Blood is Thicker Than Water

Blood is Thicker Than Water   (Acts 2:42-47)        *Verses in NKJV*

Acts 2:42-47, And they 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.

– This is the “Acts Church”. The prototype. Our example. THE local church.

– If we are going to experience the church, in the way that the first Spirit-filled Christians experienced church, then we are going to have to root our values in the same things that they valued.

– This is a literal story of what the local church did. They broke bread together, had all things in common, continued daily in the temple and from house to house, and they praised God… AND they, verse 45, “…sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”

– The question becomes, why? Is that what we should be doing today?

– Some scholars say that the local church was short sighted, believing that Jesus was returning in days, weeks, or months. Some say they were overwhelmed with emotion and acted irrationally.

– My answer is: Don’t try to rationalize away the amazing work of the Holy Spirit!

– These actions were HUGE, and the Lord blessed them mightily for their generosity.

– If “giving all your money to the poor” was the proper expression of discipleship, the Apostles would have preached it in every town they went to. They didn’t. (only spoke of in the Jerusalem church)

– So… why’d they do it? The church was meeting the new believer’s most pressing needs.

– How can we as the local church, follow their example today? How can we be like them?

Acts Church

1. The Acts Church was welcoming.

Acts 2:44-45, 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.

– DO NOT sell your houses and stuff and give it to our church!

– In America, we don’t typically become destitute and ostracized, losing jobs, and all our money and financial opportunity because we choose Jesus. We lose friends and family.

The new believer’s most pressing need is relationships! They need new friends and family!

– This is our American ethos: “Time is more valuable than money, because you can make more money, but you can never make more time.” TIME is the new currency!

– It is common to say things like, “I just don’t have time to….” The truth is, you don’t find time to!

– You will find the time to do the things that are really important to you. (Hobbies, vacations, OT)

When you welcome someone to church, you are giving them your time and attention, and they know intrinsically how valuable that is, and it is a meaningful gift!

– Ranking among the top reasons visitors stay in our church is because YOU are welcoming, and authentic. Not the preaching, the worship, the building, or the coffee. YOU!

– Every week I have a conversation that starts with, “I don’t think I have met you yet.” Maybe I’ve seen them and not said Hi, maybe forgot their name. I have to get over my discomfort.

– Is it hard for you to speak to people you don’t know? GOOD! We get lots of visitors here, so you will get lots of chances to practice and get more comfortable doing it!

Acts Church

– We have to be more intentional about including people and building genuine relationships.

Example: When I was first married, I did a terrible job of meeting my wife’s needs. I didn’t even know what they were. I awkwardly asked questions, wrote answers down, set calendar reminders, and put her on my “to do” list.

– This isn’t insincere or contrived. It is called being intentional. After a while it become something natural for me. Because I made time to do it, it made her feel loved and valuable.

– We need to intentionally seek out and build relationships in the church or it will never happen, and people will begin to slip through the cracks, and be left behind.

– Human nature is that if you believe as the group, and behave as the group, then you will belong to the group. That’s the social system of our world.

– The Church should be different than the world! Here, it should be Belong, Believe, Behave:

Acts Church

– You BELONG in church.

– It is biblical for a believer to be part of a local church, AND the world’s best place for a non-believer to spend their time! Everyone should feel welcome at church.

Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

– We can love everyone who walks through those doors, and they shouldn’t have to earn it, because Christ died for us, even though we could never earn it or deserve it.

– When they belong, they’ll stay, and soon be changed by the Spirit and the Word, and BELIEVE.

          – Romans 10:17, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

          – How can we expect them to listen to the word of God here, if they don’t feel welcome here?

Eph. 2:4-5, But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)

          – The ultimate goal is to see people come to faith in Jesus. That’s life changing stuff!

Acts Church

– When they believe, the Spirit will lead them to BEHAVE.

          – Upon true belief, the Holy Spirit will change them from the inside out.

          –  They will be pursuing His righteousness, not fleeing from your condemnation.

– What good is “behavior” if it’s not fueled by belief? (Acting holy doesn’t make you holy.)

– It’s not about YOU. Make it about THEM.

John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

– We can’t make our only goal in showing up for church simply just getting our own needs met.

Example: Roger, youth pastor, did wedding, big church, “Lets get dinner”. I thought if he really wanted to spend time with me, he would plan it all. How selfish! Large congregation fighting for his time. I should have started reaching out to others, not constantly thinking he should reach out to me.

– At some point you will need to transition from being welcomed yourself, to welcoming others.

Example: When we were small it was easier. Matt’s first vacation after 5 years, handed visitor bag.

– Now we all have to be intentional about being the one who builds relationships in the church, and encouraging others to do the same.

Hebrews 10:24-25, 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 approaching.

Acts Church

2. The Acts Church was authentic.

Acts 2:46, 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,

– The believers had constant fellowship. They were at church every time the doors were open, and also spent time outside of church together at each other’s homes.

– It takes time in a relationship to get past the surface conversation and go deeper into real life.

– “How’s it going?” “Fine.” Surface greetings gets a surface answers, but you can’t expect to go deep with somebody in the 5 minutes before or after service. You have to invest time. It will cost you.

– Christians are frequently labeled hypocrites. Often because we preach holiness but act human.

– I think even more often it’s because we act like everything is good when it’s not. Or like we have it all figured out when we don’t. We are not being authentic with people, and it shows.

– If you won’t be honest with them, they will not feel safe being honest with you.

Acts Church

– Song, “Forgive Me For Asking”, by Propaganda:

“Question – This is embarrassing. You ever been scared you had no idea what you were talking about? Yeah, me too… Honestly perplexed, I’ve lied and so have you. Christians, lying. Like you never had questions? Like you never had a moment when your inner dialogues were all of a sudden in third person like, “Are you really buying this?” You’re lyingLike your eyes are 100% always satisfied by your spouse and you don’t need accountability, neither of which is biblical, by the way. Your eyes are never satisfied. Us, overgrown primates with egos, Lying… You quote the devil when you declare yourself okay. You get it but you don’t get it. Like you’ve never planted your Chuck Taylors firmly in the sinking sand... You’re lying… We for centuries sing hymns of grace, And this is why it’s amazing! And if it’s not, you don’t understand… Or you’re lying… Which is why your friends don’t believe you. There is just as much Jesus’ blood on your hand as there is His! You sure you understand the cross?”

You are lying if you are not being honest with yourself and others, about your fears, concerns, and spiritual condition. Who are you trying to impress?

Be honest about your spiritual condition. What does it benefit you to lie to you church family anyways? Your actions will outweigh your words every time. How can they help, if they don’t know?

Gal. 6:1-3, Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

– Don’t be offended by other people’s imperfections. Allow it to make you less self-conscious of your own. You may be surprised at what others are going through.

– Are you afraid to keep it real, nervous about what others will think about you if they knew your struggles? GOOD! You now have the opportunity to grow in your faith and build real relationships!

Phil. 2:1-4, Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Acts Church

– This is what the Acts Church modeled for us. This is what we should do.

This is where the “holding each other accountable” piece fits in.

          – Don’t get mad when a friend points out that your spiritual fly is down.

Col. 3:13, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Proverbs 19:11, The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.

Modern Proverb: If you get mad at someone who points out that your fly is down, they will never tell you when you have a booger hanging out of your nose.

3. The Acts Church was restorative.

Acts 2:42, And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (teaching) and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 2:47, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

– Verse 42 says that they “continued… in fellowship…”  Greek: Koinonia, a close mutual relationship and participation in life together. There is an implication of singleness of purpose, trust in one another, and harmony rather than hostility.

– The Acts church was in close relationship and committed to one another no matter what.

– R. Kent Hughes, in his book Disciplines of a Godly Man, talks about the Lone Ranger Christian, and their conditional loyalty, and the hitchhiker mentality they bring to the church:

– The hitchhiker’s thumb says, “You buy the car, pay for repairs and the upkeep, and insurance, fill the car with gas, and I will ride with you. But, if you have an accident, you are on your own, and I will probably sue.”

– As if the church was an Uber. Parked somewhere waiting to serve you, while you are on your way to somewhere else. This shows a consumer mentality, and lack of participation.

– You should be committed to the local church in the same way your hands are committed to your body.

– Men, on the most basic level, you do not have to go to church to be a Christian. You do not have to go home to be married either. But in both cases, if you do not, you will have a very poor relationship.

1 Peter 3:8-9, Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Cor. 12:20, But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.

1 Cor. 12:26, And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

– We need the local church, and you need to be a part of it. We need each other.

– You need to be Reconciled to God.

2 Cor. 5:17-21, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

– Who were those being added to the church daily?

Acts 2:36-38, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:41, Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

– Give your life to Jesus today. (Alter Call)

We have baptism today after 3rd service!

– PRAYER –

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