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December 8, 2021 7:05 am
Down through the ages the church has endured countless iterations. Some of these expressions are purified the church. Tragically, there were long seasons, when the church drifted far from God's design today on Insight for living. Chuck Swindoll invites us to follow along as we study a passage in acts chapter 2. In these verses we see how the original church was formed in the manner in which it functions through unity and love. We discover what to look for in a healthy church today before we begin the message Chuck leads all through our lives, we lose things, but but we can never lose your love. We can never be bad enough to lose your love.
We can never work hard enough to gain more of it. Your love is consistent based on grace and forever hours to claim to revel in and rely on even though some of us today feel pretty unlovely and done some things that we regret but we cannot lose your love in spite of that, thank you for loving us through it all and for reminding goes through these young voices that we can never lose that love in the name of Christ who loves us and gave himself for us. We pray everyone said they met. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's life. Neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, not our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow, not even the powers how can separate us from God's life. No power in the sky find the earth below. Indeed, nothing at all creation separate and the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord today. Special music was performed by the stone briar Community Church children's ensemble and now teaching from acts chapter 2 beginning at verse 41 Chuck Swindoll continues a message that started yesterday titled an original snapshot of the first church. The seven verses I want us to answer for important questions. Do your very best to set aside whatever might have been your opinions.
Your your experiences of the things that in turn you against the church and let's let the truth permeate as Luke records the scene as it took place. Here's the first question, who formed the first church first reference to numbers and facts wanted to visit 115 turn there. Look at chapter 1 verse 15 you will read during this time when about 120 believers were together in one place so there's 120.
Look at chapter 2, verse 41. Here's another number. Those who believe what Peter said this is a reference to Peter's first sermon which would not taken the time to go into you read it in and we started before those who believe what Peter said that the gospel may believe that Christ died and was buried in the Christ rose again from the dead miraculously in bodily and and was seen by those around him and they believed in Jesus Christ with our hearts and they believe the message that's called the gospel and the result is they were baptized and added to the church that day about 3000 now what makes me smile is sometime meet people who frown when you talk about being a part of a large church. The very first church was 3125 number correctly, and since he added to them daily end of the chapter, it was larger than that is a big church is a lot of people as a lot of brand-new babies about ready to make a mess of things.
Brand-new baby Christians look at it for yourself.
These are people from all over. First we have the disciples turned apostles, who were all from Galilee. Then we have women who are part of the group. Chapter 1 verse 14. Women are named and mentioned there then you have a large mixture of races you go back to chapter 1 you'll see a variety of languages in chapter 2. Those languages are also mentioned different cultural backgrounds.
All of them forming the very first church.
It was a mixture. The church was never meant to be one kind of demographic group that one is a mixture it's meant to be a mixture of races of nationalities of backgrounds of of skin color of all the different routes 3000 brand-new babies that you babies need lots of things. Mainly they need nourishment, so were not surprised when we go to the second question, what the first priority was but the question is, what were their priorities and we got 3120+ people brand-new just been baptized.
Now gather together they have one thing in common.
That's Christ they will place their trust in Jesus and all believe in him.
So what are they need well look for yourself. Verse 42.
All the believers devoted themselves to four priorities you see them all in verse 42 to the apostles teaching to fellowship, to the sharing and meals. Your Bible may read to the breaking of bread that is the Lord's supper and to prayer. Those are priorities, many given headings. First priority one would be instruction from the Scriptures to there was a commonality of relationships not only sharing in Christ in common but sharing what they had in common with each other. So the love and generosity will get to that that second scope, fellowship. Third, there was worship as they gathered together for their meals and they save some of the meal for the table of the Lord and the observed the table as well as verse 41, there were baptisms as well that were added as people were added to it so we have worship and then fourth, there were times of prayer. Meet the they spent time in prayer.
Prayer is like the steel in the concrete is like the steel in the foundation.
Jim Elliott once wrote the same to advances on his knees, never retreats to borrow from that missionaries words. I would say the church that advances on her knees, never loses its vision or decreases its passion. Prayer undergirds a ministry and this is one of the priorities they were committed to and remember the early words, the devoted themselves to prayer.
Don't think of these four priorities as periodic emphases or occasional activities. If you do, you're missing the first part of verse 42.
I read they devoted themselves to all of that is from one big compound Greek word which means a steadfast single-minded devotion to a certain course of action. Repeat a steadfast single-minded devotion to a certain course of action.
So when it came to teaching. They were devoted to it when it came to fellowship. They were devoted to it when it came to worship. They were devoted to it and prayer. They were devoted to it. If you're a basketball player you are devoted to putting the ball in the hoop Andy you know as well as I do that one of the secrets is making those free throws. That's why you see even the professionals practicing that free-throw over and over and over and over and over and over thousands of times in their career, their shooting freezer because the game is offered one at the free-throw line. If you're in the football game. You know the top scorer of every team is the kicker surprises people they think it would be the wide receiver, or it would be. Maybe via running back or the court. No is the kicker because the games are won or lost by that ball going through the field at the end of our making field go through the uprights either that of the extra point, and that kicker practices practices and priorities devoted to it devoted to.
If you're a musician would be the scales and the score of the music you practice it and practice it in practice. That's what is in mind here, except in this case, these new believers continually set at the feet of the apostles listened and learned as the truth was presented and repeated. Don't miss this the truth for it to be learned must be presented and repeated. You should hear truth over and over and over again. The secret of memory is review repetition review. You really don't know what church doctrine. If you've not reviewed it over and over and over in your mind. You really don't know what the doctrines are. If you have not repeated the truths of them again and again. You've heard the words, but you've not learned what they mean unless you have devoted yourself continually to the teaching John RW Stott writes this in his book the message of acts. One might say that the Holy Spirit open to school to Jerusalem that day. The teachers were the apostles whom Jesus had appointed and there were 3000 pupils in the kindergarten a spirit filled church is a New Testament church in the sense that it studies and submits to New Testament instruction. The spirit of God leads the people of God to submit to the word of God." This is the top priority. So let me add this to you who were searching for church. It may be here. It may be elsewhere.
The main thing you need to look for is the teaching. The main thing you need to listen to is what is being said in the pulpit.
What is being said at the adult fellowship gatherings. What kind of communication is being done as it relates to the word of God is the one who is presenting information putting his or her finger on the text and explaining the text and helping you understand the text so that you now get it and apply it. So you're in a good place. If not, don't go there. Hear how great the music is unclear how marvelous the buildings may be little care how wonderful the facilities are excellent. The children's program. The teaching and I would include in this the children, the teaching of the teenagers, the teaching of adults teaching of the word of God is foundational. So that's one I think you got never choose fellowship look at the word is the Greek word Corey known the yacht and it simply means, or commonality. First, they shared in the same things that would be the things of Christ. Next they shared with one another, exemplified in the verses that follow.
As a result of the teaching. A deep sense of all came over them all I'll say that something about that minute something more about that as a result of the teaching look at the result of fellowship verse 44. All the believers met in one place they shared everything they had.
They sold their property and possessions they shared the money with those who were in need. So there is a commonality in James Hughes in his book at the church afire writes this fellowship cost something in the early church.
In contrast to our use of the word fellowship today fellowship is not just a sentimental feeling of oneness. It is not punch and cookies. It does not take place, simply because we are in the church hall fellowship comes through giving true fellowship costs. The truth is we will have fellowship only when we make it a practice to reach out to others and give something of ourselves and others balance here.
Don't miss this with the teaching of the Scriptures you're taking in your absorbing your learning you're receiving with fellowship you're giving out your reaching out your touching others lives. You're showing care and compassion you're expressing your faith to those who are hurting or who are in need of what you have, so there is the word that you relate to and then there are others I church this balanced has both look for that when you look for church worth your time and worth your attendance, not just one or the other. You need both. Now there's 1/3. Go back to our original verse 42 they devoted themselves to the sharing of meals and the Lord's table as well as baptism. So now we find the ordinances taking place as well as times of real personal worship.
Worship and how joyful they were. Verse 46 I love this verse. They worshiped together at the temple each day and they met in homes for the Lord's supper. They shared their meals.
Look at it with great joy and generosity. The early church was a joyful church result when someplace it was a place that had the kind of worship that was magnetic it true others in me tell you what is often missing even in churches where there is teaching and that is a philosophy of worship. You can be of a church that instructs you and it can become a large Bible class or little more than just verse by verse teaching of the Bible, but very little emphasis on reaching out to others and virtually no emphasis on sitting in all before the living God in worship when we worship we become lost in wonder love and praise. Please hear me here when we worship we allow time for silence and stillness. When we worship we invite the Lord's presence to give direction. When we worship we give him our praise. As we said in all before him.
When we worship we acknowledge he is the one was magnified. Not some preacher or teacher or singer or musician is a well-planned, well executed philosophy of worship where you sense God's power and God's presence. Listening to the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll. This is insight for living, Chuck titled today's message an original snapshot of the first church to learn more about the ministry of insight for living.
Please visit us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well it's possible you been listening to Chuck Teich today wondering how you might find a suitable church in your community.
Perhaps you've never stepped inside a church or maybe you're feeling motivated to find a Bible centered church were God's word is declared with the kind of boldness that you hear on this program will checks written an article on how to recognize a healthy church.
We believe it will steer you in the right direction and Chuck is prepared some other helpful resources for you as well and you find all this and more email@example.com/church. Of course there's nothing that will shape your understanding of the church better than a personal study of the Bible. To that end, I'll point you to one of the best resources available through insight for living I'm referring to the Swindoll study Bible. This Bible offering the new living translation contains practical insight from Chuck ideas for application and a wealth of background information that gives you historical context for what you're reading. The Swindoll study Bible would make a thoughtful gift for a friend or loved one and you can see all your different choices when you go online to insight.org/offer will check in recent days you've shown us that our view of God's competence is capability will determine the course of our lives. That's right Dave, I believe with all my heart that God is not only big but he's the God of limitless possibilities.
Think about that my convictions are founded on biblical truth, I'm thinking. For example, of Luke 1827 where we read the things that are impossible with people or possible with God.
And the same thought is in Jeremiah, the weeping prophet wrote this. Nothing is too difficult for you. Jeremiah 3217. In addition to these biblical affirmations I can also bear witness to the God of limitless possibilities of seeing his greatness at work in my own life again and again. For these reasons, and so many more. I'm compelled to pursue what many people deem impossible.
That is to obey the great command of our Savior Jesus and make disciples of all the nations. That's right, all the nations, would you be willing to join us in this journey. In recent days and months. You've heard me talk about what we called vision 195. So this is not new to you is the passion of our hearts to bring insight for living to all 195 countries of our world. I confess it's an audacious dream in my own strength. Admittedly, it's impossible, but I base my confidence on the God of limitless impossibilities in the last two years. God is accomplished the impossible. He's guided insight for living ministries through a global pandemic as well as a combative national election in a season of isolation.
We never experienced until now. During this time. We've kept every single radio station and we have not missed a broadcast and my friend.
I believe our best days still lie before us so let's trust this God of impossibilities, shall we, let's pull together and let's offer our personal resources to tell of God's amazing grace and all the countries of the world.
That's 195 of them. Please follow God's prompting and give generously whatever God is pleased when your heart that you do that today. Thanks so much for standing alongside his getting in touch and responding to Chuck Swindoll's easy pick the method that's best for you.
First, you can call us if you listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 was again 1-800-772-8888 or it might be quickest and most efficient to give our secure website insight.org/donate. Thank you for generously supporting insight for living.
Join us again tomorrow. Chuck Swindoll continues to describe an original snapshot of the first church right here on insight for living.
The preceding message an original snapshot of the first church in the sound recording were copyrighted in 2018 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. all rights are reserved worldwide.
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