Faithlife Sermons

Involvement in the Life of the Church

H.A.B.I.T.S.  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:32
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As we come to the Word this morning, let us ask God to illumine our understanding.
We are continuing our journey in looking at various HABITS for spiritual growth. And today we get to the letter “I”.
A quick review of where we’ve been:
H - Hang time with God, we talked about spending time reading your Bible, praying.
A - Accountability - allowing sisters and brothers in your life who can ask you those difficult questions. Holding you accountable to your spiritual growth.
B - we covered this last week. This is Bible Study - digging into God’s Word, not just reading it over, but really digging into it for the deeper meaning.
I - is Involvement in the greater life of the church.
Quickly the last two:
T - is Tithing this is a commitment to financial giving
S - Scripture memorization.
We’ll be covering these last two in the coming weeks.
So today, it’s involvement int he greater life of the church.
The birth of the church began after Pentecost, and so we’re going to read from Acts again this morning. I want to encourage you to go home and read from Acts chapter 2, we’re only going to be reading a few verses here this morning.
Acts 2:1–4 ESV
1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Birth of the Church

Now as we continue to read through Acts 2, we find that there were Jews in the area from every nation under heaven. And at the sound they all come together and they’re wondering what’s going on.
Each is hearing them speak in their own native tongue! And they’re amazed and perplexed. But some are mocking saying these guys are drunk!
And it’s Peter - remember Peter, the one who denied Jesus three times in one night? The one whom Jesus restored by asking three times “Do you love me?” and then commanding that Peter feed Jesus’ sheep?
So it’s Peter that stands up and says, they’re not drunk, it’s still morning. This is what the prophet Joel told you about. And he goes on to share from the prophet Joel, and then about Jesus.
He concludes with these words from Acts 2:36
Acts 2:36 ESV
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Let’s read that together outloud.
Listen carefully, because this is important. Jesus went to the cross for our sins. Our sins, mine, yours, the person sitting on your left, right, in front and behind you, all went to the cross with Jesus.
AND it was out sins that put him there. If it weren’t for our sin there would have been no need for Jesus to be crucified. We as a church must recognize and deal seriously with sin - not as we would like it to be described but as the Bible describes it. Because it was for our sins that Jesus went to the cross.
He paid not his debt, but my debt. your debt. our debt.
And so what happens when we recognize this, when we take that to heart, it changes us, and it changed Peter’s audience as well. Let’s continue reading:
Acts 2:37 ESV
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
That’s what I’d be wondering too! What do I do about it? See what Peter tells them:
Acts 2:38 ESV
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Repent - what does it mean to repent, it means to literally turn around. Turn from your sin - whatever it is.
Galatians has a good list of things as reminders:
Galatians 5:18–21 ESV
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Turn from these things, and do what?
Acts 2:38 ESV
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for what purpose?
Acts 2:38 ESV
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Okay, so we’ve turned from our evil ways, we’ve given up the junk in our lives, we’ve been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, and so now what? Look at the Promise!!!!
Acts 2:38 ESV
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
This is not something that is limited to our pentecostal friends. You don’t have to shout and dance and jump a pew. If you have done these things, the Holy Spirit is promised to you. You WILL receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
That’s how the church is identified.
And we see the evidence of the Holy Spirit by the gifts that we see in people, wisdom, discernment, healing, teaching, administration, prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and more.
And we see also the fruit of the Spirit as depicted in Galatians 5:22-23
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The Lie

Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors and there’s all the people.
There’s a lie there that not only does the world believe, but we have come to believe. The lie is this:
This building, is not the church. It is the church building. Now for the ease of speaking and communication I’m not going to stop saying, “I’m going over to the church.”

The Truth

the truth is the church is us.
The church is us.
The church is you, and me, with Christ in us. Empowered by the Holy Spirit to do anything and everything that God would have the church do.
Did you hear that? You are empowered. The Spirit of God is in you.
This may be a good time to memorize the words spoken to Joshua as he was entrusted with leading Israel into the promised land:
Joshua 1:9 ESV
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The Holy Spirit is in you. The Holy Spirit has empowered you. And you have the truth of God in you.,
Why would you want to keep that a secret? You wouldn’t.
I love the words of Jeremiah
Jeremiah 20:9 ESV
9 If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

Involvement in the Greater Life of the Church

As we continue in this chapter of Acts we read the following verses:
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.
They gathered to study God’s Word, to fellowship and encourage one another, to break bread - share meals together, and to pray together. They took care of one another’s needs and the needs of the community. And the Lord added to their number.
When we talk about the church, we’re not just talking about this building. We’re talking about the community of believers. And involvement in the greater life of the church includes everything the Church is doing.
When we fill our Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, we’re involved in the greater life of the church. When we love that person on the street that others deem as unloveable, we’re involved in the greater life of the church. When you pray for one another, when you give of your time and talent to the community, to your neighbor, to the person on the street, you’re involved in the greater life of the church.
God has not limited His grace, nor His love, and it flows through you. You have the power of the Holy Spirit within you.
One last thing, as we end our time together. I was reminded by a missionary I met with on Thursday morning that even Peter had to ask to be re-filled with the Holy Spirit on several occasions. Don’t take a one and done. When you need more of God’s power, ask. Jesus reminds us:
Ask and it will be given,
Seek and you will find,
Knock and the door will be opened.
Matthew 7:7 ESV
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
We do not have, because we do not ask.
Let’s pray together.
We’re going to do this together, I’m going invite you to actually speak these words out loud.
Holy God,
Precious Jesus,
Holy Spirit,
I surrender to your love. Shine your light in me and through me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Empower me to do your will here at Mission Woods, in the community, and beyond. Open my heart to love other as you love them. To the praise and glory of Your Holy Name. Amen.
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