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October 30, 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.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
Rarely do you hear a church described first and foremost by the character power and content of its preaching. This is because few preachers today are true servants of the word. Those God they were servants of the word welcome to critically Skip weekend division in our series church unity doctrine is one of those that be part of the seven christenings words that many people would rather avoid. Is that a seeker friendly sounding terms or something.
It's best just not to bring up welt vegetables is another war that isn't too pleasant to some people, especially kids. But it's necessary for a healthy diet. We want to grow big and strong and healthy. We need our vegetables that we need good.now today's project has to Skip explains how sound biblical doctrine can help us grow as Christian but first let's see what's going on in the connect was Skip resource Center this month.
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 it takes you inside loft inside the house is saying is, is think about making his 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 insights 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 visit connect this.com today also receive a signed copy of Skip Heitzig six book, the biography of God which sheds light on God's nature and character, including his plans and purpose for your life today in acts chapter 2 with a message on your mark get set grow so to find your place will join Skip Heitzig today's the 22 men of Israel were these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, you yourselves also know him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands crucified and put to death God raised up, having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible that he should be held by four. David says concerning him. Now he quotes Psalm 16, I foresaw the Lord always before my face etc. etc. and here he shows how David predicted the death and resurrection of Jesus, and he does it from the text so the apostles were the first preachers proclaimers to the early church and the style of apostolic preaching was expository preaching that is the focus of the apostles was on the power of the text, not the personality of the preacher showing people from the Scriptures what God has said firmly rooted in that it's the safest way to preach.
By the way, it saves people from going off on all sorts of tangents by giving them what Scripture says. But here's the. The overall thing I want to show you the early church. These first Christians did not just rely on the Holy Spirit speaking to them personally about truth, but they recognize the office of the man that Jesus had chosen his apostles and believed in their authority to preach to proclaim and to teach truth and so they devoted themselves to the apostles doctrine as they preached. They devoted themselves to and they listen to why why is this important simply because the truth that is preached is how God primarily changes people's lives. I can see that in my own life. First time I heard the gospel clearly preached through Billy Graham. I remember I member the day. I remember things that he said that run through my heart.
He looked at the audience, is that many of your lonely and I thought I'm lonely and some of you need forgiveness… Yeah I need forgiveness to any said several things that run true. The truth of the Scriptures through the mouth of the instrument the preacher God use that to change my life and that's a biblical principle. First Corinthians chapter 1 verse 21, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. So preaching leads to practicing though not always, I do say that because some basic wine, a lot of people who hear preaching and then a practice exactly there are exceptions to that. In fact, hearing great preaching.
Even the apostles preaching is enough for several examples of that. Ananias and Sapphire acts chapter 5, a husband-and-wife team.
They were hypocrites. They lied to the Holy Spirit. They heard the preaching of Peter and John the apostle when enough acts chapter 15 there was a group of legalists who arose dividing the church. You've got to be circumcised. You gotta keep the law of Moses to be safe even though they had been hearing great preaching by the apostles and perhaps the best example is Judas Iscariot. He heard the best preacher ever.
The Lord Jesus Christ. But hearing that wasn't enough because he didn't respond to it. Deep in his core of his being. Now, the general rule.
However, having said that, is that people who were exposed to the truth to the doctrinal preaching of the apostles became practicing Christians and put into practice the principles they were taught as a general rule, so if you look with me at chapter 4 for just a moment. Verse one as they spoke to the people. Those are the preachers speaking the priest the captain of the temple. The Sadducees came upon them being greatly disturbed that they taught the people in preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead and they laid hands on them and put them in custody until the next day for it was already evening. However, many of those who heard the word believe in the number of the men came to be about 5000 notches the mail account very large response. Look at chapter 5 that the end of chapter 5, verse 42 and daily in the temple, and in every house they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ over chapter 6 verse seven.
Then the word of God spread and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem and a great many of priests were obedient to the faith. So that's the full picture is these apostles taught and preached to unbelievers and believers. They became practicing believers, Christians, and they put into practice the truth that they heard the truth made its mark through the preaching of the gospel. Romans chapter 10 verse 14. Let me read that to you.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher. You follow the logic salvation requires say, faith requires hearing and hearing requires somebody preaching to them so that means to us.
The preaching needs to be in the forefront of this church that explains why when we first began everything every service every time we meet. It is centered upon the truth of the teaching and proclamation of the word of God always because I was there. Priority and it also explains why we have a big honking pulpit on this platform. I have a lot of people say every time I come here. Things like this looming pulpits is making a statement exactly that reason. We want people to know that is the core that is the center that is the foundation.
The proclamation of the truth of God's word so learning leads to growing preaching leads to practicing and thus, every New Testament church should have preaching product claiming teaching the word as a number one priority.
I've been reading up a few blocks lately. One book that I'm reading just about done with his book on preaching itself. I like to do that at least once a year just to keep the edge and there's a chapter in it by Albert Mohler, who is the president of the Southern Baptist seminary in Kentucky Louisville and he wrote something I like to share with you this morning. He says, rarely do we hear these days the church is distinguished primarily by its preaching when we hear people speak about their own congregations. Generally they speak about something other than preaching. They might speak of the churches ministry might speak of specialized programs for senior adults or young people they might speak of a churches music. Sometimes they might speak of things far more superficial, but rarely rarely do you hear church described first and foremost by the character power and content of its preaching.
This is because few preachers today are true servants of the word by the apostles.
Now those guys they were servants of the word because they were servants of the word, meaning they were not above the word. They were underneath the word proclaiming the authority of the Scripture and applying it to people's lives. That's why the church devoted itself to the apostles doctrine the apostles doctrine.
You might think. Well Skip the positive and did 2000 years and and certainly you're not an apostle.
You're right. I am not. So what we do have today.
However, is the apostles doctrine in the New Testament there letters their stories, their writings inspired by the Holy Spirit.
And still today as men of God expound the word of God to the people of God to all of life situations that is food for change. Jesus said man shall not live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
So we should then be concerned to the utmost degree of hearing and applying truth. The apostles doctrine would tell you something I found just this week couple weeks ago actually, but I never heard of this at the beginning of American Christianity. Many of the assemblies across our nation. They had not only preachers of the word that they had exhorted her so was the official office in the congregation digs orders after the sermon would make personal application of those truths to the people in that congregation and one of them during the American Revolution was a young man by the name of Isaac Bacchus who at a mere age of 15 years old became and exhort her in the congregation restarted this practice only describe it to you sermon would be done. The disorder would get up Isaac Bacchus and him knowing the people in the church would say this now Mrs. Jones this sermon today means you have to change the way you been raising your children and Mr. Smith what you are today and that second point certainly means you can do business the same way you been doing it in this town. Can you imagine if I had Dave and Neil and the assistant pastors all standing up there. They all know different people in the congregation. It is called you out and said that means you people would not tolerate that is an interesting practice in early American Christianity early church are not that it is orders. As such, but they certainly held each other accountable to the teaching of the apostles or the apostles doctrine third and final statement I want to make based on the text is that continuing leads to persevering in this time.
I like it emphasize the beginning part of that phrase. They continued steadfastly.
Please notice that does not say they expose themselves to the apostles doctrine. They listen to the apostles doctrine or they didn't at first, but not later know they continued instead vastly postcard Taranto one Greek word which means they constantly consistently steadfastly persevered in this they didn't like say were in the apostles doctrine, but that's because were just starting out in our church. Later on, the times will change, and as the times change and people want something different to abandon that and move on to a different strategy. They stuck with it and they stayed with it, even when they were persecuted and even when the times got very difficult and so this whole idea of continuing became important, even down to verse 46 and so continuing daily continued those priorities daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house the their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, and it seems like though these priorities were forged early on that there was a temptation in this congregation and others to step away from continuing. Because later on when the gospel goes up north to Syria and Antioch and Barnabas shows up in acts 11 verse 23 he came in and seen the grace of God.
He was glad and encourage them that with purpose of heart. They should continue with the Lord. Stick with it. Guys hold on to what you know he would say in acts 14 verse 22 Paul goes back to the town of Derby after you just been stoned. I mean, with rocks and he goes into that town and says strengthening the souls of the disciples, he exhorted them to continue in the faith, saying we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.
I just want to encourage you to continue continuing the truth, continue making truth, the word of God, the Bible, one of your priorities. Keep trusting God's promises and as we just keep at this, we will become perseveres will become over comers know we often talk about the Christian walk will house your walk. Just picture what a walk is a walk is putting 1 foot in front of the other in front of the other disorder plodding along, staying at it. So this morning got up and he said the word of God is important to me. I'm going to church and you brought your Bible tomorrow may be a different day and you might not like feel like getting into the word but you do it anyway you put 1 foot in front of the other you take your Bible out. You believe God's promises you keep. The truth is your priority in all seasons of life.
If you lose your job this year, God forbid keep this as your priority. If somebody in your family dies this year, God forbid you keep the truth of God as your priority of the world falls apart, which by the way the Bible says it will you keep this as a core value in your life. I met so many people who follow Jesus and love Jesus when life is good in teaching great for like reading the Bible. Today, life's been tough.
Don't be like those described by Jesus in Mark for the one sown on stony ground who heard the word immediately receive it with gladness, but they have no root in themselves, and they endure only for a time afterward when tribulation or persecution arises for the word sake, immediately they stumble is and it's easy to follow Jesus in good times, he calls us to follow him at all times. At all times. So continue continue, and you become perseveres over comers so we have managed to cover one half of one verse this morning. Congratulations we have enough to get on our mark to get set and to grow as we close this morning I and asked the question how can you cultivate the priority of loving Scripture. I say cultivate because it's not natural is not automatic. In fact, natural man resist the truth of God that we cultivate a love for Scripture number one. Get a Bible by a Bible, have your own Bible to pay for with an find seminars through four of them get one of theirs but have your own Bible and carry it with you, even during the day. Put in your briefcase put in your purse get a small one up New Testament put on your PDA or your iPhone you can get them now little Bible versions. I have two or three of them on my iPhone carried around with this in your forget the big honking family Bible like I had put in the wagon on the back of the pickup truck but just get a Bible and carry with you. Number two ready bring your Bible with you.
The church now not saying this to make you feel guilty if you didn't bring it but here's what you should bring because when we say turn in your Bibles to like I heard as a young man turn in your Bibles to eventually I found out where everything was. It help me later on because we read something at church and then about three months later I got a find that verse. Now I know where it is because I marked it carry with you. Number three. Bring a notebook.
You say you lost me there. Forget it not going to happen. Okay, we give you notes right here blank page. Bring a pen that's all that's too much a pencil and take notes right down cross-references main application appoints number four tell somebody that you know one thing you learned today at church. Find someone who hasn't been a part of this message and email them or call them and there's one thing that spoke to your heart that's important share with him and his wife if you want to learn something teaching, teacher, becomes ground in when you teach becomes a part of your fiber when you teach and finally number five memorize Scripture, not the whole Bible, but I know somebody tried to do that but memorize key verses when you have your devotions in the morning when you listen to a sermon on Sunday just one little section, memorize it, store up his Word as David said your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you. It will be powerful and days ahead. So the apostles doctrine. The Bible read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy and back to him. Ben Franklin statement God helps those who help themselves.
I never forget my dad quoted that to me.
I remember him standing over me. I just a brand-new Christian and he said no.
The Bible says God helps those who help themselves. And I did know different okay. Then I went and read the Bible all the way through. I didn't find that verse you know what I found. I found the Bible teaches. Quite the opposite. God helps the helpless, the week the people who are broken. The people with baggage us.
That's what God helps in God is ready and willing to help you today to put her life back together to redeem your soul to strengthen you face the future as it is nice to know you don't have to face the future alone. God is there to help his face.
The uncertain certainty and confidence. The more we understand that fact. And the more we rely on his strength. More will grow better if you like a copy of today's teaching on your mark get set grow. Part one we be happy to send you one on CD for just four dollars plus shipping. When you call us at 1-800-922-1888. You can also order online and connectwithskip.com or if you prefer, write us a letter.
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We facilitate growth ourselves and our churches, and why this growth is so important is next time here and connect with Skip weekend edition presentation of connection so connecting you to God's ever-changing and ever-changing time