Sermons

Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Sun, Jul 14, 2019

Divine Elevation of the Church II

There is a force at work in the world today that is more powerful and more significant than any other in the history of the world. It is not the spread of democracy, nor is it any of the anti-democratic movements that are currently active and threatening. It is not capitalism, nor socialism. It is not civil rights, gay rights or feminism. It is certainly not atheistic secularism. The force that is more powerful and more significant than any other in the history of the world is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel you who have come to faith in Jesus Christ have heard, understood and believed, and which, according to the apostle Paul, is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world (Colossians 1:6).

Indeed, it is reverberating in all creation under heaven (Colossians 1:23). Unfortunately, it rarely looks as though the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the most powerful and significant force in the history of the world. It is not easy to see that the gospel you believe is really so powerful when you find that few people are persuaded by it, or even interested in it. The society around us is moving further and further away from any positive recognition of the truth of this gospel. If there is going to be a reversal of the current trend of things, the custodian of the gospel, that is, the Church, bears the greatest responsibility.

This is the reason why, as we begin the second half of the year, God will have us consider the Divine Elevation of the Church. The Church is in dire need of God’s intervention so that it can be elevated to the height from which it has fallen over time. This is necessary if the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of which the Church is the custodian, will make a difference in the world today. If the Church will be elevated every believer must take a more intense and careful look at what the Bible says about the early church, particularly in Acts 2:41-47.

That passage shows us the traits that God wants to characterize the lives of believers who constitute the Church. A study of the passage will prick the conscience of the modern-day Church but it is needed for divine elevation to the height destined for the Church by God (Revelation 2:1-5). What, then, can we learn from the early Church? First, the early believers were a people who received the Word gladly (Acts 2:41). This is the basic trait, the very first trait of a true church. It actually defines a church. A church is a people, a body of people who have received the Word of God. Second, the early believers were a people who continued steadfastly in four things (Acts 2:42).

The early Church continued steadfastly in, one, doctrine: the teaching, the instruction of the apostles. The early Church continued steadfastly in, two, fellowship. The fellowship wrought by the Spirit of God means more than the association existing in secular groups such as civic clubs and community bodies. The early Church continued steadfastly in, three, the Lord's Supper. The phrase "breaking of bread" means the early believers observed and remembered the Lord's death. The early Church continued steadfastly in, four, prayer.

The early believers were a people who persevered in prayer—the idea is church prayer, united prayer with the whole body of believers. Third, the early believers were a people who stirred souls with a godly fear (Acts 2:43). Fourth, the early believers were a people who were together and who shared in ministry (Acts 2:44-45). Fifth, the early believers were a people who were unified or continued with one accord (Acts 2:46). Sixth, the early believers were a people who worshipped and praised God every day (Acts 2:46-47).

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