What is it to be steadfast? When I think of the word, a ships crew on the high seas in an ancient sailboat confronted by a raging storm comes to mind. It is grim determination that nothing will stop you from achieving the task at hand or making it through what will come.
In the last lesson we learned that no church can, or should, grow without following Jesus last command to “go into all the world and make disciples”. We discussed how we as individuals as a church can be more proactive in that mission. Now we will look to what we can do as a Church to be a family in Christ that others would want to come and be a part of. It isn’t about being attractive to others, no that is usually fake religion, but rather it is about being genuine. Genuinely desiring to come together and be a Body, a family of brothers and sisters, to be the Children of God.
With these things in mind let’s look at our text.
“Be saved from this perverse generation.” Oh, what a statement that is relevant in our time! I dare say just as relevant then. Be saved from this perverse generation. After the Holy Spirit had come and signified the baptism of the Church, we find Peter giving a sermon to those who witnessed the events of Pentecost. This was the last thing he preached on and we see that thousands were being saved!
Underline or highlight this verse. You want to talk about principles of Church growth, not evangelism, but church growth in general, this is the ticket. This is what takes a church from attractive and trendy, to genuine and, remember this word, steadfast. Being steadfast in these activities is the difference between a Christian social club, and a Church.
The Apostles Doctrine: This one is a given. If you find yourself thinking that teaching God’s Word is not that important, or you think that doctrine divides so we shouldn’t worry about it, you need to rethink your priorities. The early Church continued steadfastly in their teaching. We must be a Church who makes the Word of God our second priority. Gospel, and then Doctrine. You should be excited to dig into God’s Word. If you are one of those who find it boring, you are missing out on direct communication from God! My daughter once complained to me that she doesn’t hear God speak back to her when she prays. I responded, you need to read your Bible more!
Fellowship: What is this word fellowship? In Greek it is Koinonia which is basically coming together in purpose. Fellowship can be defined as anything we as Christians do together. We should get together often. We should make it a priority in our lives.
Breaking of bread: This goes right along with fellowship. We should eat together. Love feasts, the early church called them, but not just as a large group, but as couples, and families within our church getting together for dinner, or going out. Just eat with one another. This helps create the bond that Jesus calls us to. Plus, we are being like our Savior. You know what was the last thing Jesus did before He died, and the first thing He did when He came back from the dead? He ate with His buddies!
Prayers: A healthy growing Church will be one that is full of Prayer. A Church where its members drop everything to pray for one another. One that comes together and lays hands on the sick, who prays for blessing, and speaks to God about Spiritual Growth. Without talking to our God, and frequently, how can we even call ourselves a Church, let alone say we love Him. Outsiders that see a church that doesn’t pray, see Hypocrisy. Have an active relationship with God and other believers by communing with Him often both alone and together.