Acts 2:42 And they devoted/continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine/teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved
I. Why Go to Church
To become a better person, make friends/contacts, feel better about yourself, enjoy music and architecture
To better know and glorify God, grow spiritually, have needs met, be equipped to minister to others, serve, obey the one-another commands to fellowship, principle of Body life, example of early church, get blessed, growth, shepherding, be part of the family of God
Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day (judgment-reward) approaching.
II. Functions and Forms of a Biblical Body of Christ
Edification emphasis in teaching, praise, prayer, and song Rm16:5
An open exclusive community of imperfect people committed to each other and the process of transformationally following Christ for the glory of God
A. Apostolic Teaching
of the inspired Word of God in context, that emphasizes what God emphasizes (edification & equipping of the saints)
Act 11:26 for a year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people Ps 138:2 You have magnified Your word above all Your name
Lk 13:10 Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues 1Co 4:17 as I teach everywhere in every church. Col 1:28 preach, warning & teaching that we may present every perfect in Christ Jesus. 3:16 word of Christ dwell teaching and admonishing one another. In psalms spiritual songs, singing
2Tim 4:2 Preach the word! Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and teaching. 4 they will turn from the truth...to fables.
Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love 1Co 12:27 you are the Body of Christ, and members in particular. Cx Col 1:19
- Is it obvious that the teaching is based upon the Scripture, rather than popular platitudes or theological creeds? Saved by grace thru faith?
- Does the teaching/learning equip people to live, work & minister in their spheres of influence so God looks good (glorify)? Works?
B. Biblical Worship
(Response to Revelation: individual & corporate, with words & actions, not just on Sunday, showing He's worthy)
Lord's supper in it's Passover context Ps 22:22 I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
Heb 13:15 by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
Everyone has something to edify others 1Cor 14: 26 Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
- Is the Worship a whole life (mind, will, emotions, applications) everyday response to God's Revelation, or rote mindless external ritual?
- Does everyone participate in acknowledging the worth and praise of God, or is it just a few professionals entertaining? Sacrifice/Commitment?
C. Unified Joyful Fun Fellowship/Body Life
(sharing the word-fueled, Spirit-led/controlled common life in Christ) Phil 2 Gal 5
1Jn 1:6 I..walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth 7 But if we walk in the light..we have fellowship with one another...
2Tim 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart
Unity 1Cor 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
- Is there an expressed commitment to be the Body of Christ and share in each other's lives? Or do folks just carve out comfortable caves?
- Is there an other-centered Christlike interest the spiritual needs/well being of others or do people cower in cliques of commonality?
D. Obedience to Great Commission Disciple-making Ministry
resulting in reproductive fruit? What are older saints like? Youth?
Mt 28:19 As you go, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing 20 teaching them to obey all things that I have commanded you
- How are people encouraged & equipped to be trans-cultural reproductive disciple-makers? Is there an emphasis on value change?
- Are the realities of spiritual warfare recognized and are believers equipped with the resources and armor to achieve victory?
E. Joyful Submission to Biblically Qualified Leaders (1Tim 3 Titus 1) and One another in the fear of God (Eph 4:21)
Independence is the essence of sin
Acts 14:23 So when they had appointed elders in every church 20:17 he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church 28 take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God cf 1Pt 5
Heb 13:17 Obey/be persuaded about those who rule over you, and be submit yourselves, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Eph 5:21 submit to one-another
- Is commitment to the Word evident in the leaders' personal & family lives, as well as that of the congregation. Do they encourage personal Bible study and equip folks to do so, or do they indoctrinate/brainwash? Are they open to challenges in Q&A Have they thought through their faith or are they just parroting a tradition they neither understand, nor apply? What if all were like them? 1Co 11:1 Imitate me, as I imitate Christ
- Is mindless uniformity demanded or are people encouraged to search the Scriptures to develop convictions that build unity? Acts 17:11 Bereans
- Is there a strategy in place to oversee & shepherd the flock or are folks left to their own devices and the wolves? Is discipline Mt 18 practiced?