The New Testament book of Acts reveals how churches in Jerusalem, Antioch, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth and beyond first started, how they flourished, and the difference they made in the world for God. What can we learn from a brief overview of Acts about how churches stay strong through the years?
How Churches Stay Strong Through the Years… (remember, churches are made up of people and people are made strong in the Lord through):
- Knowledge (Acts 2:37, 42a)
- Commitment (Acts 2:42b)
- Time with each other (Acts 2:46-47)
- A spirit of generosity (Acts 4:32)
- The fear of the Lord and comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31)
- Good works and acts of charity (Acts 9:36-39)
- Active concern for those who need to hear the gospel (Acts 10:24)
- A willingness to listen to each other (Acts 11:1-2, 18)
- Steadfast purpose (Acts 11:23)
- Earnest prayer (Acts 12:5, 12)
- A love for the Lord and the world that is bigger than themselves (Acts 13:1-3)
- Another generation that has been taught to take God seriously (Acts 16:1-2)
- Attentive shepherds (Acts 20:28)
But by the time we reach the last book of the Bible, we find alarming descriptions of weakness. What can we learn from Jesus’ words to some of the same churches that started in the era of Acts?
How Churches Grow Weak Through the Years… (remember, churches are made up of people and people become weak by):
- Abandoning the love they had at first (Rev 2:4)
- Losing their fear of the Lord and compromising the message of the Holy Spirit (Rev 2:14)
- A love for the world that breeds a spirit of self-centeredness (Rev 2:20)
- Spiritual apathy that rests in empty reputation (Rev 3:1-2)
- A failure to see ourselves as God sees us (Rev 3:15-17)
This sermon was delivered on December 11, 2016.