Completing the Mission That Jesus Began The Church Reaching People for Christ Acts 5:12-42

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1 Completing the Mission That Jesus Began The Church Reaching People for Christ Acts 5:12-42 Page 1 of 10 Introduction: The Book of Acts is the story of the church Completing the Mission That Jesus Began by reaching people for Christ, leading people into a relationship with God through trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior. The church was growing and reaching people at a rapid rate. At the beginning of the church, 3,000 people were added the first day (Acts 2:41). In Acts 2:47 the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. In Acts 4:4 it says, the number of just men grew to about 5,000, and in addition there were women and children. If the average family was 3 or 4 that would be 15,000 to 20,000. In Acts 5:14 it says, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. In Acts 6:7 it says, So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly. In Acts 9 The church had spread throughout the provinces of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria and it grew in numbers. How did the church spread and grow so rapidly? Did the 12 apostles do it all? No, Every believer was sharing Christ with the lost. You can see that in Acts 11:19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen

2 Page 2 of 10 traveled to other provinces telling other people the good news about the Lord Jesus, even Greeks. v21 The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. This was just plain ordinary members of the church. The apostles were still in Jerusalem. Was it easier to tell people than it is now? No. Stephen was stoned to death. It wasn't easy being a follower of someone who had just been crucified. People weren t eager to join the church, there was a high price to be paid. The church was growing at a fantastic rate, in a matter of months there were multiplied thousands. And the church did not stop growing. Some people today do not like big churches, but is obvious from Acts that God loves big churches. It is a tragedy for any church to be satisfied with its growth. The church that becomes satisfied with the status quo is in great serious danger of dying. The most exciting and thrilling thing that you will ever be involved in is bringing people into a relationship with Christ. Winning our world for Christ is our mission! If you have ever wondered why you are here? It is to win people to Christ. T. S. What enabled the church to be so effective in reaching people for Christ? We are going to look at 3 elements that enabled the early church to be very effective in reaching many people for Christ. Read Acts 5:12-14 The church met together in Solomon's Colonnade. It was a perfect spot for the church to meet, because at the times of

3 Page 3 of 10 prayer the masses of people would crowd into the courtyard and everyone could see the believers worshiping there. Acts 5:13 No one else dared join them, NIV. Many of the people in Jerusalem had hear about what had happen to Ananias and his wife Sapphira. They were probably thinking You could drop dead in that place. Nobody was going to get involved unless they were really sold out to Jesus Christ, totally. Acts 5:13 they were highly regarded by the people v 14 more and more believed. Why were they highly regarded? One reason was their purity. They were living lives that honored God. T. S. The First element that made the church so effective in reaching people for Christ was 1. Purity. The church can only impact the world for Christ if it is pure and holy. Robert Murray McCheyne a Scottish pastor from 1830 s said, "It is not great minds or great plans or great ideas that God uses. It is great likeness to Jesus Christ." God can do great things through holy believers and a holy church. And the church that is to reach the world must be holy and pure. What does it mean to be a pure church? It doesn t mean that no one ever sins. Who could be a member of that church?

4 Page 4 of 10 What it means is that each member confesses his own sins to God (to agree with God about your sin) and to ask for forgiveness from the person you sinned against, He must repent of sin (turns away from it) and makes restitution if possible. Then the believer yields his life back to God in humble obedience and surrender. That is what it means to offer yourself to God as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). No one that is a member of the church can live in an open life style of rebellion against God. Members of the church cannot have a lifestyle of cheating, lying, stealing, sexual immorality, gossiping & the like. There must be real repentance or the person must be removed from the church until they repent. Then they must be welcomed back in to the church with open arms. The goal is always restoration and it is always done with compassion and tenderness and with humility. Someone may say you will offend people if you do that. That is like saying to a Doctor if you tell someone they have lung cancer you might offend them. Would you rather risk offending someone and save their life or just let them die instead. Sin is just that devastating to the person and the church. ILL. I had two people who were engaged that came to our church and wanted to join. They were members at another Baptist church in town. Our church required that people wanting to join the church had to go through Foundations 101 even if they were members of another church. In Foundations 101, we studied what the Bible teaches about a person s relationship with Christ and his church. We looked at Scripture that made it clear to them that sexual immorality was incongruent with being a part of the body of Christ. Do you know what they said? We did not know it was wrong to live together. They stopped living together until they were married.

5 Page 5 of 10 The church must be holy. That is why a church should not accept people as members even if they are members of another church until you talk to them about their relationship with Christ. Membership in the church of Jesus Christ demands a total lifestyle commitment. Can you bring people to a worship service or other event or into your home that are living in open disobedience to God? You not only can, but you are supposed to. They just cannot be a member of the church until they repent and receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. Followers of Jesus love people that are disobedient to God and we want to connect with them. We want to show love and compassion. We want to be known as a church that loves addicts, criminals, sexually immoral, all kinds of sinners. Jesus was a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." We love sinners so much we want them to have forgiveness, to be set free and to have the power to live a new life through Jesus just like we are experiencing. Each believer is to look for his own sin and to look into his own heart. We are not to go around looking for other peoples sins. If we don t discipline ourself, God will. We can see how important it is for a believer to search his own heart and for the church to address sin in the congregation from Acts 5:1-11. God removed Ananias and Sapphira from the church because of sin in their heart. It s clear that God wants a pure church.

6 Page 6 of 10 The church that is careful to deal with sin within will be very effective in reaching many people for Christ. Acts 5:14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. NIV A pure, holy living, fully committed membership is the key to real growth. The second element that made the church so very effective in reaching many people for Christ was 2. Power. A pure church is going to have power. Now the church had been told by the government not to proclaim Jesus and his resurrection from the dead. They were put in jail and threatened. But the government couldn t stop the power from flowing through a pure church. Spiritual power flowed through the church and they were bold and spoke openly about Christ. Look at verse 12. Acts 5:12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. NIV Acts 5:15-16 people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed. NIV There were rich people and poor people, there were fancy beds and simple mats, and they brought them all into the street.

7 Page 7 of 10 Miracles were going on everywhere. But the greatest miracle was not the people that were healed physically. They got sick again and died. But those that were saved from sin, the people that came to faith in Christ, they received the gift of eternal life! The greatest miracle is to take an unholy person out of an unholy world, make him holy, put him back into an unholy world and keep him holy! Is there something so attractive and dynamic about the power of God expressed in your life that people come to you like they did to Peter? Pray to God it would be so. The church can be just as powerful today. God wants to give us His power to become all things to all men that by all means we may win many to Christ all within the realms of fidelity to Christ and the Scriptures. Winning people to Jesus Christ is what we're all about. Otherwise when the Lord saved you, He would have taken you to heaven. Jesus said, Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." NIV And Jesus commissioned us to complete the mission He began. Matthew 28:19 Go and make disciples of all nations, NIV When the church is pure and powerful and it moves out into the world there's going to be a reaction from the world. We can praise God for that reaction because that gives God the opportunity to do wonderful things. Read Acts 5:17-29

8 Page 8 of 10 The reaction of the world to a pure and powerful church is persecution. 1 Peter 2:20-21 if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. NIV 1 Peter 4:16-17 if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. NIV Beatitudes in Matthew 5, "Happy are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Listen to this one: "Happy are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake." Romans 8 Paul says, "We shall be glorified with Him if we're willing to suffer with Him." There are special rewards in heaven for those who boldly share Christ even in the face of persecution. verse 24: Those in the Sanhedrin were so cold and so hard and so indifferent that rather than believing the miracle they are just puzzled. In all of that conversation, no one in the Sanhedrin even asked them how in the world did you get out of jail. Their minds were made up. They had seen hundreds of miracles throughout the city. Puzzled in the Greek means they were at their wit s end. They were on the verge of going bananas. They were in a state of panic. That brings us to the 3 rd principle that enabled the early church to be very effective in reaching many people for Christ..

9 Page 9 of Persistence! The church was persistent. The church kept on telling people about Christ. That kind of persistence comes from yielding to the Holy Spirit. Verse 25 The disciples popped up in the temple teaching the people. Doing just exactly what the Sanhedrin had told them not to do. ILL. Have you ever been in a swimming pool and try to put a volleyball under the water and it just keeps bobbing up again? This is the way the pure and powerful church was. The government keeps trying to submerge the church but it keeps popping up. Verse 26 They could have resisted at that point very easily, but they went willingly because they knew that the Lord was going to give them a second chance to share Jesus with the Sanhedrin. Non-resistance opens the door to opportunities to share Christ. Now we're to obey the government, but when the government contradicts the commands of the Lord, we're to obey the Lord. But then when the government says you die, we must be willing to die. But that's alright too, because, "For me to live is Christ and to die is Gain." Acts 5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! NIV Peter showed that the Sanhedrin had set itself up against God. That was boldness and fearlessness. Read Acts 5:30-33: That is absolute persistence. They had been put in jail twice. Don't you think it is time to back down. No, they didn t do that!

10 Page 10 of 10 Read Acts 5:40-42 Why were they so persistent? Day after day and from house to house. They were persistent because they were yielding to the Spirit's power in their life and they were absolutely victorious. What did the apostle Paul say? "Be strong in the Lord and in," what? "The power of His might." We can be that persistent and reach our world for Jesus Christ, but we've got to keep yielded to the Spirit of God so that His power flows through us and we can only do that as we are pure and holy.

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