Real Church

The Church in the Book of Acts

Acts 2:1-4; 37-47

The Original Church is our pattern church.   It is what God intended all churches to be and to be like.  It did what God intends for all churches to do and continue doing.  It was our pattern, our example, our precedent.  It was right.  It was the Will of God.  It is the blueprint for all churches past, present and future. 

So, what is Real Church?   

Acts 2:1-4;  37-47

 From the record of the Church  in the Book of Acts…

Notice some characteristics of this Pattern Church:

  • When they Prayed…  the building shook
  • When they Preached… Conviction fell and those present cried out loud for help
  • When they Worshipped… they heard sounds from heaven and miracles happened
  • When they were Persecuted… They were encouraged and not discouraged.  They exploded in growth
  • They were often visited by angels,  saw heavenly sights, and saw awesome miracles  
  • They were driven by the Power of the Holy Spirit.  They were filled with the fire of God and were absolutely fearless
  • They attempted and accomplished the impossible.  They overcame discouragement.  They refused to be quiet or to quit.  They were passionately devoted to Jesus and willing to follow Him to the death.
  • They lived holy lives, were pure in spirit, were right in their heart and lived above reproach with integrity and honesty.  They hated sin and loved righteousness.  They instantly repented at every failure and short-coming.
  • They were empowered to do the very works of Jesus Himself.  They healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons and lived and moved in the limitless power of the Holy Spirit.
  • They were not prisoners of any man, any movement, any religion, any government, any social group, or cultural class.  They were not nervous or impatient.  They came to meeting, and stayed there until they received what God had for them.  No one slipped out or excused themselves or left before the meeting was over.

The historical events recorded in the Book of Acts cover a period of about 53 years.  During this period, the New Testament Church had its birth and in its first 25 years of existence it accomplished more than at any other time in its history. 

This infant, beginning church faced formidable and overwhelming disadvantages.  Notice:

1. They had no Building.  Or “church campus”

2. They had little or no organization. No Sunday School, no Denominational headquarters, no trained or experienced personnel no Seminaries or Bible Colleges.  No president or board of directors.  No business meetings.  No “vision casting” or scheduled agendas.  They were loose.  And dangerous to the devil.

3. Most had limited education.  None were seminary graduates or Bible School Scholars.  Or theologians.  Most were poor common people… laborers… fishermen, tax gatherers, farm hands and shepherds. 

4. They had no finance committee or budget and possessed little money.  Their treasurer had skipped out of town with all their money in a bag.  There were no “fat cats” or commercial enterprises to foot the bills or pay the preacher. 

5. They had no help from Outsiders.  No “sponsors.”  They were hated, feared, rejected, ignored, imprisoned, persecuted, and falsely accused and blamed.  They did not enjoy “popularity” with the masses.  Religious leaders hated them, lied about them, threatened them, and had them thrown in jail.

6. They Believed and Preached an “impossible” and “unbelievable” doctrine:  a Message about a lowly Nazarene, the son of a poor carpenter, Who was in fact the Messiah… the Son of the Living God… Who was arrested, tortured, crucified as a criminal, killed, and buried in a borrowed grave.  Who Rose from the dead three days later and was miraculously lifted off to heaven where He Lives with God.

7.  They had no government support or favor.  No 501 C3’s.  Rome outlawed their worship and threw them in prison to be tortured and slain.  They ministered in an adverse and unfriendly atmosphere.       Hebrews 11:33-38

8.  They had no television ministry, satellite communication, internet, or media technology…  They preached on streets, in jails, in homes and in open fields.  Without microphones, headsets, prompters, or power point presentations.

9.  They were opposed, threatened, and murdered by a highly organized and powerful Religious System… the Jews.  They often had to hide to worship and meet in homes and open fields for their church gatherings.

YET… in 25 years, the Scripture tells us they “turned the world upside down…” (Acts 17: 6)

What was the secret of such extraordinary success?

(1) Jesus was absolutely everything to them.  Nothing else mattered.   No frills. No thrills.  No pizza parties.  No fun time fellowship entertainment.  No “come and get blessed” sermons.  No popular guest speakers or well-known important individuals to come in and draw crowds. 

(2) They were compassionate.  They really cared.  They gave.   They shared.  They loved.  They were free from selfishness and greed.  They sacrificed and held back nothing.  They were focused on the eternal and disassociated with the carnal and natural. 

(3) They really believed God.  They had FAITH.  They were Believers in the truest sense.  They were not moved by sight or circumstance.  They believed God.  They were not skeptics or skeptical of what God said, what the preacher said or what the Word said.  They believed.  They were not moved by the impossible or discouraged by the opposition. 

(4) They were unafraid.  They were brash and bold as lions.  They rested on the Promises of God and were willing to die for Jesus and the Church.  

(5) They were convinced that the Gospel was the only hope for the world.  They knew that the Gospel was and is “the Power of God unto Salvation” and were not afraid or ashamed to preach it, teach it, tell it, sing it, and send it to the “uttermost” parts of the earth.  It is what the preached and all that they preached.  They knew any self-help message or feel good sermon would not stand the test of what they were going through.

(6) They were together… in “one accord.”  They were too busy winning the lost, casting out devils, healing the sick and raising the dead to fuss and fight with each other.  Or to gossip and back-bite.  Or to “not like” the preacher or the way things were done in church.  They were focused.  Determined.  Committed.  And willing to die for one another.   

(7) They were committed and faithful, consistent, and diligent.   They were not “quitters” “complainers” “sissies” “softies” or “spiritual tramps.”   They were dependable, faithful, diligent, consistent, and steadfast.

What was their “normal” church service like?  The pattern is found in Acts: 2:37-47.     This is what “church” was like then:

1.  Anointed, Holy Ghost Preaching  (14) 

2.  The Word was Gladly received (41)

3.  They continued  (42) 

4.  Services were Supernatural (controlled by the Holy Spirit) (43)  Unpredictable

5.  They praised God (46-47) Unashamed

6.  Souls were saved…. Daily!  (47)  Evangelistic

Services were characterized by:

  • Holy Ghost and Fire Preaching
  • Irresistible Conviction “What must I do?”  Years ago one Sunday morning as I was preaching, a very convicted man stood to his feet and cried out, “I’m lost! I need Jesus! I can’t wait!” 
  • Repentance.  Sorrow for sin. 
  • Evangelism. Soul winning. 
  • They gladly received the Word.  Glad to hear.
  • They “continued” … no drop-outs
  • God was not number one He was the ONLY ONE.
  • Services were supernatural… every time… all the time.
  • They lived in constant Praise and Thanksgiving.  They went from house to house breaking bread and celebrating Jesus.
  • The Lord “added daily” to the Church.  At least 365 souls a year.

Do you remember the conviction-laden invitations given after an anointed sermon?  Do you remember inviting the back-slidden to rededicate their lives to Jesus?  Asking the wounded and hurting to come and kneel at the altar?  Offering a sanctuary to those who were wandering without a church home?

“Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy Blood was shed for me…

And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come…”

Let’s pray for Real Church to happen again…

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