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A Dynamic Church

Who Are We?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We are dynamic (powerful) church

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Introduction

This mornign, we continue our series entitled, “Who are We?” As we prepare for life on the other side of COVID-19, it would be wise for to understand the core values of the Church and renew our commitment to live out these core values. As a reminder:
We are Spirit Filled Church
We are a Dynamic Church
We are a Missional Church
We are a Christ Following Church
We are a Communal Church
This mornign, we are discussing DCNaz being a Dynamic Church. This is not a reference to creativity or cultural relevance or constant activity as some in our culture understand dynamic living. The word dynamic comes from the Greek word δυναμις, which is translated power. A dynamic church is a powerful church.
Being a powerful church is not a reference to invoke an emotional response through worship experiences. A powerful church changes lives. That is who we hope to be. We are following in the footsteps of the early Christians if we hope to be a dynamic, poweful, life changing congregatio.
If you have your bibles with your, turn to Acts 2 beginning with verse 23 (Acts 2:23-31). Let’s pray.

Sermon Body

It’s a short while after Pentecost and Peter and John go to the Temple to pray. As they were entering the temple courts they see a crippled man begging. The crippled man ask the apostles for a handout, but they offer him something even more amazing. Peter says to the man in Acts 3:6:

Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,n walk.

Peter then reaches down, takes the man by the hand, helps him to his feet, and the three men enter the Temple courts; the formerly crippled man walking, jumping, and praising God.
The people gathered for prayers in the Temple courts are amazed by all of this, and Peter takes the opportunity to proclaim to the crowd the power of Christ Jesus to change lives. He said with confidence in Acts 3:16:

By faith in the name of Jesus,d this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

Listen, a powerful church, which Peter and John represent changes lives. I don’t mean a powerful church makes people have strong Sundays, or feel better for a few days. Powerful churches change lives in the name of Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit. Powerful churches contribute to permanent and amazing life change. In this case, the man who was crippled could walk. In other cases, addict is free from the thing that enslaves them. The depressed and anxious find peace. The broken experiences healing and wholeness. The struggling marriage reconciles. A powerful church changes lives.
The story continues. The ruckus created by the healing of this formerly crippled man and the proclamation of Jesus Christ catches the attention of Jewish leadership. Peter and John are taken before the Sanhedrin, which was the Jewish ruling council, to explain themselves and the nature of their message. Peter and John, full of the Holy Spirit, explain to the Jewish leaders their commitment to preach the resurrection of Christ to Jewish people so that may come to saving faith. They told the rulers the essence of their message in Acts 4:12:

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

This did not sit well withe Sanhedrin. They gave the apostles a very warning not to preach or act in the name of Christ any long. If they violated this order, the apostles could expect severe consequences. To that, Peter and John said with the confidence in Acts 4:19-20:

Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him?t You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speakingu about what we have seen and heard.

We read this story and applaud the apostles for their faith and courage, but that was not necessarily how the Church responded to Peter and John’s actions. Back to our reading today, Peter and John went back to their brothers and sisters in the church and report what the Sanhedrin ordered. The reality of their situation set in they realized things were beyond the limits of their collective strength and abilities. So they prayed. The asked the LORD for the power to continue their mission. They asked the LORD for the power to change lives. When they had finished praying, we are told in Acts 4:31:

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.j And they were all filled with the Holy Spiritk and spoke the word of Godl boldly.

That ish a powerful Church! That is a church that is ready to fulfill its life changing mission in the world. That is the kind of church we hope DCNaz is or will become. There are two things that jump out from this narrative as indicators of a powerful church.
A Powerful Church is a Prayerful Church - When confronted with a challenge that was beyond their abilities to deal with, those early Christians took their concerns to the LORD in prayer. They faced persecution for the first time, and it would not be the last. The persecutors were the holders of all temporal power. They had the ability to stop the Christian movement with threats of coercions, violence, and death. They Jewish ruling council would end up using all of those strategies. In a short amount of time after this, Stephen becomes the first Christian martyr killed by the Jews because he preached Jesus Christ. Shortly after that, the Church was dispersed because of increased violence and pressure. The Christian community faced a challenge beyond their limits, but stood strongly against it because they prayed.
We don’t direct persecution at DCNaz, but we do come against situations that are beyond the limits of abilities. Not one person in this church has the inherent ability to change a person’s life. None of us can liberate an addict, or reconcile a damaged marriage, or support parents of struggling children, or make a broken heart whole, or heal an illness especially a life threatening illness. We don’t have the power in ourselves to change lives, but we can take those issues to the LORD in prayer. We can face down those problems with hope and confidence through persistent prayer.
A prayerful church is not one that prays for an issue once. Listen there is very little power in praying once and then moving on. It is in persistent prayer that the strongholds of the enemy come crashing down. It is persistent prayer that life change takes place through the Holy Spirit. It would awesome if we could ask for something once and get it, but there is no faith in that. If we truly believe that God changes lives, then we will take our concerns before him regularly.
Tom Floyd was one of my early teachers. His story was similar to mine. He moved the California in the military and came to faith there. He also answered a call to ministry while in the service in CA. Tom was convicted to pray for his father’s salvation, which he began to do daily for years. Tom told how blessed the day was when he was able to baptize his father. Listen, powerful churches changes lives because powerful churches are prayerful churches.
Powerful Churches are Patient Churches - The early Christians prayed as was expected and saw a manifestation of the LORD’s power, but then they began to wait on the LORD. In their prayer meeting, they were safe from the attacks from the Jewish leadership. But they now had to wait on the LORD to come through for them. The LORD did. When Stephen laid dying, he forgave those who persecuted them. When the church was dispersed by the persecution, the early Christians shared Jesus wherever they went and established local congregations. The greatest champion of persecution was saved in the name of Jesus.. The Apostle Paul had been Saul the persecutor. They fulfillment of God’s purpose was not fulfilled when the place where they were praying was shaken. The fulfillment of God’s purpose was fulfilled as they faithfully followed Christ wherever he led them. The waited patiently for the LORD.
Patience in not among our strengths. Our sinful nature operates entirely in impatience. We want what we want and we want it now! We don’t want to wait on the LORD. We expect God to come through for us immediately. Complicating the situation is our cultural lack of impatience. In America, we demand the immediate. We demand speedy resolution. If we wait longer than five minutes for a cheeseburger at Wendy’s, we think either the workers are incompetent or our entire days are wrecked because we had to wait longer than expected. We are naturally impatient people.
Patience may be the strongest indicator of a dynamic (poweful) church. That is because patience says I want what God wants and I’m willing to wait for what God wants. Patience reduces our personal preferences and elevates the will of God above our desire for immediacy. Some people believe patience is indecision or inactivity. Both of those attitudes are potentially sinful or potentially lies from the enemy. Patience is always a wise decision. Patience is never inactive because to be patient means we take on the temptation to act impulsive and surrender the perfect timing of God. A Powerful Church is a Patient Church
We long to be a dynamic, powerful church that sees lives changes forever by Christ Jesus. I want to see sinners forgiven and adopted into the family of God as Children of God! I want to see sick people healed; miraculously or medically, I don’t care. I want to see people enslaved to worldly and destructive things liberated. I want to hurting people comforted. I want to see confused people find clarity with truth. I pray we are a powerful church where those things are not occasional, but gloriously routine.
In order to be that, we must be a prayerful church regularly taking our cares and concerns to the LORD in prayer, so take our time so corporate prayer seriously, share your concerns with your brothers and sisters, pray together in small groups, model prayer in your homes with discipline and persistence, and teach our teens and children to pray. A powerful church is a prayerful church.
We must be a patient church. We must be willing to endure difficulty while we wait on the LORD’s good purpose that will only be enacted in God’s time. We must resist the temptation to force God’s hand even if we think we have a good reason to do so. If we really want what God wants, then we must be willing to wait for when God wants it.
We are a dynamic church and simultaneously becoming a dynamic church. So, let us pray together and let us wait together for transformed lives and uplifted souls.
Let’s pray.
May we all take our cares and concerns to a God who loves us. May we all learn to wait peacefully and wisely for the good pleasing and perfect will of God; in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
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