Building a Great Church – Acts 1-4

Preached by Chris Adams – April 6, 2008

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SU student, Alberto Mulero, got baptized this past Sunday, gratefully pledging a good conscience toward God that he would take on Jesus’ light yoke of joyful service.

Let’s gratefully share our faith this week!

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Isaiah 35:6

Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.

Yes, Jesus built a great church on the foundation of the apostles belief that he was the Christ–but also on their example of living out their faith with great joy! Their lives showed how they responded to the resurrection and forgiveness of their sins, by the way they committed themselves to teaching the whole world about God’s great love.

In fact, there is no true discipleship without great joy. However, many today are looking for joy to come from a sanitized version of Jesus’ message. “You killed the author of life,” was how they (lovingly!) shared their faith because they knew true freedom only comes from truly hating what our sins did to Jesus. Let’s be inspired by the great boldness of men and women in the first century who listened to the Word and DID what it said–and we will see God do more than we can ask or imagine in His church today!

The question we must all ask ourselves is:

If everyone was like me, what kind of church would this be?

“Building a Great Church,” preached by Chris Adams
Sunday, April 6, 2008

Acts 1:1-8
• God has a vision for the Central New York Church of Christ.
Question: How much vision does God have for you?
• You will not go through more than you can bear.
• When you are on a mission field, God reveals your heart.
• It is awesome to send out mission teams.
• You need to watch your life and doctrine.
Question: If everyone was like me, where would the church be?
• Friend of God (Meaning of “Theophilus”).
• Jesus gave His followers instructions through the Holy Spirit.
Question: What did He instruct them on for forty days?
• Jesus taught them for forty days about the Kingdom of God!
• They thought that Jesus was going to do something (like restore a physical kingdom), but they themselves were going to do something—take the message to the whole world.
• God has always had a plan.
• We can be confident that His plan has been the same ever since the beginning.

1. Great Commission
You will never build a great church without a great commission.
Matthew 28:18-20
• Jesus had a plan from the beginning.
Question: When is Jesus with you always?
• It costs you a lot to teach someone to obey.
• Discipline means teaching someone what is right and what is wrong.
Question: How are you bringing people into your life?
Question: Are you being defensive?
• When someone does not want to obey, you still have to teach him to obey.
• So much of the problem is when you do not want to obey.
• In the middle of the struggle, you need to make that call for help and to confess your sin.
• You are not following Jesus if you do not confess your sin. (1 John 1:1-2)
Question: Are you doing that?
Question: How great is the Great Commission in your life?

2. Great Message
You will never build a great church without a great message.
Acts 2:22-24
• You will never build a great church if you do not preach an unapologetic message about the Kingdom of God.
• Fifty days earlier, Peter could not stand up to a servant girl.
• You can be tempted to preach only the positive things about the Kingdom of God.
• Peter was telling them about the cross—you killed the author of life!
• You cannot embrace the great message of forgiveness without looking at your sin.
• You cannot be grateful for the cross if you do not appreciate the forgiveness of your sins.
• If you are not convicted about your sin, then you will not preach: “Your sin put Jesus on the cross!”

3. Great Commitment
You will never build a great church without a great commitment.
Acts 2:40-42
Question: Can you imagine three thousand people being baptized in one day?
Question: Added to what number? The 120. (120 + 3000 = 3120)
• Without these women financially supporting Jesus’ ministry, it would have failed.

Acts 1:15
Question: Can you relate to these guys?
• It is the 3,120 disciples of Jesus Christ who were in the church by the time that Acts 2:41 took place.
Question: How addicted are you to the apostle’s teaching?
• Devoted in Greek means addicted.
Question: Are you addicted to these things?
• Addiction is sin.
• God will use these people to do great things for Him.
• People who overcome addiction are among the most grateful.
• When you overcome something so powerful, you can then overcome Satan.
Question: Are you addicted to the apostle’s teaching?
Question: Is that the only way to overcome your sin?
• You cannot rely on anything else except the Word of God.
Question: Are you committed to God and this being God’s team?
Question: How addicted are you?
Question: Can you go a day without being with another disciple of Jesus Christ?
Question: Can you go a day without getting encouragement from the Word of God?

4. Great Boldness
You will never build a great church without great boldness.
Acts 3:1-10
• You need great boldness.
Question: Aren’t you amazed when you see someone’s life change?
• You get forgiven of your sins and everyday you get to celebrate that by sharing that with someone else.
Question: Are you joyful?
Question: Are you grateful for the cross?
• You get totally intimidated by the person who has an attitude when you say something.
Question: Why do you allow Satan to frame the argument?
• You totally struggle with timidity.
• Great boldness comes from saying: “I have been forgiven.”
• The great boldness comes from the understanding that God has given you this forgiveness, which will take getting other people in your life.
Question: Are you going to rely on yourself or rely on God?
Question: What would the church be like if everyone was just like me?