710 likes | 846 Vues
The Church in Action. Lesson 6. Lesson Text—Acts 1:14. Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. Lesson Text—Acts 2:1. Acts 2:1
E N D
Lesson Text—Acts 1:14 Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Lesson Text—Acts 2:1 Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Lesson Text—Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Lesson Text—Acts 4:32 Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
Lesson Text—Acts 5:12 Acts 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.
Lesson Text—Acts 8:6 Acts 8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
Lesson Text—Acts 15:25 Acts 15:25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul.
Lesson Text—Acts 17:26 Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.
Focus Verse—Acts 2:44 Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common.
Focus Thought Jesus’ disciples united themselves in submission to God, godly leaders, and each other. Unity preceded the Spirit’s outpouring and prefaced the church’s subsequent advance and growth.
Introduction Introduction It is indisputable that unity is essential to the well-being and growth of the church, both in the Book of Acts as well as today. Although most people agree about the need for unity, there are many opinions as to how to define or to achieve unity.
Introduction Many people mistakenly define unity as an emotion or feeling of being included in the group. Some have considered low participation in their particular activity as an indication of poor unity, while high participation is a sign of good unity. This too is an inaccurate portrayal of unity.
Introduction The root of the word unity comes from the Latin word unitas, a derivative of the word unus, which means “one.” Other definitions of unity include the following:
Introduction • The state or quality of being one; • singleness • 2. The state or quality of being in • accord; harmony • 3. The combination or arrangement • of parts into a whole; unification • 4. A combination or union thus • formed • 5. Singleness or constancy of • purpose or action; continuity
Introduction Unity occurs when a collection of parts work together to create a whole unit. A clock exemplifies unity. Hundreds of individual parts operate in conjunction with one another to allow it to function, and yet we see the clock as a single unit.
Introduction The Bible begins with the story of Creation. God spoke into existence a universe that portrays perfect unity within the natural world. From vast galaxies to the smallest atom or cell, the universe displays the harmonious working of numerous parts that comprise the whole. The symmetry in art, the harmony in music, and the balance in ecology are all indications of how God has placed unity in the world around us.
Introduction Unity can be a wonderful force for good; however, unity—as an end within itself—can be evil and destructive. For example, a lynch mob unites to carry out an evil act. The pages of history reveal that Nazi Germany was unified in its destruction of the lives of many innocent people.
Introduction The people who built the Tower of Babel had unity, which would have facilitated the achievement of their objectives had God not intervened. God was displeased with their efforts and brought confusion into their languages, which resulted in division.
Introduction Unity is also a powerful spiritual force, but it too can be either good or bad. When the unified entity does not acknowledge God or lacks biblical truth, the result may be extremely dangerous. When churches or religions discuss setting aside doctrine for the sake of unity, they have stepped into a risky place, for truth is the only basis for godly unity.
Introduction Churches that suffer from disunity and division should seek to resolve conflicts in a spirit of love and tolerance. A win-lose mind-set should never be a part of the equation. However, the ultimate outcome that resolves any disagreement also must be one that is scripturally sound.
Introduction In the Book of Acts, the early church encountered a major disagreement, which they needed to resolve. (See Acts 15.) A major point of contention had arisen in the church over the matter of requiring circumcision for Gentile converts to Christianity, and the early church leaders met to reconcile the matter.
Introduction Just as today, the brethren expressed differences of opinion that could have threatened unity. After “much disputing” on the issue (Acts 15:7), they did not become fractured or divided. Instead, they heard discussion from all sides of the issue and together reached a consensus that everyone could follow. Unity resulted from agreement on biblical principles.
Unity Preceded the Church’s Birth I. Unity Preceded the Church’s Birth Centuries before the Day of Pentecost, David anticipated the need for the church to be of one accord when he observed, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). Likewise, Jesus’ last prayer for the disciples before His crucifixion was for their unity. (See John 17:21-22.)
John 17:21-22 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:21-22).
I. Unity Preceded the Church’s Birth Jesus did not intend for each of His disciples to establish his own separate church. Rather, His plan was that they would all contribute to His church. Our commission is to enrich His kingdom, not to establish our own. It is not surprising that Jesus saw this need, considering some of the strife the disciples had experienced earlier when they were jockeying for the position of being greatest in the coming kingdom.
I. Unity Preceded the Church’s Birth Years after Jesus prayed this prayer, Paul encouraged the Philippian church: “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:2-5).
I. Unity Preceded the Church’s Birth Apparently, the disciples also understood the need to come together. After Jesus’ resurrection, they “all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14). This unprecedented measure of unity continued for the next ten days preceding the Day of Pentecost.
I. Unity Preceded the Church’s Birth When God’s church gathers with one accord in earnest prayer, an outpouring of the Spirit follows. On the Day of Pentecost, the people in the upper room may have expressed prayers in differing ways through their individual personalities, but their focus was the same—the outpouring of the Spirit.
I. Unity Preceded the Church’s Birth Tremendous power results when people rally behind a united purpose. The Bible declares that God went to investigate the people who were building the Tower of Babel and discovered such unity that He declared nothing would restrain them: “And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Genesis 11:6).
I. Unity Preceded the Church’s Birth It is ironic that when the people gathered at the Tower of Babel in unity, great power was the result. However, since they had united without including God, He sent tongues to divide them. On the other hand, when the people united before the Lord on the Day of Pentecost, tongues brought them together.
Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (Acts 4:32).
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance The early church was united and mobilized with a mission to reach the lost. Realizing that together they could do more than they could accomplish separately, their group identity had become more important than their individual roles. Their unity revolved around a common mission as they worked toward shared goals.
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance Unity does not mean everyone doing the same thing at the same time. Rather, unity is everyone as individuals working together toward a common ideal or goal. Each does his unique job, but all focus on the same united vision.
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance Wounded in battle, a soldier was ordered to the nearest military hospital. Arriving at the entrance, he saw two doors: one marked, “For Minor Wounds,” and the other, “For Serious Wounds.” He entered the first door and walked down a long hallway. At the end of the hall, he saw two more doors. The first read, “For Officers,” and the other, “For Enlisted Men.” The soldier went through the second door.
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance Again, he found himself walking down a long hallway with two doors at the end. One read, “For Party Members,” and the other, “For Non-party Members.” The wounded soldier took the second door and found himself back out on the street. When he got back to his unit, his buddies asked, “How’d your trip to the hospital go?”
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance “The people really didn’t help me much,” he said, “but, man, are they organized!” The unity of the New Testament believers resulted in great miracles. (See Acts 5:12.)
Acts 5:12 “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch” (Acts 5:12).
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance The mission was simple—to seek and to save the lost. Their unity brought great power and attracted many people to the Lord. Not only did a common mission result in unity, but it produced a mobilized ministry to the Lord, to each other, and to lost sinners. Divided churches seldom impact their communities; however, people coming together for evangelism can produce a great harvest of souls.
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance No greater illustration of the purpose of unity in the church exists than in the analogy to the human body. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul referred to the church as a body. (See I Corinthians 12:12-14; 12:27.)
I Corinthians 12:12-14 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many” (I Corinthians 12:12-14).
I Corinthians 12:27 “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (I Corinthians 12:27).
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance The human body consists of many different parts, each of which fulfills a critical role that serves the rest of the body. In the church, each of us is an individual member, but we are members of one another because we are members of the same body. We cannot all be the same part or be designed for the same purpose. However, we all work to the same end.
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance Strife often results when we wonder why others are not more like we are. Unity begins, however, when we celebrate our differences and combine them to achieve greater things than we could achieve by ourselves. Paul admonished the Ephesian church to strive for unity: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance It is interesting that he used the phrase “endeavoring to keep,” which denotes an ongoing attempt to maintain a particular attitude or spirit. For any organization or group to have unity, each person within that entity should manifest an ongoing desire for it to continue.
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance The church was created with no barriers of race, gender, or social status. Paul declared that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). A continual quarreling and upheaval exist in our world regarding the things that make people different.
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance However, we should leave those things behind after experiencing the new birth. J. L. Hall wrote: “When we came into the church we left a world filled with division and dissension over nationality, race, religion, politics, personal and cultural values. In the church, we become one people in Christ. While we still live in nations with political, racial, and value conflicts, we must not be caught up with the spirit and behavior of the unsaved around us.
II. Unity Accompanied the Church’s Advance We are to be lights in a dark world, a city set on a hill to show the glory of God to all the world” (The Pentecostal Herald, August 1996, pp. 6, 8).
A. Ministry to the Saints A. Ministry to the Saints A unified church understands its responsibility of ministry to its members. Just as pain in any part of our human bodies affects the entire body, so it is within the church. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (I Corinthians 12:26).