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March 8, 2021 11:58 am
This morning I want to look briefly at the church, and whatever is a church I mean church is individual because we are the church. Individually, we are the church. Each individual is a part of the body and then we will look at the church cooperatively and that's us together collectively. Okay so we can look at the church this morning that God uses. Turn with me in your Bibles if you would to ask 13 verses 135X 13 verses one through five.
He it reads now there were in the church in Antioch, prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon, who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Monet and a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
Then after fasting and praying they laid hands on them and sent them off so being sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to so Luciana and from there they sailed to Cyprus when they arrived at Salama's. They proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews and they had John this is John Mark, to assist them melt this morning were to look at this text in a couple of others to look at the five characteristics that a church that God uses has these are five characteristics of the church that God uses. No, keep your finger or marker or whatever at acts 13 because our first characteristic of a church that God uses is found in acts 11 verse 20 60 turn there at acts 11 verse 26 and will look at it in just a moment. Now the church that we are describing this morning in acts 11 and in acts 13 is the church at Antioch and this church in Antioch was the first non-Jewish multi cultural church.
It was the first church to ever send out missionaries from Antioch, the gospel went out to the ends of the earth. This church at Antioch set an example for us as a church today to for missions. They took the great commission at heart, and they should they show us they demonstrate for how we should take missions to be our heartbeat as well. Then you without a doubt that they were to carry the gospel through their families into workplaces to other families to neighborhoods and to the ends of the earth.
They believe that their purpose as a church was to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth now want to stop and ask your question and this is a nod your head if you believe it type answer.
Do you believe that the purpose of the church is to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth set to yes okay do you believe that the purpose of Calvary church is to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. I see you nodding of heads, there what if he called you. What if he called you individually remember the churches as individuals and collectively what if God called you to leave the comfort of this pew and to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. If you believe that is God's purpose then you must be ready to respond and go.
So let's look at the type of church that God uses and again was a church. This means individuals to what kind of a church does God use characteristic number one God uses a Christlike church looking at acts 1126 it says and when he and this is Barnabas had found him and that's all he brought him to Antioch for a whole year. They met with the church and taught a great many people and in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians believers were first called Christians in Antioch.
There were not called Christians by each other.
There were called Christians by the people of the city. The people of the saving you that there was something different about these men and women who were gathering together as a church in Antioch and the community knew that Christ was the difference.
These believers had a reputation for being Christlike. They had a reputation for doing the same things that Christ did. They had a reputation for having the same attitudes that Christ had. They were showing through their actions, the Lord Jesus Christ that was there reputation.
What about you what is your reputation is your reputation, that of being Christlike when other people in your neighborhood at your workplace.
Even your family when they see you do they say yes, that person lives like Jesus lived that person serves like Jesus serve that person's attitudes are like Jesus's attitude that person loves like Jesus loves melt.
If you look back a few verses earlier in acts 11 verse 21 it says that they heard the gospel and they turn to the Lord. Now, they believed in the gospel. They believe that Jesus came from God on a rescue mission and that he died on the cross for all of our sins and that he rose victorious over death. They believe that he lived today and they lived that he lives in eternity eternally skews me. They believe in the gospel so much that they rejected everything of the world, the ways of this world, and as the Bible says here in acts 1121 they turned to the Lord, do you believe in the gospel. Do you believe in the gospel enough that you will turn away from the things of this world and live for Jesus.
And when I say live for Jesus. I may live in such a way that people call you Christian, do you have a living testimony for the Lord now think about it. I think it's a badge of honor when someone says all that person is a Christian, he or she will never do that all don't bother with them their Christian, I mean that's what I want my reputation to be is that I am a Christian that I follow Christ that I'm Christlike.
Okay Antioch was a worldly city that celebrated the worship of many gods, these believers, these Christians live for Christ in such a way that nonbelievers said they looked like little Christ living and loving like Christ love like the Christ. They followed and that's why they called them Christians you it's a trick of the enemy, citric of Satan to make you think that unless you're some super talented super gifted person that God can't use you what I want you to know is that God uses people want to be like Jesus, not of these missionaries we have today the right balls and the mallets are not gifted people, but their ordinary people call from the pews of Calvary church and that's who God uses his ordinary people.
Robert Robert Murray Shane said it is not great talent that God blesses the great likeness to Jesus is not great talent to God blesses the great likeness to Jesus you want to serve the Lord. The first is to be Christ like. The church that God uses number one is a Christlike church so number two.
What kind of a church does God use God uses a coalitional church. So what is it mean to be commissionable, means together in the course mission will means missions so it means that people join together like the church, we join together for missions. People joining together to reach the world for Christ. Calvary has 80 missionaries that we support financially and prayerfully around the world, but there are over 3000 Calvary missionaries joining us in our two worship services this morning here on campus and via live stream.
We are joined together today for missions.
We are called as one.
One body to move together for missions, but do you think of yourself as being a missionary. I mean, that's who we are. Each and every one of us is a missionary and God gives us our missions field may not be lobby area.
It may not be in this year. It may not be down to Brazil as a shade is served and in Brazil but it could be for me is tight, very lame in Fort Mill and that's where God is calling to serve in missions currently.
Now look at acts 13 flip back over at acts 13 it says now there were in the church at Antioch and I want to concentrate on that word in for just a moment.
Notice that Luke said that they were in the church and not at the church. These participants, these Christians, they were in the charge, not at the church at the church is like being at a concert, I was at a concert of the spectator. I was not participating in the church we did your part of the body and what the body is your part of the body of Christ.
Your active you're engaged apart sharing the good news look at what happened in the church. In verse three it says. Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and they sent them off and then look at verse five.
What are they send them off to do and when they arrived at at Salama's. They proclaim the word of God. Let me summarize when God changes the city and changes the world. He uses us, the church, he sends us out, not just as missionaries but sends us as the church each and every one of us being you sent out by the Holy Spirit being used by God to proclaim the good news to proclaim the word of God again.
My mission field is not Liberia or needs year. My mission field is taped very late in Fort Mill and your missionary your mission field is where God has called you, so you can tell this morning that our attitude is that every person who is a part of Calvary church is a missionary. We got to be engaged in the place where God has called us to serve what is God asked you this morning. What have you done in the mission field where I have sent you, what would you say if God said to you this morning. What have you done in the mission field where I sent you. Why is it that when you became a believer that God just didn't zap us right onto heaven when when the be great if you did you not even accept Christ are said you go off to heaven, but he didn't do that. He left us here.
Why because he wants us to reach those who do not yet know him each and every one of us is a missionary. We are sent by God. Just as God sent Jesus to seek and save the lost God's sins us to seek and save the lost. God has sent us his Holy Spirit to equip us and I many of us think that whatever whenever we consider our mission field and going out. Our neighborhoods are witnessing a work what I just can't do it.
God sent his Holy Spirit to equip us and to move us if we are not the church, a people who goes out with the gospel as missionaries. They were just the club that meets here on the Pineville Matthews Road were just serving ourselves and were not serving the Savior if were not engaged in mission we been sent to proclaim the word out faster. Subaru mentioned earlier about our BLI outreach and about the families that are engaged in being allied in their neighborhoods at their workplaces.
The places where God has called them over 100 people have committed to being allied and they go through training that we provided an God is making a tremendous impact and live. I know he has in mind through BLI signed up to be allied in September and God continues to open doors for me to share the gospel with my neighbors and the people that I encounter every day as I go to places like the gym. The grocery store and just walked the sidewalks in my neighborhood's amazing how God is give me that opportunity to impact the places where he is called me now or your missionary. Your head should nod yes because every one of us is called to be a missionary. Do you need some training yes I need training training and more training to be a missionary. Well, I want to know they were offering training on 13 March, and on 20 March a belief pastor subdued and that training is going to be on zoom. It'll be two hours each morning and you receive the training that you need to be allied in your community and help respond to the call that God has provided for you to be engaged in mission service BLI. That's what God calls us to be. So what, church is God used the one he uses a Christlike church number two.
He uses a co-mission old church and number three God uses a diverse church a diverse church. The church in Antioch was the first non-Jewish congregation. God put together the first non-Jewish congregation and made it a diverse people to go out into a diverse world that we have a diverse community here in Charlotte I feel like the nations are coming to Charlotte and it is easy to see. Anytime you go out in public. Or I guess we used to go out in public.
You see the diversity of the nations that have gathered in Charlotte and God has made us a diverse church here at Calvary church. We got over 40 different nationalities that gather here at Calvary church. We got even more language groups that gather here in Calvary church.
Why does he make us a diverse church because he wants us to be able to reach out to our diverse community. He wants anyone that we bring in from our diverse Community to Calvary church to feel like they are at home. If you bring somebody in from no matter what country they are, no matter what background that they they come from their going to see people who are like them at Calvary church and they're going to feel welcomed. Look at acts 13 verse one.
Let's look at the diversity of the church in Antioch is that now there were in the church. Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon, who was called the knee-jerk Lucius of Cyrene Monday and a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch and saw a look at the three, the diversity they were made up of this church.
The first type of diversity is a spiritual diversity you see is says that there were prophets and teachers. God didn't put the church together just so they would all have the same gift, but he gave a diversity of gifts. He said some of the leaders were prophets, some the leaders were teachers, but now this is just talking about the leaders in the church. We know that there was greater spiritual diversity within the church. There were some who were probably worship leaders. There were others who probably went out and did that the the street ministry or or prepared food for those that needed food at the food pantry or to participate in a prison ministry just like a Calvary church. There are different different giftedness, a diversity of giftedness.
There was a diverse, a spiritual diversity at the church in Antioch. There was also an and ethnic diversity at the church in Antioch. Barnabas, Simeon, who was called need your and Lucius Cyrene Monday and a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul that we know that Barnabas and Saul were Jewish. We know that Simeon was Africa not Eiger. And you know we've got a couple of nations we think of Nigeria and Niger. The come from that background, so we know that they were probably black. We got Lucius of Cyrene, and he was from north Africa we got Monday and he was Roman. So why is it that there was such diversity this church of Antioch is been God's plan since the beginning of time that the church be diverse. Genesis 12 says that God's plan was to bless all the nations, and it takes all ethnicities to reach the nations at the great banquet one day there will be a mosaic of people coming together is not just going to be Calvary church at the great banquet and people who are like us but there's going to be a marvelous lending a people of every nation of every tribe coming together the great but banquet with our Lord and were going to celebrate together as a mosaic of people that God has called together, a church that God uses a person that God uses reaches out to all the people with the gospel.
So, church is God use number one God uses a Christlike church number two God use the conditional church number three God uses a diverse church body. Number four God uses a worshiping church.
Look at verse two. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them out. The first phrase while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting. The people were worshiping the Lord. It's obvious of these people in Antioch gave passionate priority to worshiping the Lord now who was the other.
They were worshiping again in verse verse two it says it was the Lord that they were worshiping there were not worshiping the apostles.
They were not worsened worshiping any personalities. It was the Lord who was the focus of their worship and they were looking at him as Lord. What does Lord mean means master means boss. So let's think about that for just a moment.
If Jesus is my boss than I have to do what he tells me to do right.
That's what they were doing they were worshiping the Lord, who they recognize was the boss of their life and they were willing to do what he called them to do now. Love our worship at Calvary church. What we do here on Sunday morning with our our praise team requiring etc. love and we come together, worship and pray and hear God's word but I want you to realize that worship is not just what we do on Sunday morning. I think Satan has made that is a little trap for us, but worship is what we do with our entire lives.
Romans 12 says I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and except acceptable to God which is your spiritual act of worship. What is worship is when we present ourselves and every day as a living sacrifice, not me, Lord, but you and we set ourselves apart for service to him. That's what being holy means. It means being set apart. We give ourselves completely to him every day. That's what worship is, is not just a Sunday thing but worship is a 24 hour a day thing the church, the believers in Antioch every moment of every day gave themselves to Jesus all to Jesus all the time. All of me to Jesus all the time. That was their worship in the church at Antioch was a worshiping church.
What about you are you a worshiper is your walk in life a living sacrifice to the Lord. So what kind of a church is God use God counters to God uses is a Christlike church. God uses a commission or church. God uses a diverse church, God uses a worshiping church.
And finally, God uses a spirit filled church. When you become a worshiper giving your life every moment of your life to the Lord, you put yourself in the position to hear the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks in the lives of individuals and churches were there is intimacy and worship both personal worship and corporate worship.
I think one of the Pro whatever in counseling a lot tougher.
I one the most familiar things I hear is I want to know what the Lord's will is for my life. I want to know what the Lord wants me to do what the Spirit wants me to do. I want to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
And I say to them will.
How is your worship. How is your worship because when we are worshiping when we are intimate with God. That's when the spirit speaks to us. Look at how the church in Antioch was worshiping.
Verse two says it was they were fasting now I'm an old Baptist bow hard as my background as a Baptist and fasting is not something this in a Baptist vocabulary me where the denomination of potluck dinners of casseroles and homecoming so we will do much fasting, but fasting is not eating so that when you hunger you will hunger for God.
Fasting is biblical potluck dinners is not biblical. The church in Antioch wanted to experience God more than they wanted to eat that incredible they wanted to experience God more than they wanted to eat.
They wanted intimacy with God more than anything else in their life.
Is that your heartbeat verse three says that they were fasting and praying and praying is walking in fellowship with God is having a conversation with a friend as you walk through life. How often do you pray it shouldn't be just the blessing before the Mills but it should be as we walk through life were in constant prayer and communion with the living God.
Note verse three says they were fasting and praying and then the church in Antioch were were worshipers and their hearts were totally turn to God. They were fasting and praying and look at verse two. Again, it says when those things were happening that the Holy Spirit said, and then in verse four it says that the Holy Spirit sent out they were sent out by the Holy Spirit. We are truly worshiping intimate with God.
The spirit speaks in the spirit sins.
When was the last time that you personally heard the spirit speak to you. I have to ask you how's your worship.
When was the last time that we saw the Spirit of God moved here at Calvary church.
Maybe it's time as individuals and corporately that we recommit ourselves to worship to giving ourselves like the church in Antioch completely to the Lord as boss of our lives.
So what kind of a church is God use the one God uses a Christlike church number two God use the coalitional church number three God uses a diverse church number four God uses a worshiping church and then fifth God uses a spirit filled church. In conclusion, when an individual and a church follows the word of God and displays the characteristics of a church like Antioch did look at acts 1427 because this shows you what happens to a church that obeys the word of God, and follows these different characteristics barn as Barnabas and Paul in chapter 13 verse one through five. They were sent out as the first missionaries and during that time, God used him to communicate his truth and then they came back just as these missionaries have today to report to the church. All that God was doing, and here's a report in verse 27 and when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. See what happened. God opened a door of faith to the Gentiles, Gentiles did not have the opportunity to know Christ as their Savior, God opened this door because of a faithful people in a faithful church to answering the great commission to go intimate disciples.
I wonder what doors God would like to open for you and for me.
I wonder what doors God would like to open for the gospel for Calvary church. I wonder if we leaned more closely into the Lord and followed him what he would do us. It begins with you and me as individuals for God to open doors. It takes my commitment and your commitment to doing and being all who Christ wants us to be. You want to serve the Lord in mission service. That's the question today because he calls each and every one of us to missions service and I pray that you're ready to answer his call today. Join me as we pray together. Father, we thank you so much for this opportunity that you given us to worship together today and father, we rejoice in the stories that we've heard about missions and what you're doing in Liberia and these year the father what we want is to hear stories each week about what you're doing in Charlotte in the last of our members who are out serving you as missionaries in the highways and the byways father where you've called them following want you to open doors for us.
We want to be your people and be use father to seek and save the lost. In the places where you have called us to father.
Use these brief few moments of song to calls us father to reflect and to repent and to commit father to be in the missionaries that you would have us to be force in Jesus name we pray.