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The Message Spreads

Acts: Christ Builds His Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Pre-sermon: Eph. 4:11-13

Intro:

AG:
TS : This passage records the power of God in the early church on full display. God blessed the apostles with power an boldness (just as they had asked in ch 4. The infant church had God’s power confirming their message:
He was working signs and wonders through the apostles.
He was even healing those in Peter’s shadow
People must have heard of Ananias and Sapphira by their reaction
RS: Through it all, we can see aspects in the life of the early church which we can apply today.
He still answers prayers. While many of the signs and wonders have ceased, we all know of miracles which God has worked.
We also know that much we take for granted is also His handiwork.
such as people repenting, transformed lives, etc
Acts 5:12–16 NKJV
And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

1. A Unified Church

Acts 5:12 NKJV
And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.
Have you noticed how many times God speaks through Luke to remind us of this?
Acts 1:14 NKJV
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
Acts 2:1 NKJV
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Acts 2:44 NKJV
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,
Acts 4:32 NKJV
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
When God repeats Himself, it is important!
Here we see the emphasis was on the condition of Unity.
One of the traits of a healthy church is unity!
But what does that mean?
Brandon Cox, blogger and church planter in Arkansas discussed kinds of unity seen in healthy churches.
Relational Unity
The bond of love of which we often sing
The ability to get along in this body is vital to the health of the church
God brings us together from diverse backgrounds and makes us family
Spiritual Unity
We share the same Spirit and He is leading us as a body
He place us here for a reason:
1 Corinthians 12:13 NKJV
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Doctrinal Unity
i. We can get along if we agree together about such issues as:
The nature of the church as Christ’s body on earth.
The nature of the Holy Spirit as fully God.
There is always hope for eternity because of Jesus.
Jesus is the risen King and Lord.
There is one and only one way to approach God – by faith.
There is only one meaning of baptism – our identification with Christ.
There is only one God.
He is sovereign. He is omnipresent. He is alive forevermore.
Missional Unity
“There is a missional unity that can be enjoyed by the local church when we see ourselves collectively as a community of redeemed sinners sharing the task of loving other broken sinners to healing in a truth-teaching, Christ-centered church family.” Brandon Cox
We grow:
Larger through evangelism.
Broader through ministry.
Stronger through worship.
Warmer through fellowship.
Deeper through discipleship.
We must cherish and guard the unity of the church!

2. A Respected Church

Acts 5:13 NKJV
Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.
The first church of Jerusalem was a respected church.
I see 2 things here to suggest that they were respected:
They were feared
people feared the deadly potential of joining the church
Ananias and Sapphira's story was probably well known.
They feared the power of God on display in judgment
The church wasn’t without strings
the message to Repent was meant!
The thought of joining with the church was not taken lightly
it was great power on display
but it obviously was great accountability
the church wasn’t like the Pharisees they were used to seeing
a lot of talk about righteousness, but sin was still present
Sin had led to instant death!
People still fear/hate/resent the message of holiness
The amazing unity could also be intimidating
They were into each other’s business,
The members had to really open up to each other
that puts us in a place of vulnerability!
We can’t hide behind our masks and be this close at the same time.
They were esteemed
They had a good reputation among the people
They were held in high regard at this point in history
A lame beggar had been healed!
They were a unified body
They cared for and met each others needs
The church was a place were people were treated equally regardless of background.
slaves, free, men, women, and people from all walks of life were accepted
This was attractive and respected by the crowds
it opened the door for more to hear the gospel
Our church’s reputation is important
I’m not advocating a PR campaign and compromising things to get good poll numbers in town.
I’m talking about what people’s impression is of us in general
are we sincere
are we caring
are we welcoming
As I first starting meeting people in town I learned a lot about Craft
a. we are well known
b. many have attended here
c. They speak favorably
I’m sure there may be some who say otherwise, but in general, this church has a good reputation.
We did win the “Best church “ readers choice award!
However, we must guard that!
if we let ourselves become too inwardly focused, if we start bickering and fighting, We will be known for all the wrong reasons

3. A Growing Church

Acts 5:14 NKJV
And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,
As a healthy church, God blessed them with growth.
He was calling people to repentance and there were being saved and added to the church.
There were multitudes who heard the gospel witness, gladly believed, and joined the church.
God had been multiplying their number since the anointing by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
Notice the common factors:
1. The gospel was being preached
We must proclaim the Gospel:
Paul summarized it in 1 Cor. 15 as Jesus! His death, resurrection, and ascension.
That is the message we are to carry to our friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc
Like Paul, may we all say:
Romans 1:16 NKJV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
We must proclaim the gospel:
look for chances to share your faith
Bring God into your life every day
Mention your latest Bible study, testify of answered pryaer, pray with people
Put the word of God out there
Jesus: parable of the sower
2. Believers were living what they believed
They acted on their faith!
met needs, fellowshipped with each other, loved each other, boldly witnessed
They were genuine and not hypocritical
WE spoke much of this in our last point
People respect genuiness
This opened more doors for ministry

Conclusion:

My prayer is that the same can be said of Craft Baptist Church
Let us be a unified Church
Let us continue to be a Respected Church
Let us do all in our power to be a Growing Church
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