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Tag Archives: Acts 2:42

A Theological Check-Up: Do You Really Believe? Part 7: The Church

IF – is a big word, though only two letters long. These posts have been inspired by the very helpful books of Paul Little: Know WHAT You Believe and Know WHY You Believe. We’re asking the question not about what or why we believe, but IF we indeed believe.

We have asked IF we truly believe what the Bible teaches about Truth, Sin, God, Jesus Christ, and Salvation. But WHAT do we believe about the CHURCH — and do really, really believe it?

Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He is only building one thing — His church. The writer Dorothy Sayers once said that “God underwent three great humiliations in his efforts to rescue the human race. The first was the Incarnation, when he took on the confines of a physical body. The second was the Cross, when he suffered the ignominy of public execution. The third humiliation is the church.”

How do we bring humiliation to the Lord? Let me suggest several attitudes that reflect a poor view of the church:

(1) “I’ll serve — but only if I have the time. Afterall, don’t we pay the pastor and the staff to do the work around here?”

(2) “I really don’t care for the music. Maybe we should start looking for another church.”

(3)  “You want me to witness to my friends?! But what if they won’t be my friends anymore?”The early church in the book of Acts practiced four priorities: They worked hard at teaching the doctrines of the faith. Truth mattered to them. They practiced genuine fellowship with one another. They recognized the fact that when Jesus saved them, He put them in a Body. They worshiped together. They knew that their God was worthy of praise and adoration — and so they gave it willingly. They actually prayed with and for one another.

Here are a few questions to consider IF you and I really believe in the CHURCH:

1. How high a priority does your church give to truth? To the preaching and teaching of God’s Word?

2. How dependent are you and I on other believers — for their encouragement, service, fellowship?

3. When you or I leave a “worship” service, is our breath taken away by what we have learned about our God?

4. Do people in your church or mine ever actually pray for each other? Do you see that happening in the foyer or the parking lot?

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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An Illustration of DEVOTION!

You may have heard the story about the young check-out girl at a local Wal*Mart. She seemed bored with her job, somewhat unfriendly to the customers, and was always looking at her watch to see how much longer she had to be at work.

Her supervisor took her aside and said, “Becky Anne,” (she was a Southern girl), “you don’t seem too interested in your job here at Wal*Mart. You don’t seem real motivated to contribute to our philosophy, but I’m not going to fire you right now. I want to ask you a few questions. Are you ready?” “Yessir,” Becky Anne said.

“Becky Anne, let’s imagine that you had the power to hire any one of the following three guys you see working in a rock quarry. You interview the first guy and ask him, ‘What are you doing?’ He says, ‘I’m moving these stupid rocks. Boy, are they heavy!’ You interview the second guy, ‘What are you doing?’ He says, ‘I’m moving this pile of dumb rocks so I can get enough money to make my truck payment.’ You go to the third guy and ask him, ‘What are you doing?’ He says, ‘I’m helping to build a cathedral!’

Which of those three guys would you hire, Becky Ann?” Becky Ann thought hard for a few seconds and then said,

“The cute one, I guess!”

[Acts 2:42 says the early Christians devoted themselves to the four priorities listed there. Are we today marked by that kind of devotion?]

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2019 in devotion

 

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Four Days in the Book of Acts (Day #4)

As we complete this brief look at our story, the story of the early Christian church, there are many topics that could be discussed.  But one that intrigues me is the question:  What is prescriptive in the Book of Acts and what is merely descriptive of those first believers?  What practices ought we to emulate today?  Which activities and events were foundational to the founding of the church and are simply described for us?

This is no small task — but it is the same question for any of the books of the Bible.  Should we men expect God to supernaturally bring us our brides as He did with Isaac (in Gen. 24)?  Should we learn to use a sling and look for unusually tall Philistines to slay (as David did in I Sam. 17)?  For Christian men who are bald and are teased about their hair loss, should they folllow the lead of Elisha and call down a curse of mauling bears on such juvenile mockers (2 Ki. 2)?

More to the point, what practices in the Book of Acts ought to mark today’s church?  Should we see wholesale miracles like people being healed by merely touching our handkerchiefs and aprons, as happened with Paul (Acts 19)?  Should new converts speak in tongues (as they did in Acts 2, 10, and 19)?  Should spiritual men “appoint” elders in local churches (as Paul and Barnabas did in Acts 14)?

I do not pretend to have finally found the answer to this critical question regarding descriptive versus prescriptive.  Here are some internet articles you might want to check out (then I’ll give you a few of my thoughts):

“Is Acts Descriptive or Prescriptive?  Here’s How to Read It For All Its Worth” by Jeremy Bouma.

“10 Reasons Why Acts Is Normative” by Adrian Warnock.

“Ending the Descriptive-Prescriptive Battle Once and For All” by Cerulean Sanctum.

My thoughts:  This is a question that applies to all the books of the Bible, not just to Acts.  The principles we see in Acts are transcultural.  The practices perhaps not so.  The major truths in Acts are repeated in other Scriptures (such as the need for qualified leaders in the local church).  The Apostolic period was unique and should be treated as such.  Do we need miracles today to authenticate the gospel message?  Perhaps in some parts of the world that do not yet have God’s Word.  Your thoughts?

Assignment: Acts 2:42 certainly seems to be a great theme verse for Christian congregations world-wide.  Look up that passage and give your perspective in the Comments’ section below.

 

By the way, here are my notes I took in reading through Acts:

 

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2017 in The Acts of the Apostles

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #4- The Saints!) (con’t)

The SAINTS can sometimes bog down the believer in Jesus!  It’s true!  Jesus-followers can get discouraged, distracted, or demoralized by fellow believers in Jesus!

These ten topics (which we are preaching at Crossroads Fellowship Church; website: crossroadschurchinaugusta.com) might help us come to grips with the issues that often slow down our sanctification process.  By “saints” the Bible means every believer (not some special category of Christian determined by church authorities).

The text we have chosen to focus our attention on the saints is Acts 2:42 which reads:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

We’ve noticed the devotion of these first-century believers.  Now let’s see what unified them.  They were thoroughly committed to four specific areas of truth:  THE APOSTLES’ TEACHING, THE FELLOWSHIP, THE BREAKING OF BREAD, AND THE PRAYERS.  Each of those four areas uses the definite article in Greek.  That’s why I used the word “the” before each one.

These early believers cared about DOCTRINE, TOGETHERNESS, WORSHIP, AND COMMUNICATING WITH THE LORD!  If we focused on these for priorities in the local church, don’t you agree that many of our conflicts, squabbles, and spats would vanish?

On the issue of DOCTRINE, what truths about God and the things of God ought to unite believers in Jesus? (I can think of dozens).

On the issue of TOGETHERNESS, what specific steps do we take to spend time with one another?

On the issue of WORSHIP, do we strive to unite our hearts as we praise the Lord together?

On the issue of PRAYER, how might we become much more serious in lifting up one another’s needs?

If fellow-Christians have got you down, my friend, forgive them, pray for them, and take specific steps to concentrate on the four priorities that ought to unite all Jesus-followers!

 

 


 
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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in christian growth

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #4- The Saints!)

How do Jesus-followers get STUCK on THE SAINTS?  We are looking at ten areas that bog down the believer in Jesus (our sermons will be posted on the church website: crossroadschurchinaugusta.com).

By THE SAINTS, let me make myself clear that there is no special category of Christian which gets elevated to the status of “saint.”  “Saint” simply means holy one — and every born-again believer in Jesus is a SAINT!  We may not act like it, but it’s true!

I’m reminded of the poem that says, “To dwell above, with saints we love, Oh, that will be glory!  But to live below, with saints we know, now that’s a different story!”

What are some ways that fellow Christians can bog us down?  We harbor hard feelings, we choose to get mad at one another, we decide not to pursue reconciliation, we don’t pray for one another, we remain spiritual strangers to one another, etc.  What would you add to this list?  I believe most of us need a refresher course in friendship.  And we need to commit ourselves to spending TIME with one another.

The main text that I will be preaching on for this topic may seem strange, but it details the priorities of the early Christian church.  That text is Acts 2:42 where we read:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

That’s it!  One verse.  But notice that these four priorities united believers first to the Lord, and then to one another!  Today let’s notice the devotion of the early Christians:  “they devoted themselves to …”

Perhaps you heard the story of the young check out girl at a local WalMart. She seemed bored with her job, somewhat unfriendly to the customers, and was always looking at her watch to see how much longer she had to be at work. Her supervisor took her aside and said, “Becky Anne,” (she was a Southern girl), “you don’t seem too interested in your job here at WalMart. You don’t seem real motivated to contribute to our philosophy, but I’m not going to fire you right now. I want to ask you a few questions. Are you ready?” “Yes sir,” Becky Anne said. “Becky Anne, let’s imagine that you had the power to hire any one of the following three guys you see working in a rock quarry. You interview the first guy and ask him, ‘What are you doing?’ He says, ‘I’m moving these stupid rocks. Boy, are they heavy!’ You interview the second guy, ‘What are you doing?’ He says, ‘I’m moving this pile of dumb rocks so I can get enough money to make my truck payment.’ You go to the third guy and ask him, ‘What are you doing?’ He says, ‘I’m helping to build a cathedral!’ Which of those three guys would you hire, Becky Ann?” Becky Ann thought hard for a few seconds and then said, “The cute one, I guess!”

In what ways do we show that we are devoted to the four priorities of the early church?  Feel free to post your comment below.  (to be continued)


 
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Posted by on September 21, 2017 in christian growth

 

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