Summary: This is the second message in a series of five seeking to answer the question....."Why On Earth Does The Church Exist ?"
Why On Earth Does The Church Exist ? Part 2
Last Sunday we began a five part message on Why Does The Church Exist ?
The first word we used last week in a effort to answer our question was....”glorify”. The church exists to glorify God. This morning I want us to look at another work in answer to the question.....the word this morning is “Gather”. The church exists to glorify...and to gather !
The very word “church” itself comes from the greek word “ecclesia”, and is synom. with the Hebrew word “kahal”....both meaning “an assembly” or “congregation”. The word “kahal” in the O.T. was used to refer to the congregation of Israel. In the N.T. “ecclesia” is the word used to describe the “assembly of the saints of God”.
This morning I want us to look at one of the gatherings of the early church, and the events that unfolded ! Perhaps God will do the same here this morning !
1. The Prayers Were Said. Acts 4:31
A minister dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy who’s dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket and jeans.
Saint Peter says to the guy, “Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?”
The guy replies, “I`m Joe Cohen, taxi-driver, of New York City.”
Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the taxi- driver, “Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The taxi-driver goes into Heaven with his robe and staff, and it`s the minister`s turn. He stands erect and booms out, “I am Joseph Snow, pastor of Saint Mary`s for the last forty-three years.”
Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the minister, “Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“Just a minute,” says the minister. “That man was a taxi-driver, and he gets a silken robe and golden staff. I get a simple cotton robe and wooden staff. How can this be?”
“Up here, we work by results,” says Saint Peter. “While you preached, people slept; but while this guy drove, people prayed.”
Prayer is a powerful tool !
It has been said before that “prayer is to the soul what breathing is to the body.” You know what happens to a body that doesn’t breath. It dies !
It is no doubt true that the same can be said for a church that does not pray.....there will be no life....no vitality.....no energy.....no excitement.....no enthusiam.......a church that is not willing to pray both as individuals......and as a church will die !
John Hyde was a missionary to India during the 1800’s and early 1900’s. He earned the nickname of “Praying Hyde” because of the diligence in which he prayed. It was not unusual for him to spend hours on his face praying and at times he prayed through the night.
Pengwern Jones recalls the prayer life of John Hyde. “He was always on his knees when I went to bed, and on his knees long before I was up in the morning, though I was up with the dawn. He would also light the lamp several times in the night, and feast on some passages of the Word, and then have a little talk with the Master. He sometimes remained on his knees the whole day.
What moved Praying Hyde to pray with such fervency ? God had spoken to his heart earlier that “the church was not up to Bible standards.”
2. The Place Was Shaken.
The result of their praying is a “mighty move of God.” The place being shaken is physical evidence of the presence of God. Prayers move God.....and God moves places.....and people ! Oh....I would to God that he would shake us this morning........I would that he would shake us out of our coldness......our callousness.......our complacency ! What the world needs is to see a move of God at the house of God ! But it want happen unless we the people of God are willing to pray !
3. The Power was Supplied.
.....”they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.....”
The Spirit of God is no respecter of persons ! If we will make ourselves available, if we will set ourselves apart........God the Spirit will fill us !
God supplied the power that the early church needed ! The power to face persecution, to overcome opposition, and most of the power to be effective, courageous witnesses for him. In our modern day, we have all kinds of programs, and plans........we’ve seminars, and seminary, but the one thing that we need the most is to be filled with the Spirit of Almighty God !