Monday, December 14, 2015

The First Church

Pentecost - when all signs and wonders by the apostles took place, Peter's message, verification of the gifts of the Spirit.   People heard, and believed and the first church was born.
Acts 2:40-45 - not communal living, but sharing of goods, etc.  Was not commanded, just did it
Acts 4:32, 34-35
Acts 2:46-47 - the new church (gathering) of believers

the early church did NOT get all things right.  Example:  church at Corinth - 1st. Corinthians is 15 chapters about stuff they were doing wrong.
However, the above passage = commendation (here God was approving of what was going on by signs),


Here's What They Got Right!

"They devoted themselves" - Acts 2:42 - dedicated, committed, applies themselves
Means:  A)  EFFORT (put work into it)  and B)  SELF-DISCIPLINE
Devotion underlies it all!

They devoted themselves to:
        A)  The Apostles' teaching (doctrine)
Why???  a)  they were with Jesus from the beginning
              b)  they were chosen and appointed BY Christ!
This = fundamental - always been recognized and built on by the church orthodox.

       B)  THE Fellowship - the brotherhood, fraternity, community - the group, the body
And so devoted themselves to - a)  gathering (we need each other) - Heb. 10:25 - not commanded, just did it.
                                                 b) the atmosphere at the gathering (Koininia) feel welcome
                                                 c)  the well-being of the body (sharing) - local and universal body

      C)  The Breaking of Bread - Lord's Supper?  Agape Meal?  Christian Meal?
Either way = gathering, fellowship, corporate worship

      D)  The Prayers - ie:  to the Act and Action of praying

      E)  Concern for One Another - *generosity, sharing) - not explicit in text but implied as result of the others.

 CONSEQUENCES  (results)
#1.  Dramatic activity of the Holy Spirit - many signs, many miracles, many wonders by the apostles attributed to God,
#2.  Everyone, not just the Christians, was filled with awe.
#3.  The Lord added daily those being saved
#4.  They enjoyed the favor of all the people

Wow!!!  Church as it should be!!!!   Yes....... BUT:

#1.  The miracles wane (thru Acts and Epistles) - constant lessening of miracles
#2.  Favor with the people becomes tension and persecution
#2.  Even their generosity causes problems.  Acts 6:1  2 Thess. 3:11-12

So, As we strive for what we should be, let us also recognize ...

I.  God, the Holy Spirit, is Sovereign.
On one hand, we can create an environment that is "Spirit-friendly"
On the other hand, we cannot assume or manipulate His work(s)
God is Sovereign - the LORD added daily.

II.  It requires more devotion to maintain a church than to establish a church 
Compare to marriage:  fresh, exciting, fulfilling, no baggage

III.  A church will never be any better (or any worse) than its members.
A ____________ church is made of _____________ people.

Whether the Spirit moves in a mighty way is God's business.

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