Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 14 Unification of Logos & Houtkruis . Priorities of a healthy church (Part 2)

. Priorities of a healthy church (Part 2)

PRIORITIES OF A HEALTHY CHURCH (PART 2)


Acts 2:41-47 (NIV) 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Introduction

During this first part of the sermon in looking at the nature or the marks of a healthy church, we saw in the first place that a healthy church is made up of redeemed people. Secondly, we saw that true believers are committed to being taught the Scriptures as they were devoted to the apostles teaching. There was effort from their side. A pastor/teacher can be well prepared and put a lot of planning into teaching the Word of God. But if believers do not plan to grow, all the preparation has no impact. Thirdly we saw that they were committed to fellowship. It is not two fellows in a ship who are forced into communion with each other but all individuals in Christ that due to our bond in Christ, are united with one another and therefore they maintain the unity of the Spirit. 3000 were saved, 3000 were baptised, 3000 were together in fellowship.

 

Before we go on, I just want to say something about this word commitment that I have used a few times now. Somebody one day said that the difference between dedication and commitment is as follows: Dedication is a chicken laying eggs and commitment is a pig becoming bacon. Too many believers by that definition are chickens instead of pigs. Did our Lord not require of us that we take up our cross daily, and follow Him? Paul says in second Corinthians that they continually bear the death of Christ in their bodies.

 

The point is this. If I say that I am willing to die for Christ but I am not committed to fellowship or the teaching of the apostles or the rest that we will see further, where have things gone wrong? The problem with the church is that there are too many people who are dedicated and not enough who are committed. Let me illustrate it with a simple IQ test. Five frogs are sitting on a tree trunk; one decides to jump off, how many are left? The answer is 5, as he had only decided, he has not jumped. That is dedication.

Point 4. A healthy church is a praying church.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles� teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

 

What we see in our text now, is that they were a praying church. You see they had a promise. Jesus had said; ask anything in My name and I'll give it that the Father may be glorified. And the praying here is not individual prayer. It's corporate. He's talking about the prayer of the church family. We are to be praying together whether it's in corporate worship that has certain limitations or whether it's in your home cells or other small group ministries or whatever. We believe in prayer. We've seen God answer prayer haven't we? We've seen God bring what we believed Him for to the very hour when we believed Him for it.

 

We ought to recommit ourselves right here to prayer because prayer is our recognition of our total dependence upon God. The church in Jerusalem was a praying church. And we need to affirm the need for prayer here at Logos. You can always get a crowd for a Christian rock concert or the Rugby match as we saw last Saturday but it's tough to get them together to pray. AC Dixon said: When we depend on organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend on education, we get what education can do; when we depend upon man, we get what man can do; but when we depend upon prayer; we get what God can do.

 

Point 5. A healthy church is a powerful church.

43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.

Everyone was filled with awe is maybe just another way of saying that this was an awesome church. They still had the apostles with them and they were performing deeds that only the apostles could perform. 2 Corinthians 12:12 (NIV) 12 The things that mark an apostle signs, wonders and miracles were done among you with great perseverance. The word for awe is 'fabas' in the Greek. It doesn't mean terror. It means reverence. It is a word that is used very specifically in the New Testament. It is reserved for times when people's minds are struck with an awe that is based on something powerful, something divine, something beyond their ability to explain or to handle.

We might not have the apostles with us today, and we may therefore not see the apostolic gifts in action on a daily basis, but man I stand amazed and in awe at just what I have seen God do in our midst just over the past few weeks. And so when the world looked at the early church they were filled with awe. They couldn't believe what they saw. They saw a move of the very Christ that they had killed on the cross, and it shocked the world, they took notice and they stood in awe.

We are only three Sundays into our unity, but I wonder how the Polokwane community are going to view us here at LOGOS in time to come?

Now let me just say this before I get off this point. I have mentioned that in that day God displayed His power in the apostolic way in the apostolic time with apostolic miracles. Today God doesn't do that as the apostles are no longer with us. But God's power is still on display. God is still healing people of illness today. God is still putting marriages together. God is still bringing people out of drugs and alcohol and sin and bringing them to Christ. God is still transforming families. God is still transforming young people. God is still changing businesses and their owners to glorify Him. God is still doing marvellous and wondrous things. And the world has to look and say man, there's some kind of power going on in that community of people even though they no longer have the apostles and the signs that marked apostles amongst them.

So the church was awesome and the church was powerful.

Point 6. A healthy church is a loving church.

 

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.

 

'All that believed were together." I tell you I love that statement. I'd like to have that put right across this building as a sign on the outside. Do you know what that means? Unity. Unity. All that believed. What we need in the world today is Mash potato Christians, where we all lose our identity and take on a unified identity. Where it is not about me, my gifts, my abilities, my means, my resources, but God's glory through the church.

 

Sadly, today, all that believe are sort of together, they are sort of united, they are sort of involved, they are sort of committed, they are bacon and eggs and not just bacon, there is a mix of dedication and commitment. I believe the church in Jerusalem understood the spirit of the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV) '10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.' They were a people that think the same thing, feel the same thing, and speak the same thing. Beautiful unity. There was love there and it showed.

 

Verse 44 says, 'they had all things common'. In other words, I didn't own anything to the exclusion of you. If you have need and I have supply, here's my supply for your need. Actually Verse 45 says 'they were selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.' And those are what we call in the Greek imperfect verbs. It doesn't mean they're less than perfect. Imperfect is a tense. It's continuous action in the past. And they were continuously selling things as people were continuing to have needs. It's not communism. It's not they all threw everything in a pot and they shared it out equally. It does not mean that some were lazy and the rest maintained them; No. That wouldn't give us the opportunity to express love, would it? The inequalities in the church give us the occasion for love.

 

And so they were simply giving things, selling in order to get money to give to somebody when somebody had a need. There was a sharing and a love that was obvious to the world. In Verse 46, "every day they continued to meet in the temple courts." There they are in one accord again. "they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts." They were going from home to home sharing communion.

You see the unity there? There's just a beautiful oneness that comes from love. The church with the right content manifests the right character. They were awesome. They were powerful. God is at work and they were a loving church.

Point 7. A healthy church is a joyful church.

46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

You know what the proper consequences are to the proper character? First of all, gladness. Verse 46 says that they had glad and sincere hearts. They were a happy people.

I think people can say that about us. I look around me and see happy people. We are still a young church, but God has been good so far. Hasn't He? I've been in churches in other parts of the world where there's not so much to be happy about. And it isn't because they're not faithful to God. God has gone over and above here, even in providing us with this facility, hasn't He?

Why should we even have this place? And at the same time we have brothers and sisters in Afghanistan meeting in hidden caves? What have we done to deserve this? Why? Let not our happiness be built on our resources. Let it be on the Lord.

And that's what happened here. They were happy because of all the right things. They were happy because they were redeemed. They were happy because they were Spirit filled. They were happy because they were learning the truth of God. They were happy for all those reasons. They were happy because they were making an impact on their world. They were happy because they loved each other. They were happy because God was at work. The church should be happy. That was the first consequence.

There is another consequence. According to verse 47 they were a praising people. More and more I'm committed to the fact that our music and our worship together should just be praise to God. Because there's so little of that. God's world is so much in rebellion. It just seems like here and there you will find one little spot or other on the globe on Sunday mornings where we could offer some praise. And that is to a God who deserves the praise of every lip in the world.

This church was a happy church and they were full of praise.

Point 8. A healthy church is a growing church.

'And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.'

Listen. My prayer for LOGOS is that it will grow daily. I'd like to come to the place in my life where we have to meet here every day of the week because we've got to get the people in. They had 3120 on the day of Pentecost, 5,000 in Acts 4 and 20,000 two chapters later. And that's the way the church ought to grow. That's what God wants.

Christian, Logos should be like a honeycomb, filled with buzzing Christians, all enjoying the sweetness of God and fellowship with one another. Oh that we will have a lighthouse shining Christ's light into Polokwane.

And you know something? Logos will grow that way and the gates of hell can't stop Logos from growing. If we have the proper content, manifest the proper character, God will bring the proper consequence and this church will grow to the glory of God. That's my prayer people. That's my prayer. I trust that's your prayer, too.

Conclusion.

I trust that God has ministered to your heart today. Are you committed to see Logos be what the early church in Jerusalem was? Let me end this sermon with an illustration and an explanation of the picture embedded into these sermon notes.

Quite a few years ago I ministered on the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines in a town called Mlang. These 10 days of ministry changed my heart more than I think it could have changed any of their hearts. Mindanao is a Muslim rebel stronghold, and on my first evening there, the military base was under attack of the Muslim Rebels. Everything was new for me as I never ministered in a Pilipino culture. Their food was different especially their 'balut' which I refused to eat. I knew I was going to come home with experiences but I could never prepare my heart for what I was going to see.

As I arrived at church I watched people arriving, some dropped off by a Jeepney, some on foot, others on bicycles, others on little three wheel tractors, others on motorbike taxis and others on water buffalos. The only person with a car in the church was the pastor who had a Volkswagen Beetle donated to him by a missionary from the USA. Then I saw a sight that revolutionised my own commitment. Here arrived a family of five on a bicycle. What s sight to see a father and 4 beautiful ladies, well dressed making their way to church on one bicycle for a total difference of 8 km. This they did service after service for 10 services that I held there in spite of the baby having a leaking heart valve, a very good reason in our culture for mommy to stay at home. It was the Tuesday night that God changed my heart forever. That day the Island was hit by a small cyclone, which filled the Island with darkness as the power was cut out. They lit lamps in the church building and the service was going on because the Holy Spirit was not charged by 220 volts and therefore the darkness and rain was no deterrent. I thought to myself that I would not see the family arrive that night, because let's face it, back at home we have members living across the road and they frequently have to lie in because you know life is tough and they need their beauty sleep. I don't even want to go into the excuses we offer. That night as I stood on the church stair I saw in the darkness this sight of a paraffin lamp bobbing up and down as the leg of the father would push up his daughter sitting on the cross bar of the bicycle holding their lamp. There they were in spite of. Church family I started by asking what is commitment, what is it for a pic to become bacon. May this picture of this family change your heart forever? Like us their kids must go to school the next day, the father must go and work for his daily wage as packing manager in a rice factory. You need to ask yourself, why are they different than so many people we know and maybe are.

May I ask you to join me at Logos? Our goal is going to be to glorify God, and after that we will glorify God, and after to glorify God.

We will do this by learning, by fellowshipping, by praying together, and enjoying the power of God as we grow together in joy and praise in the midst of our love one for another, so that we can stand back and see just how the Lord grows His church, His way for His glory.

It's been a wonderful morning, hasn't it? Oh how I pray that we would be the church that God builds His way and the gates of hell would never prevail against it. Until Jesus comes. Are you going to be dedicated or are you going to be committed? Let me hear an 'oink' of commitment or do I simply get the chuckle of a hen that is dedicated only?

 

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church:- 14 & 28 August 2016