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THREE CHARACTERISTICS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH

Acts 2:42‑47

Acts 2:41‑47  "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."


The Power that Jesus Christ had promised at His Ascension had now fully come. 

They had returned to Jerusalem as Jesus had told them to;  They prayed in agreement while waiting in an upper room, just as Jesus had told them to do.  In an event that forced the whole city to take notice, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter came and filled the small band of men and women in the upper room. 

It caused quite an uproar.  All different nationalities in Jerusalem each heard these Followers of Christ tell of the wonderful works of God.  Peter then preached his first sermon, defending these men and women to the crowds, proclaiming that the last days had truly come and that God had poured out His Spirit just as He said He would.  After hearing the first sermon of Peter, the Bible says that they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter, "Men, what do we need to do?" 


Peter then gives the first invitation after the ascension of Christ.

Acts 2:38‑39  "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

It was then that the Church as we know it was instituted.  About three thousand souls repented of their sins and were Baptized.  In our vernacular, they were Saved.


While there are many differences between Jerusalem some 2000 years ago and Clay Road Baptist Church today, there are some similarities.  There are some characteristics that were found then and should be found now in God's Church, the Body of Christ and here at Clay Road Baptist Church.

I.          THEY TOOK THE WORDS OF GOD SERIOUSLY.

Acts 2:41‑42  "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

They received the Words of God gladly.  A true Church, a true body of Believers does not just hear and listen to the Word.  They do not sit with wandering minds and closed hearts.  A true Church receives the Word of  God they hunger for it, welcome it, hold on to it, believe it,

practice it, and share it.


Not only did they gladly receive it, they Continued Steadfastly in these Truths.  This wasn't something that they did when they wanted to, when it was convenient.  They dedicated themselves to living out the Truth of the Words from God.

The Truth:  Continued Steadfastly in the Apostle's Doctrine.

The Tie:  Fellowship

The Table: The Lord's Supper ‑ The Early Disciples at once incorporated the Lord's Supper.

The Throne:  They continued steadfastly . . . in Prayers.

II.        THEY WERE UNITED AND UNSELFISH

Acts 2:44‑45  "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need."


The Early Church were a people who were together and who shared in ministry.

They were together in the same place because they were of the same call, mind and purpose.  They were united for a purpose.

John 17:23  "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."

John 17:23 (NIV)  "I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."


Ephesians 4:4‑6  "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

Some of the Believers sold their possessions and goods and used the money to minister to the poor and needy.  The point being, they were unselfish and the needs of  others were more important to them than their possessions.

III.       THEY LIVED CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLES ALL WEEK LONG

Acts 2:46‑47  "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."


They were a people who Worshipped and praised God every day.

They were Worshipping in the Temple, praying and attending the regular hours of Worship and Prayers.

They were worshipping in Homes, moving from home to home.  They were sharing together in fellowship meals and observing the Lords Supper, remembering the Lord's Death.

They were worshipping with gladness and singleness of heart.  Their hearts were soft and tender, easily touched and giving.  There was no selfishness or withholding on their part.  Where there was a need, they gave.

They were Praising God.

The results were twofold:  They gained favor with the people and the Lord added souls to the Church.


I. THEY TOOK THE WORDS OF GOD SERIOUSLY.

II.   THEY WERE UNITED AND UNSELFISH

III. THEY LIVED CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLES ALL WEEK LONG

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