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Being a Mighty Church for Jesus - Acts - Part 20

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
July 30, 2020 9:00 am

Being a Mighty Church for Jesus - Acts - Part 20

So What? / Lon Solomon

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We are in a verse-by-verse study of the book of Acts, and today we come to Acts chapter 6. So the title of my message is, Being a Mighty Church for Jesus. And are you ready?

Okay. Now, a little bit of background. If you remember, here in the early chapters of the book of Acts, the apostles had been preaching and healing and witnessing for Jesus in Jerusalem. And as a result, the rabbis arrested them and beat them and ordered them to stop preaching about Jesus.

The last verse of Acts chapter 5 says, But daily in the temple and from house to house they, the apostles, did not cease to preach and teach Jesus as the Messiah. Good for them. Praise the Lord.

Good for them. Now, Acts chapter 6, verse 1. And in those days when the number of disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebrew Jews.

Now, stop for a second. All this means the Hellenistic Jews, these were Gentiles who had converted to Judaism and then had come to Christ and were now part of the church. The Jewish, as it says here, the Hebrew Jews were simply Jewish people who had come to Christ, who had been born and raised from the very beginning as Jewish people. Do you all understand?

All right. And the verse says there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jewish believers because their widows were being neglected in the daily food distribution. Then the twelve apostles called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and they said, It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God in serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out among yourselves seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this ministry. But we, the apostles, will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith in the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a Gentile proselyte, a convert from the city of Antioch, whom they set before the apostles. And when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them, thereby delegating apostolic authority to them to oversee this food distribution.

Verse seven, And the word of God kept on spreading, and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the Jewish priests were even becoming obedient to the faith. Now, that's our passage. It's as far as we're going to go today.

But we want to stop now, and we want to ask our most important question. So, y'all know what this is. Ready? All right, now, come on.

This is my muscle service here. Y'all ready? Here we go.

One, two, three. Oh, gosh. I love you guys.

I'm serious. Y'all are the best. Okay. You say, all right, Lon. I appreciate the passage. It's a great passage. I just don't see what is in there for us.

Well, let's talk about it. You know, in 1963, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., of course, came here to Washington, D.C., to the Lincoln Memorial, where he painted a picture of the kind of society that he wanted America to become. And today, what I want to do is based on the description of the early church here in Acts chapter 6, I want to paint a picture for us here at McLean Bible Church of the kind of church that I want us to become. Namely, I want us to become a mighty church spiritually for the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, would you notice, I didn't say a big church. Folks, a big church is a nice thing, but a mighty church is the critical thing. Can I get amen on that? Amen.

All right. Now, here in Acts chapter 6, the Bible tells us four things that made the early church in Jerusalem the mighty church that it was. I want to point those out to you, and then I want to challenge us to emulate this early church here in our church today.

So, number one, the early church in Jerusalem, first of all, was mighty in prayer. Acts chapter 6, remember the apostle said, We will give ourselves. This is not the language of casualness.

This doesn't mean occasionally we will do this. We will give ourselves. And what was the first thing they said to what? Say it out loud. To prayer.

That's right. Brothers and sisters, the Jerusalem church was a praying church. In Acts chapter 1, right after the Lord Jesus ascended back into heaven, the Bible says, and they, that church, all continued with one accord in what?

Say it. Prayer and supplication. In Acts chapter 12, it says that Peter was in prison, but the church was what? Praying. And how were they praying?

Earnestly right to God for him. Friends, the Jerusalem church was a church that gave themselves to prayer. They were a church that continued in prayer.

They were a church that was fervent in prayer, and this is the kind of church that I am calling us to be at McLean Bible Church. Individually, I'm calling us to have a personal prayer closet where we meet with God alone and where we are mighty on our knees with God. And then as a church family, I'm calling us to do this very same kind of praying together. I'm calling us to be at our pre-service prayer meetings before every service. Here at Tysons, we have a prayer meeting right over in the prayer room. I want you to get here early, and I want you to come over and get on your knees with the rest of us in there. And I want you to pray for the service coming up, and pray for our city, and pray for our nation, and pray for revival. There's no reason that room shouldn't be full of us every single week on our knees praying. And I want you at the prayer gathering tonight.

I want us to have a massive representation. I want people to look around that prayer gathering tonight and say, my gosh, look at all the people from McLean Bible Church. That is a praying church. And inside of your bulletin is a prayer warrior insert.

You'll see it looks like this. This is an opportunity for you to sign up and get emails from anybody on the back or any part of us like Jill's house on the back telling you about prayer requests and needs that we have. I have many prayer warriors, and I send them emails all the time saying, please pray for this, please pray for that, and I count on them to do it. Look, if you're already a prayer warrior for someone or something, you don't have to refill this out. But if you're not a prayer warrior for someone or some part of this church, and you come here and call this your home church, friends, that is just not one of the above selections, friends. For you to come to this church and not pray for this church?

No. We need you. We need you in prayer. And so I want you to fill this out.

You can drop it off at the Welcome Center. We'll have it in the bulletin again next week so you can think about it. But we need to be a praying church. And the only way we can be a praying church is if we're a church full of praying people.

Does that make sense to you? Can I get an amen? Amen.

All right. Folks, a mighty church is a church that is mighty in prayer. Number two, the early church in Jerusalem was also mighty in the Word of God. In Acts chapter 2, the Bible says, And they, that is the early church, continued to devote themselves, again, not the language of casualness.

This is the language of intense dedication. They devoted themselves to what the apostles were teaching. And friends, what were the apostles teaching? What were they teaching? They were teaching the Scripture. They were teaching the Word of God, right? Acts chapter 6, verse 4, the apostles said, And we will give ourselves to prayer.

And then what? To the ministry of the what? The Word. 2 Timothy chapter 4, Paul said to Timothy, I charge you, therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead and his appearing and his kingdom. And what's the charge, Paul, that you're giving to Timothy?

Here it is. Say the three words with me. Preach the Word.

Yes, friends, the Word, the Word, the Word, the Word. A mighty church for Jesus proclaims the Word. They proclaim it without compromise. They proclaim it without ambiguity. And they proclaim it without equivocation.

But more than that, a mighty church for Jesus is full of people who proclaim the Word. Everywhere they go, with everyone they meet, they proclaim the Word. And the reason they proclaim the Word is because they know the Word. And the reason that they know the Word is because they've studied the Word. And they've learned God's Word. 2 Timothy chapter 2, verse 15, say the first word with me. Say it out loud.

What is it? Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. And that word, rightly dividing, means understanding and then properly interpreting the Word of God. That's what the early church in Jerusalem did.

They studied the Word. They knew the Word of God. And that's what I want us at McLean Bible Church to do. This is why I want you to have on your phone, Beyond Sundays, the app, so that you get Scripture into your life every single day, multiple times. This is why I want you to take our McLean University classes, Christianity 101, 201, 301, and so forth. This is why I want you to consider taking courses at Dallas Theological Seminary, which meets in our Prince William campus building. I was just in Dallas this week, speaking for four days at the seminary. And I was talking to Mark Bailey, the president, and he was saying how excited he is to have a campus here in Washington, D.C.

There are up to 150 students, and I said, Mark, you mark my words, no pun intended. I said, we will be at a thousand students in the next five years once the Word gets out that Dallas Seminary is here, and you can get that level of education right here in Washington, D.C. But whatever it is, I don't care what it is, folks, we need to be in the Bible outside of just coming here on Sunday, because a mighty church is a church of the Word, and it's full of people who are people of the Word. Number three, the early church in Jerusalem was mighty third in evangelism.

Follow the progression here. Acts chapter one, the believers numbered 120. Acts chapter two, about 3,000 were added to their number. Acts chapter two, the Lord was adding to their number daily. Acts chapter four, the number of men grew to 5,000. Acts chapter five, more men and women believed and were constantly added to their number. Acts chapter six, the number of disciples kept multiplying.

Acts chapter six, verse seven, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem continued to increase. Say the last word with me. Greatly. Greatly.

Oh, wow. Friends, this was a church that took seriously when Jesus said, you go out and reach lost people for me, this church took him seriously. This is the kind of church I want us to be. I want us to spread out like a mighty cloud of witnesses every single week into Washington, and some of you travel, so I want you to spread out around America, and I want you to spread out around the world, and everywhere we go, we're a mighty cloud of witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. And you may say, well, Lon, I don't really know how to witness. I don't really know how to share my faith. Oh, don't worry.

Don't worry. That's why we have Christianity 301. That's what we do in there. We help you feel comfortable and know how to share your faith, and if you missed the start of Christianity 301 a couple of weeks ago, then after we finished the six weeks, we're just going to start it again. So keep your ears open and keep your eyes open and get into Christianity 301. Friends, there is no excuse for us not to be able to share our faith when we have a course right here to help make you facile and adept at doing that.

Do we understand? Okay, number four, the early church in Jerusalem, number four, was mighty in discipleship. You remember the seven men that the congregation chose, you know, to distribute the food? You remember that? That we just read about?

Yeah. Well, the Bible says they were to be men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Question, where did the early church, so early in its history, get these men from? Answer, the apostles produced them. The apostles discipled them. The apostles made them by pouring into them.

Listen to Acts 2. And they, the believers, continued to devote themselves to what the apostles were teaching. They were with the apostles together and they fellowshiped with the apostles and they broke bread with the apostles and they had time of prayer with the apostles and the apostles rubbed off on them and produced these godly men.

And this, my friends, is how we need to be. But would you notice, please, that these early believers were anxious to be discipled. They were anxious to grow in their faith.

They wanted to grow. They made themselves available. I mean, what good was it if the apostles had showed up to teach the Word and fellowship and break bread and nobody showed up? These people showed up.

I'm sure they were busy too. But they made time and they were proactive in getting with the apostles so they could grow in their faith. And that's what I want from us at McLean Bible Church. That same anxiousness, that same productivity to grow in our faith, whether it's by getting in a small group or whether it's by being a married couple and going to reengage on Wednesday nights or whether it's by being a male, a man, and going to first light and coming to our men's retreat, which is coming up on October 21st. We're going to talk about purity as men.

I can't think of a subject we need more to talk about. If you're a woman, it means getting into community Bible study or getting into Bible study fellowship or getting into mops or mothers of preschoolers or getting into mothering matters or coming to the women's retreat. And this is why I keep putting pressure on you guys to become volunteer staff because when you get in and serve next to a mature, godly leader, that leader rubs off on you just like the apostles rubbed off on these early believers. Remember, when it comes to discipleship, more discipleship is caught than taught. And it's caught by being around people who are mature in the Lord and they rub off on you. And that's why I'm trying to get you one of the reasons into serving the Lord next to these people so you will grow. It's not just about serving.

It's about growing. And may I say, if you're an older, mature believer here and you're not involved in serving somewhere in our church, friends, we need you. We need you. I mean, we need to be able to have you serving so we can put these young adults next to you and you can rub off on them what the Lord has done in your life.

I mean, how in the world are you going to rub off on somebody if you're home watching The Price is Right? Huh? It's not going to happen. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. Amen.

Alright, so here are the four things. The early church was a mighty church in prayer. They were a mighty church in the Word. They were a mighty church in evangelism.

They were a mighty church in discipleship. And there's one more. You say, I thought you said there was four.

Well, there's five. But it's not in Acts 6. It's in the rest of the book of Acts.

But it's important. Number five, the early church in Jerusalem was mighty in planting churches. Now, here in the book of Acts, we see that the members of this Jerusalem church planted churches in Acts 8 in Samaria, Acts 8 in Azotus, Acts 8 in Caesarea. They planted churches Acts 9 in Damascus, Acts 9 in Lydia, Acts 9 in Joppa. They planted a church, Acts chapter 11, in the city of Antioch. And then the church they planted in the city of Antioch was the one who dispatched the Apostle Paul, who planted churches all over the Roman Empire. Friends, the point is that the Jerusalem church didn't just grow.

The Jerusalem church multiplied itself by planting churches and that's what we have now launched into with absolute seriousness. Listen, when it comes to this last thing, we are not, as a church, what we ought to be yet, but we're a whole lot better than we used to be. Praise the Lord and give us some time, give us some time and we're going to get a lot more better.

You say, is that English? Yes, we're going to get a lot more better. Praise God. So let me conclude by saying this. Folks, if we aim at nothing, it is certain we're going to hit nothing. And this is what I want us to aim at. These things we've talked about today, to be a mighty church for Jesus.

But friends, I can't do this myself. There is no way as your pastor that I can muscle us into being a mighty church for Jesus by myself. There's no way our elders can muscle this church into being a mighty church for Jesus. We've all got to do this together because I'm sure you understand the church is not this building. The church is not the parking lot. The church is not the classrooms. The church is you. The church is you. And only as you become this kind of mighty person for Christ, and we start gathering hundreds and thousands of people who are mighty in their walk with Christ, that's how we build a mighty church. That's what the early church was all about.

They were full of people who were mighty in their walk with God. So you say, all right, Lon. So I'm sitting out here. I love the Lord. I love this church.

I call this my home church. What do you want from me? I'll tell you what I want. Friends, what I want from you and what I want from me is I want us to live an early Christian lifestyle. I want us to live an apostolic lifestyle.

I want us to live a biblical lifestyle. And that means, number one, that I want you to have a vibrant, serious prayer life. It means, number two, I want you to have a hunger for studying and learning and knowing the Word of God. It means, number three, that I want you to have a passion for reaching out and caring for lost people and telling them about Jesus. It means, number four, that I want you to have an anxious and available heart to grow in your walk with God and to be discipled into a mature believer.

And it means, number five, that I want you to have an excitement about being part of a multiplying church. This is an apostolic lifestyle. This is an early church lifestyle. This is a biblical lifestyle.

And that's what I'm calling you and me to. I'm not calling you to an American lifestyle. And I'm not even calling you to an American Christian lifestyle. I'm calling you to a biblical lifestyle. And when we have hundreds of people gathering together, living a biblical lifestyle, that's when we'll have a mighty church for Christ. You understand?

You understand? May God bring it to pass for His glory. Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, I ask you to forgive us in the church in America for how far we have drifted from the lifestyle of the early church. And friends, if you're here today and something I've said, the Holy Spirit has pressed it home and said, you know what?

We need some change in your life. Let's take a moment and talk to God about it. You tell God what you're prepared to do so that you can become a mighty follower of Christ. Lord Jesus, we want a rebirth of the power of the Holy Spirit in our church. Lord, we want a rebirth in our church of spiritual impact on the city of Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas. Lord, we want a rebirth in this church of the presence of the Holy Spirit so that people walking in here know they have walked into the presence of Christ. We want, Lord, a revival in this church that sweeps out of this church and around this city with our brother and sister churches. Oh, God, call me and call every individual sitting and listening to me to be part of that revival and rebirth because they re-crown Jesus as the Lord of their life. They re-crown a biblical apostolic lifestyle as their lifestyle.

They develop into a mighty follower of Christ so that when we gather, we develop into a mighty church family for Christ. Do this, Lord, I pray. Rally us around this, I pray, that Jesus may be glorified here in this city through our lives. Lord, change and alter the way we live because we were here today and sat under the teaching of your Holy Word and we pray these things in Jesus' name and everybody said? Come on, you can do better. Everybody said? Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-10 11:20:42 / 2023-06-10 11:30:09 / 9

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