Church on the Move | Part 4
Big Idea: A church on the move must make big, bold moves with the Gospel.
- The church is a movement of God.
- It’s not a monument looking back to a time passed over by time and cultural evolution.
- It is not a monument to something dead. The church is alive. The church is a present day movement of God.
- And the church is not defined as a place with pews, robes, hymnals, bands, liturgies, or committees.
- It is defined by a people set apart by God, filled with the Holy Spirit, and the Gospel as their declaration
- With this as their declaration, God moved.
- God launched the church as a multicultural, multiplying movement with a specific mission: to make disciples (churchy word) or fully surrendered followers of Jesus.
- Acts is a record of this movement. We have seen from the first four chapters of Acts that a COTM:
- Must be empowered by the Spirit of God
- Must be submitted to the Word of God
- Must be committed to the declaration the Gospel of Jesus Christ
- Must be faithfully generous together
- Prays big, bold prayers
A church on the move makes big, bold moves with the Gospel
- But the church doesn’t just pray big, bold prayers. A COTM makes big, bold moves with the Gospel.
- With the Gospel, on opening day, over 3,000 people joined the movement of God. Two weeks later, over 5,000 men.
- This kind of movement was unsettling to the status quo. So there was resistance.
- And in response to resistance that could negatively affect livelihoods, reputations, even lives, the early Christians prayed — not for protection — not for the resistance to go away — They prayed for boldness.
(Acts 4:29-30) 29 “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”
- And then they put feet to their prayers.
(Acts 4:31) And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
(Acts 5:12) At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico.
- The result: Multitudes were added to the movement of the church.
(Acts 5:14) And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number,
- The Church was on the move!
- People could see the gospel at work.
- People (even people who had once despised Jesus) could see the church on the move and people from surrounding cities came to Jerusalem bringing their sick. And the apostles had healing power.
- People were surrendering their life to Jesus – trusting in His crucifixion and resurrection and handing over their lives to be part of His mission.
- But the religious leaders became jealous, again. They took the apostles (all 12) while they were sharing the Gospel and threw them in jail, again.
- But God had other plans:
The apostles went right back to making big, bold moves with the Gospel.
- So, the captain of the temple guard went back to the Temple, and this time the apostles were asked by the guards to appear before the Sanhedrin. They wouldn’t use force for fear of being stoned by the people.
- Think about the things we gripe about as Christians.
- Have you ever had the privilege of losing something because of your faith/boldness?
- Some of you may have. Lost family. Friends. Opportunity. Inheritance.
- Most of us have not. Yet, we are afraid to be bold.
Why do we lack boldness?
- Some of us have forgotten the difference Christ made in our lives. We’ve forgotten what it was like to be without hope. To wonder where we stood with God.
- Some of us have never known life without hope. Never gone to a funeral where there was total LOSS. We’ve grown up in church, with the Gospel. We committed our life to Christ at an early age and haven’t had to wonder where we stood with God. Praise God for that. But we cannot forget that it’s not the case for everyone around us.
- Some of us have been distracted by life. Just too busy. Too successful. God answered all our prayers. We are safe!
We become complacent, and complacency breeds complicity with the Enemy himself. (Lie: You’ve got time.)
When we are complacent we are an accomplice to Satan.
Bold Moves with the Gospel
- We cannot be afraid to be bold in Christ Jesus.
- A COTM prays big bold prayers and with the fearlessness of Christ makes big bold moves with the Gospel.
(Acts 5:42) And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
We must make BOLD moves. Here are some baby steps . . .
- BOLD is deciding to say something when it would be easier to say nothing.
- BOLD is stepping out when it would be easier to stay put
- BOLD is taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.
- BOLD is being innovative
- BOLD is loving Jesus more than anything else
- Control (fear/embarrassment)
- Than life itself
Why? Because Jesus first loved you
Pull back the curtain, and look inside
The church began as a movement. It’s still moving. And by God’s grace, we will be part of that movement — the church for our generation — A church making big, bold moves with the Gospel.