Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What We Can Learn From The First Church

Early Events: Cross, resurrection, ascension, Pentecost. And then "Birth of the Church"
Acts 2:41-47

The early church didn't do everything right. BUT, this is about as right as it gets.
The unity, fellowship, generosity, cooperation, concern for one another, sincerity, exuberance, harmony, joy, vision, etc.

PLUS, the Holy Spirit was working with signs, wonders, miracles, healings

The people were excited, being saved, growing, working, sharing, witnessing. There were no fusses over worship, dress code, finances, Bible translation, carpet color, sermon length, etc.

Question: Why so right?? Answer: It was a new work - no baggage yet. It was Apostle led. The Spirit was moving. The people were working.

Question: Can we duplicate this?
On one hand, we can't duplicate ... the newness, the Apostles, the Spirit's work - the Spirit works at His own choosing - can't be regulated by man.
However, we can imitate (replicate, mirror) the works of the people of the first church.

So... we can look at:
I. the devotion of the people
II. what they were devoted to
III. How that can benefit our church

I. The devotion of the people - Acts 2:42

"they devoted themselves" - meaning committed, dedicated, applied to, earnest, intense, attentive to...

B. They devoted themselves" - meaning self-motivated, in contrast to "preacher" motivated. This is something no one can do for you - have to do it yourself.

C. "they devoted themselves" - ie. as a group. Contrast "I'm devoted to...." with "we are devoted to..."

II. What they were devoted to
Note: devotion/sincerity is not enough. If it were enough, then the apostles and terrorists would be equal.
(NOTE: this is not a complete list - but is a primary list)

The people were devoted to....
#1. Learning the Word - "Apostles' doctrine"
You cannot do effective work without sufficient knowledge

#2. Loving one another. Acts 2:42 This means more than fellowship. It means the fellowship! A. the brotherhood and B. well being of the brotherhood

#3. Gathering Acts 2:46 "in the temple, in homes" There is something special about Christian gathering. Matt. 18:20
Therefore, Heb. 10:25

#4. Giving Acts 2:44-45 = sharing and meeting needs
On the one hand, communal behavior was not instructed and not a tradition.
But, it showed their concern!!

#5. Prayer - Acts 2:42 the text indicates corporate prayer. Note: the quickest way to kill a Bible Study is to turn it into a prayer meeting!! Yet, we know.... Matt. 18:20 James 5:16 (b)

#6. Worship Acts 2:46-47 (corp)
Contrast "attend worship", observe worship, be in worship services
True, we don't all worship alike - have different spiritual pathways
However, you know in your heart whether worship takes place...


#1. This is not a comprehensive list, but it does equal a primary list, fundamentals!!

#2. These activities are mostly "in-house", in reach.
Obviously, it doesn't negate the great commission (which they did and did well)
BUT... it shows we must minister to the church so we're able to minister beyond the church
( Eph. 4:11-15 )

#3. Devotion requires commitment
Sometimes #1 - #6 are easy! Often they are difficult!! Therefore, it requires commitment, self-motivation, self-discipline Jer. 12:5

#4. Duplication and imitation does not guarantee success.
(as we measure success)
We can't control, manipulate, force the Holy Spirit to work
But, we can create an atmosphere, environment for the Holy Spirit to work in - if He chooses to work.

#5. The church (group) cannot do any of this until the members (individuals) do.

A ___________ church is made of _____________ people. Fill in the blanks with the same word.

So, we can't be the First church, but we should devote ourselves to being the kind of church the First Church was.

No comments: