SUBJ: The response to a work of
regeneration as observed in the conversion and life of believers.
AIM: To define and emphasize the
essential nature of a New Testament church.
INTR: It seems strange that after
two millenniums and hundreds of years of collective Bible study
(consider what is represented in this room today) that we should have to
ask the question “what is a New Testament Church?” (A personal note: I
am thrilled in reading the Book of Acts and the witness to the power of
God – Yet, it fills me with a longing to see such a manifestation of the
power of God in our day. We claim orthodoxy, but do we truly experience
1. It is evident that the concept of a New Testament
Church has undergone perversion in this age that is beyond imagination.
Such terms as Emergent, Seeker-friendly and contemporary come to mind,
as well as those who claim to be fundamental but cling to a creed rather
than to Christ.
2. Perhaps we ask ourselves this question to enable
us to declare what is not a N. T. Church or perhaps we do so that we
might “examine ourselves” as to whether we are in the faith.
see something in its purest form is to see it as the Lord made it. In
reference to a statement by Thomas Armitage we must not consider the
Apostolic church as a mere beginning with change and modification to be
made along the way. Rather, it is to be the standard by which all are
measured as to their truth and authenticity.
4. The actions of this
prototype church reflect the immediate results of a Spiritual work in
and among the Lord’s people – consider the essence of the message they
5. We conclude that the assembly (ecclesia, church,
congregation – Tyndale) as defined here must be the God appointed means
to propagate the gospel to and in the world.
6. The characteristics
we see here are to be cultivated in order to function and obtain the
results that God ordained. Note: here is the Sovereignty of God and the
responsibility of man working hand in hand.
THESIS: The work of redemption
culminates in unity among the redeemed so as to accomplish the divine
design for fellowship with Him and with each other.
Sovereignty and experience in salvation (vv. 37-40)
1. Peter had
preached the Gospel and the Lordship of Christ and they were “pricked”
in their hearts meaning that they were pierced thoroughly. This was an
obvious work of the Spirit of God poured out on that gathering (not on
the Apostles only).
2. Consider the initial reaction as typical for
all who are newly awakened to their estate. Their question is what shall
we do? (The answer is nothing according to the flesh.)
directive to repent and be baptized is not to obtain salvation but for
(in reference to) salvation. This piercing of the heart provokes an
immediate response and God graciously provides repentance, and faith and
faith is demonstrated in obedience to the mandate to be baptized.
The gift of the Holy Ghost (the leadership and power to function as
1) Is the promise of salvation to you who are asking and
2) To your children and others who shall come
3) As many as the Lord
our God shall call (summon, invite, call for, to, unto)
5. It would
seem that the exhortation continued on with an exhortation to “save
yourselves from this untoward generation.” In this day of political
correctness should we not express this same emphasis? The generation of
which he spoke was not the rabble rousers but the religious crowd that
had conspired to rid themselves of Christ.
II. The commitment
that comes from such an experience (vv. 41-42)
1. The Word of
salvation is gladly received (that is with pleasure and delight)
Obedience is immediately evident in their baptism.
3. They were added
to the 120 or so that were already disciples. (the word “added” here
means to place along side or annex). Again questions are raised. Who
added them and to whom were they added and what is the force of such a
4. The answer to these questions tells us of identity and
membership in a body and of commitment on the part of those added.
III. They continued steadfastly (attended to, persevered, gave
themselves to, etc.)
1. Apostles’ doctrine – the message preached by
the Apostles as given them by the Lord.
2. Fellowship – the defined
purpose of God and the expected union and communion of the family of
God. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also
may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the
Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3
3. Breaking of
Bread – that is the observance of the Lord’s Supper.
4. Prayers –
Public and personal. With conviction and intensity.
continuance of these things as a way of life (vv. 44-47)
1. They were
together as believers, they had all things common, and were so submitted
to their love for each other that they sold material possessions to give
to others. Wow!
2. They continued daily:
1) In a union of
interests, they were in the Temple for services and prayers
Breaking of bread from house to house. They were so many that they
probably shared their homes in smaller groups.
3) They were in the
way of praising God and having favor with all:
i. This is not an “in
your face” Christianity
ii. Nor, is it a hands-off form that does not
express care and compassion.
iii. It is rather such a love of men
that they were not offended by the actions of these. Note: those that
oppose the grace of God are the ones that resent and fight against those
who embrace it.
3. Such was the state of these that the Lord blessed
with the salvation of others. It happened without the contrivances of
men such as crusades, gimmicks and invitations aimed at emotions.
THE LORD added to the Church
2) Those that were being saved – note
the difference here to the modern claims of “getting saved” or “getting
Conclusion: Legend has it that Augustine (6th
century theologian) was shown the treasure house of the Church of Rome.
They said to him that it could no longer be said “silver and gold have I
none.” To which he replied that neither can it say “arise, take up thy
bed and walk.” Do we have the presence of the Lord that would enable to
great works of faith?