We had our preview service in Arlington for the Saturday night service at Christ Church this past Sunday. The band sounded great and the message was awesome! I know I am partial because the preacher is my husband, but it really challenged me as a believer. I wanted to share my notes.
The sermon was on Gospel Community and the passage Grant used was Acts 2:42-47:
"They spent their time learning the apostles' teaching, sharing, and breaking bread, and praying together. The apostles were doing many miracles and signs and everyone felt great respect for God. All the believers were together and shared everything. They would sell their land and the things they owned and then divide the money and give it to anyone who needed it. The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts. They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers."
Wow...EVERY day, God added to the number of people saved!
Grant started by saying that we have reduced God to a beggar in the church and that as Christians we sometimes see Jesus as a genie...kind of a "what can you do for me?" type of attitude.
Grant started by listing characteristics of a family: sacrifice, discipline, love, forgiveness, acceptance. Are we seeing these things in our churches today? He purposefully pointed out that he was not slamming our church or any other church, but instead challenging us a believers.
A few key points about the passage above that we can pull out as believers to see how the believers in Acts lived:
1. They were devoted to the teaching of God's word: "They spent their time learning the apostles' teaching, sharing, breaking bread and praying together" (v. 42). 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 says: "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right. Using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be capable, having all that is needed to do every good work".
Job 12:13: "But only God has wisdom and power, good advice and understanding".
2. They devoted themselves to fellowship
Hebrews 10:24-25: "Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds. You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming."
We need encouragement to keep going in our faith.
3. The broke bread together: Communion
The Lord's Supper brings with it a self examination. 1 Corinthians 11: 27-29: "So a person who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is not worthy of it will be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. Look into your own hearts before you eat the bread and drink the cup, because all who eat the bread and drink the cup without recognizing the body eat and drink judgment against them selves". Harsh words, but true.
Our sin will choke out our desire to follow God if we let it linger. Regularly examine yourself. It's not always fun...well, it's probably never fun.
4. They devoted themselves to prayer regularly
Acts 2: 43: "The apostles were doing many miracles and signs, and everyone felt great respect for God"...They were constantly aware of the presence of God. If you know me, you know I am a firm believer in prayer. It changes lives. Just read my other posts.
Jesus holds everything together...do we live in that reality? Colossians 1:17: "He was there before anything was made, and all things continue because of him." It's all about Jesus!
If you read above in verses 44-46 the believers had everything in common together and they recognized nothing was theirs...it was all God's! In verse 45, it says that they would sell their land and things and give it to fellow believers if that's what was needed. They didn't sell everything, but they sold enough to help others cope. They sold what they needed for each other. Do we live like this as a gospel community?
As Christians, we are to carry each others burdens. If you are in our Thursday night bible study, you know that one of my favorite times together is when we do prayer requests. I love to hear the needs that are going on and how we as a community of believers can pray for each other! How awesome and rewarding to know that you can pray for a friend and God will listen! Galatians 6:2: "By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ."
And one of the last things that Grant emphasized is that the community of believers did LIFE together! Verse 46: "The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts". Satan and our culture has done a great job of compartmentalizing us...keeping us separate from each other. Grant was saying how we all are so content with chilling in our own homes and not fellowshipping with other believers. Why do you need to when you have a tv, multiple computers, etc. to keep you busy?
And, in verse 47 it shows that as the community of believers did life together and people were saved DAILY through God. Wow! Daily! How challenging is that?!
One of my favorite quotes by John Piper is this:
"God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him"
Let's start moving towards this kind of community in our churches and in our lives!
Can I get an "AMEN"?