Perhaps you have already read about the early church and some of its characteristics. I wrote about them in a post called, strangely enough, Church. (Yeah, I know. I like to stretch the envelope of creativity as often as I can) ANYWAY, there were several points in the blog post, directly taken from the Book of Acts (Chapter 2), by which a church should pattern itself - prayer, worship, communion, fellowship, etc. Well, this week I have another list for you, also from the Book of Acts, specifically chapter 11:19-30. This list came from a video message delivered by David Platt. The list also serves as a help for our pastors, leaders and members to follow as they run our churches because, frankly, some of us need it. So as you read this, examine yourself and your church. Are you/they doing what God intended of His church. This list is called . . .
Ten Exhortations from The Church at Antioch
- Let's raise up ordinary people in the church who will do extraordinary things in the kingdom (v19-20). Every church has people who God has gifted with certain skills and talents. We need to find a ministry for these "ordinary people," stand back and watch God use them in extraordinary ways. You will be amazed what God can do!
- Let's embrace suffering as a God-ordained means for the accomplishment of the Great Commission (v19, also chapters 7 & 8). No one has to tell the people in our community about suffering, especially lately with the death of a 17 year young girl in our community (Kameron). Times of suffering draw us closer to God and those that don't know Jesus, in a time of pain, are more likely to reach out in hopes of healing than when times are good.
- Let's penetrate lostness through externally-focused, intentionally-faithful proclamation of The Gospel (Ch 11v20). The majority of church plants bring in people from other churches. We need to reach the lost, not build churches for other believers.
- Let's not build our ministries on counting decisions but on making disciples (v22-26). The concern of the early church was spreading the gospel, not creating programs to draw people to themselves. They we out!
- Let's lead and plant churches that not only go aggressively after spiritual needs but also give sacrificially toward physical needs (v 27-30). Churches gave to others, each according to their ability. We need to physically live out the Gospel, not just preach it.
- Let's love the glory of God more than we love our own lives (Ch 13). Let's bless the Lord in our worship. People who love the glory of God will live to spread the word of God. There are 250 million lost people in North America!
- Let's fast and pray in desperate dependence on the Holy Spirit (v3). The message we spread is foolishness to those who are perishing. Why would the lost believe us? We MUST depend on God's Holy Spirit! Without it we don't have a chance!! We need spiritual provision MORE than we need physical provision.
- Let's commission brothers and sisters in the context of community (v 3). The local church is God's chosen means for the training and sending of pastors, church planters and missionaries. Let's stop bragging about seating capacity and start increasing our SENDING capacity.
- Let's trust that intentionally making disciples inevitably leads to multiplying churches (v4-5). SO much of what we associate with the church today are no where to be found in the book of Acts - elaborate programs, exquisite buildings. We have the people of God and the Word of Gods. That is enough!
- Let's leave a legacy of disciple makers, church planters and pastors, all across North America, for the fame of God's name.
Interesting . . .
Let us not underestimate what our God can do! The formula is simple. It's right there in the Book of Acts! We are God's people. We have been given God's Word. The only thing left is for us to spread the Gospel. God will take care of everything else. Let us be a people who make disciples. That is what we are called to do! By Jesus!!! Who are we going to reach today with the message of God?
The Church of Antioch in Acts 11 by David Platt (The full message)