We find that the original church continued steadfastly in fellowship with the saints. We fellowship with like minded believers because our fellowship ultimately is with Jesus Christ. We can feel the presence of Jesus Christ together with us when we fellowship with other members of the Lord’s church.
Author: Pastor David Page 1 of 27
“9) Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: 10) For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.” (Acts 18:9-10)
When Paul arrived in Corinth and was facing some opposition to the gospel, he seems to have gotten afraid and discouraged. The Lord came to encourage Paul with boldness to not be afraid to preach the gospel because God already had “much people” in this city. Not only were there born-again people of God already in Corinth but there wasn’t just one or two; there were “much people” of God in this city who needed to hear the gospel. Knowing God already had a people in this city was not a “deterrent” to evangelism but was a tremendous “encouragement” to greater evangelism for Paul. Knowing that salvation is by grace alone with no action of man contributing to eternal life does not discourage us from preaching, but rather it encourages us to know that God already has a people who need to know that he has saved them from their sins. There are God’s people who are already “ordained to eternal life” (Acts 13:48) in our cities who need to know the gospel. This should be an exciting encouragement to us to boldly preach the gospel in our local communities, knowing there are God’s people there with quickened hearts who need to know that Jesus Christ has already saved them from their sins on the cross.
During Jesus’ first trip to Jerusalem, his first action after his first public miracle was to purge the temple from filthy lucre with a scourge. Jesus shows a jealousy over his bride and the purity of the church. Paul displayed a godly jealousy over the church desiring to present her as a chaste virgin to Christ. In our culture of lukewarm Laodicean discipleship, we need to repent, get zealous, and heat up in service to Jesus Christ.
“15) And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16) And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. 17) And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” (John 2:15-17)
Jesus Christ was consumed with zeal and passion for his house, and the church today should be consumed with zeal for his house as well. In his first trip to Jerusalem, Jesus was so consumed with zeal for God’s house that he purged it of everyone who was there for the wrong reason. As the disciples of Christ, we must follow Jesus’ example in all things in our life. We must follow Jesus and have a greater zeal and devotion for God’s house. The majority of Christianity today is lukewarm or frigidly cold in devotion to God and to the church. We might go through the motions or give the pretense of religion, but truly we are cold in our zeal for the church. We must heed the admonition to the lukewarm Laodicean church to “be zealous” (get hot, start boiling over) in service to God. Jesus Christ set the standard that we must follow. We must be passionately and zealously consumed with Jesus Christ and consumed with a zeal for God’s house.
We see the simplicity of the original church engaging in 4 main activities, steadfast commitment to uphold the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. We will inevitably compromise other practices in the church if we attempt to supplement the original apostles’ doctrine in the word of God. We see that the apostles vehemently upheld salvation by Christ alone and salvation by grace alone.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jer. 29:11)
This verse in Jeremiah 29:11 is used very often in Christianity today to teach that God has “a future and a hope” for all people in this world to encourage seeking the Lord’s will. Oftentimes, it is even used to promote guaranteed prosperity in this world, that we will only have peace in our lives if we are truly following God. Instead, the proper interpretation of this verse, and our life experiences as well, shows that this world is the opposite of peaceful and our path in life will rarely be easy. What is our response to the tribulation and challenges in this life? We faithfully endure suffering in bondage now looking forward in hope to our final “expected end” in heaven with our God. Jesus promised us tribulation in this world (John 16:33). The Old Testament Israelites in Babylon knew well the tribulation and suffering that bondage inflicts upon God’s people. However, in the midst of bondage, pain, and suffering, we are given hope. We are given hope of a better day; hope that after the suffering of this world, there will be a restoration of perfect peace in the promised land with our God. Let us serve God faithfully in bondage today, looking expectantly towards the everlasting peace we will receive in our eternal expected end in heaven.
The church ought to be engaged in public prayers together, especially when there is a great need in the church, such as sickness or imprisonment. The church is called to be a house of prayer. Also, God ordained that by the foolishness of preaching that God’s children would be saved to the knowledge of the truth. Let us never diminish the power of the preaching of the gospel to save God’s children from despair and heartache in this world.
When we endure tribulation, it is not solely to grit our teeth and survive it, but God gives us those trials so that we can console and comfort others in their own troubles. We have peace that Jesus Christ is the God of all comfort, he has a never-ending supply of comfort and consolation for his burdened children. God will send comfort to us through the fellowship of our kindred in Christ and through good news from a far country.
God set up the worship in his church in a very simplistic way. We consider one of the 3 components of public worship, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord. We sing to teach and admonish one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Singing is a great way to learn scripture and edify each other. We can encourage each other through the song service and Jesus Christ sings right along with us in the church.
God’s sovereignty and power is manifested in natural creation. God created man and all the heavens and earth according to his own will and pleasure and did not need man’s consent or approval to make him a living soul. In like manner, men are born again by the sovereign power of God, not by a cooperative effort or condition that man meets that will give him spiritual life. After the spiritual creation occurs in the new birth, there are actions in our life that should be manifested to exhibit the spiritual work of creation that God has done in our heart.
Preached at Lexington PBC (Lexington, KY) on 8/25/21