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"A Biblical Formula For Successful Growth"

Church on the Move  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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“The Church on the Move”
“A Biblical Formula For Success”
Acts 2:42–47 ESV
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
How many of you have ever known someone that you really enjoyed being around, but you couldn’t stand their spouse?
It’s a pretty miserable situation. It leads to bickering, jealousy, and general uneasiness for all parties. It is a whole lot nicer when Kristi and I find another couple that we enjoy spending time with and doing things together. Even then it is more enjoyable for men to go do men stuff and women to go do women stuff, because there is mutual friendship…No one feels left out or alone.
I say all that to illustrate how important it is for the Church to be somewhere that believers, new converts, and even unbelievers feel comfortable.
As a reminder, when I am talking about the Church, I AM NOT talking about a building. This building is just the place that we are blessed to ASSEMBLE. The Church is the ASSEMBLY (ekklesia).
The Church is US!
Paul uses marriage language to describe the churches relationship to Jesus in Ephesians 5:25-27, and in the Book of Revelation, John says, Revelation 19:7
Revelation 19:7 ESV
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;
Ephesians 5:25–27 ESV
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
I say all of that to tell a far too common story. The story about the “believer” that refuses to go to church because they can’t find anywhere they are comfortable, or a place where they feel welcome.
Now before I pick on the church or people in any given group of believers, let me say that a lot of the time, those people don’t feel comfortable because they feel conviction. They don’t feel welcome because they don’t put themselves out there to be welcomed.
In those cases, they have their own issues they have to deal with, BUT the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ has an obligation to do our part. Our part is to LOVE! Our part is to do our best to make people feel welcomed. Our part is to LOVINGLY help people encounter a Savior that will send His Holy Spirit to convict of sin.
As people choose to be a part of the Church our duties continue, and that is what I want to talk about this morning.
As we have been journeying through this series about the Church on the Move, the hopes are that we will all recognize ways that we can fulfill the plans and purposes of God to continually restore relationship between His creation and Himself.
As we spend time studying the MOVEMENT of the 1stfew decades of the life of the church we will see examples of how WE can and should move in the Power of the Holy Spirit to see our lives changed, to see spiritual growth in ourselves and our families, see our individual church (assembly) flourish, and see how people came to Jesus in those earliest days.
2 weeks ago we read Acts 2:1-4 and the actual outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We read about 120 Jesus Followers that were obedient to wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with power…until they received the promise from the Father.
Last week we saw the immediate results of the outpouring. Peter was empowered to stand in front of looky-loos and mockers and proclaim, or preach, the first sermon of the newly established church.
Following that Sermon Acts 2:37 says the people that heard that sermon were cut to the heart and asked, “What must we do to be saved.”
Peter’s simple answer was, AND STILL IS, Acts 2:38
Acts 2:38 ESV
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.
The GRAND Result… “there were added that day about 3000 souls”
REVIVAL!!!!
People that didn’t even know they were dead, were given NEW LIFE!
A church that had JUST BEEN BORN, GREW EXPONENTIALLY!!!
This morning we are going to look at what happened next.
We are going to look at “A Biblical Formula for Success”
Let’s Read that again...
Acts 2:42–47 ESV
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
When I read that passage I read Unity all over it.
Look at the 133rd Psalm
Psalm 133 ESV
A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
If I could sum up a Biblical Model (or any model) For Success, it would nearly always include one word…Unity!!!
Early in church history disunity existed. one of the reasons Paul wrote the 1st letter to the Corinthians was to correct some wrong thinking that was causing division.
1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
The concluding statements in Acts 2 show us that the human model for the churches success involved them being united in several things. We know that at this point there had been a mass baptism (probably both water and Spirit) and the job of discipleship fell on those that had been with Jesus.
It was time for their 3 ½ with the Master to pay off in large dividends.
As we have already seen, the most important part for the New Church was the enduement with Power of the Holy Spirit.
If the Church has any hope of growth or any hope of experiencing the Blessings that come from Unity, WE HAVE TO BE CONSTANTLY SEEKING THE PRESENCE OF GOD THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT
We understand that He is the one that enables us to take our different family, racial, religious, cultural, financial, social....what ever differences we have in our backgrounds, and through the Holy Spirit we can be unified.
Ephesians 4:1–4 ESV
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—
So, the overall biblical formula for a successful church on the move REQUIRES UNITY!!!
I. Basics of Unity.
a. Unity played a Major role in the early church
i. Acts 1:14 “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”
ii. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.”
iii. Acts 2:44 “And all who believed were together and had all things in common.”
iv. Acts 4:32 “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.”
v. Acts 5:12 “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico.”
vi. Philippians 1:5 “because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
vii. Galatians 2:9 “and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.”
viii. 1 John 1:3 “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
ix. As already Stated 1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”
b. Fellowship
c. Partnership
d. Sharing
II. Who are we United with
a. 3 Major divisions of Christianity
i. Catholicism
ii. Orthodox
iii. Protestatism
b. 45,000 Denominations
c. 1st with the Lord. Ephesians 4:4-6
d. We must be united within this assembly of believers
e. United with our denomination
i. The 16 FUNDAMENTAL Truths
ii. “The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This Statement of Fundamental Truths is intended simply as a basis of fellowship among us (i.e., that we all speak the same thing, 1 Corinthians 1:10 [KJV/NIV]; Acts 2:42 [KJV/NIV]). The phraseology employed in this Statement is not inspired nor contended for, but the truth set forth is held to be essential to a full-gospel ministry. No claim is made that it covers all Biblical truth, only that it covers our need as to these fundamental doctrines.”
f. United with churches in our community
g. We must be united to the bigger picture church
i. PRIMARY DOCTRINES
ii. Agree on the Absolute Basics, JESUS WAS AND IS GOD! Jesus was born to a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, rose from the grave, ascended to heaven, will be coming back.
III. What are We United in?
a. The Apostles Doctrine
i. In Acts 2
1. “The apostles teaching was central to the content of what was to be studied. This was one reason that the replacement of Judas was so important – the apostles , the eyewitnesses of all Jesus had done (and earwitnesses of all He had said) would be the ones whom the Holy Spirit would remind of the crucial truths by which the church would be directed for years to come. From the beginning the early church was devoted to hearing, studying, and learning what the apostles had to teach.”
2. Doctrine came from…
a. The Old Testament
b. What Jesus had taught them
c. How they understood it… (the Holy Spirit)
i. John 14:17
John 14:17 ESV
even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
ii. John 14:25-26
John 14:25–26 ESV
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
iii. John 16:13
John 16:13 ESV
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
ii. The Prayers
iii. Sharing All Things
d. Like it or not we share in the same temptations 1 Corinthians 10:13
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
e. Bear each others burdens Galatians 6:1-2
Galatians 6:1–2 ESV
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
f. Weep together Romans 12:12
Romans 12:12 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
g. Rejoice together Romans 12:12
Romans 12:12 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
h. The Lord’s Supper Luke 22:19 “in remembrance of me”
We have do it all Day by Day
The result, we see people saved, DAY BY DAY
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 ESV
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
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