Faithlife Sermons

1 The Picture of a Great Church

Lord, Make Mt. Rock Church Great  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Big Idea: A great church is empowered by God's Spirit through prayer and the Word.

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Introduction

What Makes a Church Great?
Use example of Calvary Church in Charlotte
A church with beautiful facilities?
A church with large attendance?
A church with dynamic and well-known preachers?
A church with a large budget?
A church with awesome programs?
Are we a great church? How do we know?
Are we a great church if we have a full staff? Full-time pastor, youth pastor, worship pastor, secretary
Are we a great church if we have a day care?
Are we a great church if we have a food pantry and clothing closet?
Are we a great church if we finance 100 missionaries around the world?
We see some pretty great churches here in the local area, around the country, and around the world.
(parables – if you want to be great, become the least.)
(Why do we meet here? And what are we really working toward?)
The early church we see in Acts was known as a great church:
Didn’t have Security in possessions or abilities
Didn’t have Popularity in their world
Didn’t have an impressive Facility
Didn’t have a rock-star Personality – unschooled and common
What made the early church great?
A great church is great from the inside out –

Picture of a Great Church

Picture of a Great Church

Read
Picture of visible ministry and impact, also inner character among the members

Committed to Unity

Acts 6:1–2 NIV
1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.
One of the first challenges to the early church – feeding widows.
One of the first challenges to the early church – feeding widows.
Absence of conflict? Unity in disagreement? No, in commitment to resolving the disagreement.

Committed to Integrity

Chose seven men
Acts 6:3 NIV
3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them
v.3 known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.
v.3 known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.
Great churches are filled with great people
What makes people great? (next week)

Committed to Priorities

Acts 6:4 NIV
4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
v.4 Word and Prayer
v.4 Word and Prayer
Apostles committed to serving the people in their areas of gifting and responsibility.
The priority of Prayer and the Word is the internal commitment to greatness that empowers us for effective external ministry.
before there is visible impact there must be internal health. Not just the pastor, but all leaders, and down to the members.
A great church is great from the inside out!

Committed to Impact

Acts 6:7 NIV
7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
v.7 Word of God continued to increase, exalted, prioritized in life and practice – increasingly preached and taught
v.7 Word of God continued to spread or increase, exalted, prioritized in life and practice – increasingly preached and taught
*number of disciples multiplied – not number growth for the sake of size, but in extent of impact – more men and women becoming fully devoted followers of Christ
great number of priests became obedient to faith – miraculous heart transformation
A great church impacts the world around them for the Kingdom
Acts 1:8 NIV
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus, before He ascended back to Heaven, charged the disciples (Also go make disciples )
Jesus, before He ascended back to Heaven, charged the disciples (Also go make disciples )
Acts 2:5 NIV
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
A gathering of Jews
A gathering of Jews
Acts 8:1–4 NIV
1 And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. 4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
,
(cut out 2-3)
And then persecution and scattering (we are always told to go, and we frequently wait to go until we’re forced)
And then persecution and scattering (we are always told to go, and we frequently wait to go until we’re forced)
Impact was by spreading the Gospel across the world, not by assimilating more and more people into the local gathering. (is it our call/responsibility to build a big church?)

Contrast between Growth and Impact

Growth Impact
Numbers Transformation
One place Kingdom of God
Says “come here” Says “go there”
Hoards Invests
Transfers (Impresses) Transforms
Short Term Long Term
Glorifies person or ministry Glorifies Jesus Christ
(comparison chart above)
When an unhealthy church grows, it eventually implodes. When a healthy church grows
it always produces major Impact in the world.

Pathway to Impact for the Church

Embraced the Gospel

Acts 4:12 NIV
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
The message was always the same where ever they preached – the powerful, life-changing message of Jesus Christ
The message was always the same where ever they preached – the powerful, life-changing message of Christ
From God, not man.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Preaching what they had experienced personally
Produced supernatural change when received by faith

Empowered by the Spirit – Pentecost

Acts 2:1–2 NIV
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Equipped specifically with the right people

Equipped specifically with the right people

Peter, Barnabas, Stephen, Paul, Aquila & Priscilla

Expected Spirit-led Change for the sake of the Gospel

– Peter’s vision and taking the Gospel to the Gentiles through Cornelius

Experienced significant Persecution from the world

= persecuted and scattered

Power of a Great Church

Final step of pathway is also the greatest step

Engaged in transforming Prayer

Acts 1:14 CSB
14 They all were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
csb
Continually united in prayer
Continually united in prayer
Acts 1:24–25 NIV
24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.”
Prayed for replacement of Judas
Prayed for replacement of Judas
Acts 2:1 NIV
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
Praying when Holy Spirit came in
Praying when Holy Spirit came in
Acts 2:42 NIV
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Devoted to prayer among other practices
Devoted to prayer among other practices
Acts 3:1 NIV
1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.
Regular prayer in the temple
Regular prayer in the temple
Regular prayer in the temple
Regular prayer in the temple
Acts 4:31 NIV
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Prayed in response to the arrest of Peter and John
Prayed in response to the arrest of Peter and John
Acts 6:4 NIV
4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Recommitted to prayer
Recommitted to prayer
Acts 8:15 NIV
15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
Prayed for other believers to receive the Holy Spirit
Prayed for other believers to receive the Holy Spirit
Acts 12:5 NIV
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
Prayed for Peter in prison
Prayed for Peter in prison
Acts 13:2–3 NIV
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 14:23 NIV
23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Fasting and praying for direction
Fasting and praying for direction
Paul traveling around meeting with people for prayer
Acts 16:25 NIV
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Paul and Silas praying in prison
Paul and Silas praying in prison
Throughout the rest of Acts – much prayer

Picture of a Great Church

The early church models for us today what a great church looks like.
Focus on the Word. Focus on Prayer. Focus on the good news of Jesus Christ.
Picture of Mt. Rock Church building
Next week = Portraits of Great Kingdom People
Picture of Mt. Rock Church building
Picture of Mt. Rock Men praying.
Next week = Portraits of Great Kingdom People

Big Idea: A great church is empowered by God’s Spirit through prayer and the Word.

Picture of Mt. Rock Church building
A great church is empowered by God’s Spirit through prayer and the Word.
Picture of Mt. Rock Men praying.Big Idea: A great church is empowered by God’s Spirit through prayer and the Word.

What About You?

What about Mt. Rock Church?

Next week = Portraits of Great Kingdom People
Picture of Mt. Rock Church building
Picture of Mt. Rock Men praying.
If we want God to make Mt. Rock Church great (or great again) we must begin with a commitment to His Word and to prayer.
Prayer of commitment.
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