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So we’ve been looking at church revitalization. Revitalization is something that is needed in a church that has existed for a for decades. Over the course of time a church sort of loses its focus. It loses its purpose and direction.
What revitalization does, is it helps the church sort of go back to the vital areas or to go back to the heart of the church and its purpose.
And so we’ve been asking ourselves…or rather we’ve been being assessed by the Great Physician, concerning our condition.
Some of the questions that we’ve asked so far is:
Are we governed increasingly by God’s Word?
In the following weeks we’ll look at questions like:
Are we more loving?
Are we more loving?
Are we more sensitive to God’s presence?
Are we more sensitive to God’s presence?
Do we have a growing concern for the Spiritual and Temporal needs of others?
Do we have a growing concern for the Spiritual and Temporal needs of others?
As the life of a church passes through time some of these major, life lines to a church body begin to be cut off.
Do we delight in the bride of Christ?
For if you’ve had ministers that saw the church like a business and weren’t so much concerned with the authority of Scripture in the life of a church, chances are you were led down a road of pragmatism.
Are the Spiritual disciplines increasingly important to us?
Are the Spiritual disciplines increasingly important to us?
If it works, it must be of God (whether it’s biblical or not is irrelevant because look at all these people here! It must be of God!!
Do we still grieve over sin?
Do we still grieve over sin?
If there’s been a younger congregation, chances are there wasn’t really the commitment to holiness and perhaps were bit worldly.
Are we quick to forgive?
Are we quick to forgive?
Or if there’s been an older congregation, chances are there are a lot of traditions that have become idols that we sin to get or sin if we don’t get them.
Do we yearn for heaven and to be with Jesus?
Do we yearn for heaven and to be with Jesus?
And in all the shuffle of all these different paradigms, some of the life lines of the church dry up.
Who’s in charge here? (Authority)
Who’s in charge here? (Authority)
If we stop the pragmatism and began to have a concern that we’re not really being governed by God’s Word, that’s a problem that leaves long term consequences.
Who is the congregation following? (Leadership)
Who is the congregation following? (Leadership)
If there’s worldliness in the church, they’ll not be tolerating preaching against sin!
To whom are you accountable? (Membership)
To whom are you accountable? (Membership)
If traditionalism is dominating the church, then they’ll be many-a-problem when we start to push for making disciples.
Who is your brother or sister? (Unity)
Who is your brother or sister? (Unity)
And of these changes are really a getting back to the book and living for Christ in 2018, seeking to maintain biblical fidelity and yet being winsome to the lost culture around us!
Why do we gather together? (Worship)
Why do we gather together? (Worship)
So as God’s Word marches in the forefront and probes around us tonight we’re asked:
Does First Baptist Church of Roselawn have a growing concern for the Spiritual and Temporal needs of others?
What would happen if the government shrunk and no longer gave out food stamps and the churches stopped giving to the food pantry.
What would happen to the area churches?
We’d be flooded with a whole slew of people with a lot of temporal needs.
Are we able to love one another enough to be concerned for the needs that people have in our church body?
We are surrounded with a culture that gets a lot of their temporary needs met through some type of government assistance.
If that were take from them, are we as a church ready and willing to open up our bowels of mercy?
Let’s consider for a moment the heart of Christ. Remember to catch a glimpse of Christ is to see God and His heart.
36 "When he saw the crowds, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd.” ()
sheep without a shepherd is OT imagery for a lack of a good king to lead and protect them. Everyone needs the Good Shepherd, Jesus who saves and gathers His sheep (, ).
There was a lack of a
14 "When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd, had compassion on them, and healed their sick.” ()
This is the tension isn’t it Renfrow’s? We feel the need to get away and seek the Lord in quietness, yet there are needs all around us.
But contrast the disciples’ wish in v15, “Send the crowds away...” With Jesus’ reaction (v14).
vv32-37 we see a picture of the believer’s sharing their possessions.
This is another summary statement of the growth and witness of the church (see 2:42–47 and note). While mentioning the apostles’ powerful witness (v. 33), this focuses primarily on the community’s unity and generosity with one another (vv. 32–35). The positive example of Barnabas (vv. 36–37) and the negative one of Ananias and Sapphira (5:1–11) illustrate this.
33 "With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them. 34 "For there was not a needy person among them because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of what was sold,” ()
Carson, D. A. (2015). The Gospels and Acts. In D. A. Carson (Ed.), NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (p. 2225). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.33 "With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them. 34 "For there was not a needy person among them because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of what was sold,” ()
33 "With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them. 34 "For there was not a needy person among them because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of what was sold,” ()
As we love Christ above all, so we love His likeness in others. So we love believers above outward things. And if a brother or sister is in need, we are going to part with something in order to help. (,,,)
This sincere love for others is a wonderful sign of our spiritual condition.
14 "We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love remains in death.” ()
How is love defined? Action and in the context of 1 John it’s sacrifice. Listen...
16 "This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 "If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him—how does God’s love reside in him?” ()
Despite the fact that the crowds had interrupted some much needed rest and time to grieve John’s death (vv. 29–31),
Jesus was deeply moved with love for them in their spiritual need and so gave them the Word (teach them many things).
34 "When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.” ()
34 "When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.” ()
v34 Shows us the tender heart of Christ. His compassion is both spiritual and temporal.
His compassion is towards their souls and their bodies because they hadn’t eaten in a while so He feeds them with five loaves and two fishes.
And if the compassion of professing Christians towards others does not work in the same ways, it is a sign that it is no true Christian compassion.
35 "When it grew late, his disciples approached him and said, “This place is deserted, and it is already late. 36 "Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.”” ()
Edwards, J. (1996). A treatise concerning religious affections: in three parts ... (p. 174). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
• The disciples’ heart was, “Send them away. We’re weary.”
• Jesus’ heart is, “Come unto Me, all you who are weary.”
I relate to the disciples—but I long to be more like Jesus.
37 "“You give them something to eat,” he responded. They said to him, “Should we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”” ()
Jesus says, “You saw the need. You meet the need,” wanting to partner with them in faith.
Jesus knew His disciples had no means of providing food for such a large group, and so
Jesus knew His disciples had no means of providing food for such a large group, and so
He prompted them to seek all they needed from His all-sufficiency.
38 "He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”” ()
“I can’t do that,” we say. “I don’t have those kinds of gifts or money.” We have all the reasons why nothing can be done. Jesus, however, takes no regard for what we lack. Rather He asks what we have.
Now we’re seeing again, a kingdom principle. How can a zealous few do anything that would effect Roselawn and abroad?
Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 248). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Now we’re seeing again, a kingdom principle. How can a zealous few do anything that would effect Roselawn and abroad?
To God,
a few loaves and fish are not too little to feed thousands (),
a stone is not too small to slay a giant (), and
and
a company of three hundred is not too few to slay an army of tens of thousands ().
27 "Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 28 "God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, 29 "so that no one may boast in his presence.” ()
If we believe God’s promise that such means are not frail but mighty through God,
devoting ourselves to using them with all faith,
diligence, and
self-denial,
then we will receive the grace to put off our lukewarmness and be set ablaze with sacred zeal.
Read vv39-44.
39 "Then he instructed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 "So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 "He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.” ()
Blessing and breaking always precede true feeding.
Many times in the life of the disciples we see that the Father will allows their lives to be blessed and broken, blessed and broken, blessed and broken before He will use them to nourish anyone else.
It’s the same with us...
Beeke, J. R., & La Belle, J. A. (2012). Living Zealously with Study Questions (p. 130). Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books.
42 "Everyone ate and was satisfied.
Five loaves and two fish provided more than enough food for several thousand people, a sign that His grace was sufficient to enable His disciples to minister to the needs of man.
43 "They picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish.
Perhaps each of the apostles was carrying a visible reminder of His power.
44 "Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.” ()
= 44 "Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.” ()
John gives us further insight when he says that, following the feeding of the five thousand, some of the men tried to take Jesus by force to make Him king ().
But their priority was wrong. They saw Jesus as being the king of the material in a physical kingdom.
Jesus, however, departed from them because His kingdom is spiritual and eternal.
How easily we make this same mistake.
Being so caught up in what is happening presently rather than seeing the big picture eternally, we want the Lord to comfort us now, to provide for us now, to heal us now.
While the Lord is indeed a Comforter, a Provider, a Healer, those are not His highest priorities.
The priority of God is not our present comfort, but our eternal state.
Therefore, He will allow us to suffer presently—be it physically, emotionally, or financially—if that is what it takes to enrich us eternally.
Beeke, J. R., Barrett, M. P. V., & Bilkes, G. M. (Eds.). (2014). The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible (p. 1425). Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books. 43 "They picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish. 44 "Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.” ()
Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 249). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Beeke, J. R., & La Belle, J. A. (2012). Living Zealously with Study Questions (p. 130). Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books.
Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 248). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
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