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Developing A New Community

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Developing A Community

Notes & Transcripts

Introduction:

At the height of the Cold War, Billy Graham visited Russia to meet with their political and religious leaders. Many conservatives in the US criticized him for not taking a more prophetic role. One accused him of setting the church back 50 years. Graham responded, "I am deeply ashamed. I have been trying very hard to set the church back 2,000 years" (Philip Yancey, What's So Amazing About Grace?, 264).
At the height of the Cold War, Billy Graham visited Russia to meet with their political and religious leaders. Many conservatives in the US criticized him for not taking a more prophetic role. One accused him of setting the church back 50 years. Graham responded, "I am deeply ashamed. I have been trying very hard to set the church back 2,000 years" (Philip Yancey, What's So Amazing About Grace?, 264).
At the height of the Cold War, Billy Graham visited Russia to meet with their political and religious leaders. Many conservatives in the US criticized him for not taking a more prophetic role. One accused him of setting the church back 50 years. Graham responded, "I am deeply ashamed. I have been trying very hard to set the church back 2,000 years" (Philip Yancey, What's So Amazing About Grace?, 264).
It's pretty easy in studying the First Century Acts Church and wonder what it would have been like to worship God during that time. I mean the Apostels were there preaching not only from the Bible but from first hand knowledge.
Early Church Had Problems too
In doing this though we can never forget that they also had their problems. Can you imagine being the planter of the first church ever. Paul wrote to the churches at Rome, Corinthians, Ephesus, Galatia, and others to lift exhort them in love and also to address problems within the churches. One thing is certain tho they had a relationship with God. Being a christian isn’t taking a nostalgic step backwards in time and remembering the good old days, you know those glorious days of the past. We should, however, take frequent glances back at how the early church related to God, one other, and the world. We find a beautiful picture of how the church, with all its imperfections, can be a community like no other.
The church is the only cooperative society in the world that exist for the benefit of its non-members. William Temple Archbishop of Canterbury
Let's take a look back at three postures of the early church: unity, devotion to the word, and evangelism.

Background:

Power of the resurrection
We talked about the power of the resurrection last week. How in the garden at Calvary Jesus resurrection turned back everything that had led to sin in the garden of Eden. Jesus appeared to the Apostles and others in his resurrected state speaking to them of things pertaining to the Kingdom of Heaven and showing them infallible proofs of who He is for the next forty days. Right before His ascension He was with His Disciples at the mount of Olivet Jesus sent His Disciples back to the upper room in Jerusalem and told them to wait there for the Holy Spirit the promise of the Father. He then ascended into Heaven.
One Accord
On the fiftieth day after the Passover feast is the Celebration of Pentecost. On that day the church consisted of 120 members that included the 11 Apostles, they cast lots and appointed a twelveth Mathias who replaced Judas. As they waited in the upper room on that day the Bible says something remarkable was going on it says they were gathered together in one accord. Most of the time when my family is together we can’t decide what we want for lunch.
Imagine that, They were gathered together sharing the same heart, the same love for God, the same trust in His promise, and in the same place geographically. Can you imagine what can be accomplished under those circumstances to be in one accord.
These Disciples were gathered together realizing their emptiness: by their gathering together for prayer, in obedience to what Jesus told them to do, they recognized in themselves they didn’t have the resources to do what they need to do or what they should do; they had to rely 100% on the work of God.
Sudden Mighty Rushing Wind
Then suddenly there came a sound from heaven a mighty rushing wind and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They waited in obedience, they didn’t know when it would happen, and it was powerful. So powerful in fact that these men who before had been in hiding began to speak in tongues and miraculously were understood by what the Bible describes were people of every nation under the heavens, and the people were amazed because they recognized that the disciples were Galilean.
Peters Salvation Message
Peter then preaches what can only be described as the first Holy Spirit filled God ordained salvation message ever to be heard. In this message Peter explained that Jesus Christ who they witnessed God did miracles through, who they arrested, who they crucified, and put to death overcame it and was resurrected.
One of the most interesting things about the message of the Apostles they didn’t preach Jesus on the cross, they preached Jesus resurrected, alive and the power of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles preached that not only is the cross empty so is the tomb. He is alive.
It says in:
Acts 2:37–39 NKJV
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Acts 2:37-
The weight of their guilt sin
These people were cut to the heart they could feel the weight of their guilt, they knew what Peter had said was true, they had Jesus arrested, they had Him tried, they had Him crucified, and He died. They felt the weight of their sin and accepted responsibility for their actions, they became accountable and said what shall we do? I’m pretty sure this wasn’t an in different so what now what should we do. I believe it was a cry of desperation what should we do?
Peter says quite simply REPENT and be Baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins. Then Peter tells them of the promise, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Which brings us to today's scripture:
Peters message was about the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ to the right hand of God the Father. In the message he accused the crowd of delivering the Son of God an innocent man to be tried, crucified, and put to death. Peter then tells them the good news but God raised Him up.
The Bible says when they heard this they were cut to the heart. The crowd then asks what shall we do and Peter said repent and be baptized.

Scriptures: Acts 2:41-47

If you have your Bibles please open them to:

Scriptures: Acts 2:41-47

Acts 2:41–47 NKJV
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 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, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Matthew 20:20–28 NKJV
20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” 22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” 23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Matt 20
-48

Churches Unity: ,

Peters First Salvation Message
Talk about setting the bar for your ministry high Peter gives his first salvation message and 3000 people received the word and were saved. Then it says they were baptized. As a Pastor I can’t even imagine 3000 people giving their lives to Jesus in one message let alone then baptizing them. In a single day the first church went from about 120 to 3120. 3000 were added to their number that day, wow. We seat about 150.
Radically Changed Identities
That is only the half of it. These new believers immediately began to devote themselves to each other. The truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ radically changed their identities, the way they looked at their possessions, and the way they spent time. They were transformed into a new people,with a new devotion, to a brand new community. This new found compassion, humility, joy, mercy, and devotion could only be attributed to the power of the Holy Spirit working through the message of the resurrected savior.
Community Relationship
This description of unity in the body is a radical change from an individual relationship with God. Many believers make a sharp distinction between their relationship with God and with the church. This passage doesn’t give us that luxury. When God saves us, personal devotion to His community isn’t an option. Christians have to have a healthy unity with community.
I gave
Sanctification is a community project! God intended His people, His children to look to one another for encouragement in the Gospel :
Colossians 3:16–17 NKJV
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
We look to each other for exhortation to endure:
Colossians 3:16–18 NKJV
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Hebrews 3:12–13 NKJV
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Heb 3:
We are to selflessly bear the burdens others face:
Galatians 6:2 NKJV
2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
We live in a me society it’s hard but we can’t give in. We have to constantly fight and resist the me mentality by putting our brothers and sisters before us.
How does this apply to me today
So what is your attitude towards the church?
What is your attitude towards the church?
Are church attendance, financial giving, Sunday school, and other types of involvement important to you?
How can you be a blessing to the local church community, how can you be more involved?
Are your brothers and sisters in Christ a priority in your prayers and time?

Churches Devotion: , 46-47

This new community experienced God deeply. They devoted themselves to the teachings of the apostles. This would have included teachings on how Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection fulfilled the prophecy’s of the Old Testament:
Colossians 3:16 NKJV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Churches Devotion To Teaching: ,

Churches Devotion To Teaching: ,

Churches Devotion To Teaching: ,

This new community experienced God deeply. They devoted themselves to the teachings of the apostles. This would have included teachings on how Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection fulfilled the prophecy’s of the Old Testament:
Luke 24:27 NKJV
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Jesus taught the Apostles all things including the prophecy’s about Himself. In teaching them these things they also learned about Israel, through His life, death, and resurrection. They also experienced awe and wonder at the works of signs and wonders done by God through the Apostles in the world. Finally we learn from the rest of Acts how much the church prayed, praised, worshipped, and celebrated God’s power and presence in their midst.
This could be considered a warning to the church to always protect their attitude towards God. It’s possible for a church to go through a whole year of sermons, services, and Bible studies and never really experience God.
This could be considered a warning to the church to always protect their attitude towards God. It’s possible for a church to go through a whole year of sermons, services, and Bible studies and never really experience God.
1 Peter 2:2 NKJV
2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
Long for Jesus
Many people interpret this verse as saying Long for the word of God like an infant longs for milk. This is usually used in sermons to get people to increase their efforts towards morning Bible studies and devotions. But Peter is saying to long for Jesus not just the Bible. He is not saying get into the word He is saying to crave Jesus like a baby craves and needs milk, Jesus should be sought after like a need.
1 Peter 2:3 NKJV
3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1 peter 2
They have experienced Jesus and Peter encourages them to pursue Him and continue to experience His presence.
That is the same encouragement we have to give one another in all circumstances.
Devoted to fellowship
There devotion didn’t stop there. The teachings taught them to be devoted to fellowship also. This was expressed in the holding of all things in common. They looked at everything they had as belonging to God. They also shared meals together in their houses. Acts of charity still mark out the church today.
Psalm 34 NKJV
A Psalm of David When He Pretended Madness Before Abimelech, Who Drove Him Away, and He Departed. 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. 6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. 10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. 11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. 20 He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. 21 Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. 22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.
Devoted to breaking bread
They were also devoted to the breaking of bread. In the way this was written it seems to be more sacramental to specify Communion or The Lords Supper, later in the same scriptures it says they broke bread from house to house with gladness and simplicity of heart this seems to be more informal.
Ps
They also devoted themselves to prayer.
How does this apply to me:
So is there anything that currently hinders you in your pursuit of God? How often do you get together with others and pray over each others needs? In what ways can our church better move towards God? How can we protect our passion and devotion for Him?

Churches Evangelism: Acts 2:47

Churches Evangelism:

Churches Evangelism:

One thing that I found strange is that in this text we are never told that they were devoted to evangelism. We can only conclude that it was their whole lifestyle that spoke the loudest to those outside of the community. It says awe came upon the people around them and signs and wonders continued at the hands of the Apostles. As they were praising God they had favor with all people. The other thing to remember is that all of this did occured after Peter’s sermon at Pentecost. Even with Peters sermon the Bible says that God added to the church daily, such as should be saved. Peter in obedience allowed God to use Him in the message of salvation. Peter had a burden for the lost.
Application:
Do you have a burden for non-Christians? Are there people in your life that do not believe the Gospel? Have you tried to share it with them?

Ending:

The early church even with it’s flaws, is a wonderful example for us today. They are a picture of Unity, Devotion, and Evangelism, and pose a challenge for the church today to try and emulate them. It all starts by examining these areas, then asking hard questions, and resting in the gospel to find the strength and motivation to fulfill them.
The church is a team unified coming together in one accord, devoted to each other for the furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ resurrected.
It struck me this week as a Pastor giving the message this week it was kind of important for me to be here. Here is my thought God teaches me a lesson, then gives the message because someone other than me needs to here it. So it is important for that person to be here. Here is the thing though it’s just as important for every one of you to be here on Sunday morning also because a spoken word from you may also be exactly what some one here this morning needed to hear. I've come to the conclusion that as important as a message is it’s not necessarily about the message. It’s about being there for each other as living examples of the word. And God will add to our numbers daily. Remember the cross is empty, so is the tomb, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior is alive and seated at the right hand of God the Father until He returns again.
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