This message was preached by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on March 5th, 2017. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here
What is the church? People would point to a building. But the church is people. We are the church.
In John 16 when Jesus asks the disciples, who do you say I am, Peter responds by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, you are Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus replies to this, you are peter and on this rock I will build my church. He will build his church and nothing will overcome it. Which is this church that he is building?
In Acts, we see the first church coming into being. We will look at 2 aspects of this church- the composition and character of this church.
In Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost the disciples were together at one place and the Holy Spirit was poured out on them. Peter proclaims the gospel. “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” When the people heard about Jesus, the Holy Spirit touched them and they wanted to know what to do. Peter replied from verse 38- 47 “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. 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.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Composition of the church- In verse 40- it says those who accepted his message were baptized and 3000 were added to their number. From 120 people, they became 3120.
1. They were born- again. They were people who were redeemed. They repented and demonstrated it in their actions by baptism. Then they were filled with the spirit and were added. They belonged to that body. It wasn’t a casual thing. They were committed. This is what Jesus is building.
2. They were centred around the teaching of the apostles. It was consistent teaching. Doctrine is an important part of the early church. The word of God is like spiritual milk to build ourselves up. At Word of Grace, we do that through the Sunday teaching, Indepth discipleship training, GYM groups etc. Be devoted to receiving the word of God in your life.
3. They were devoted to prayer. Prayer was critical in the blueprint for God’s church. Spending time in his presence. Mark 1:35- very early in the morning, Jesus went off to pray. There is personal prayer and group prayer. We meet on Fridays for this prayer.
4. They had fellowship together- fellowship is relationship. They had deep relationship with one another.
As they did this, there was an output. That is the character of the church.
1. Everyone was filled with Awe- the result of being a church is that everyone who met them were in awe of what God was doing. Miraculous signs and wonders- we are expecting God to do something. To change lives. We want to see more!
2. Unity- all the believers were together. There is something about worshipping God together. They broke bread and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Meet, eat and share- what they did. Eating together is a big part of accepting one another. India needs the gospel. When was the last time you ate together with someone from this body? We need to find out about one another’s needs. It will happen as we meet and speak with one another. In the early church, they sold their own possessions to meet each other’s needs.
3. They ate with glad and sincere hearts. These were a happy church. We want to be full of the joy of the Lord.
4. They praised God and broke bread together. Have a few minutes of praising God when you meet
5. The Lord added daily to their number. The end result was phenomenal growth. The church grew rapidly.
Each one of us is a part of the church. Together, we form a holy temple for God to dwell in. we are responsible to help this church be built according to Jesus Christ’s blueprint. See if you are personally fulfilling these things. As we fill this gap, the church will definitely grow. We will be like this church.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.