The First Five: We Are the Church Part 1 – Acts 2:41-47

The First Five
The First Five

Series: The First Five

The First Five: We are The Church I

Acts 2:41-47

  1. Introduction
    1. Review the last three weeks of this series
      1. Week 1 – We are the witnesses, undeniable proof, Jesus ascends
      2. Week 2 – the Church makes the first decision in unity and through prayer
  • Week 3 – The Holy Spirit comes and the church is on fire
  1. I What is it like to start a new thing and especially a new church.
  2. For the next two weeks we will spend time describing the elements of what the first century church consisted of.
  3. How do we compare?
  4. It will take two weeks because there is so much content here.
  5. I think that if we want to become the church that Jesus wants us to be we must examine some of these elements of the 1st century church and incorporate them into who we are.
  6. Good news is that we already do some of these.
  7. I have now been here 4 weeks and I can attest to this church’s love for one another, the community, and to biblical teaching.
  8. We must continue to be fervent and we can always be better.
  9. The first church had been through a lot at this point.
  10. They had seen Jesus die, be buried, and then rise again.
  11. They had seen him after his resurrection for 40 days and then watched as he ascended into heaven.
  12. They waited 10 days and the day of Pentecost came like a mighty, rushing wind!
  13. The Holy Spirit made his presence known through the preaching of Peter about Jesus and 3000 people were saved and baptized.
  14. This was a huge movement of God among his people.
  15. So this passage speaks to the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say.
  16. What did they do now?
  17. They had just witnessed an incredible movement of God and now what?
  18. Let’s take a look at what happened
  19. Read Acts 2:41-47
  20. Today we will look at the first 4 elements of the church.
  1. Devoted to Teaching v. 42
    1. The apostles had been gifted with the knowledge that Jesus had given them.
    2. I think they probably reflected back on all the times where Jesus taught the masses and then pulled them aside to teach them further.
    3. They most likely taught what they knew which was theological matters straight from Jesus’ mouth.
    4. Many times in the book of John, he would say that the disciples “remembered these things that Jesus said after he was gone”
    5. This is what they were teaching.
    6. The people were devoted to understanding the most about Jesus
    7. There was no doubt they wanted to get to know who he was and what he did better.
    8. The overwhelming need they had was to gain knowledge and then pass that knowledge along.
    9. This was an oral society.
    10. They used this knowledge to pass along to others.
    11. I am unclear as to how many people were being taught at one time.
    12. We see numbers like 120, then 3000 so they probably broke into house churches where smaller numbers could be taught by the apostles.
    13. Now this teaching was the first teaching to distinguish the church from the Jewish nation,
    14. The Holy Spirit was speaking through these apostles to transmit the message of Jesus.
    15. Today we need to devote ourselves to sound teaching.
    16. There is a lot of bad teaching that goes on around us.
    17. You may see some on TV
    18. You must be discerning as to whether the teaching is straight from God’s word or if it is fabricated.
    19. I pray you will be able to trust that I am rightly dividing the word of God and pointing you back to God and His word.
    20. Knowledge of who Jesus is can launch our spiritual lives further down the road.
    21. Unfortunately, knowledge can puff us up as well.
    22. We can use the knowledge of the scripture to make ourselves prideful
    23. I pray that you will learn and learn a lot but do not become prideful about your knowledge.
    24. Knowledge can also dull us
    25. As I went further in my education, I didn’t know more, I just knew how to ask deeper questions.
    26. Many Christians have a lot of knowledge but don’t ever act.
    27. They don’t teach others and they don’t evangelize.
    28. I pray you will devote yourself to learning God’s word and I hope as a church we are a people that are knowledgable especially in the face of this world that is increasingly biblically illiterate.
    29. The new minister was asked to teach a boys’ class in the absence of the regular teacher. He decided to see what they knew, so he asked who knocked down the walls of Jericho. All the boys denied having done it, and the preacher was appalled by their ignorance. At the next deacons’ meeting he told about the experience. “Not one of them knows who knocked down the walls of Jericho,” he lamented. The group was silent until finally one seasoned veteran of disputes spoke up. “Preacher, this appears to be bothering you a lot. But I’ve known all those boys since they were born and they’re good boys. If they said they didn’t know, I believe them. Let’s just take some money out of the repair and maintenance fund, fix the walls, and let it go at that.”
  • Fellowship v. 42
    1. This fellowship they were experiencing went further than food.
    2. I know we as Baptists have used fellowship as a synonym for fried chicken, but there is a difference
    3. The fellowship these individuals experienced was when they came together for worship
    4. There was mutual encouragement and prayer support
    5. There was deep love for one another
    6. There was a desire for closeness and a bond that could not be broken.
    7. There was deep joy in seeing one another
    8. There was unity of the body and everyone had a spirit that was ready to worship God
    9. Their worship was inclusive of their fellowship.
    10. They enjoyed a tight family
    11. I have enjoyed getting to know you and this church and have seen how you care for one another
    12. There is a genuine concern for one another
    13. You have expressed that to me and my family and I want to thank you
    14. You have truly embraced us
    15. We should be so encouraging of one another that the outside world is drawn to this
    16. We should each have a desire to worship the Lord that creates a bond between us
    17. There should be deep fellowship in our Sunday School classes and other small groups where prayer support and love can be overflowing
    18. Individuals should be able to come to church and feel a lack of condemnation and rather a sense of peace and comfort
    19. The opposite of this is when individuals won’t come to church because of the attitude of some
    20. The opposite is when fellowship is broken because of certain circumstances and family pain
    21. The opposite is when we are at odds with one another or our pride gets in the way
    22. We must be diligent to ward off these dangers and have genuine fellowship here
    23. This is where forgiveness of each other should be modeled is right in the church.
    24. Visit to Africa and the instant bond because of Christ.
  1. The Breaking of Bread
    1. Yes they ate together…some of you just got excited
    2. You always desire to eat with each other
    3. This means a little different then simply eating with one another
    4. In this culture to have dinner with someone was a powerful, intimate, special occasion where there is a genuine approval of the other person and a sense of family is existing
    5. This is why the Pharisees had such a problem with Jesus eating with the tax collectors. He was authorizing them in who they were and approving of them. Of course he did not approve their sin.
    6. This is why Paul said that if someone was taken out of the church not even to eat with them. I Corinthians 5:11
    7. This early church was having intimate special time with one another over a meal
    8. More than likely this was a huge sacrifice for the participants because of the ability to purchase bread
    9. It was a special time.
    10. We don’t just need to eat more together but we also need to spend time with one another
    11. I know it is easy to breeze into church and breeze right out and not really get knee to knee and face to face with someone in accountability
    12. This needs to be a priority for us all that we find accountability and a special relationship with the members of the church.
    13. Join a SS class, be a part of a small group bible study, spend time with one another in accountability.
    14. We need to narrow the difference in the number of people attending services and attending Sunday school.
    15. God will reward you in your spiritual life because of this time.
    16. But too often we confuse love with permissiveness. It is not love to fail to dissuade another believer from sin any more than it is love to fail to take a drink away from an alcoholic or matches away from a baby. True fellowship out of love for one another demands accountability.
  2. Prayer
    1. Prayer was vital to the early church
    2. Prayer was something they did on their own and also together
    3. Prayer for each other and prayer for their fellowship
    4. They spent time in prayer
    5. I ask you to spend time in prayer individually and then in groups
    6. I ask you to pray with us as a church on Wednesday night
    7. We need prayer to help us come into line with what God wants in his will
    8. Prayer should be the desire of each believer to communicate and talk with God
    9. God wants to hear from you
    10. The early church had significant time to pray
    11. We have been known as a praying church and I hope that continues
    12. I ask you to pray for the life of this church
    13. Pray that we might reach the lost
    14. Pray that we might be used to become what God’s wants this church to be
    15. Pray we would be sensitive to who needs help and encouragement
    16. Pray that I would prepare messages that are Christ centered
    17. Pray for your staff to accomplish their work
    18. Pray for the attendance of this church
    19. Pray for the giving of this church
    20. Pray that we might be unified
    21. Prayer is essential
    22. Relationships to our spouse like our relationship to God by prayer. An essential element.
  3. Conclusion
    1. These first 4 elements of the early church should challenge us in our own operations as a church
    2. Are we devoting ourselves to teaching and to understanding God’s word?
    3. Are we in fellowship with one another?
    4. Are we breaking bread with one another?
    5. Are we devoted to prayer?
    6. God wants to do things in his church and I pray that we are ready to hear from him and to do the things we see in the early church?
    7. Remember that at the end of this section Luke writes that the Lord was adding to their number daily.
    8. The salvation of this community and the spread of the gospel in this valley should be a huge priority for us.