Text: Acts 2:41-47
Title: "A Week in the Life of the Church"
Subject:  The Christ likeness of the church 

Intro:  The Bible says, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:15)

People often have the mistaken idea that to be a Christian is to be a sissy, and that the Christian life is some how a "softer" life than living in the world!  I have been saved since ________, and though the Christian life is one of joy and peace, it has never been easy to live for Jesus Christ!  In fact, not only do we live the Christian life, but we live the Christian life in a Christ-hating world!  One of the main reasons that the Christian life is difficult is we are commanded by God to live a certain life style; yet our flesh wars against us, the world tempts us, and Satan hinders us!  

The Bible says, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:15)

The Holy Spirit wrote that we should "know how we ought to behave ourselves in the house of God, which is the church."  There is a definite standard of behavior expected of God's children as they worship, work, and fellowship in God's church.  Not only is there an expected standard of behavior in God's church, but there is a definite standard of activity for God's children in God's church.  The reason for the standards of behavior and activity is the fact that the independent Baptist church is God's authorized agency to represent the Lord Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.  Christ is our head, and as a assembly of saints, we are His body.  The church, the pillar and ground of the truth, represents the Truth (Jesus Christ) to the world! But, apparently, the churches of Timothy's day did not know how they should be behaving or the Holy Spirit would not have penned these words through Paul.  And I believe that believer's today have forgotten how we should behave. You see, you cannot represent the Truth if you are living a lie!

The Bible says, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:15)

As many churches in our movement lose their sense of destiny and standards, there is a necessity for our church to reflect on our direction by comparing our standard of activity with God's standard as revealed in His Word.   This morning I would like us to look a "A Year in the Life of the Church" from the book of Acts, chapter 2, verses 41-47; a very familiar portion of Scripture to most.

Acts 2:41-47--"A Year in the Life of the Church"--prayer

Note:  Those of you that know me, know that I strongly recommend a method of Bible study whereby you mark every mention of God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as you read.  Marking the mentions of God gives you a clear framework for study and understanding.   In Acts 2:41-47 we have three mentions of God.  v41 speaks of His Word; v47 mentions praising God, and v47 mentions the Lord.  Since we are talking about the standard of activity in the church, we can see this passage falls easily under three headings: 

A. His Word Reveals That the Only Way to Find Peace with God is Through Jesus Christ (v36-39)
1. That Jesus is both Lord (O.T. Jehovah) and Christ (anointed One) (v36). (To find peace you must believe that Jesus Christ is God!)
2. That God calls (v39), and convicts men (v37)
3. Though God calls, you must repent ("change your mind")
a. Change your mind about who God is (God is sovereign over you, God is holy, and God is offended by your sin)
b. Change your mind about your sin (separates from God, and leads to eternal punishment: all sin must be punished)
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord"
Acts 3:19
Have you found peace with God through trusting Jesus Christ?

B. His Word Reveals That This Message Must Be Received (v41)
1. The message is stated in Acts 20:21
“Testifying both to the Jews
(God's chosen people), and also to the Greeks (Gentiles/lost heathen), repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." 
2. It must be received ("to take hold of, to take what is given") gladly ("readily, joyfully")

Note: You must be glad that you are a sinner in need of a Saviour!  Glad that you have realized that you have broken God's law and must be punished!  Glad to learn that God is sovereign over you life!  Glad that God gave us His Word to reveal our need!  Glad that Jesus Christ took our sin upon Himself and died in our place!  Glad that God would save such a sinner as yourself!!  You must receive it gladly!

3. It must be received completely
a. You can't pick and choose what you will receive!  His Word is His Word from Genesis (God's physical creation) to Revelation (God's physical coming again)!
1) Though you might not understand it all, though you might not know it all, you must accept it all!
4. It must be received publicly
a. They were baptized ("immersed") publicly, after having been saved, by the only institution with the proper authority, the local independent Baptist church ("unto them").
1) Baptism identified them with Christ's death, burial, resurrection; with God's covenant people, and with that Baptist church's doctrine.
b. They were added ("to place, to put one thing to another") unto them (the local independent Baptist church)
1) They lost their independence by becoming interdependent and joined to that local body of Christ.
Have you received the message of God's Word and acted on it?

C. His Word Reveals a Steadfastness (v42)
1. Continued steadfastly ("to remain somewhere, to continue with someone, to cleave faithfully") In the apostles [uncorrupted] doctrine ("teaching"), In the apostles uncorrupted] fellowship ("participation"). Two fellows in the same ship.

Note: Notice that doctrine and fellowship are tied together.  And notice that it is the apostles [uncorrupted] fellowship!  Our fellowship should be built around true doctrine, and our true doctrine should result in real fellowship!

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."  1 John 1:3

Note:  We spend to much time talking about the things of this world instead of fellowshipping about the things that matter for eternity.  G. Campbell Morgan said, "It has become very difficult for Christian people to talk of the things of Christ to each other.  They meet together in ordinary life, and they talk of everything except the deepest things of their spiritual life; and that not because they have not deep experience, not because they are unfamiliar with the things of God and His Kingdom, but because they have never learned how to help each other in mutual converse concerning them."

2. The apostles [uncorrupted] breaking of bread (i.e., the Lord's Supper).  Here is the 2nd of the local, independent Baptist church's 2 ordinances, the 1st being baptism.
3. The apostles [uncorrupted] prayer ("speaking to God").

Note: So here we have 3,120 born again, baptized, Spirit filled Baptist church members being taught and then fellowshipping around what they were taught, partaking of the Lord's Supper, and seeking God in prayer.  They had a pow pow power explosion!! They were on fire, and even the water of Baal's alter couldn't put them out!

D. His Word Reveals a Changed Life

Note: From the simple fact of doing the "common acts" of the Christian faith, but doing them with a whole heart toward God, this church turned their world upside down! _________________ Baptist Church does not need a moment of excitement, but a continuing sense of excitement and urgency in our service to God!

1. Fear came on every soul
a. On the saved a new reverence
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:” 
Hebrews 12:28
b. On the lost an inner fear
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Hebrews 10:31
2. Signs/wonders done by the apostles (spiritual liberty)
3. Believers were together (v44)
4. Believers shared what they had ("common" = Levitical sense, not bound, not forbidden, not sacred)
5. Believers sold their possessions ("what is acquired by purchase")
a. They brought their material possessions into line with their profession.  Not because of a command, but from the heart.
6. Believers gave themselves ("goods" = being, existence, then property)
a. They brought their priorities into line with their profession.
b. They assisted those with a need ("want, poverty")

Note: Because materials things, whether great or small, were held lightly, or in an open palm, when a need arose that they could meet, they sold some possessions or gave of themselves to assist a believer in need.  (Remember the times!)

E. His Word Reveals a Changed Walk (v46)
1. Continuing walk
2. Daily walk
3. Oneness walk ("one accord" = one mind, unanimously")
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus"
Philip. 2:5
4. A sacred walk (in the Temple)

Note:  The saved Jews continued to observe the two daily times of prayer in the Temple, no doubt using the opportunity to share their new found faith. As the churches grew, and Gentiles were added, the Temple worship was forsaken.

5. A sharing walk ("breaking bread")
6. A friendship walk ("house to house")
a. No cliques or discrimination here
7. A joyful walk ("with gladness")
8. A heartfelt walk ("singleness of heart"). Oneness based on what is inside (Christ).
“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while Christ talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?"
Luke 24:32

A. Praising ("to tell or speak of, to speak in praise of") God (for He alone is worthy)
1. They praised God for goodness, and they praised God for bad times.  They praised God for safety and they praised God for persecution.  And they especially praised God for the activity of God's Word in their lives!

B. Finding Favor ("a pleasing work, beauty of speech; to be inclined toward another") with all people
1. They found favor because their walk followed their profession.  They were not hypocrites ("actors").  They talked the talk, but also walked the walk!

A. Added to the Church Daily
1. The church ("assembly") in Jerusalem
2. This is a holy unction for the first step of obedience
3. The saved ("such as should be saved" = such as were being saved)

Note:  When a person is saved, there should be a Holy Spirit lead desire to unite with God's people in God's place, the church.  God does not lead saved people back to apostate denominations, to cults, to Western or Eastern religious systems.  He also does not lead saved people to spend Sunday out in nature!  He lead you to Jesus Christ to be saved, and He leads you to unity with the body of Christ, the local church, after you are saved!

Note: And so the first year of the early church was spent in total obedience to God.  It began with the Word, continued with praise to God, and ended with the Lord adding to the church. 

Conclusion:  What are you contributing to this church?  Can this church say that it has followed the pattern of the early church at Jerusalem?  How about you as an individual?  Has this past year produced a change or growth in your life?  Do you have a changed walk before God and man?  Hard questions!  But hard questions that demand hard answers!

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