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August 18, 2020 12:00 am
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42).
Some downstairs, see, my great grandfather is. So this is this little Cher, Bradley Junior welcoming it to another broadcast for the Baptist Bible, our.
You can say, oh, oh, oh, oh.
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He may say, oh, I'm sorry to say, Ray.
The message today is entitled The First Church, where we want to find out what a church ought to be like, where do we go to get the pattern, obviously to the New Testament example. So we're going to be looking from a scriptural standpoint as to what the first church wants and what our churches should be like today. I would encourage you to write and let us send you this current edition of our publication, The Baptist Witness, because all the articles in it pertain to the church and particularly how it can function during these challenging times. Our address is the Baptist Bible. Our Bob Seventeen. Oh. Cincinnati, Ohio, four five two one seven.
A lot of books written about what church ought to be, some of them are good, some of them are not so good. Lots of different ideas about what it takes to have a solid church that brings honor and glory to Jesus Christ. Often there's concern about how can a church be relevant in this day when there are so many changes going on in our culture? What can we do to appeal to the young people? What special things can we offer? Well, there are many opinions, of course, about what a church should look like. And there are those that watered down the message so people can feel good about themselves at him and admit that to me. One time I go to a certain church because I can pick up my cup of coffee in the lobby and sip that they have a receptacle at the pew. I can drink my coffee and I know that it's going to be a short sermon. That's what I like the short sermons and I like the fact that when it's finished, I feel good about myself. Well, you know, there's some things in Scripture that were not put in order to make you feel good. Some things are convicting and we need to have the whole Council of God and some depend on musical performances and even flashing lights trying to attract people.
But. Where's the best place we can go to get the information as to what a church ought to look like? I don't think there's a better place, a better book. Group can read than to go to the Book of Acts. So we're gonna look at Acts Chapter two, beginning with the 40 second verse acts. Chapter two, verse 42.
And they continued steadfastly. And the Apostles Doctrine and fellowship. And in breaking of bread and in prayers and fear came upon ever so. And many wonders and signs were done by the Apostles and all that believed worked together and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods and part of them to all men, as every man had need. And they continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house that eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord headed to the church daily, such as should be say.
First thing we see is faithfulness. 3000 people were converted on the day Pentecost. What a powerful message. As the Lord and Abel Peter to preach, pointing out the fact that they had crucified and slain the Lord of Glory, calling them to repentance, calling on them while they pretended to be baptized. And 3000 respond. I've been to some wonderful meetings when there were eight, 10. Even as many as 18 or 20 came forward and professed their faith in Christ. That's uplifting. That's joyous. But can you imagine 3000 in their first love, 3000 rejoicing, and the people observing that rejoicing as well? Well, there was faithfulness because they continued it says their conversion was genuine, wasn't just a profession made and the moment of excitement. And then soon forgotten as they drifted away and went back to the world.
No, their profession was not just a passing emotional experience, but it says they were continually devoting themselves to the service of God. And this is an evidence of genuine faith. John, Chapter eight first thirty one says if you continue in my word, then are it my disciples? Indeed.
The person I start out on the right track, make a profession of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, saying I want to follow him and serve him. But the evidence that they are a true disciple is that they continue. You've seen some. No doubt, who would make a profession of faith. Become a member of a church. Looked like they're going to be one of the most enthusiastic members that ever came along. And then little by little, they drifted away. And you soon find that they had turned their back entirely on the profession that they had made. But that was not the case with these people. They were steadfast in their devotion. Their commitment to Christ was not half hearted. It was the center of their life.
This is this is what they're what they're doing. They're faithfully continuing steadfastly.
And the apostles doctrine, how easy it is, even with the best intentions to be distracted.
To be caught up with some worldly interests, maybe to be so involved in your work or your business or become so involved and interested in sports or whatever it might be, but it gets you off base.
You're not continuing steadfastly and enthusiastically as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Now, the second thing we see here is doctrine. They continued steadfastly of the apostles doctrine.
Some would say that Dr. News divisive and it shouldn't be breached. Well, indeed, it is divisive because it divides truth from error, but it is to be proclaimed first. Timothy, chapter four, verse six. Paul is speaking to this young minister and says if thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things. That's certainly a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine. Where unto thou hast attained emphasis then is put on the importance of believing and preaching.
This is what Paul the Apostle is telling his son in the ministry that verse eleven of the same chapter. These things command and teach and a verse 13 until I come give a tendency to reading, to agitation, to doctrine.
So this young man was exhorted to study. If he was going to preach to others, he needed to prepare himself. He needed to give attendance to reading and to exaltation, exhorting others, encouraging others and to doctrine.
So what are we talking about when we say doctrine is essential? Well, obviously, there's some basics that we have to start with.
We need to preach the truth about God, that God is sovereign. God has all power works as well in the army of heaven that among the inhabitants of the earth and unfit stands handlers.
And what does that now God is the creator said, let there be light. There was light, spoke and brought this world into existence, created man breathed into his nostrils. The breath of life became a living soul.
We need to recognize the absolute sovereignty, authority and power of God and certain to hold to the doctrine of the Trinity that there is but one God.
But He is three persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. You may say, Well, that's more than I can comprehend, but well, I have to admit that it's something beyond us to be able to fully grasp. How is it that these three are one? Jesus said when he's here, I have my father are one. But that's what the scriptures declare. So we embrace it, not because we have clear and complete understanding of it, but because that's what Jesus taught. And we believe it to be the truth, the truth of the Trinity. Must they proclaim the truth of the deity of Jesus Christ? Some say, oh, he was a good man. He was a notable teacher, but deny that he was the son of God. There are some groups who even want to identify themselves as Christians who deny his deity. There's no way that you can be a Christian and deny that Jesus Christ is who he said he was. How could you say that he was a great teacher if what he taught wasn't show. So we want to uphold and preach the doctrine of the deity of Christ. And certainly in conjunction with that, to declare the truth of the scriptures are given us a bit about inspiration, not just the rambling writings of man. They were written as the spirit of God directed them. So they are authoritative. We are to receive them, embrace them wholeheartedly. We thank God for the blessing of having his word. And then when it comes to the matter of salvation, we're going to emphasize the truth that salvation is by grace. What's that mean?
It means they're going to be given something you don't deserve. You're not entitled to it. You have no worth or merit, no work that you've ever performed or can perform that would attract the favor of God but God. Before the foundation of the world made chores of a people, predesignated them to be conformed to the image of his son. In time he calls them and draws them to the power of the Holy Spirit. Transforms them, making them new creatures in Christ. Jesus supports them, holds them up, keeps them by his power, and someday they will be glorified.
How wonderful to see that the whole scheme of salvation is based not on freewill, but on free grace and on. We could go with a multitude of other issues that are central, certainly vital. We want to be faithful in preaching the basic doctrines of God's word.
And then as the word is preached. When it's taught, each person must apply it. Each person must apply and grow in it.
And at 17 verse eleven, Paul said these were more noble than those ancestral and IKAR.
Now, when I read that, that's a bit astounding to me, because when I go to the first chapter, the book of first first national unions, the first this alone in Chapter one. I'm impressed with what I read about those international that he said, knowing brethren beloved your election about. How did you know that? Because when he preached to them, they received the gospel. They were Shavitt in the midst of much affliction. And yet with the joy of the Holy Ghost and they turn from Eidos to share the true and living God. But now Paul says to these, you're more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they receive the word with all regiments of mind.
And here's the point. Search the scriptures davay whether these things work.
So they didn't just give their assent when they heard it preach, but they searched scriptures. They read scriptures. How vital it is that we all do that. I understand sometimes a person say to me, well, I've been reading through a difficult part of the Bible. I just can't understand some of those symbols in the book of Zeke. I can't understand some of that figured in language in the Book of Revelation. But there are plenty of places you can understand. You can understand that text we'd share a few weeks ago.
Rick Joosh ever more understand that. You can understand that when he says be thankful. So you look at the part. You do understand and pray that God would give you understanding of some of the rest of it.
I like what somebody said about the revelation, in spite of the fact that much of it is difficult to understand. You do know when you've finished the book, Jesus Wins. So if you get that out, I think you've gotten a message to know that certainly his purpose is going to be accomplished and his name is going to be exalted.
And so they search the scriptures. They were faithful and their attention to the preached word and they were not turning from it. They gladly received the word and became their guide for their life.
The third thing we say concerning this first church that certain has a place to go for our pattern is the very first one.
We say prayer was an important part of their involvement in serving God.
There'd be prayer even before this great day of Pentecost. There were such blessings bestowed. And so many were converted. Back in the first chapter, the Book of Acts, verse 14. It says these all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus and his brother.
So there was a prayer meeting before Pentecost came. Prayer is such a vital part of all of our lives individually and certainly an important part of the church. If we neglect to pray and we're trying to just move forward based on our own wisdom and our own energies, we're going to falter or fail. We need to be praying for one another. Just like when we read out the names of those that are sick and have various needs. I know it's difficult to remember them all. We put them in the church newsletter to help you. But, you know, you may let some of those passion really think to pray about it. But having been one of those that was at home at one time needing prayer, I can tell you that when you're the one that needs the prayer, you want to know that people are taking the requests seriously and are praying for you. And we need to pray for one another, not only the physical needs, but the spiritual needs. But these people were praying before Pentecost.
And generally, when there's going to be an outpouring of the spirit of God, a spirit of revival, that's going to be when there has been prayer and then they continued faithfully in prayer.
According to the second chapter, verse 42, even after they had persecution, persecution from the priest that opposed their message as they preach Jesus Christ being the messiah, the captain of the temple, the sad Jessy's, it said oppose them. But in Chapter four acts, chapter four, verse twenty nine, it says, and now, Lord, they're being they're being threatened. They're being told you can't preach anymore in Jesus name. So what are they going to do? Are they going to give up and say, well it was nice while it lasted but we got to have to quit because we have such opposition. Now here's what they did.
And now, Lord, behold, they're threatening us. And Grant undenied servants that with all bonus, they may speak thy word first. Thirty one. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken, where they were assembled together and they were all filled with a holy ghost as they speak. The Word of God with boldness.
So they did not let threats. Causes them to cave in and give up.
They prayed and prayed good for you to read that entire 4th chapter later today and just see how they review what they believed about the greatness and power of God, being confident that he was able to deliver them.
And he gave them a holy bonus. And that's what we need. We need so much the very presence of the spirit of God to be able to speak the truth in love.
And yet with boldness in such power that the spirit of God is using it, impressing it upon people's hearts.
So the church must be a praying church.
Romans chapter 12, verse 13, says, continuing insistent in prayer, continuing instant, constant, persistent, not giving up. This is instruction to the church continuing instant in prayer. Colossians Chapter four Verse one says Continue in prayer and watch in the same with Thanksgiving first session Ronia and chapter five Verse 17 says Pray with our ceasing.
Prayer eliminates worry. Worry is a sin and if we take our burden to the Lord, worry can be eliminated. That's exactly what we're told in Philippians.
Chapter four of the fourth verse. Rejoice all the way in the Lord. And again I say rejoice how you're gonna be able to do that. Make your request known with Thanksgiving.
So if you're praying right, you start with Thanksgiving. You recognize the goodness and mercy of God, the many benefits that he has bestowed upon you.
You give thanks for prayer also involves forgiveness, Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount Matthew chapter six, verse twelve has taught the disciples. They said, Teach us to pray. And here's part of what he said and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
How can you pray that prayer? Can you go before the Lord today and say, Lord, forgive me of my sins as high have forgiven others? Or do you hold something against someone else, someone that you feel has stepped out of line and maybe you neglected to go to them?
According to the destruction of relations, Chapter five. If a brother be overtaken and fallen into the spiritual, go to him in restoring. But you haven't done that and you're you're holding something in your heart against them. You can't pray this prayer unless with all sincerity, you forgive others. Lord, forgive me, like I have forgiven others, promotes love, eliminates worry, it involves forgiveness and it promotes love. Philippians Chapter one, verse three. I thank my God upon ever remembrance of you always in every prayer of mine for you all making requests with joy.
The Apostle Paul loved the people to whom he ministry and any man that will ever be effective at all and used of God must love the people that administer ministers to have often had young men come to me and say, You've been in the ministry a long time. What's the first piece of advice you would give? I'd say the first advice I would give you if you go to Pastor Church, if you're going to minister to people, whether it's to a congregation or to people individually, you've got to love them. It has to be that love that is there because of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Love is the fruit of the spirit.
And then next we see fellowship. They had fellowship with one another. It's our duty to encourage each other.
Romans 14, the 19th verse. Let us therefore follow after the things that make for peace and things were with one may edify another.
Let's work for peace.
That being the case, you don't want to say something that's going to be disturbing. I'm not talking about ignoring error and covering it up or ignoring Shann. There are ways to deal with it. But in general, our concern is to follow after those things that make for peace and see how we can edify one another. If our concern is to edify one another, we're not going to want to discourage them. So we're not going to be saying something, bringing up something that's going to be divisive or is going to be discouraged.
That's of no benefit. Sometimes when people say, well, I just don't have that much in common with people that were in the church I go to now.
What does that really mean?
Sometimes people think they're heaven fellowship because they all support the same ball team. I think I haven't fellowship because they belong to the same political party and they can talk on and on about that.
We're talking about fellowship. We're talking about fellowship in Jesus Christ. What do we have in common? Here's Joe, born in China, speaks Chinese and does very well speaking English.
I was born in Kentucky all last week is Kentucky. There's no way I can learn Chinese. So what to Joe and I have in common? We came from different parts of the world, speak different language. But we have in common because we both love Jesus.
We believe Jesus has touched our heart and given us fellowship in him.
She's an encourager and I appreciate her example and her testimony. We must encourage one another.
I'm glad that you've been with us for the broadcast today. I hope you'll come back next time. We'll be bringing the second part of this message entitled The First Church. I'd like to get the complete message on Sadie's requested when writing us at the Baptist Bible, our mock. Seventeen oh thirty seven. Cincinnati, Ohio, four five two one seven. Do we greet you next time? This is Sarah Bradley Junior. Bidding you goodbye. And may God bless you.
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