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

The First Five
The First Five

Acts 2:41-47

  1.  Introduction
    1. We have been in this series on the First two books of the NT.
    2. We called it the first five because it was the first five weeks I was in the pulpit here.
    3. Today concludes this series which almost seems incredible that it has been 5 weeks that we have been together.
    4. We cannot be satisfied but need to push forward…

Over 2,000 years ago a young Greek artist named Timanthes studied under a respected tutor. After several years the teacher’s efforts seemed to have paid off when Timanthes painted an exquisite work of art. Unfortunately, he became so enraptured with the painting that he spent days gazing at it. One morning when he arrived to admire his work, he was shocked to find it blotted out with paint. Angry, Timanthes ran to his teacher, who admitted he had destroyed the painting. “I did it for your own good. That painting was retarding your progress. Start again and see if you can do better.” Timanthes took his teacher’s advice and produced Sacrifice of Iphigenia, which is regarded as one of the finest paintings of antiquity.

Today in the Word, September 2, 1992.

  1. In these first two chapters of Acts we see the church getting its start.
  2. We notice some of the beginning steps of the church as Jesus ascends into heaven
  3. Last week we spent some time focusing in on what the church did after Pentecost and if we were to start a brand new church what would be the elements we would want to start with.
  4. We examined the first four of these practices in devoted to teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer.
  5. Today we will examine the last four of these elements and the results that occurred.
  6. The Next 4 aspects of the New church
  1. A Sense of Awe v. 43
    1. The people who were experiencing this first church were experiencing awe and wonder.
    2. They couldn’t believe what was happening
    3. I am sure they were blown away by what God was doing in each service and each time they were together
    4. The more people God was bringing to them, the more He was wanting to use them to reach others
    5. They were simply awe inspired.
    6. They saw wonders and miracles before their eyes.
    7. I am sure the talk of their town was all about what God was doing
    8. They were blown over with the work of the HS in their midst
    9. They could not have been more excited
    10. Have you been there?
    11. Have you seen God do this kind of work in your midst?
    12. Have you seen God wake up a town and a community for the cause of Christ?
    13. We might call this revival because we don’t see it that often but they just called it Church.
    14. Can you imagine what it would be like if something like this happened at FBC Swannanoa?
    15. Waking up on a Sunday morning instead of feeling like you can barely get out of bed, but rather jumping out of bed because you can’t wait to see what God might do today at church.
    16. Being awe inspired because you can’t give credit to any person except to just look to Jesus and go wow.
    17. To see people you never thought would darken the door of a church come and get saved.
    18. Revival in Carthage…I saw it once. (No bad side)
  • Taking Care of One Another v. 44-45
    1. This church took care of each other
    2. During this time persecution was on the horizon and for some of these folks they may already have started to feel it.
    3. We know that soon after the movement of Christianity began, there was persecution by the testimony of Paul.
    4. We know that some of these folks would not have been allowed to work because they had turned their life over to Christ.
    5. They might have been pushed out of society already.
    6. HAPPENS TODAY
    7. This group decided to pull their possessions together and make sure that no one in the group was without help.
    8. I know in this church you have been that kind of church
    9. You have given so that others might have something
    10. You have seen special needs and fulfilled those needs
    11. You have done the things necessary to make sure that the members of this church are taken care of.
    12. I want to see us continue to do that.
    13. Remember that through your regular tithes and offerings we are able to keep the ministries of this church going through our personnel, our utilities, our activities, our events, our benevolence.
    14. Ministry costs money and you have already been so faithful to give.
    15. I firmly believe that if we simply follow the OT way of giving the tithe and everyone in the church would participate in this as they have been given, then we would never have need of a building program, or special offerings, but rather would have plenty to meet the needs of the church and be able to bless the members of the church and the community with ministries.
    16. All I ask is that you look at what you have been given and consider the 10% tithe.
    17. There was no welfare system from the government but only what the church could do for its members.

For the past forty years Eunice Pike has worked with the Mazatec Indians in south-western Mexico. During this time she has discovered some interesting things about these beautiful people. For instance, the people seldom wish someone well. Not only that, they are hesitant to teach one another or to share the gospel with each other. If asked, “Who taught you to bake bread?” the village baker answers, “I just know,” meaning he has acquired the knowledge without anyone’s help. Eunice says this odd behavior stems from the Indian’s concept of “limited good.” They believe there is only so much good, so much knowledge, so much love to go around. To teach another means you might drain yourself of knowledge. To love a second child means you have to love the first child less. To wish someone well–“Have a good day”–means you have just given away some of your own happiness, which cannot be reacquired.

  1. Bernie May, “Learning to Trust,” Multnomah Press, 1985

 

  1. Gladness and Sincerity of Heart v. 46b
    1. This is a great phrase
    2. This phrase comes at the end of a series of items that the church was doing on a daily basis.
    3. They were unified in one mind. We have already talked about the importance of this unifying spirit of God.
    4. They were going from house to house.
    5. They did not have a church building to go and meet in so different members opened their homes for the people to come and meet in.
    6. They just loved being around one another…not to the exclusion of others but they just loved one another.
    7. Once again, I have observed this love in this church.
    8. You genuinely care for one another.
    9. I believe that God is going to bring us more people to help to find Jesus and to be discipled. I don’t think it is always going to just be us.
    10. We must warmly greet others as they come as our guests and as they become new members.
    11. What if that original 120 disciple of Jesus loved each other so much at the exclusion of the 3000 and more who came to know Jesus. We would not be here today.
    12. We must be warm and friendly even to those who are brand new.
    13. Make every effort to speak to those around you that you may not know.
    14. Don’t get discouraged if you just didn’t know them because they had grown up, or have been gone for awhile.
    15. Make sure to know each other cross generationally as well. Youth get to know some of these seasoned adults and median adults.
    16. Adults don’t be afraid to say hi to a teenager, you might find a friend.
    17. Old couple of youth group pew and Mr. Edge.
  2. Praise God v. 47a
    1. The people spent time praising God and the result was God giving them favor.
    2. They were so enthused to come and worship the Lord.
    3. They came with a grateful heart and a heart of joy to sing together, to worship, to pray.
    4. They were praising God.
    5. Now I am sure if I went with some of you to your favorite sporting event you would not be sitting there with your arms folded and wondering when this was going to end.
    6. We need to come to church with an expecting heart to praise God.
    7. See how your attitude would be different if you walked in here ready to praise God and to worship rather than simply coming out of obligation.
    8. I can guarantee these people were not coming to church out of obligation but rather out of a sense of joy.
    9. Set your heart toward joy!
    10. I know it is easy to complain, but decide today to be positive.
    11. I think these people in this church were bursting at the seams to see what God was doing and they wanted to tell others.
    12. They were positive even if it was too cold or too hot or if someone sat in their typical seat.
    13. Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do.
  3. The result: God’s Favor v. 47
    1. Because of all of this they were gaining favor with God.
    2. God was enabling the community to look at them differently.
    3. God was adding to their number day by day.
    4. Anytime there is a level of excitement it is going to draw a crowd.
    5. I pray we together can be excited about the things that God is doing in people’s lives
    6. Spread the word about the work he is doing in your life
    7. If we were to look at our church, what is the story we want told?
    8. MOMENTUM
  • Conclusion
    1. The first century church included some basic elements that made it dynamic.
    2. They were unified, they worshipped together
    3. They fellowshipped together and ate together
    4. They had a sense of awe and wonder at the things God had done
    5. They saw God add to their number daily
    6. Let’s add these things to what our church is already doing well and see how God might use us
    7. I believe we must prepare for the people God is sending and is going to send our way
    8. This involves more SS classes, more discipleship classes, a path for membership, more worship services,
    9. I would rather go hard and fast after what God wants then to sit back and not see Him bless this church.
    10. Pray with me for all that God wants to do.