Thursday, May 16, 2013

lessons from the church of Acts

Find a need and fill it.  Find a hurt and heal it.”  Those two phrases are echoed from Tommy Barnett.  Those are the dreams that I have had for a long time.  But wait, some of it is bigger than I expected.  Some of it is different.  It is God’s desire and as well my desire to see lives changes.  By meeting needs we win the right to share Jesus with people.

A question I heard has stuck with me.  When we read ACTS do we come away saying, “Yep, that’s our church”?  I am afraid not.  I often leave those verses thinking, “where did we go wrong?  What has to change?” 

Acts 2:37-47  NLT
Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

They weren’t much different than us.  We might be a little busier.  We might have more technology.  We most likely have it is easier.  But what made the first church successful is what will make our churches successful.

The people in book of Acts, the first church, show us that we must ---  Be devoted to the truth.  The Bible says that they were cut to the heart when the Word of God was read, discussed and focused on.  When we see or hear God, we will be cut, and the people of Acts and us must interact with God’s truth allowing God’s truth to daily impact our lives. 

The people of the book of Acts demonstrate for us that we must --- Be devoted to one another.  They spent time together.  The reason why they were united is because they focused on the same things.  They focused on God.  We are stronger when we are together, when we are sharing with each other, and encouraging each other.

Another things that was true of the people in the book of Acts and that ought to be true of us is that we should --- Be devoted to making a difference.  Making a difference is not about having a lot of people at your church or a bunch of resources.  Making a difference is about people.  It is about lives being changed by the grace of God.

Repentance was the way in, and it still is.  Praise God that our sins are forgiven.  Repenting means that we turn from one direction to another, from sin and self and come close to God.  When God changes someone, they and like us will be sharing Jesus every chance we get and will by meeting needs of the people around us.  We win the right to share Jesus with people when we serve them.

The church of Acts was growing, and people being saved as lives were changed.  Even the Gentiles were being saved.  Those are the people that weren’t like the church people and were somewhat of outcasts.  But we must be willing to serve people that are not like us.  We ought to be serving the people around us and the people we need to be serving are those that are often not like us.  Be careful because when we go the wrong way when we are focused on wrong people or the wrong things.

I close by asking you to look at verse 43 again.  These people had a “sense of awe” around them and about them.  Why?  It is because they were having fun following Jesus.  AWE comes from being with Jesus.  AWE comes from doing things Jesus’ way.  AWE comes from see Jesus change lives.  AWE comes when our focus is JESUS

Are we more or less like the church we read about in the book of Acts?

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