Faithlife Sermons

Untitled Sermon (7)

We Are The Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Big Idea of the Message: Salvation be based on a personal relationship with Jesus, but our faith must be lived out in community with other believers.
Text:
Topic: Community, Commitment, the Church, Isolation
Big Idea of the Message: Our faith must be based on a personal relationship with Jesus, but we can’t do it alone; we must pursue genuine community with other believers.
Application Point: Rather than seeing church as something we attending , we must be personally connected to a christian community AKA a local church
Hebrews 10:19–25 ESV
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Sermon Ideas and Talking Points:
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1.
“first rule of the safari is this, always stay with the group!” The same rule applies to believers. If we become isolated, we weaken ourselves and become more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy.
The devil is like a lion, looking for someone to devour (see ). This video shows how lions like to hunt by isolating a target: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/worlds-deadliest/deadliest-lions-zebra?source=relatedvideo. As the video say, the (see 1:38 in the video). The same rule applies to believers. If we become isolated, we weaken ourselves and become more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. [Note to the Pastor: This video contains violence within nature, as a lion hunts and kills and eats its prey, so be sure to preview it for appropriateness in your setting. Also, make sure you have permission to play this video to your congregation.]
American individualism has emphasized a personal relationship with God to the point that many people who call themselves Christians think community, walking together in life-to-life accountability, is an optional part of the Christian Faith.
5. Point your congregation to connect to a small group in a clear and easy way; for example, you might provide a handout with group leaders’ names, meeting places and times, and contact information.
But intentional Christian community is a nonnegotiable part of being a healthy and effective believer.
John Wesley said, “Christianity is not a religion for solitude and solitary. The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion”
American individualism has emphasized a personal relationship with God to the point that many people who call themselves Christians think community, walking together in life-to-life accountability, is optional. But intentional Christian community is a nonnegotiable part of being a healthy and effective believer. “Christianity is not a religion for solitude and solitary. The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion” - John Wesley.
- John Wesley. said, Christianity is not a religion for solitude and solitary. The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion”
They are lifted out to be fed and they infrequently have their diapers changed. There is no real physical contact with other humans, especially any of the cuddling and holding that babies need to develop normally. Some of the children actually died not of starvation but of lack of love… they just gave up…
When we are born again we are meant to be born into a family of believers that can nurture us, love us, feed, us and help us thrive in the faith.
John 3:3 ESV
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
But those who have survived continue to deal with dysfunction and have a very difficult time dealing with life as adults.[i] They don’t know how to express or receive love. They deal with loneliness and depression. Some simply can’t function at all.
When we are born again we are meant to be born into a family of believers that can nature us, love us, feed, us and help us thrive in the faith.
This morning we are continuing our series, WE ARE THE CHURCH!
This morning we are continuing our series, WE ARE THE CHURCH!
We need to understand that this same type of dysfunction can happen in our spiritual lives when we are isolated from other Christians… When we are born again we are meant to be born into a family of believers that can nature us, love us, feed, us and help us thrive in the faith.
We spent the past couple weeks talking about the Mission of the Church and the Gospel! Today I want to talk about Community!
Our Mission is to see peoples lives transformed by the love of the Gospel so they may experience salvation and wholeness in Jesus Christ. We see this from the very beginning of the church.
We see this from the very beginning of the church.
We see that mission being fulfilled by being a church that Worships Jesus, Builds Community and Engages our World!
So this morning I want to talk about the importance of Christian Community
If you have your Bible open up to Acts Chapter 2, If you don’t have your Bible the words will be on the screen!
LET’s PRAY!
(ESV)
Acts 2:42–47 ESV
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
(ESV)
Acts 2:42–47 ESV
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
What event has just taken place in Acts Chapter 2?
What event has just taken place in Acts Chapter 2?
What event has just taken place in Acts Chapter 2?
Pentecost…
Acts chapter 2:1-13, Holy Spirit came upon the church!
Peter preached a powerful message of repentance! And 3000 people repented and were baptized…
AND THE CHURCH WAS FORMED!
So everything we talk about today is based on the understanding that it all requires the power of the Holy Spirit… Human efforts in and of themselves do not build the Church… That passage tells us what the early church looked like… In essence is a vision of the early church!
Vision is diffrent than Mission… The Mission tells us what we do, the Vision discribes who we are… Vision gives us a picture!
Here at NCCF our full vision statement is:
To be a healthy Christ-centered community, led by the Holy Spirit, transforming our community by the power of the Gospel; meeting in LIFT groups for the care and discipling of one another; and convening together, in multiple campuses, weekly for biblical teaching and worship.
The most important piece of all this is that what we do must be led by the Holy Spirit!
The minute we begin to work out of our own power or just us try and build the church off of good ideas or marketing campaigns we are no longer building the church… even if it works!
So as we talk about building community this morning understand that all of this is based upon walking in step with the Holy Spirit… being a Christi centered community begins with Pentecost… it begins with being filled with the Spirit of God…
SO WITH THAT IN MIND: LET’S LOOK AT VS 42
Acts 2:42 ESV
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
In this one verse, we see four things that create biblical community! These are not the only things but they seem the 4 common attributes of Christian community.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
In this one verse, we see four things that create biblical community! These are not the only things but they seem the 4 common attributes of Christian community.
In this one verse, we see four things that create biblical community! These are not the only things but they seem the 4 common attributes of Christian community.
The idea that they devoted themselves covers all for activities…
They were devoted to the apostles teaching, they were devoted to the fellowship, they were devoted to the breaking of bread, and they were devoted to the prayers. They were faithful and devoted to this newly formed community.[ii]
So let’s unpack these 4 things:
1.) THE FIRST THING THEY WERE DEVOTED TO WAS THE APOSTLE’S TEACHING.
VS 42… And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…
Biblical Teaching is at the core of Christian Community… and it is one of our 4 Values here at NCCF.
Jesus spent a significant amount of time teaching His disciples… the great commission is twofold commission first to go and baptize… and then to teach!
Matthew 28:19–20 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(ESV)
Having appointed elders that teach God’s word has been at the center of Christian Community from it very beginning. Starting with Jesus, then the apostles and then those who were appointed in local churches to teach, by the Apostles and so on…
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Having appointed elders that teach God’s word has been at the center of Christian Community from it very beginning. Starting with Jesus, then the apostles and then those who were appointed in local churches to teach, by the Apostles and so on…
There are at least 72 verses in the New Testament that speak of Jesus or one of His disciples teaching…
There are even more verses that talk about the importance of teaching and what should be taught.
SO TEACHING IS AT THE CORE OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY…
Teaching in the context of a local church provides vision, instruction, and doctrine!
All three of which are critical to biblical community.
Any community, In order to function properly has to have a common vision, a common set of expectations, and someone to cast vision… It true of a business, its true of a club, it’s true of a family and it’s true of a church…
This is an important element of community… the gathering together for teaching!
It is something that we need to be devoted to…
Doug Murren commented in a blog post that many Christians today attend several different churches… but are not committed or devoted to any local church.
This is a problem in the church today…
Too many Christians are simply not devoted to a local church… let alone to the teaching of the local church.
Many Christians see the church as a provider of goods and services… We talked about this last week… It is the difference between a eating at a restaurant and having a family meal…
It is why when some is looking for a church it is called church shopping. As if the services a local church provides are something you can buy…
So in our culture if one church has a better youth group, and another a better children’s program and another a better preaching pastor… why not just send your kids to one church, your teens to another and then spend a Sunday at each of those churches and take a Sunday to go fishing.
I am not sure that is what it means to be devoted…
If you are a follower of Jesus… you need to find a local church where you can be devoted to the teaching of that church… Gathering together for teaching and worship is an important part of fellowship! It is part of building community!
Now I am not saying that you need to be in complete agreement or that you should not question the teaching of a local church… you should read your bible and make sure what is being taught lines up… it is OK to ask questions…
That said you need to be devoted to a local church, hopefully since you are here today you are devoted to NCCF.
So if you want to connected to community you need to be committed to Teaching, which means here at NCCF you need to be committed to a Weekly Worship Service where we regularly teach from the word of God and you need to be connected to a LIFT Group…
Because each of our LIFT groups have a teaching component.
We also provide opportunities in our Adult Sunday school classes and teaching for children and students. You need to be devoted to teaching…
But just spending an hour or two a week at church will not build community…
2.) THE SECOND THING THEY WERE DEVOTED TO WAS THE FELLOWSHIP
Fellowship is not having potlucks and playing bingo… Fellowship is about doing life together… it is about intimacy and trust… it is about caring for one another… it is about personal sacrifice for the good of the community…
Christian Fellowship is deeper than just a personal connection it is also a spiritual connection… Fellowship really refers to a unique connections that believers have with God and other Christians…
Fellowship is meant to be encompass everything from celebration to mourning… it something that takes place in each other’s homes… and in the market place…
Look at VS 46
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
Acts 2:46 ESV
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
Now the church began with over 3000 people… and it grew from there… I am going to make a crazy assumption here…
Now the church began with over 3000 people… and it grew from there… I am going to make a crazy assumption here…
They didn’t know everyone… the apostles didn’t know everyone… they probably had people asking hey are you new here?
And they didn’t all meet in one home for fellowship… thousands of people cannot meet in a home for a meal…
SMALL GROUPS… OR LIFT GROUPS WERE PART OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH FROM THE BEGINNING!
IF you only attend church on Sunday you will never feel connected and you will never experience true fellowship, you will not feel like part of the community!
Even going to Church on Sunday and attending a LIFT group once a week will not be enough to build real community…
How often did the early church meet in their homes? DAY BY DAY
FELLOWSHIP requires that you connect to smaller group of believers… that actual do life together… vacation together... Raise families together… care for each other… call one another… pray for each other… and minister to one another…
The miracle of the early church was that they were devoted to big picture, the apostles teaching… but they were also devoted to one another…
They were small groups of believer’s that had a common purpose!
Remember our VISION:
To be a healthy Christ-centered community, led by the Holy Spirit, transforming our community by the power of the Gospel; meeting in LIFT groups for the care and discipling of one another; and convening together, in multiple campuses, weekly for biblical teaching and worship.
To build community we must be committed to both meeting together in LIFT GROUPS but ALSO COMING TOGETHER WEEKLY AS THE CHURCH!
LIFT stands for Life In Fellowship Together!
LIFT stands for Life In Fellowship Together!
LIFT stands for Life In Fellowship Together!
If you want to be connected here at NCCF you need to be devoted to a Weekly Service and Devoted to doing Life In Fellowship Together!
Hebrews 10:24–25 ESV
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
If you really want to connect at NCCF You need to be devoted to a Sunday Service and You need to be Devoted to LIFT Group and that leads me to,
In order to build community we have to meet together… we can’t neglect that part of our faith!
Any one here ever been to a drive in movie theater… We love to go to the Blue Fox Drive In in Oak Harbor.
Going to a Drive-in theater is a completely different experience than watching a movie in a regular theater.
At the drive-in, you can bring your own snacks, stay in your own car, and enjoy the show without even having to say “excuse me” to another person in order to get to your seat.
At the drive-in, you could show up to the movie in your pajamas, and no one would have to know. you can text and talk on your phone and not disturb anyone… When you go to drive in you can enjoy the movie on your own terms.
Some Christians would love a drive-in option for church… That way you don’t have talk to anyone, just watch the show in your pajamas, and go home when it’s over.
But we can’t build community if we never get out of our car!
And that leads me to,
If you really want to connect at NCCF You need to be devoted to a Sunday Service and You need to be Devoted to LIFT Group and that leads me to,
3.) THE THIRD THING NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH WAS DEVOTED TO, WAS THE BREAKING OF BREAD.
Now there is some debate about what this actually means… was it a shared meal or was it communion or was it both… I personally believe in VS 42 it is referring to communion and more specifically the meaning of communion. I am not going to spend a lot of time on this point because we teach on communion several times a year.
COMMUNION IS AN ACT OF REMEMBRANCE AND A PUBLIC STATEMENT OF OUR FAITH IN CHRIST AND OUR DEVOTION TO THE BODY OF CHRIST!
So Baptism is a onetime event where we publicly profess our faith in Christ… Communion is a public confession of our ongoing commitment to Christ.
Communion, is community event… it takes place with in a local church… and it was something that the New Testament church was devoted to.
Here at NCCF we take communion on the 5th Sunday of the month, on Christmas Eve and Good Friday. That means we take communion about 6 times a year. WE take communion seriously… and we devote an entire service to it.
Communion Services are an important part of our community… Make communion Sundays a priority… Mark them on your calendar… Whenever you have 5 Sundays in a month you know we will be celebrating communion…
So September 30th will be a communion Sunday!
Don’t miss communion!
4.) THE FOURTH THING NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH WAS DEVOTED TO, THE PRAYERS
Now again we don’t know for sure what this refers to… it could be the Jewish prayers of the temple… it could be something else!
While we are certain what the PRAYERS were we do know that early church was dedicated to pray with and for one another…
We do know that the early church developed much of worship patterns from the synogues and the Temple… and they devoted themselves to religious disciplines! Such as praying three times a day!
Matthew 18:19–20 ESV
19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Praying over our meals lines up this pattern…
I think the greater point here is that early church was dedicated to pray with and for one another…
This took place in their large group gathering and in their home meetings… The New Testament Church was committed to praying for each other and for the church. They dedicated themselves to prayer…
James 5:16 ESV
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
James
1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV
17 pray without ceasing,
1 The
Prayer was a foundational part of the early church!
Acts 12:1–17 ESV
1 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. 6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.
Acts 12:1-17
That is the type of prayer the early church was devoted too!
Prayer was a foundational part of the early church!
That is the type of prayer the early church was devoted too!
Here are NCCF we have a prayer team that prays for you!
Here are NCCF we have a prayer team that prays for you!
In our LIFT Groups we are devoted to Pray for One another!
Part of belonging to a community is being devoted to praying for the community!
Part of belonging to a community is being devoted to praying for the community!
So what happened when this group of people became a community of believers that “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
So what happened when this group of people became a community of believers that “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Acts 2:43–47 ESV
43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
(ESV)
They witnessed the power of God at work… They practiced Generosity towards one another… they lived life together on a daily bases… and people got saved!
43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Because they were devoted to being in community… they had each other to lean on when the lions were attacking...
They witnessed the power of God at work… They practiced Generosity towards one another… they lived life together on a daily bases… and people got saved!
AND THAT IS THE POINT… WE ARE CALLED TO BE PART OF THE LOCAL CHURCH BECAUSE WE NEED COMMUNITY IN ORDER TO CARY OUT THE MISSION GOD HAS GIVEN US!
Honestly that is our desire… WE want to be a church like that… but that can only happen if we devote ourselves… to being here on Sundays, being part of a LIFT Group, Devoting ourselves to Communion and to praying for each other…
Building Community Requires more than just a couple hours a month… it requires devotion to one another… it requires daily fellowship… it requires a desire to connect. And that doesn’t happen an hour a week on Sunday!
Will you commit to devote yourself to those 4 things… and then trust the Holy Spirit to Build real Community right here at NCCF…
IF YOU WANT TO GET CONNECT ON A DEEPER LEAVEL BY JOINING A LIFT GROUP OR BY PRAYING FOR ONE ANOTHER…
TAKE OUT YOUR CONNECT CARD AND CHECK THE BOX!
Those who try and live out their faith with out being devoted to being in community will end up like that Zebra…
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
“first rule of the safari is this, always stay with the group!”
Let’s Pray!
[i] http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/romanian-orphans-subjected-to-deprivation-must-now-deal-with-disfunction/2014/01/30/a9dbea6c-5d13-11e3-be07-006c776266ed_story.html
[ii] Fernando, Ajith. Acts. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998. 120
[iii] Ajith Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), 121–122.
Related Media
Related Sermons