The early church’s growth was organic (natural). They had the right focus. Pursuit of Christ. The love of Jesus and it manifested in the way they lived. In fact, in the church it manifested in 4 ways. The essentials we’d like to focus on in this episode.
Acts 2:42-47 “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.”
God's promise to meet your needs is v. 19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
God says, "I will meet all your needs." Then why do people have needs? I see a lot of people who have tremendous needs. I see a lot of Christians who have tremendous needs. Why aren't they being met? Is God a liar? Is His promise not valid? God says, I'll meet all your needs, yet I see a lot of needs, even in this church that aren't being met. What's the problem?
Listen to this episode and understand the context of the promise in Philippians 4:19.
While many of the lessons and classes we've taken while growing up are very good, there's one area of lessons that most of us have never had any public, formal training in. Yet it's the most important area of all. And that is the area of Relationships. We all need lessons on relationships.
In this series, Better Together, we’re looking at principles, important things we need in our relationships - first with God, with our family and loved ones and of course the church. Last week we looked at Praying Together, and this week we look at How to Encourage One Another - something that would help us in our horizontal relationships - man to others.
Hebrews 10:25 “...Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
The broken condition of this world that we’re living in should compel us to get on our knees. We must realize that prayers can’t be answered unless they are prayed. If we want to have knowledge of God’s will, agreement with His designs, enjoyment of His presence, and conformity to His image, then prayer must flow from our lips.
Prayer is key in the church’s relationship with God. Prayer is how the church communicates with a Holy and Divine God. Prayer is how God has chosen to hear the petitions of the church and prayer is how the church makes her petitions known to God. If the church is the bride of Christ, then communication through prayer must exist.
Today's episode talks about another evidence of having a true, vibrant relationship with Christ. This is the practical part of Christianity. If we truly have admitted our sinfulness, believed in Jesus and committed to make Him our Lord and Savior, then there are certain things that will show, trademarks - evidences of this real relationship - it’s beyond the practice of religion, and other spiritual practices.
The first one, which we discussed last week, the first trademark of a true believer is he/she presents him/herself as a living sacrifice - The Great Surrender. The second trademark is Transformation.
Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
As a working student in the late 90s, I worked in a bank, and since we always handled money, the bank made us attend a training called the “Counterfeit Verification” seminar. The first and most important point they told us in that seminar was this, “You don’t learn to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. You study genuine bills until you master the look of the real thing. Then when you see the bogus money you recognize it.” The same principle applies to the spiritual journey that we each have. When we encounter others who claim or say they are Christians, we are only able to discern and really identify if their Christianity is real, if they have a growing and vibrant relationship with God and not just religion. We recognize true followers of Christ by knowing and mastering the real thing.
"I find it interesting, as I have an opportunity to sit in Sunday school classes in churches or in some Bible studies... that these are the topics of discussion. There are the questions we want to ask - the Bible trivia. And we miss the important question of, 'HOW MUCH DO I LOVE JESUS?'" - Pastor Joel Dingeldein, Calvary Baptist Church, Warren PA
What we leave as a legacy reveals our priorities. It shouts how we want to be remembered. It unveils whether we pointed to Jesus or us. It is the testimony of God’s work in our lives, the spiritual inheritance or baton that we leave to others. God’s plan for His followers has always been that one generation would pass the baton of the testimony of Jesus to the next generation until His return. You and I are just one in a series of runners.
2 Timothy 2:2
It has been said that happiness is the result of independence - that if you're financially independent, relationally independent, or if you're independent in every way, then you'll be the happiest.
But, happiness does not come from being independent, isolated, living your life with all the barriers up and all the masks and keeping people at an arm’s distance. That’s not the way to be happy. Happiness comes from interdependence, from connecting.
It's easy to assume that people who accomplish extraordinary things in sports, music or any field have an invisible energy that makes their greatness inevitable. It's easier to make the mistake of presuming this to be true of people whom we consider to be spiritually great. We like to believe this because it frees us from feeling that we have a part or responsibility in becoming like Jesus.
To steadfastly run in our spiritual journey, we need Spirit-led and Deliberate Spiritual Disciplines. We need to establish a “rule” of life.
1 Corinthians 9: 25
This message will help define for a follower of Christ, what the Christian race is and its finish line. I hope through this episode, you will be able to Identify your own situation as a race or journey participant and commit to run steadfastly.
2 Timothy 4:7
This first episode of The Journey is a message about what God’s word says about the government and what our duties are as believers, to God, the government and others around us. I hope this episode will help you identify ways that a believer dishonors, does not submit or disobeys the government and repent of them.