3rd June May 2020 Notes
Many years ago, John Stott met a group of Christian students in Argentina who had visited all of the churches in their city but couldn’t find any that satisfied them. They had dropped out of the church. He asked them what they were looking for that they could not find? He was startled when, without realising what they were doing, they went down the list of the characteristics of the early church in Acts 2v42-
They said they wanted a church were the minister faithfully explained the bible and related it to where they lived. They were looking for warm, loving, caring, supportive fellowship. They sought a sense of the living God and His greatness in worship. They looked for compassionate outreach.’ Christianity Today 6/12/81
On Sunday we celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, sometimes it is called the birthday of the church. Our bible reading today gives us a glimpse of the early church. It was a healthy church full of grow and life. We learn the church member’s lives were marked by devotion to three priorities. It would be helpful for us to learn about these priorities and to consider what devotion meant for the first believers.
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 favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
A healthy church is marked by continual devotion to the Lord. How?
To the Lord’s teaching (v42). Peter and disciples met intentionally to learn more about their saviour, Jesus Christ.
To corporate worship (breaking of bread and prayer together) v42. In the breaking of bread they were reminded of the great truth, God so loved the world that he gave Himself so that I could be forgiven my sins and be reconciled to God. As they prayed they showed their total dependence on God and His will.
To praise God (v47) for the blessings of each day. Taking a meal and enjoying a meal together was an opportunity to praise the Lord.
On a scale of 1 (low) -
A healthy church is marked by continual devotion to the Lord’s people (church fellowship). How?
They were continually devoting themselves to the fellowship (v42). What was happening in the lives of the other church members was important to them.
All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (v44&45). Their love for one another was greater than their love for own their possessions.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts (v46). They made time to be with each other every day.
On a scale of 1-
A healthy church is marked by continual devotion to God’s work in the world. How?
The church witnessed God doing some amazing wonders and signs (v43). No doubt many people outside the church were also amazed. At this time the early church members were filled with the Holy Spirit and God worked powerfully through them.
There new converts every day (v47). People were responding to the teaching and loving actions of the early church members. The church wanted other people to hear and respond to the good news of the Christian faith. They were fulfilling the Great Commission final instruction of the Lord ‘go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.’ Matthew 28v20
On a scale of 1-
The early church could be called a ‘LFC’ church!
It was devoted to the (i) Lord (ii) Fellowship (iii) Commission
Their devotion involved giving their (i) Time (ii) Talents (iii) Treasure to God and his people.
Take a few moments to consider how others have given their time, talents and treasures to bless you. Praise God for them.
Finally ask God how He wants you to use your time, talents and treasure to build His church in the future?
Next Week Study Wednesday 10 th June
How to develop worship in a ‘WELL’ church