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On Your Mark, Get Set...Grow! Part 1-Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
October 23, 2021 2:00 am

On Your Mark, Get Set...Grow! Part 1-Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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October 23, 2021 2:00 am

What did the very first church look like? If we can answer that question, we can determine two things: First, we will be able to see the model we are expected to follow as a church. Second, we will be able to see why we need the church, since these things speak to core needs that we all have. The first church in Jerusalem was a learning church, a caring church, a worshipping church and a generous church. Let's consider the first mark today, and the place that apostolic teaching and preaching had on the very first assembly.

This teaching is from the series Church? Who Needs It.

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Many people will say doesn't matter what you know it matters how you feel and knowledge Bible knowledge, doctrinal knowledge is relegated to the back seat. Yet the prophet Hosea said my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge are welcome to correctly Skip weaker division. Let's pretend you ever dream to play for your favorite NFL team worked hard all throughout high school and college to play the best care that finally one day your dream comes true. Your draft of the play for your favorite team.

You then spend the rest of your career happily sitting up a batch that white woodcut of the dream is that of all you do is sit on the bench well. Unfortunately, that seems to be what a lot of Christians are content to enjoy God's love to here and connect with Skip weaker division Skip Heitzig tells us how to avoid being a benchwarmer. Christ. But first, let's find out more about this once correctly Skip resource offer, the beating heart of Bible prophecy is the land of Israel and the Middle East. Joel Rosenberg has his finger on the pulse of the world shaking changes happening right now and he unveils them in his new nonfiction book enemies and allies is the first stage inside inside is think about is US enemies and allies from multiple New York Times best-selling author Joel Rosenberg takes you on an unforgettable journey inside the turbulent Middle East behind closed doors to hear from the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the charge. Enemies and allies includes exclusive never before published quotes insight and analysis from the authors conversations with some of the world's most controversial leaders your hardcover copy enemies and allies is our thanks for your generous gift of $35 or more today to give call 800-962-1888 connectwithskip.com open your Bibles the wax chapter 2 today are Charisse church truly we join Skip Heitzig procedures about one of his first encounters with the Bible. I distinctly remember my family Bible. I remember as a child, finding that Bible in the bottom drawer of one of the pieces of furniture in my parents bedroom and one of the things I notice about this Bible. It was it was huge it was humongous and it weighed a lot. I was even wondering if I was able to pick it up as a little child, but I did manage to pick it up in the second thing I noticed about is really staff is because it was rarely opened and the other thing I noticed about it. It had dust on it just to show you. Often we would actually read it.

Somebody once said that if everybody in the world. Rather, Bibles at the same time would be the biggest dust storm in history on a serious note, Dr. Michael Blanche from theological studies.org said there is a crisis of biblical knowledge in the American church and he said that the most widely known Bible verse among adults and teenagers is ready for it.

God helps those who help themselves, which of course is not in the Bible at all, was written by Ben Franklin. It's actually contradictory to what the Bible teaches. But that's what most people see as the Bible God helps those up himself. A while back, Jay Leno was interviewing people in his audience about the Bible and he said, can any of you name one of the 10 Commandments and somebody piped up immediately and said God helps those who help themselves. First of all, that's not even a commandment is just a statement but nonetheless they got the answer wrong and then Jay Leno said can you name one of the apostles, not a single person in the audience could name one of the 12 apostles, but when Jay Leno said can you name the Beatles like an anthem.

John Paul George Ringo everybody knew that we've been asking the question in the series is called church who needs it.

We made some discoveries. So far, we discovered that God thinks the world meets the church Scripture calls the church, the pillar in the ground of all truth. The truth is conveyed through his people. The church on the earth. So God believes the world meets the church and so we have seen Jesus own declaration that he would build his church. In Matthew 16 he announced that this program would also consider John, chapter 17, where Jesus anticipates and prays for certain characteristics that the church would embody but now today we come to acts chapter 2. This is the beginning. This is the birth of the church in the day of Pentecost is the birthday of the church and here we discover exactly what the first church in Jerusalem was like. So the name of this messages on your mark get set grow because from this day forward. The church grows astronomically spiritually, personally, people grow, but it also grows numerically.

I'm have you turn with me to acts chapter 2 to be zeroing in on a single verse but for the sake of context and to understand the flow of the story. Let's pick it up and asked to verse 41 will read to the end of the chapter then those who gladly received his word.

It is Peter's preaching were baptized in that day about 3000 souls were added to them and they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship in breaking of bread and and prayers and then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

Now all who believed were together and had all things in common. They sold their possessions and goods, divided them among all, as anyone had need.

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord added daily to the church or to the church daily those who were being saved.

So we here have the mission statement of the first church in Jerusalem what their priorities were number one was a learning church. They devoted themselves to the apostles Dr. number two.

It was a caring church devoted themselves to fellowship through the worshiping church. They devoted themselves to breaking bread and prayers, and finally it was a generous church as they pooled their resources as they took care of one another. These four priorities form the mission statement and we will consider them weekend and week out today were going to look at one verse and one component of this only and that is the first part of chapter 2 verse 42. They continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and I hope that by the end of this message, you will understand a little bit better why I do what I do and why we play such an emphasis here on the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God, not just a footnote before we get into this when we use the word church.

We use a quite a bit. Most often we are not referring to an institution were not talking about a particular brand of a church or denomination of the church were talking specifically about a group of people.

Some may be in one group, so maybe in another group, but all true believers all authentic born-again believers wherever they assemble whether it's a cathedral or a home or a storefront or field that comprises the church of Jesus Christ on the earth again today. We consider just one portion of verse 42, and I want to make three application all statements about this first priority and I'll drive them all from the text. Here's the statements. Learning leads to growing. That's a first, second, preaching leads to practicing it should and it most often does when it's the right preaching in the right listening and number three continuing leads to perseverance. Let's take the first statement and look at verse 42 learning leads to growing, to focus in on one word here. Doctrine, doctrine means teaching or instruction. They devoted themselves to doctrine, not opinions, not thoughts, but doctrine and this church that was learning was growing and their learning of doctrine, the teaching of instruction led to their growth personally as well as numerically. Verse 47, says the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. This is how I take that paragraph to read the church's priorities. God honored the church keeping those priorities and so he added to their numbers daily because they kept those priorities. But this church was a learning church because it was learning it was growing.

John RW Stott writes, one might say that the Holy Spirit opened a school in Jerusalem that day. The schoolteachers with the apostles whom Jesus had appointed and trained and there were 3000 pupils in kindergarten. Here's what I want to the notice. This is first on their list of what's important and that surprises a lot of us because it's not typically what we would think should be on the priority list for a church. Some people might think it should read they devoted themselves steadfastly to love and say that why. Or they devoted themselves steadfastly to missions or to singing or to service says they devoted themselves steadfastly to the apostles doctrine. How many today are devoted to Dr. asked the average Christian netbook to Christian this week wasn't a part of this message and asked them. Devoted to doctrine and they might look at you like you're the weirdest person in the world devoted to doctrine and yet this is first on the list. If you going to a Christian bookstore.

I could almost guarantee you that the number one selling book is not a doctrinal book is probably a marriage book or a finance book these days, but probably not a doctrinal book, but the first church This as the number one priority doctrine.

That word sounds awfully stuffy and rigid and cold, but it shouldn't because it simply means. As I said, instruction or teaching or truth. That's what they devoted themselves to. If ever there was a word that I personally felt sorry for. It's the word doctrine. I feel sorry for it because I hear the way people talk about all were not really ended doctrine. It really isn't that important. What is important is this or that, as a priority like when you buy a gadget I love gadgets I love phones and cameras and things that be by love gadgets cool new things that make life easy and complicated. But I like gadgets.

The thing I don't like about gadgets is the manual I don't like to read manuals. I like it.

There's lots of pictures or assembly tells me where there's a tutorial that's a computer video movie. I can watch that I like, but I don't like the manual usually stick and awkward and I never read them until I break my gadget then I consult the manual and that's a lot of people that live their lives, they they flyby the seat-of-the-pants to figure out as they go along never consulting the manual that God gave us of how to make life work at its best. Not so many people approach their own lives. That's a concern.

In fact, unfortunately, in the church. Many people will say doesn't matter what you know it matters how you feel and knowledge Bible knowledge, doctrinal knowledge is relegated to the back seat and often shows up in certain statements like this was not about head knowledge. It's about hard knowledge that sounds awfully good and pious and spiritual, which is lousy way of thinking or not about what you know you feel passionately from your heart. Yet, the prophet Hosea said my people are destroyed from lack of what knowledge my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge I discovered something I want to share with you the word heart HAART appears 858 times in the Old Testament, you know, it almost always refers to the mind, the mind, not the emotions the mind that we in the West typically use the word heart is a metaphor for the core.

The center of our emotional being. I believe this in my heart I feel this in my heart. The Hebrews did not do that. The Hebrews placed the center of the emotions metaphorically in the abdomen got.

In fact, more specifically, the bowels.

If you have an old King James Bible, you may have been befuddled when you come across verses like bowels of tender mercy and you go what I'm supposed to have merciful bowels. What's that all about it simply their way of saying that the deepest emotion a person can feel is in the got the pit of the stomach, we would say, but they would place the heart is where we do our thinking the mind.

That's where they would place all of that to say, the early church engaged the mind, they were not anti-intellectual. They were not mystical, they didn't avoid theology. They did not avoid doctrine. They put it at the top of their list and their purpose statement when I gave my life to Jesus Christ right afterwards I went to a Bible teaching church. They just talk to the Bible. My pastor was Chuck Smith and to this day I walk up to him and I thank him for his emphasis on the Bible is every Sunday I heard stuff. I never heard growing up. Chuck would smile and say turn in your Bibles to John chapter 1 or whatever would be and week by week, I found myself getting set free, you will know the truth that Jesus and the truth will set you free.

I was learning as I was learning I was growing spiritually and I'll never forget a couple guys I met after an evening Bible study there at the church they graduated seminary in his escape.

You know what we have learned more at this church in the last one year and we have learned in four years of seminary and I thought with an ominous still go to this church and be there week after week and here Chuck safe now turn in your Bibles to I wanted to get it. I wanted to learn. I wanted to grow. Learning leads to growing you and I can never grow spiritually unless we are spiritually learning truth. Second Peter 318 were told grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. First Peter 22 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow their by I heard about a farmer who was angry that the cost of oats had gone sky high.

He couldn't afford to buy them anymore. Defeatist documents so he did something unusual. He took sawdust and mixed it with the oats that he gave his mule was filling but he didn't have to pay for the rising cost of oats will is the price got higher and higher people more and more sawdust in the oats and eventually guess what happened. That's right, the donkey died, malnutrition. We need spiritual food.

We need to eat right and if it's true that we are what we eat, then it follows that if we feast on truth will become true if we feast on falsehood will become false so this priority leads us to make a statement.

Learning leads to growing second statement I want to make is that preaching leads to practicing preaching leads to practicing this time I draw your attention.

In verse 42 to the adjective before the noun doctrine and that is apostles wasn't that they devoted themselves to any kind of doctrine anybody getting up and sharing anything that they felt they wanted to.

This was the apostles doctrine. There was, after all, all sorts of false doctrine going on in Jerusalem. Even at that time so they were all about, not just teaching, not just instruction but the apostles doctrine as preached through the mouths and the lives of Peter and John. These apostles who follow Jesus. Now, initially, the apostles doctrine was simply the explanations and the comments made by the apostles about the Old Testament and how those Old Testament texts applied to people's lives then and there. So Peter would stand up. John would stand up and show how the law and the Prophets and the Psalms in the history all work together to give the grand prophetic message of the coming of Jesus Christ and his death and his resurrection, to show you this.

Look at chapter 2 verse 14, Peter, standing up with the 11, raised his voice and said to them, this is after the speaking in tongues. On the day of Pentecost men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words again know something. Use your mind and listen to what I'm saying. My words, for these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it's only the third hour of the day, but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel Nally quotes Joel chapter 2 from the Old Testament, and it shall come to pass in the last days is God that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Joel is showing them that the Scripture is fulfilled, and he does it watch carefully from the text itself from Joe well we hear a lot about the importance of accepting Christ once we do that, there's plenty for us to do after accepting him as it were, journey of life ends, but rather where life begins and that's all the time we have for before we go here. Skip filling with a few more thoughts on what it means to grow as a Christian when you did a study released on the first church was a learning church and we learned that some Christians struggled to grow because of an attitude toward doctrine.

What are some of the detriments of not going a doctor. Here's what's amazing is that on the list given in acts chapter 2. What was topping the list was doctrine. They devoted themselves steadfastly.

First of all, to the apostles doctrine. I think that you have the list goes on fellowship, breaking bread and prayers. I think a lot of times there's churches, people who would emphasize fellowship over doctrine. We don't know how to fellowship unless you have Dr. you don't know how to worship unless you have doctrine so the word doctrine you note simply means good, solid, biblical teaching and and unfortunately there's not a lot of believers left who have devoted themselves to doctrine and so let me just say to any pastors about some good old-fashioned doctrinal preaching once in a while you're the. The apostles preached. Doctrine is what they learn from Jesus and that they laid the foundation so I would love to see more pulpits actually infuse doctrine instead of just a big who were in a rally rotation is good and it makes us feel excited and encouraged and wanting to got do something that it's almost like that just puffs that if it's really not built on a strong foundation and if I learn anything from looking at the book of acts. First and foremost was a learning church. They gathered together and rallied around the apostles teaching the apostles doctrine and it's what they saw what they learn from Jesus, but they laid a foundation that true persecution and whatever would come their way. They had something solid to hold onto not just a rally and pep rally in their minds that happened a month ago that they got all excited about but they knew why they believe they knew what they believe that carrying through thanks guys for that insight here if you'd like a copy of today's teaching on your mark get set grow. Part one would be happy to send you one of the CD for just four dollars plus shipping for scholars that's 1-800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com. We always appreciate anything you can share above that suggested donation because your contributions help to bring these daily teachings to people all over the world and next time here and connect with Skip weekend edition we continue to examine what our responsibilities and duties are to become a Christian. This next time here and connect with Skip edition the presentation of connection to God and ever-changing time


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