Today’s message of August 21, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:
If you consider church planting, there are several things that can be considered. Some leadership teams in this effort focus on only outreach to the unsaved. Another church model is the teaching model, which focuses on doctrine. Another model is that of discipleship. All of these are good, but a better church model as derived from the text in Acts Chapter 2, which would be the model for a Spirit-filled church.
There are at least eight markers of a Spirit-filled church:
Preaching of the gospel
Devotion to God’s Word
Acts 2:37-47 ESV
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them,“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
The preaching of the gospel is the most important marker for any church plant or any church ministry. A Spirit-filled church must go to the cross of Jesus Christ. Everything rests upon the gospel. A church that is not preaching the gospel is an apostate church.
Galatians 1:6-9 ESV
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
How do you identify the church that preaches the gospel? By the preaching of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther and John Calvin challenged the Catholic Church on the doctrine of faith and grace. It is faith and grace that saves, and not works. Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man, and not the pope. The reformers fought the Catholic Church with their very lives, because they deemed it to be paramount over everything.
16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[b] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
The reformers noted what Peter was preaching, and that his audiences were cut to the heart by the Holy Spirit and needed to reckon with the judgment of God. Only the power of the gospel can do this.
Sola Scriptura (scripture alone)
Sola Fide (faith alone)
Sola Gratia (grace alone)
Sola Christus (Christ alone)
Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone)
The gospel not only convicts but helps people take personal responsibility by placing trust in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Living a lifestyle of repentance is the result.
The gospel message is simple, and all that is required is belief by faith in Jesus Christ.
Being devoted to God’s Word (Acts 2:42)
The explicit meaning is for the desire of all who hear the gospel to study His Word. The implicit meaning of v. 42 was the result of 3,000 people coming to know Jesus Christ.
The gospel is preached–people hear it and accept Christ–then make disciples within the group.
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
“There is no such thing as a Spirit-filled Christian who neglects the study of the Word of God. There is no such thing as a Spirit-filled church that does not give itself continually and steadfastly to the study of sacred Scripture. The first sign of a Spirit-filled church is one in which the Spirit-filled people do not flee from Scripture and seek a substitute for it but are driven to it to have their spiritual lives rooted and grounded in the Word of God.” –R C Sproul
Intentional fellowship uplifts the group of believers. Church fellowship is good, but intentional fellowship is encouraged throughout the week. It is necessary to encourage and admonish one another.
Prayer, the fourth marker of a Spirt-filled church, is very important. We are to pray for one another.
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Prayer reveals the ways in which the gospel can go forth through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Godly fear (Acts 2:43)
1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
The word “awe” means “fear.” The young church witnessed many miraculous things through the apostles, and they would revere God even more. A church that is not fearing God is in a dangerous place. There must be a reverence of God in order for people to remain obedient to Him.
12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.
The people understood what they had seen, and they had great reverence for God and His Word.
Commonality (v. 44)
The Word of God tells the Spirit-filled church to be of one mind and one accord. The Holy Spirit showed the people what they were to do and did so accordingly.
This is important because (1) the church should be its own financial institution (not the government), and (2) it is to provide for the poor and less fortunate–their own members and members of the community.
Many who were widows and were poor and destitute, and it created the opportunity for a number of leaders within the church to serve those needed meals (one of these leaders over the food ministry in the early church was Stephen).
The opposite of commonality is that where there is separation:
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Corporate worship (Acts 2:46-47)
Public worship is collectively being together in one place. Paul planted a church and allowed leaders to be the governing board, and the process is repeated for every plant. A multi-site church fulfills this requirement.
Praising God is an act of a Spirit-filled church
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.