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The First Church

Living Together Series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:03
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How do you form a habit?

When you want to form a habit, or learn to do something well, you do it over and over again.
Habit is what the Jews had and they called it “tradition” and tradition was keeping them out of the kingdom of God wasn’t it?
Well Jesus came and broke traditions and proclaimed what was coming (Mt16:18); but we need to keep in context (Mt16:15-18)
Matthew 16:18 NASB95
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
Matthew 16:15–16 NASB95
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16:17–18 NASB95
17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
(expand) - Christ proclaimed, Christ delivered, the church was born, the church that Christ built, or the Church of Christ, that belongs to Christ.
The church was born after receiving the spoken word from Peter and the others (Act2:41)
Acts 2:41 NASB95
41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.
The results left the people in awe (Act2:43)
Acts 2:43 NASB95
43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
Our text tonight is (Act2:42-47) and it is setting a new example, a new standard, a new habit for the church that Christ built. We are going to look at some of the characteristics of their devotion to the First Church.

I. Devoted to Apostles Doctrine

Acts 2:42 NASB95
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Jesus prayer was that people would believe and accept the apostles teaching (Jn13:20) when they fulfilled their commission (Mt28:20)
John 13:20 NASB95
20 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
Notice it says those I send,
Matthew 28:20 NASB95
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
They were not at it alone, they had the promised Helper to guide them (Jn16:12-13)
John 16:12–13 NASB95
12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
Not just guide them, but guide them into all TRUTH, and we know Jesus is the truth (Jn14:6) and Jesus only did what the Father told him and said what the Father said. So the truth that they proclaimed was not their Word but the Word of God.
Word from the Apostles was to be considered Word of God (1Cor14:37; 1the2:13-14)
1 Corinthians 14:37 NASB95
37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.
1 Thessalonians 2:13–14 NASB95
13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,
Now the question for us today is do we have the same type of devotion to the Apostles doctrine?
Too many today are being swayed by the world and not swaying the world to the teaching of Christ and His apostles. People wanting ears tickled (2Tim4:3) and have lost the fear of the Lord and obedience to Christ’s commands.
2 Timothy 4:3 NASB95
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
We need to heed to words of Christ and teaching of Apostles (Mt15:8-9; 2The2:15)
Matthew 15:8–9 NASB95
8 This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 9 But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ ”
Or as Paul said to the church at Thessolonica
2 Thessalonians 2:15 NASB95
15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.
If we are to be the Church of Christ we need to emulate the things the things the church that was born in Jerusalem did. The first was the to the Apostles doctrine, the second like it fellowship (still v.42)

II. Devoted to fellowship (spiritual)

This was not really something new. Spiritual people were always eager to share spiritual things together (Psm122:1; Lk22:14-15; 1Jn1:3)
Psalm 122:1 NASB95
1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Coming together in fellowship in worship in the house of the Lord. To them the temple, to us a building God has blessed us with to gather in. To the early Christians it was in the synagogues and in the homes, but more on that at later time.
Luke 22:14–16 NASB95
14 When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Now the question arises what was fulfilled? The kingdom was fulfilled when the church was born on Pentecost in Jerusalem just as Jesus said. And each time we celebrate the Lords supper we are fellowshipping with the Lord.
1 John 1:3 NASB95
3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
The Apostles were teaching what they had seen, what they had heard and in that we may have fellowship with with the Father and with Jesus. We have spiritual fellowship when we meet together in the assembly.
Spiritual fellowship is vital for spiritual health (Heb10:24-25)
Hebrews 10:24–25 NASB95
24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
(below not on a slide, don’t put on a slide)
To stimulate on another with purpose (love, good deeds)
To encourage one another
So the next question is do we have this type of devotion to spiritual fellowship?
We cannot let things hinder us from our spiritual fellowship time together. We cannot allow the world and its pressures to keep us from this vital spiritual thing that is needed to sustain a healthy spiritual body.
Jesus spoke of this regarding keeping priorities (Mt6:33)
Matthew 6:33 NASB95
33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
This, the first church, the devoted church to the teaching, to the fellowship was also devoted to the breaking of bread (Act2:42, still)

III. Devoted to Breaking of Bread

When you think of fellowship, you think of sharing with one another and that is what we do when we share the Lord’s Supper (1Cor10:16)
1 Corinthians 10:16 NASB95
16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?
Jesus set the example for us and you can read on that (1Cor11:23-24; Act20:7)
1 Corinthians 11:23–24 NASB95
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Do this in remembrance of ME! (Expand on this)
Now knowing our congregation and how we follow the pattern set (Act20:7) we are devoted to it. Sadly many churches are not devoted to it at all, for they think it is ritualistic or common. There is nothing common about it, it is fellowship with God and one another, we should be devoted to it.
I know it may be hard to believe still not out of (v.42) - bringing us to the next thing we should be devoted to - - - Prayer

IV. Devoted to Prayer

Devoted to pray (Lk11:1-4); encouraged not to loose heart (LK18:1-8)
We pray through our Great High Priest now (Heb4:14-16)
Hebrews 4:14–15 NASB95
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:16 NASB95
16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(below not on a slide)
Notice what we have and what we can do
We have a great high priest
Come confidently to the throne of grace
May we be devoted to
Pray Fervently (1The5:17)
Pray Frequently (Col4:2)
I don’t think we touched on (v.43) yet.
Acts 2:43 NASB95
43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
First church, born in Jerusalem had sense of awe (v.43) - may we have a sense of awe when we gather together as the church body
Let us never take this devotion lightly this is a part of our spiritual act of worship and we should be wholly and Holy devoted to it.
Now we will actually move on to other things they were devoted to in our passage tonight

V. Devoted to love for each other

Acts 2:44–45 NASB95
44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.
Act2:4
Acts 2:46 NASB95
46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,
They were devoted to one another and had all things in common (v.44; also see Act4:32-35)
Act4:32-35 is another good example that they were of one heart, one soul, one mind so in other words of one accord.
Jesus spoke of the signs of true discipleship (Jn13:34-35)
John 13:34–35 NASB95
34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
May we display this kind of devotion
Fervent love for one another (1Pt1:22)
1 Peter 1:22 NASB95
22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
In loving one another be willing to sacrifice for one another (1Jn3:16-17)
1 John 3:16–17 NASB95
16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
1 John 3:16–17 NASB95
16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
Serve one another, share with one another, not close off our heart to one another. I mentioned serving and really that is the next point.
Serve one another, share with one another, not close off our heart to one another. I mentioned serving and really that is the next point.

VI. Devoted to Service (daily)

Acts 2:46 NKJV
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
Act
Acts 2:46 NKJV
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
Acts 2:46 NASB95
46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,
otN
Day by day (Act2:46)
Not once a week, or even twice, but daily
Take this and maybe that is why we see increase (Act2:47)
Acts 2:47 NASB95
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
May we love one another, serve one another, daily (Heb3:12-14)
Hebrews 3:12–13 NASB95
12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:14 NASB95
14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,
It is easy to see the devotion they had, and how that promoted the unity of the body, not that they did not have problems, for they did, just like we may. but we should
Not allow any divisions (1Cor1:10)
Be diligent in preserving the unity (Eph4:1-3)
We should maintain the same love, united in Spirit (Php2:1-2)
Finally, be harmonious . . . (1Pt3:8)
1 Corinthians 1:10 NASB95
10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Ephesians 4:1–3 NASB95
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Philippians 2:1–2 NASB95
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
1 Peter 3:8 NASB95
8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
We could go on more but w
Actions of the first church, the church that Christ built, that was born in Jerusalem as promised and empowered by the Spirit has gone forth and we are results of that. May we go forth to and be the church and practice the things of the first church so we may see the results the first church had.
(Lead to Invitation/ Insert Invitation Slide)
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