*The early church soon realized that in order for the Gospel to spread it was going to come at a great cost.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
*Our life is not about us, our life is about pointing people to Jesus.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
*Dying to self is the only way to live a life of fruitfulness.
Quote: “The only way to be blessed is to be a blessing and to be a blessing we must leave our comfort.” Tim Keller
I. RADICAL TRANSFORMATION
Quote: “A group of ordinary Christians living intentionally in a city to bring joy to it through word and deed.” JD Greear
*The Great Commission is not fulfilled by a few anointed preachers and pastors but through God’s people being filled with God’s Spirit, going to different places, proclaiming the Gospel to all people!
II. RACIAL UNIFICATION
*Perhaps the greatest display of God’s power was not through “miracle healings” but through lives that were radically transformed!
*The Gospel of Jesus Christ breaks down the race barrier and builds bridges of reconciliation creating unity and harmony.
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
III. ROOTLESS FAITH
*Once saved forever following.
*We either give Jesus complete control or we have not given Him control at all.
Quote: “The pain of sacrificing our old selves is nothing compared to the joy of Christ living in us in our transformed lives.” A.W. Tozer
*Watch out for bitterness lingering in your life!
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”
A. Loss of your ability to love God
B. Lack of spiritual growth in your life
C. Lingering doubts about your salvation
*The cure for bitterness is found in repentance and returning to Jesus Christ so that you may rejoice!
*The life changing power of the Gospel cannot be purchased with money and joy does not come out of a bitter person.
*The church is to be a place of joy, where people who are filled with joy, are moving toward those whose lives are joyless!
*When it comes to God’s mission for the church there is no “Plan B”; “Plan B” is to enforce “Plan A”.
*The same God who shook the early church is the same God who is still at work in the lives of His people today!
*The pages of God’s Word not only remind us but reinforce the reality that the church of Jesus Christ is victorious!
I Corinthians 15:57, 58
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
I. GENUINE FAITH
I Thessalonians 2:13
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
II. GATHERING FOR WORSHIP
Quote: “The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man so that he should proclaim the Word of God through music.” Martin Luther
Quote: “Worship has been misunderstood as something that arises from a feeling which comes upon you; but it is vital that we understand that it is rooted in a conscious act of the will, to serve and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.” Graham Kendrick
III. GENEROUS GIVING
*Generosity is not a percentage you give it’s the way that you live when your life has been changed by the Gospel.
IV. GROWING AND GOING
*Church attendance and community must always be connected!
“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Quote: “A church that stays within the four walls is not a church at all!” Mark Batterson
*Evangelism and discipleship is not a destination it is to be the direction every believer is headed!
V. GODLY LEADERSHIP
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
VI. GUIDED BY PRAYER
*The whole idea of prayer in the Bible is not about a prayer time but a prayer life.
Quote: “A prayerful church is a powerful church.” Charles Spurgeon
VII. GOVERNED BY THE SPIRIT
*The early church is proof that with little money, minimally gifted people, uneducated leaders and limited building space the power of the Holy Spirit shook the world for the glory of God!
*A church that is continuing on is a church that will be growing!
*Our life still speaks to who we were and what we believed long after we are gone and done talking.
1. Man must come to God by faith and not works. Your religion and tradition will not save you.
2. Man must accept and obey God’s holy revelation above his own reason and self-will.
*They may kill the messenger but the message will never die!
I. THE MESSENGER AND THE MESSAGE
A. A Man That That Was Full Of The Spirit
*Our walk and our talk should reflect that we are under the direct and divine control of the Spirit.
*Does my testimony taint the message of truth?
“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.”
B. A Message That Was Filled With Truth
1. A history of resisting God’s messengers and the message.
2. A history of breaking God’s Law.
I Kings 8:27
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?”
*What brings a building to life is when those who have the life of God in them come together to praise, preach, and proclaim the name of Jesus!
“Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”
II. THE MOB AND THE MURDER
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
*You answer the question of, “would I die for Jesus” by asking yourself, “am I living for Jesus”.
Quote: “The love of the church is the churches most effective apologetic.” Francis Schaffer
*In his death Stephen showed that although the world rejected him, He was received by the Saviour.
Quote: “Death reveals who we really are.”
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
*Questions To Contemplate
1. What is the level of my surrender, sacrifice, and service saying about my love for Jesus and His Church?
2. What will the last words from my lips reveal about my life?
3. When I see Jesus what will I hear Him say to me?
*The danger of the Christian life is losing our sense of dependence on God!
Prayer: “God give us enough success to know you are there and enough failure to desperately need you.”
Proverbs 30:8, 9
“Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”
*We are to live our life through the lens of God’s perspective and His greater plans and purpose for our life.
“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”
“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”
“Pray without ceasing.”
*The whole idea of prayer in the Bible is not about a prayer time but a prayer life.
*Prayer is not to be measured by an amount of time but must be seen as a continual action.
I. All Kinds Of Prayer
*Prayer is rooted in relationship.
Quote: “Our ultimate position as Christians is tested by the character of our prayer life.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones
II. Perseverance In Prayer
*To be persistent in prayer is to be specific in prayer.
*Persistent prayer pushes us into the lives of others.
III. Praying For The Saints
*The body of Christ builds itself up in love through the saints praying with and for one another!
*Prayer always drives you toward people!
*Prayer brings into focus the spiritual battle we are all to be engaged in.
*We are in Christ and we are at war!
Quote: “We cannot all argue, but we can all pray; we cannot all be leaders, but we can all be pleaders; we cannot all be mighty in rhetoric, but we can all be prevalent in prayer. I would sooner see you eloquent with God than with man.” Charles Spurgeon
*“Rhema”- A specific saying of God, used in a specific experience.
*We use the Scriptures to increase our trust in God not test Him.
I. REALIZE WHAT KIND OF WEAPON YOU HAVE
*God’s Word Is:
“The law of the LORD is perfect,”
Proverbs 30:5, 6
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Psalm 119:89, 90
“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.”
Quote: “The Bible is an armory of heavenly weapons, a laboratory of infallible medicines, a mine of exhaustless wealth. It is a guidebook for every road, a chart for every sea, a medicine for every sickness, and a balm for every wound. Rob us of our Bible and our sky has lost its sun.” Thomas Guthrie-Scottish Pastor
II Timothy 3:15-17
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
II Peter 1:20
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
*Reminders Concerning God’s Word
*It is compelling!
*It is convicting!
*It is converting!
*It is comforting!
*Hear it, heed it, and honor it!
*No church is perfect because it is filled with imperfect people.
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT PRODUCES GRACE IN THE LIVES OF GOD’S PEOPLE
*Mega grace is the result of the Gospel loosening the grip of greed on your life and tightening your grip of others.
II. GENEROSITY IS THE SIGN OF A HEALTHY CHURCH
*Grace filled people are generous people!
1. Filled with the Spirit
*Money may not be your idol but it will reveal what your idol is.
2. Mission Driven
3. Like Minded
4. Love In Action
5. Leading By Example
III. SATAN FAILED AT ELIMINATING JESUS SO HE SEEKS TO DESTROY THE CHURCH
*When Satan fills your heart you will trade Jesus for money.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, hefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
*The surest way to flush your heart of wickedness is to have your heart filled with a love for Jesus.
IV. GOD IS VERY SERIOUS ABOUT SIN
Quote: “God is indeed long suffering, patient, and slow to anger. In fact he is so slow to anger that when his anger does erupt, we are shocked and offended by it. We forget rather quickly that God’s patience is designed to lead us to repentance, to give us a time to be redeemed. Instead of taking advantage of this patience by coming humbly to Him for forgiveness, we use this grace as an opportunity to become bolder in our sin. We delude ourselves into thinking that either God doesn’t care about it, or that he is powerless to punish us. The supreme folly is that we think we will get away with our revolt.” R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God
“Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”
*When a church fears God the result is grace, generosity and growth!
Easter Sunday - Experiencing the Power of the Resurrection
*Sooner or later we realize that everything in life is running out and becoming empty.
Quote:“The truth of the resurrection gives life to every other area of gospel truth. The resurrection is the pivot on which all of Christianity turns and without which none of the other truths would much matter. Without the resurrection, Christianity would be so much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside all other human philosophy and religious speculation.” - John MacArthur
*The empty tomb of Jesus brings hope and happiness to a world that is hollow and hurting!
Quote: “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” - Tim Keller
“Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.”
*The resurrection is not great doctrine only, it is a testimony of how people have come to believe on Christ and submit to his Lordship.
*The Gospels do not explain the Resurrection; the Resurrection explains the Gospels.
*Belief in the Resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith; it is the Christian faith.
1. John believes!
2. Peter doubts!
3. Mary sobs!
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
I John 1:1-4
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."
*Our emptiness is filled with joy when we believe in Jesus Christ.
Quote: “Joy is something very deep and profound, something that affects the whole and entire personality. In other words it comes to this; there is only one thing that can give true joy and that is contemplation of the Lord Jesus Christ. He satisfies my mind; He satisfies my emotions; He satisfies my every desire. He and His great salvation include the whole personality and nothing less, and in Him I am complete. Joy in other words is the response and the reaction of the soul to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” - Martin Lloyd Jones
I John 5:11-12
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
*In the lowest points of our life Jesus is always there.
I Corinthians 1:26, 27
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”
*Experiencing the power of the resurrection changes your life!
I Peter 1:3
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”