Defining the Acts 2 Church: Pastor Powers
Acts 2:1-4: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
What is the Church Anyway?
Church is defined by Webster’s dictionary in four ways.
The first definition, which is the most common understanding, is a building for public and especially Christian worship.
In other words, a place of meeting.
Second, the clergy or officialdom of a religious body, in other words, the clerical profession of church.
The word church is put for the persons that are ordained for the ministry of the Gospel, that is to say, the clergy.
Third, when capitalized, the Church is defined as a body or organization of religious believers: such as the whole body of Christians, the one church is the whole body gathered together from all ages; or a denomination, such as the Church of God; or as a single congregation, as indicated in Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”
Forth, church is a public or private divine worship service, for a believer goes to church.
Could be at home, could be in the car, could be in the grocery store.
What does it mean when someone says he or she “took us to church”?
It means that we had a time of understanding and encounter with God.
Bastardized, taking someone to church has blasphemously become known as a means of expressing an intensely high sexual act or expression.
This, of course is horrific and abominable, but it does lead one to understand why church is no longer church.
But…I wonder why, with all of these definitions, and some even based upon Holy Scripture, that the Church of today rarely resembles the church of Acts?
People still look like people…for the most part.
SOULS ARE SOULS!
Now, this is as true with cars, phones, classrooms, houses, etc.
You can tell a car from 100 years ago was a car.
You can tell a phone from 100 years ago was a phone.
You can tell that a house, a class room, a bed, a bathroom was then what it is now, but they have changed because they are second and third and one hundred generations out from where they were.
THAT IS NOT SO WITH THE CHURCH.
We may have differing generations, but we are all BROTHERS AND SISTERS!
Even the mothers and fathers of the faith are brothers and sisters!
I tell you the truth, when I come to the pulpit to preach, I am standing on the shoulders of spiritual giants, but they are still my brothers and sisters!
I can say that because we are ONE family, ONE generation, ONE CHURCH!
I can say that because Jesus is my elder brother, just like He is their elder brother, and we are all the church together!
We are the church!
The church is in Mebane, North Carolina.
The church is in Cleveland, TN.
The church is in Korea.
The church is in Zambia.
The church is in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Gana, Australia, France, Germany, India, Japan, China, Vietnam!
The church is a handful of people on an island of the sea.
The church is in a pocket of believers in the deepest jungles of Africa.
The church is in war-torn Israel.
The church is in GAZA.
The church is in every hamlet, and village, and city where the PEOPLE of God are!
THAT’S the church!
Now, let me tell you what the church is not…
Bishop Toby Morgan points out several things the church is not.
The church is not a place to just network and make business contacts.
That can happen, but that is not the primary focus.
The church is not a place to go looking for romance.
That can happen, but that is not the primary focus.
The church is the social-service-and-needs-fulfillment wish list granter.
It is not the perverted prosperity gospel of heavenly investments with earthly dividends.
It is not the country club.
It is not the grand stadium.
It is not fast-food-get-what-you-want-your-way order filled church.
It is not the mega-mall, one stop shop.
It is not the fad, smoke machine and holy-rock band show-stopping number.
Rev. Morgan said, “In my deepest thoughts, I wonder if we have created a smorgasbord of churches fine-tuned to the delicate palate of carnal man but have neglected the one, singularly important Guest. I wonder if Jesus really likes what we have created, or does He long for a rebirth of the Acts 2 Church model?”
I’m not sorry to tell you, the church growth fads do not work in the long run.
Church growth and change must be organic and it must be in line with the DNA of that particular church.
What is the church?
The church is a place of reconciliation!
The church is a place of healing!
The church is a place of restoration!
The church is an Emergency Room for the Lost and Hurting!
That’s the church.
So, I am not so much concerned with aliens.
I am not worried about earthquakes and natural disasters.
I am not worried about money.
I am not worried about stuff.
I AM CONCERNED OVER THE NEVER DYING SOULS OF MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN!
Because frankly, the SEEKER FRIENDLY model is not the answer.
The Old-School model is not the answer.
The Relevant Church model is not the answer.
The Information Overload model is not the answer.
The Pastor Centric model is not the answer.
The Personality driven model, the Small Group model, the Hell-Fire and Damnation model, the Sloppy Grace model is not the answer.
Whatever model the church uses DOES NOT MATTER, if CHRIST is not the CENTER, it IS NOT the church!
JESUS IS THE ANSWER!
A LOVING FATHER GOD IS THE ANSWER!
HOLY GHOST OUTPOURING IS THE ANSWER!
The devil is not scared of a seeker friendly church but he is terrified of a Christ-Centered Church.
THAT, friends, is the Acts 2 model.
The Acts 2 Model is an ACTION Model
Ok…let’s be clear.
There are things that the church should stand against.
Addictions of all kinds.
There are some products we should not use.
Objects associated with the occult.
Certain pharmaceuticals with particular side effects.
There are some places we should not go.
Adult entertainment venues.
The list goes on forever.
I do believe that we need godly people in the government.
We need godly people in the schools.
We need godly people in our banks, farm supply stores, medical fields, legal professions, and on and on.
We should take a stand in the public square.
We should take a stand against injustice.
We should take a stand for Israel.
We should take a stand for a Christian America.
BUT…our primary vocation as the church is SOUL WINNING.
When taking a stand, let us stand on JESUS.
When being moved to action, let us act as CHRIST in this world.
We must STAND UPON CHRIST ALONE, FOR CHRIST ALONE, AS JESUS STOOD ALONE FOR US!
We must stand upon and act upon the Christ of Calvary.
We must lift HIM up.
Not our political agenda.
Not our ideologies.
Not our judgmental attitudes.
Not our preferences.
Not our privileges.
Not our creature comforts.
Not our favorite songs, styles, gimmicks, or games.
When we are returning to the Acts 2 Model, we are returning to standing upon the sufficiency of the power of the Living Savior.
The Acts 2 power was given to fulfill Mark 16:15!
Mark 16:15 says, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
The Acts 2 power was given to fulfill Isaiah 43:10!
Isaiah 43:10 says, “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”
The Acts 2 power was given to fulfill the Acts 1:8 promise which says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Listen carefully to me today…SPEAKING IN TONGUES IS THE INITIAL EVIDENCE.
It is not the ONLY evidence!
If you speak in tongues and lie in English, you do not have the same Holy Ghost I have.
If you proph-a-lie and not prophesy, you do not have the same Holy Ghost I have!
Holy Ghost will convict you to walk right, talk right!
Holy Ghost will convict you to live right and Holy Ghost will cause you to love EVERY BODY!
This Acts 2 model has 7 distinct parts.
1. Energized by the Holy Spirit
2. Passions are Aligned
3. Get Your Hands Dirty
4. Grounded and Founded in the Word
5. The Great Commission Mission
6. Devotion to Each Other
7. Flow in Flexibility
Acts 15:28 is profound when it says, “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;”
It seemed good to the HOLY GHOST and to us…
If what we are doing is not pleasing to the Holy Ghost FIRST, it does not matter if it pleases US.
That means IT IS HIS CHURCH!
We must flow in HIM, not in US!