Sunday, February 3, 2008
The Model Church: What we need to focus on at Sugar Grove?
Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Act 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Act 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
Act 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Act 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Review: Asking ourselves these questions:
1. Who Is Sugar Grove???
a. Who is our master?
b. Why are we here?
c. What is our message?
d. What is our motive?
2. What is needed to help the people of Sugar Grove in:
a. An absence of depth.
i. Their passion and desire for Christ.
2. Belief in the power of God.
Solution: It starts with:
3. A reality check. Deut. 10:12-13
a. Fear God.
b. Walk in His ways.
c. Love Him deeper.
d. Serve Him with heart and soul.
e. Obey His commands.
4. What are we doing to cultivate these things in our people?
a. Acts 2:42-47
5. Do people really know what the/their purpose (why SGCC exists) is here at Sugar Grove?
To do that last week, we gave our first point.
#1 Be a church that is devoted to the instruction and teaching of God’s Word.
Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread,
Fellowship. If you live in Indiana, they say that that word changes to “fellership”. If you go to church in Indiana the meaning of that word sometimes means that we are going to eat after a meeting, or that we are going to meet together for fun, food, and fellowship. It is more than just a handshake at the door. My friends, it means a lot more than that. Fellowship means that we adhere to one another, means that we choose to persevere and faint not in relating to each other.
Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread,
#2 Be a church that is devoted to fiery “koinonia” fellowship continuing steadfastly in the encouraging and caring of each other through the common bond of Jesus Christ.
Opening Il. “Genuine”
possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real:
I. They continued steadfastly in fellowship.
a. What is true fellowship?
i. Koinonia: to be a sharer, a companion, a partaker, a participant in communion.
1. Maybe we could answer the question of, “What is true fellowship if we look at what is it supposed to look like?”
a. Acts 2:45 “Act 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; Act 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
b. Notice some familiar words in all of that?
ii. Things in common.
iii. They witnessed things together.
1. This is the same definition of the word koinonia.
Application: Does that mean that we have to sell everything we have in our lives, come together and have a commune at 6404 Sugar Grove Road since this is where we have our meetings? No, I believe that it means that the selling of possessions was a means to an end. We will get to that soon when we talk about serving one another. Friends, we have true fellowship when we demonstrate a genuine caring for each other and work towards meeting one another’s needs. You say, well, caring is just an emotion, yep, but fellowship puts that emotion into action!! So, let’s get a little deeper in this.
c. True fellowship happens first (vertically) with God.
i. Fellowship is a word in the Bible that speaks of our relationship with God and with others. You see, first, it has to do with vertical. True fellowship is at the heart of God. Having fellowship with Him is what we have happen at the moment we put our faith in Jesus .
d. True fellowship happens (horizontally) with others. Koinonia expresses what we share together in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
1. Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. Ecc 4:10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Ecc 4:11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? Ecc 4:12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken
It is togetherness!! You know, whether we here at Sugar Grove are studying Scripture, reading a book, having Sunday School, focusing on current issues, making a major decision, supporting missionaries, I pray that what happens here will ignite a fuse that will serve as an dynamite happening of love, compassion, truth, and joy!
b. What is genuine fiery fellowship?
i. Remember back:
1. Luke 24:52 “They went into the temple to worship with GREAT joy!”
2. Acts 1:14-15 “they added 109 people together with the 11 and they prayed in the upper room”
3. Acts 2:1-2 “The Spirit of God fell upon them and there was a spiritual fire that was heard around the world.
4. Acts 2:41 says that they added to their number about 3000. That is what fiery fellowship looks like.
ii. Acts 2:42-46
1. They devoted themselves to fellowship, and then they continued in the breaking bread, in 46 and then the fire really happens! There was added to the Lord their number daily!
There was such a fire that was spreading within these people because they wanted to get together for joy, prayer, hearing and being obedient to the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, and seeing people come to know the Lord as their personal Savior that the fire spread. That is what the goal of getting together is all about! It is fun and joyful to see these things happen!!!
iii. Genuine fiery fellowship:
1. Sees us commune together. (Yes that does include eating.)
a. It is so important to eat together! E.C.H.O. organizes the food and kitchen for many of our functions. This is because as we sit around the table together we share not just food, but our lives – tell our joys, our pains, our triumphs, our struggles, we listen to each other , rejoice with each other, cry with each other, and pray for each other.
2. Sees us sharpen one another.
a. Pro 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
i. We make each other better. We work toward making one another sharpened in the Word!
ii. Hold each other accountable.
1. How am I doing?
2. How is my marriage?
3. How are my parenting skills?
b. Sees us have love for one another.
1. John 13:35Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
a. Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
2. Take one another to the cross.
a. Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
b. Heb 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Heb 10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; Heb 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God; Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
c. See that two are better than one.
i. A friend you can call in the middle of the night and will pray with you no matter what.
ii. Lift you up when you fall.
iii. Go to the cross with you.
iv. Pick you up.
b. What is the problem with fellowship?
i. So, What happens when there is not true fellowship in the life of the believer and in the church?
ii. How many times do you hear that people say, “I do not need the fellowship of church.” “Or I do not need church in order to be a Christian.” In one sense, maybe they are right, the Christian life is a relationship with God through Christ, but friends, when I read the Bible there is nothing that I can tell of isolated faith. That is unless you are on a deserted island. Having faith is always in the context of other believers who want to worship together and have a true fellowship.
iii. We see people become so judgmental that they forget to take people to the cross.
1. Can we as a church meet the needs of sinners? You bet!
a. Alcoholic…..Small church.
IL. When I was thinking about this message and thought about the idea of people wanting to have a Christian life, and yet not understanding the importance of true koinonia fellowship in their lives, I wondered what that would look like in real life. If I were born, and was given very little interaction with other humans, I could very well end up dying. As a matter of fact, Spiritually too. When I choose not to spend time with other believers in koinonia fellowship, I have written myself a death notice and my spiritual life becomes dried up and will wither away.
A young fellow who was fed up with church went to see this wise old Christian in his cabin to get some advice. He told him all the things that were bothering him about church, an how he felt that he would be better off without the company of other Christians. As he was speaking, the old man silently took the fire tongs and removed a red-hot glowing coal from the middle of the fire and set it on the hearth. The coal glowed for a while, but eventually dimmed and turned black. He let it sit there a while and then took the tongs and places the coal back in the middle of the fire. Within seconds the coal was glowing red hot once again. The young man took the wordless lesson and left determined to stay with church.
Just as coals soon burn out when they are removed from the company of other coals, we will not last long in the faith if we are removed from true fellowship.
See the fire in it! See the need to have fire in our fellowship! Mike Wilkins Formative Fellowship
Closing: Can you feel why I feel that the book of Acts is so important for us today? This is what our lives need! We need church! Sure, we need the times of getting together. But, what are we doing when we get together? Are we sharing about God together? I get excited about coming to church! Even during the week! JOY!