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Sunday AM Remix – 1.29.12

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

“The Church God Blesses”
Acts 2:42-47

As a church, it’s so easy to forget who we are and whose we are.  Have you noticed?

* REALITY: when we forget who we are and whose we are, we always forget why we’re here.

* TRUTH: The first church in the book of Acts is kind of the blueprint in many ways of what every church should aim to be.

* TRUTH: The way we become a fully blessed church is that we do what God designed the church to do.

* QUESTION: What is the church supposed to be doing? What is it supposed to be focused on?

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.  Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 (NKJV)

* That word ‘steadfastly’ in the Greek means to ‘adhere to or to stick like glue to’.  Not causal.  Intentional, devoted energy to these things.

GOD BLESSED THE CHURCH THAT IS DEVOTED TO … 

 1.  GOD’S WORD.

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine…” (v.42)

* The apostle’s doctrine was comprised of the OT, the teaching of Jesus (Great Commission), and the epistles that they eventually wrote.

* Together these equal the Bible we have today.

* REALITY: when you turn on the television you can hear what a network has to say.  When you buy a magazine you can hear what a journalist has to say.  When you buy a newspaper you can hear what a reporter has to say.  When you turn on a song you hear what the singer has to say.  But when you open up the Bible, you get to hear what God has to say.  And that’s what we need most of all, amen?

* REALITY: People who listen poorly will never hear a good sermon.  It doesn’t matter who the speaker is, if your heart isn’t prepared and expectant on receiving God’s Word, you probably won’t ever get it.

* TRUTH: God has designed you to need this book.  God has designed you to need/crave this book.  Let me show you quickly three things God’s Word has the power to do.

– It has the power to CONVERT US.

“You have been taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.”  2 Timothy 3:15 (NLT)

“For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, Living Word of God.”  1 Peter 1:23 (NLT)

* No one, absolutely no one, is saved apart from the Word of God.

* REALITY: If we did not have the Word of God no one would be saved.  We would not know how to be saved.  The reason many churches are not seeing anyone come to Christ is simply because the Word is not being shared, taught, and preached.  It doesn’t matter how good people are to one another, or how friendly they are, or how many programs they have, without the Word of God people will not be saved.

– It has the power to CONVICT US.

“For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.”  Hebrews 4:12-13 (NLT)

* You can’t be corrected until you are convicted.  You can’t be changed until your challenged.

* The Bible is God pointing His loving finger in your face saying, “I’m talking to you.”

* You don’t just read this book, it reads you.  This book is alive.  It’s not dead letters on a page. This book literally pulsates with life. It breathes, and it bleeds, and it weeps, and it sings.

* Just as Jesus was the living Word of God in the flesh, the bible is the living word of God in print.  The living God wrote a living book.

– It has the power to CLEAN US.

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.”  John 17:17 (NKJV)

 “You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you.”  John 15:3 (NKJV)

 “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters.”  1 Peter 1:22a (NLT)

* The Bible is heaven’s detergent and God’s soap that can wash away the stain of sin.

* We must never ever get away from preaching/teaching God’s Word.

2.  ONE ANOTHER.

“… fellowship…” v. 42 (NKJV)

Fellowship in the Greek language =  koinonia.  It’s the first time the word is ever used in the New Testament, and it literally means, “to care so much that you share”.

* Fellowship is relationship expressed through caring and sharing.

* The Foundation of Christian Fellowship is Jesus.

 “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 (NLT)

* Qualifier for Fellowship: ‘if we walk in the light as He is in the light’ then we can have fellowship with one another.”

 * It’s based on a common commitment to Christ to live in the light.

* The first church deeply loved Jesus and the Gospel, and because of that they were deeply devoted to one another.

— Levels of Communication

1.  SUPERFICIAL.

2.  PERSONAL.

3. INTIMATE.

     * It is absolutely unhealthy and unbiblical to think that all you need from the church is to come to a worship service.

* REALITY: You need regular contact, involvement, and community with others in this church.  You can’t care and share with people you don’t know.  You will never devote yourself to people who are strangers.

* QUESTION:  If you walked out of this church today and never came back, would anyone even notice?  Would anyone’s life be different because you weren’t here? Are you serving or caring in any capacity where you would leave a hole if you didn’t come back?

* The church is not just about you filling up, it’s also about you pouring out.

3.  GOD’S PRESENCE.

 “… in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” v. 42 (NKJV) 

* God works mightily in and through a praying church.

* God works mightily in and through a church that is committed to coming to God’s table together.

* The main thing we should never forget about the Lord’s Table is that it’s fellowship with Jesus.  It’s celebrating and enjoying the presence of Almighty God. 

4.  PERSONAL SACRIFICE.

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” v. 44-45 (NKJV)

* We preach the Gospel by sharing how Christ was willing to sacrifice Himself for us.

* We demonstrate the Gospel by willing to sacrifice for each other.

“Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who help the poor honor Him.”  Or Proverbs 19:17, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord-and He will repay you!”  Or Prov. 28:27, “Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing.  But a curse will come upon those who close their eyes to poverty.” Proverbs 14:31

– Results of Personal Sacrifice … 

— Miracles were seen.

“Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.” Acts 2:43 (NKJV)

* When the church will obey God; God promises to be in their midst and He does things only He can do.

— Unity was savored.

“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.” Acts 2:46-47a (NKJV)

* A unified church is where

… the long hairs, and the short hairs, and the no hairs love each other and work with each other…

…where the suit and tie crowd get along brilliantly with the jeans and t-shirt crowd…

…and nobody judges the other or makes the other feel inferior….

…It’s where the Ph.D’s can sit in the same pew with the high school dropout and they love, appreciate, and value one another…

….It’s where the millionaires can sit next to those on welfare and still hold hands and sing, “We are one in the bond of love.”

* Unity is a oneness of heart, a similarity in purpose, and an agreement on truth.  That’s Real Unity.

— People were saved.

“And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47b (NKJV)

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1.  What are you most excited/concerned about in our church right now?

2. Read Acts 2:42-47.  Why was devotion and dedication to the apostle doctrine so important to the early church?  What happens to the church that ignores God’s Word?

3. Why was the early church so inviting? What would FBCH need to do differently to follow this blue print?

4. Read 1 John 1:7… Understanding this verse, it is only through Christ  and the gospel that true fellowship can be achieved. So, talk about real fellowship. How does your group truly practice this type of fellowship. Notice the words deeply and devoted; what does that mean to you?

5. How is our church ‘attractive’ to our community?  What could we do better?  How do you play a part in that?

6. What is fellowship?  What is the closest you have come to experiencing the close fellowship described in this passage in Acts?  (Hints: sports teams, military, family, friends, etc.)

7. Pastor Bob mentioned personal sacrifice is important for every member of God’s church?  What sacrifices are you making for the benefit of your church?  Do you sense you are sacrificing too much, too little, or just the right amount?  Why?

8.  What is the most attractive element of the early church in Acts?  Why?

9.  What is your number one desire for FBCH in the future?  Why?

10. Pastor Bob mentioned being intensely Joyous in God’s presence. How often do you feel joyous knowing your are in Christ? Talk about issues that prevent you from Joy! How might you pray as a group to move past this issues?

11. What are you sacrificing to be part of FBCH?

This weeks challenge: Please email Kim Webb your ideas on how FBCH  can be more inviting and what we can do better to reach  our community.

MUSICAL WORSHIP SET

First Love

Your Love Never Fails

God is Able

Made to Worship

How Deep the Father’s Love

We hope that you found Sundays Message and following Small Group Questions helpful. If you missed this weeks message, I encourage you to get it here.  While you are there, browse around our website … we think you will like it and find it to be a great tool in inviting friends to FBC Harvester.

As always, I hope you make plans to join us at FBC Harvester next weekend! If distance is a problem, you are always welcome to listen to any of the teachings from our worship service on our website. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us here. We would love the privilege of helping where we can and seeing God do amazing things in our lives together.

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