1. Introduction:A. Often we hear (especially TV) preachers say things like all you need is Jesus or You need a relationship with Jesus, not a churchB. I would ask then, why did Jesus say: I will build my church Matt. 16:18
C. How do we know what is/is not right with/about the church?
D. The obvious answer is to look in the scriptures for an answer
E. The responsibility as an evangelist is to set the church in Order and Ordain Elders in every city , as well as preach the word
F. Let s look at some of the things we can find out in scripture about the NT church, especially as found in the book of Acts
2. Marks of the NT Church
A. They were characterized by Love Jn. 13:34,35
1. Especially love for each other 1 Jn. 4:20
2. Look around; do you love these people?If not, how do you know that you are a disciple?How can anyone know that you are a disciple if you don t love your brethren?
3. We saw expression of that Love yesterday at the baby shower
4. They shared fellowship meals - Jude :12; Acts 2:46
B. The church was the center of their lives
1. Actually, Jesus was the center; the church was the natural outgrowth of that.
a. They were people drawn together by a common devotion and purpose.
2. Not the job, not school activities, not a hobby, not a sport, not a cause
a. They did have jobs, education, fun, etc.
b. But those things did not define them.That wasn t what they were about.
C. They were busy spreading the gospel Acts 4:31; 8:4; 18:26
1. Thus they grew numerically dramatically
2. They baptized the converts Matt. 28:19
D. Those who were Christians, gathered together on Sunday, the first day of the week.
1. The primary purpose of that gathering was fellowship and edification
a. Heb.10:24,25; 1 Cor.14:26
2. The primary directive was that these gatherings be decent and in order - 1 Cor.14:40
3. Everyone participated - 1 Cor.14:26
a. There was no audience
4. They all met together - 1 Cor.14:26
5. At some times & places they gathered daily as much as was possible
a. Acts 2:46; 19:9,10
6. Their gatherings included singing and prayer
a. 1 Cor.14:15; Heb.2:12
1) to and about God
2) Often sang when with other Christians.
a) Acts 16:25; Mt. 26:30
b. Members commonly said Amen during assemblies.
1) 1 Cor.14:16
c. Prayer was relevant -Acts 12:12
7. There was teaching 1 Cor.14:29-35
a. There was no set # ofteachers (less than 4) :29,31
b. Others offered insight and asked questions :30,35
c. This was lead and overseen exclusively by the men :34,35
8. Each Sunday they took the Lord s Supper
a. 1 Cor.11:23ff This was a group activity, never (as far as we know) done by one s self. - 1 Cor.11:33
b. Hence it s being called communion (Joint participation)
c. This was not a common meal 1 Cor.11:34
9. Each Sunday they also gave freely of their money and possessions to the church treasury.
a. 1 Cor.16:1,2
b. People didn t hesitate to spend their $ on the church, it was the most important thing in their lives
1) Some spend freely on family, others spend freely on themselves or their hobbies, others on causes that are important to them, Christians spent freely on the church Acts 4:32-37; 2 Cor.9:7
10. They often met in homes - Rom.16:5; Acts 2:46
a. They also met in public places Acts 2:46; 19:9
11. Beyond this we find no form or tradition in scripture
E. They were familiar with the scriptures
1. Acts 17:11
A. In scripture, we find the essence of these assemblies was the fellowship and edification of the believers.
B. Their primary function was not to hold services but rather to spread the word of the Lord, keeping themselves unspotted from the world.
C. These assemblies were designed to help them do that.
D. The time we meet, the number of songs, the number of preachers, the topics covered, the order, the place of the meeting, what we wear, how long everyone was there, etc.