Faithlife Sermons

The Assembly of the Church

Uncertain Times   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Acts 2:41–47 KJV 1900
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Introduction

What does the church mean to you?
When I say church, I am referring to the visible assembly that you are a part of. The visable assembly that meets every week to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, to sing songs of worship and to pray together.
I want us to consider this week the importance of the Church in the lives of believers. I read a tweet this week (speaking of the current pandemic situation) that said “dont confuse inconvenience with persecution” and I thought it summed up pretty well how we as Americans think sometimes. We are so accustomed to having things our way that when the circumstances are difficult we often respond without perspective.
In the context of the church, what we are experiencing today can certainly be described as inconvenient. As american citizens and many small business owners and their employees it has been more than that. In some ways doing “virtual church” has been more “convenient” than assembling together. As a church plant we dont have to drive to the library early and set up, we dont have to prepare music to sing for a song service and gathering the family for worship has been simple since its just a short walk to the living room in our home. However, I have felt and I am sure you have as well, the overwhelming sense that something is missing.
I was talking with another pastor a few weeks ago and he was saddened because he thought that many people will never return to church and will instead just replace the whole thing with a virtual service in the comfort of their homes on a Sunday morning. He went on to describe the reasoning behind this prediction with statements like “its so much easier”, “you dont have to get children dressed and ready for church”, “you never have to get offended”.... and while some of this is true, and I understand the sentiment, I wholeheartedly disagree and I will explain why.
Throughout the entire history of the Christian faith there has been a significant importance placed on assembling together. The church was built on the central premise that God meets with his people when they gather together. I for one am confident that those of us who know Christ also know, in the depths of our being, that we must assemble together.

Transition

In this short verse following Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost there are 4 important elements of our faith that are carried out as we assemble together and I want to draw your attention to these this morning.

I. The Apostles Doctrine

vs 42 “any they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine”
What is doctrine?
Teaching or Instruction
1 Timothy 3:15 KJV 1900
15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Something special about live preaching
Titus 1:3 KJV 1900
3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
Doctrine is divisive but it is the basis for why we assemble and why we can walk through this life together
Amos 3:3 KJV 1900
3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
The apostles doctrine…but also....

II. The Fellowship of the Saints

vs 42 “…and fellowship”
As the early church was forming and growing they were experiencing great difficulty as their lives were transformed by this new found faith in Christ. Their Jewish relatives and much of society disowned them and they were forced to rely on God and each other.
Here is an example...
Acts 2:44–45 KJV 1900
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
So we see that doctrine was taught and fellowship was maintained but we can also see...

III. The Ordinance of The Lords Table

vs 42 “...and in breaking of bread...”
The early church met together to eat but they also met together to observe the Lords Table
We find this mentioned in several places in Scripture - most notably in 1 Corinthians....
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 KJV 1900
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
When we meet together and observe the Lords Table we are demonstrating “showing” the significance of the death of Christ - his sacrifice for us and for our sin
Quote: The emblems in the Lord’s Supper take us directly to Calvary. The feast was instituted on the eve of the Cross, with its dark shadow lying heavy on the Lord’s heart. They speak of His body broken and of His blood poured out. They speak with eloquent voice of His passion. Therefore, at the Lord’s Table we concentrate on the theme of the Lord’s death. Again, our Scripture readings, our hymns, our ministry should focus on Calvary. Again, we have an abundant supply of Bible passages which take us to the cross. Old Testament typology, Old Testament prophecy, many psalms, the Gospel records, the Epistles, even the book of Revelation all take us to Calvary. Our hymnbook never tires of reminding us of the cross. 1 Corinthians 11:23 - John Phillips
Near the Cross - Fanny Crosby
Jesus, keep me near the Cross; There a precious fountain, Free to all -- a healing stream -- Flows from Calvary's mountain.
In the cross, in the cross, Be my glory ever, Till my raptured soul shall find Rest beyond the river.
Doctrine, Fellowship, Ordinances and finally....

IV. The Praying together

vs 42 “…and in prayers”
The church is a place to pray together
All throughout the Bible you see Gods people coming together and calling on him for deliverance and sustenance
Praying for daily needs
Matthew 6:11 KJV 1900
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
Praying for our brethren in difficult circumstances
Praying for the power to accomplish the work of God
Praying for boldness in our witness for Christ
Quote: “Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still. He will never talk well and with real success to men for God who has not learned well how to talk to God for men.” ― E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer

Conclusion

When faced with opposition and difficult circumstances the early church came together. They assembled together, worshiped together, had fellowship together and prayed together. These were defining characteristics of their testimony.
As we look forward and as our ability to assemble is restored may we be reminded of the void that was created and may it increase our desire to unite and assemble for the glory of God.
Nothing can replace the meeting together of Gods people, nothing!
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