Welcome Home everyone
At the Bible College we teach a weekly class for the Christian Life and Ministry. The topics of teaching can range anywhere in the scope of the Christian life or ministry.
Our passage today relates directly to this type of encouragement and instruction. Our context demonstrates the cause and effect of the Spirit influenced life of believers in Jesus. Acts 2 has shown us how the Disciples waited for the Spirit and once poured out it was instrumental in the growth and attitudes of the church. Each defining step was followed by signs and wonders.
And so, my big idea for today is that we should carry an expectation of Holy Spirit influence followed by sings and wonders. My prayer for today is that by hearing this message, together we would emulate the kingdom community of the first church and see the lost won for Christ. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in Acts chapter 2, verse 42.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.Acts 2:42-47
This passage is a description of Christian life and ministry. There is an elemental breakdown of what should be happening in our churches as we experience growth.
Today I have a bit of a different format in which I will present 6 aspects of Christian Life & Ministry. When new converts arise, we must provide…
POINT #1: Immediate Follow-through Care
We must not just congratulate them but help and encourage them to assimilate to Kingdom culture. Baptize and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded. And remind them that Jesus Christ is always with us.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Matthew 28:19-20
Follow through care is not just a protocol that’s enacted as someone receives Jesus, it’s an ongoing stream of discipleship that flows out of who we are and our desire to know Christ. A disciple is a follower. Each one of us should be actively developing everyday rhythms of discipleship/spiritual formation.And out of this comes immediate care for the new believer.
I’ll move on to my next point.
POINT #2: Authentic Community Living
This idea of “koinonia” or fellowship should inform our very way of life. One of the main hang ups we have in life stem from our own perspectives. Last week I mentioned some of the differences our Hellenistic mindset verses the Semitic ways of thinking. We have the Hellenistic thought patterns where we see ourselves/things as very individualistic. Whereas, the Hebrew/Middle Eastern mind is very tribal. Part of why Westerners struggle is we have rejected the idea of multigenerational family homes. Our society has chosen to leave our parents to their own devices or to ship them off to nursing homes. We don’t want anyone to tell us what to do, so we have rejected any sort of oversight or accountability. And it has affected our ability to have authentic community. I think we recognize the good in helping our friends and family, but we put a caveat. Here’s the caveat, we don’t mind helping someone who we deem worthy, or if it doesn’t cost us too much. We have no concept of sacrifice for others.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:13
We are reluctant to serve others. And were reluctant to give at times, as well. Tithing is well established biblical principle, yet many see this 10% as a goal when in actuality it is a minimum requirement. These first century Jewish Christians were well in tune with this greater good mentality. We must open our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s leading in these different areas of our life. This fellowship was a devotion even a form of worship. They were devoted to the growth and discipleship of the community.
I’ll move to my next point.
POINT #3: Teaching
Teaching is so important to the life and development of the church that when Paul gives Timothy the qualifications for the elders the only skill related qualifier was the ability to teach, while everything else had to do with character or behavior.
Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,1 Timothy 3:2
The Apostle’s teachings primarily had to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God and the Holy Spirit who would lead them into all truth. Their teachings were important because of the desire of others to bring about false gospels that meant to mislead the young church regarding the Deity of Christ, His death , and bodily resurrection.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.John 16:13
Sound teaching is vital as it is the basis for everything we do and everything we are. Christ is the foundation of our faith and if you remove Him we are nothing.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 3:11
Paul toward the end of his life had this to say:
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.2 Timothy 1:13-14
Paul had deposited sound teachings and a pattern for Christlikeness for them to keep and replicate. Paul also implies the they will need the help of the Holy Spirt to remain true to the Apostle’s teaching. I’ll move to my next point.
Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. mIs there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’