The original title of this sermon is: What It Looks Like When The Church Follows Jesus.
Jesus gives the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. Acts 2 shows that in one day 3000 people were regenerated (new birth) and baptized. The apostles were charged not to preach in the name of Jesus. The church is now over 10,000 people.
*The following illustration is adapted from an illustration by Steven Furtick.
I like Twitter. I tweet between 8 and 12 times a day. On Twitter you do not have friends. You have followers and you are a follower of people. When a person that you follow tweets, their tweet shows up in your stream. You now have the ability to either read their tweet, ignore their tweet, retweet their tweet, or pick and choose another few tweets to read that you find more interesting. Some tweets may inspire you. Some tweets may encourage you. Some tweets you may find applicable or you may just ignore them altogether.
What does Twitter have to do with the gospel?
Some people in the church try to follow Jesus like they follow people on Twitter. People do not want all of Jesus they only want the parts of Jesus that make them feel comfortable and not convicted. They want to pick and choose the parts of the Bible that they feel like obeying. They like Jesus as a baby and as a Savior. They do not like the hard sayings of Jesus or the fact that Jesus calls us to renounce everything if we want to be his disciple.
When it comes to following Jesus, Jesus wants us to commit everything. It is either all or nothing. There is no straddling the fence.
The apostles are back in Solomon’s portico preaching and teaching and people are being healed in direct defiance to the Temple Mafia.
God shows us in the beginning of Acts 5 that he doesn’t play. You are not going to willingly lie to him and get away with it. God will call you to repentance or like a father, discipline his children. The lie that Ananias and Sapphira told could have train-wrecked the church before it even really got started. Ananias and Sapphira were examples of what happens when you commit to lying to God. A Holy, reverent fear came over the church and they were obedient to God out of their love and devotion for and to him.
vs. 12-13 At this current point in the church there is a distinct difference between what it means to be a true, authentic follower of Jesus and a pagan. The church also respected its leaders. The church knew that the men who were preaching and shepherding them were called by God. Education was not necessary. These men had been with Jesus and they were empowered by the Holy Spirit.
vs. 14 Growing the church – The apostles did not have the latest book on church growth. There were no websites or iPad apps. The apostles strategy for church growth was low-tech….preach Jesus, make disciples.
If the church disciples people – people will want to know why they are different. If the church disciples people – talking about Jesus will become natural because people naturally talk about what they are passionate about. If the church preaches Jesus – people will come because God draws people to hear about Jesus. The church exists for God’s glory not its own glory.