Acts 2:42-44 Follow Up May 30, 2017

A Gospel-Centered Community

After the church was birthed through Spirit-empowered preaching of the gospel in various languages on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41), we notice the early church doing the following:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common (Acts 2:42-44).

So we learn that the early church—as it united around the gospel message—faithfully devoted itself to two important practices: (1) gospel-centered teaching and (2) gospel-centered fellowship.

Gospel-Centered Teaching

The early church faithfully devoted itself to the apostles’ teaching. A natural question arises: What was their teaching? To begin, it is evident their teaching included Christ’s 40-day, post-resurrection teaching on the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). It is also evident—by turning to the overarching plot line of Acts—that the teaching centered on the gospel message. After all, Acts itself is an account of the spread of the gospel message from Jerusalem to Rome. It could be said, therefore, that the apostles’ teaching was the gospel message itself, and what the message then meant for life and faith as expressed in the New Testament epistles.

Dear church: We must similarly devote ourselves to the apostles’ gospel-centered teaching. This means we must continually point each other to the gospel. This can be done by actively and faithfully committing ourselves to a growth group or Bible study group. But, especially for those who’s schedules make it difficult to commit, let us not forget that this can be applied first-and-foremost in our individual homes. So I encourage you: Figure out a way to point each other to Christ, beginning in your own homes.

If you need some help doing this, try reading Donald S. Whitney’s Family Worship. It’s a short, 67-page book on leading gospel-centered devotionals in your own homes. And if you need help learning how the entirety of the Word of God points to Christ, try reading Trevin Wax’s Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in all the Scriptures. This, too, is a quick read, and both are available on Amazon.com for under $8. Nothing like a low-cost investment that pays high spiritual dividends!

Gospel-Centered Fellowship

The early church was also faithful in its devotion to unity and fellowship as a response to the gospel. It was a tripartite fellowship which included (1) shared meals, (2) prayers, and (3) fulfillment of one another’s needs, all out of love for one another.

My dear church: Let us continue to do likewise, out of gospel-centered love. The Apostle John reminds us:

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth (1 Jn 3:16-48).

Let’s continue faithfully devoting ourselves to shared meals. Let’s continue faithfully praying for one another. Let’s continue to lovingly fulfill each other’s needs. This means an active willingness to listen to the Spirit’s leading as you hear about or come across others in our church family in need, and then responding with generous love.

On the other side of the same coin, let’s also be willing to allow ourselves to receive love. Let others invite you over for a meal. Especially when in need, allow others to bring meals to your home. Trust me, we want to help! Let others pray for you, too. This means a willingness to allow others to know the hardships you are walking through. You not only need us to point you to Christ, you also need us to pray for you, too. And last—and probably hardest—allow others to help you with your needs. Pride will tempt you. Pride will want to get in the way. But point yourself to the cross, and be reminded that in the same way you need Christ for eternal life, you also need God’s people as you sojourn on this broken earth.

It Starts In-House

Don’t forget: The context of the practices being done in Acts 2:42-44 are within the church itself. Yes, we must obey the Great Commission. Yes, we must be involved in missional outreach. But let us never forget: Pointing one another to the gospel and loving one another out of a response to the gospel starts in-house, within the church. Jesus Himself said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).

Let us, therefore, not grow weary in our faithfulness to gospel-centered teaching and fellowship. Christ has done something amazing for us (1 Cor 15:56-57); let us, then—as a response to this great news—”be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58).

Keep pointing one another to Christ. Continue loving one another in Christ.

—Pastor Marttell Sánchez

Matt 5.17-20 Follow Up May 22, 2017

This Sunday we studied Matthew 5.17-20 together. In this text Jesus introduces his upcoming discussion of the Law of God. He wants His followers to know what kingdom-people should know about their relationship to the Law of the Old Testament. There are 3 truths that we saw about our relationship with the Law:

  1. Kingdom people do not forsake the Law.
  2. Kingdom people know that Jesus fulfills the Law.
  3. Kingdom people follow the Law in a fuller way.

Here are some discussion questions from Sunday’s bulletin: Matt. 5.17-20 Notes.

 

-Pastor Nathan Hogan

Matthew 5.13-16 Follow Up May 15, 2017

In Matthew 5.13-16 Jesus describes Christians as salt and light in this world. We learned 3 truths about living godly lives in this fallen world:

  1. We are a presence in this world.
  2. We are peculiar in this world.
  3. We have a purpose in this world.

As we worked our way through the text, we learned that being salt and light is not just how super-Christians are described, but all of us are described this way.

Here are some discussion questions: Matt. 5.13-16 Notes.

 

-Pastor Nathan Hogan

Matthew 5.10-12 Follow Up May 8, 2017

As we continue to work our way through the Sermon on the Mt., we finished the Beatitudes this last Sunday by looking at what Jesus had to say about persecution. We learned 4 lessons about persecution from Matth 5.10-12.

  1. Persecution must be for the right things.
  2. Persecution includes a wide range of treatment.
  3. Persecution has a long history.
  4. Persecution brings us God’s blessings.

Here are some discussion questions from Sunday’s message: Matt. 5.10-12 Notes.

 

-Pastor Nathan Hogan

Matt. 5.6-9 Follow Up May 2, 2017

This last Sunday we looked at the next 4 beatitudes. As kingdom-people we are blessed as we hunger and thirst for righteousness, and are merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers. As we defined these different beatitudes, we also looked at some ways in which we tend to overlook showing mercy, making peace, etc. Some of these easily-overlooked areas include evangelism, marriage, family, and life in the church.

Here are some discussion questions: Matt. 5.6-9 Notes.

 

-Pastor Nathan Hogan