there is greater still to come…revival is in progress, but it needs to continue and grow…mercy drops need to give way to showers of blessing!

What is a great church? Some like a big church, some a small church. [you have to wonder about the ones who want to stay small, not reaching out!] Some like a country church, some a city church…I’ve been in both. I’m glad we have all types around here and all are welcome!

You might be in a country church if:

The Call to Worship is ,"Y’all come on in!"

The Preacher says, "I’d like to ask Bubba to pray for the

offering" - and five guys stand up.

Opening day of deer hunting season is recognized as an

official church holiday.

A member requests to be buried in his truck

because, "I ain’t never been in a hole it couldn’t get me out of".

Never in its entire 100-year history has one of its pastors had

to buy any meat or vegetables.

A singing group is known as "The O.K. Chorale."

There’s dried tobacco juice down both sides of the church van.

The church directory doesn’t have last names.

The only time people lock their cars in the parking lot is during the

summer and only so no one leaves them another bag of tomatoes!

Baptism is referred to as "branding."

There is a special fund-raiser for a new septic tank.

Finding and returning lost sheep is not just a parable.

High notes on the organ set dogs in the parking lot to howling.

People wonder when Jesus fed the 5,000 whether the two

fish were bass or catfish.

This great church at Jerusalem is our God-given example of

"how to do it." These folk got in touch with Heaven, received

their orders and the power to carry them out and please God. In

this day, when hundreds of churches are like dead batteries,

giving out their sermonettes to Christianettes by preacherettes

so they can get out and smoke their cigarettes, we need some

“prophets” who will stand up like the Rock of Gibraltar and build a

mighty fortress for God.

Let me share with you seven things that made the early New

Testament church one of the greatest the world has ever known.

I. THEY HAD A GREAT PURPOSE

Their purpose was to obey the Savior. Jesus had asked them

to tarry in the Upper Room. He said, "But tarry ye in the city

of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke

24:49). Obedience is always a vital link to power and blessing

from God. Someone has said, "Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do or die."

Then, their purpose was to obtain the promise. The promise,

of course, was the blessed Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised in

Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost

is come upon you . . ." This promise is made to every person

who desires to receive it from the Lord.

Their purpose was to offer the Gospel. They were to be

witnesses . . ."both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in

Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

Peter stood before the great crowd in the streets of Jerusalem

and offered the Gospel to the Jews from many nations. The sermon

was simple, and his purpose was plain. He wanted to help people

get to Heaven.

II. THEY HAD GREAT PREACHING

Peter was an ordinary man and not really a great preacher,

but the content of his sermon was great preaching. Great preaching in the early church had a 3 fold characteristic: It exalted the Savior, it

edified the saints, and it exposed sin. These great

characteristics are present in all great sermons. [The last 2 are important: Make sure you can be lifted up by cutting the ties that hold you down.]

Three thousand people responded to the invitation and then five thousand, at a later sermon. No one can deny that this is great preaching!

III. THEY HAD GREAT POWER

The power at Pentecost was the same used at creation, to

divide the Red Sea, to keep Daniel safe in the lions’ den, and to

rescue the three Hebrew children from the fiery furnace. This

was also the same power that turned the water to wine, healed multitudes, fed the five thousand, gave sight to the blind man and raised Lazarus from the dead.

This great power is available to every Christian who will seek God

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Talk about it...

Dan Gottwerth

commented on Oct 9, 2006

loved the opening joke. More importantly, the content was rich and biblical and practical!!

Dr. Kenne Whitson

commented on Aug 7, 2007

Great sermon and illustrations.

Keith Elliott

commented on Aug 17, 2007

I thought your humor was a little too much in the beginning. Your seven points were exceptional.

Revd Dr P. Frederick Sathia Samuel

commented on Oct 20, 2007

This Sermon makes the Church a missional and meaningful.Let us take a pledge to rekindle the fire of the Church back once again!

Shane Lewis

commented on Jan 19, 2008

Jerry, God has given you a tremendous gift of balance in your preaching content. It is my privilege to count you as my friend. Great sermon!

Anthony Skala

commented on Oct 11, 2010

Your Comments As a former pastor of a small country church I take exception to your humor. Even though the church was small they did big things to serve the community it was in.

Charles Harelson

commented on Jan 14, 2011

Your my kind of preacher, truefull and honest. The points don''t hurt if you sitting in the right place. Thanks Jerry

Hal Tevebaugh

commented on Mar 15, 2011

Jerry, as usual your sermon was excellent. Your 7 points, humor, stories, everything...keep up the great work my friend!!!

Darryl Klassen

commented on Apr 21, 2011

The early church would not have been considered "great" in Paul''s estimation. Why else would he write to them about a man sleeping with his step mom, eating idol meat, sexual immorality, divisions in the church, taking each other to court. As my seminary prof said, people should stop lifting up the NT church as the ideal because it was nowhere near perfect.

Darryl Klassen

commented on Apr 21, 2011

The early church would not have been considered "great" in Paul''s estimation. Why else would he write to them about a man sleeping with his step mom, eating idol meat, sexual immorality, divisions in the church, taking each other to court. As my seminary prof said, people should stop lifting up the NT church as the ideal because it was nowhere near perfect.

Darin Gary

commented on May 1, 2011

Bro. Jerry - This sermon will have its place in Sermon Central Hall of Fame. I''m so glad you began with a Church needing to know its purpose. This is why many Churches do not minister for Jesus any longer.

Darin Gary

commented on May 1, 2011

Bro. Jerry - This sermon will have its place in Sermon Central Hall of Fame. I''m so glad you began with a Church needing to know its purpose. This is why many Churches do not minister for Jesus any longer.

Anonymous

commented on May 13, 2011

As an active member of a very small rural church in WV, the comments made are insulting to the multiple thousands that serve for years in their communities. Our church of 26 (read that means less than 6 actually work!)regularly run outreaches that touch over 300 people in our community. The points may be good, but generalizations are never.

Jerry Shirley

commented on May 14, 2011

The opening joke played well at my church because we are regular ''country folk'', blue collar. It may be offensive in some venues...

William Bray

commented on Jul 26, 2014

I'm bringing the discussion back to life! The joke was funny then, and still funny now! Great sermon, and though the NT church of Paul's time, was not the greatest, something tells me they are still a usable example to get the point across, I really enjoy your sermons and insights Bro. Jerry, if your still with us, then keep up the good work!

Gene Fredette

commented on Jan 20, 2015

Good lesson. As for the negative comments here, "the hit dog will always howl"

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