Monday, March 3, 2008

2/10/08 PM - Church As It's Supposed To Be


The Beginning of the church. (church = ecclesia = people meeting together) Acts 2: 42-27
Holy Spirit fell at Pentacost.

As far as the Christian church, this was a result of: #1 – God’s Spirit working
And #2 – the efforts of God’s people

Note: We can’t control God’s Spirit moving and working, but
We can control our actions and efforts.

So, if we want an atmosphere in our church like in the first church, we have to work at it. Haggai: 2:1-4

Question: What did the people of that time work at so when God decided to work, they were ready??

Some things they devoted themselves to (worked at)

#1. Learning God’s Word. 2 Tim. 2:15 The doctrine of the apostles and their teaching.
They worked at learning the things of God and the Word of God.
When we are intentional about something, we are intense at working at it.

#2. Loving each other
A. Apply self to loving. There are times when it’s not easy to love one another.
We have to work at it. We are to love even the unlovable. Have to work a lot.
B. Apply self to being lovable. Self examination and change.

#3. Prayer - as an individual and as a group.

Prayer is a powerful weapon. James 5:16
Prayer has powerful opposition Dan. 10:12-14
Prayer is hard work. Interruptions and distractions seem to come from all directions.

#4. Worship. The early church gathered together daily.
A. We don’t always feel like it. We have to work at it even if it doesn’t come natural or easy.
B. We have a tendency to come to receive instead of give.
Deut. 16: 16, 17 - Worship in the O.T. was bringing and giving something to God.

We have the notion that worship is a place we go to get something.
We should bring to the Lord – thanksgiving, praise, time, love to others, etc.
People who receive the most from worship are the ones who give the most.

#5. Giving not just of money, but time, talents, ministry to others, etc.
The church thrives on givers.

#6. Gathering Heb. 10:25 “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together…”
It’s not about how often or what days and times.
Gather to give – for the sake of others – as a witness.

#7. Getting along Rom. 14:19 Eph. 4:3 Heb. 12:14
The early church worked at getting along and sharing things.
Sometimes it takes great effort to get along.
Matt. 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers.
Peace makers are intentional and active and proactive about making peace.

Getting along may be more awe inspiring than signs and wonders.

Conclusion: ALL of these 7 things are:

1. Work – require effort
2. Self-inflicted work – “devoted selves to” No one can make you do this.
3. God’s work – they’re done for Him – just as ministry and missions are done for Him.
4. Effective work - Acts 2:47 - “the Lord added daily to their numbers…”
5. Individual work!!! In other words, each individual has to do his or her part.
We have limited control over the Holy Spirit, but we have TOTAL control over our efforts.

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