Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Church Growth Movement

Our focus last night was in Acts 5:12-42 as Jeff taught about the ORIGINAL church growth strategy and it's results.

The Church Growth Movement
The cause and effect of the living church

I. A Church Growth Movement (vv. 12-16)

a. Many signs and wonders were done (v. 12)
b. Many feared joining the church (v. 13)
c. Many believers did join the church (v. 14)
d. Many were healed (vv. 15-16)

II. A Church Warfare Movement (vv. 17-42)

a. First attempt to stop preaching - Caging the preachers (vv. 17-26)
i. The religious leaders got jealous of the Apostles (v. 17)
ii. The religious leaders imprisoned the Apostles (v. 18)
iii. An angel delivered the Apostles and commanded them to preach (vv. 19-21)
iv. The religious leaders discovered the Apostles were out preaching (vv. 21b-25)
v. The religious leaders “brought them, but not by force” to reiterate for them not to preach (v. 26)

b. Second attempt to stop preaching – Lecturing the preachers (vv. 27-33)
i. The Apostles said we need to obey God not man (v. 29)
ii. The Apostles preached the Gospel to the religious leaders (vv.30-32)
iii. The religious leaders “were enraged” (v. 33)

c. Third attempt to stop preaching – Beating the preachers (vv. 34-42)
i. Gamaliel provides good counsel (vv. 34-39)
ii. The religious leaders beat the Apostles (v. 40)
iii. The Apostles rejoiced, were deeply moved, and kept preaching and teaching like mad men (vv. 41-42)

Take-home points:

1. God’s power is attractive to believers and unattractive to unbelievers
a. God’s power has been regarded as foolish, fake, and unimpressive
b. God’s power has been regarded as satanic
c. God’s power in this case was regarded as scary
d. God’s power in this case also was provoked jealously (and rage cf. v. 33)

2. God’s power was more than a sign - meeting physical needs

3. Spiritual warfare centered around teaching the preaching the Gospel – the miraculous taking a back seat
a. Yes, the angle of the Lord performed a miracle but the goal comes back to speaking the words of Life
b. The concern of the high priest was to gag the Apostles

4. Sometimes Christians are physically protected and sometimes not
a. The officers’ fear of being stoned kept them from harming the Apostles at one point
b. Later, the officers beat the Apostles

5. There are principles of obedience where the Christian must not compromise
a. God’s law supersedes man’s law
b. Disobeying the law of the land becomes your integrity and testimony
c. Discerning when this applies is not always easy to do

6. Gamaliel’s passive defense of the Apostles is a window into God’s providential involvement through unbelievers

7. We must be willing to “suffer dishonor for Christ”
a. This willingness is active when you’re joyful when wronged
b. This willingness is active when you’re humbly grateful to be shamed for Christ

8. You’re goal as a Christian is to declaratively clarify to others that Jesus is the only way – the only Savior from sin

Hear the message "The Church Growth Movement".

Monday, August 04, 2008

2.22 Links

Ok - I've faced reality and will no longer call these "Week Links", since I can't seem to post them weekly. We'll just call them, "2.22 Links":

New Book: Nathan Busenitz from Pulpit Magazine has a new book dealing with science, faith and our Creator.

New Music: From Sovereign Grace Music: Psalms

New Movie: Pixar's next one. (HT: Challies)

New Blog: For all you Greek scholars and wanna-be's, Zondervan starts blogging. Contributors include the likes of Mounce, Waltke, Longman, Bock, Kaiser & others.