Peninsula Community Church
Will the Real Church Please Stand Up?
What is the Church Suppose to be Doing?
November 13, 2011
Act 2:41 & Acts 9:31 – 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. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
We are continuing to look at what actions we are to take in order to be a real church:
So far we have looked at four of these actions and today we will look at two more:
- Exalt God through Worship.
- Encounter God through prayer.
- Encourage others through fellowship.
- Edify others through ministry and service.
The fifth action to be taken by the church is to expand the Kingdom and grow the church through the proclamation of the Gospel and mission.
The key purpose of the church is to expand the Kingdom of God by way of preaching and teaching the word. We expand the kingdom in the following ways:
Colossians 1:28-29 – Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
Corinthians 1:17 – For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
We must come to the realization that every believer is a missionary: In the New Testament we do not see a Biblical distinction between evangelism and missions. In fact, the word “mission” or “missions” is never used. We are called to share the message of hope to all we encounter that are open to hear the message. For two long the church has waited for the professionals to do the job but every one of us are called to be missionaries.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 – I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Colossians 4:6 – Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
The fact is you will have a sphere of influence over with other people that I will never have.
We need to build relationships because in building relationships with others people will be more open to hear the message of Christ’s love. So spend some time getting to know others so that trust will grow. Think about how you came to know Christ. Was it not from a personal encounter with someone who loved you enough to share Christ with you? The scripture tells us to “go into all of the world.” It has been said that “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
We need to love exceptionally because our actions speak louder than our words. Maybe you have become aware of some hardship or simply a project your neighbor or co-worker is facing. Is there some way that you and your family may help in these things? Jesus knew our actions would speak as loud as our message, so he taught us to “let our light shine before other men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
We need to proclaim courageously as this kind of evangelism is different than proclamation evangelism. You may not share the gospel the first time you meet, but be sensitive to the Spirit’s work and when He opens the door of opportunity, don’t wait too long before you lead the conversation to spiritual things and to the good news about Jesus Christ.
The sixth and final action the church must take is that we are to equip through teaching and discipleship.
Ephesians 4:11-14 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
What we teach must be founded on a Biblical construct that is focused and centered on the person of Christ. Colossians 1:28 – Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
- Too often we teach dogma and the law but they fall short of their purpose if we do not recognize that Christ is the only one that can bring lasting change into our lives. Dogma is what you believe, whether you believe it or not. And law is what you must do, whether it is good for you or not.
- The problem with the law is that it points to sin but it is powerless to do anything about the sin. But Christ came not to destroy the law but in order to empower people to live spiritual lives dedicated to passionately follow Him.
We teach for transformation and not simply knowledge. Verse 9 – He is the light that has come to enlighten us to understand truth and grace.
- Romans 12:2 –Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- Dallas Willard in his book Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ said this about the need to be transformed; the greatest need of collective humanity is renovation of the heart. That spiritual place within us from which outlook, choices, and actions come has been formed by a world away from God.
- This transformation is one that changes people from the inside through ongoing personal relationship to God in Christ and to one another. It is one that changes their ideas, beliefs, feelings and habits of choice, as well as bodily tendencies and social relations.
- Notice that Jesus did not send his disciples out to start governments or even churches as we know them today but they were to establish beachheads of his person, word and power in the midst of a failing and futile humanity. They were to bring the presence of the kingdom and its King into every corner of human life simply by fully living in the Kingdom with Him.
We teach a living Gospel – V. 14 – He dwelt among us. Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. This living Gospel has the power to transform our lives.
- The Gospel of Christ is living because it is Christ.
- In John 1:4 john noted that life was in Him, life that made sense of human existence.
- To be the light of life, and to deliver God’s life to women and men where they are and as they are is the secret of the enduring relevance of Jesus.
We teach a liberating Gospel – “Grace and truth” John 8:32 – If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. The amazing truth of the Old Testament is that its role is to show us the futility of trying to obey the law and fulfill all of its demands. It is impossible. But Christ came not to abolish the law but to fulfill the law and to give mankind power to live out this Christian life.
- Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
- One of the difficulties of modern Christianity is that the church today is that Christianity has not been imparting effectual answers to the vital questions of human existence. What has occurred is that many pseudo-spiritual movements have been created to fill this void. But the Gospel of Christ is what is needed to reach the crying, unmet need of the human soul.
We teach not to get people to act right but to be transformed in their inner being so that who one is in their thoughts, feelings, dispositions and choices is changed.