early Christian church

Remember Your Leaders

Hebrews 13:7-8, 17-21 7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. 19 I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.

20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Remember your leaders.

  1. Imitate them.
  2. Submit to them. (more…)
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It’s the Pastor’s Job.

Lies we tell ourselves about the church:

It’s the pastor’s job.

 

You have a pastor. You have a man who’s staying here. We said way back at the beginning of this series that now isn’t the time to get busy. Now is the time to get into God’s Word. And it’s true! Now isn’t the time to “get busy.” But we need to be aware of falling for the opposite lie: Since it’s not time to get busy, it must be time to relax! Time to sit back and let the pastor take care of everything! And here we have the exact opposite lie from “We need to get busy.” This lie says, “It’s the pastor’s job.” What is the pastor’s job? What’s the pastor supposed to do? (more…)

As long as we do everything right, we won’t have any problems.

Lies we tell ourselves about the church:

As long as we do everything right, the church won’t have any problems.

 

Over the last weeks we’ve seen a bunch of lies, a bunch of pitfalls we could run into. As long as we don’t get busy, but instead bury ourselves in God’s Word, so we know and do what he says – well, God will bless us! As long as we remember that we don’t grow the church, that we simply proclaim what Jesus has done – well, God will bless us! As long as we remember that the church is all about what Jesus has done to rescue us from sin, not the physical pains of this world – well, God will bless us! As long as we remember that church isn’t about looking good, but about confessing how bad we’ve been and instead rejoicing in who God has made us to be – well, God will bless us! As long as we remember all that, well, we should have smooth sailing, right?

That’s another lie, and a dangerous one for us. The lie says, “As long as we do everything right, the church won’t have any problems.”

It’s tempting to think that the early church didn’t have any problems. We’ve heard about explosive growth. We’ve heard that yeah, there were a few problems, but overall the church was doing well!

The early Christian church had enemies. Acts tells us that the church was growing so fast, the Jewish leaders were jealous. There were a few dust-ups. The Jewish leaders, a group called the Sanhedrin, had already called in Peter and commanded him not to talk about Jesus any more. The apostles ignore the order and preach about Jesus anyway! Well, the Sanhedrin has all the leaders of the church arrested. That night, an angel came and released them. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he told them, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” And so the apostles go and tell people about Jesus! (more…)

We need to look good in church.

Lies we tell ourselves about the church:

We need to look good in church.

 

You ever notice how many people are doing “just fine” on Sunday morning? As a society, we’re very good at pretending. And we are experts at it Sunday morning. Don’t believe me? Think about what language you use when someone cuts you off while you’re driving. Do you use the same language here in church? Are you the same person relaxing with friends that you are here?  Why not? We’ve fallen for the lie: “We need to look good in church.” We don’t act like we do the rest of the week when we come here. We want to look good. Why?

Whatever your answer on why you want to look good for church, you’re not alone. People have always wanted to look good in church. In the early Christian church, many of the believers were very generous. In fact, Acts tells us that there was not a single person was in need, because everyone wanted to share what they had. For instance, a man named Barnabus sold a field he owned and set down all the money at the apostles’ feet, as a sign showing that he didn’t keep back a single cent for himself. It became a thing: whenever someone sold property and wanted to give every last cent of that sale to the church, they’d lay it at the apostles’ feet. They wanted to present a “whole burnt offering” – holding nothing back for themselves. They came with pure motives, purely wanting to give to God. And those people were thanked. They got attention for their good deeds.

Well, you can bet some people took notice of that and wanted some attention for themselves. They weren’t giving because they wanted to give. A lesson, from Acts 5: (more…)