Mature Community

(Jesus said) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

 

A community of those who are a path to maturity has a few characteristics…

 

  1. It is inclusive

 

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10

 

  1. It is real

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

 

  1. It is accepting

 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

 

  1. It is encouraging

 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14

Haunted House

Haunted houses are always portrayed as scary, run-down buildings, but we want the Holy Ghost to haunt our church.

 

So how do we know if the Holy Spirit is at work in a church?

 

  1. There is a visible expression of peace

 

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

 

Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father. Ephesians 2:16-18 (The Message)

 

  1. There is evidence of shared life

 

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Acts 2:44

 

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Galatians 2:2-3 (NLT)

 

  1. There is a high level of participation in the community

 

They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Acts 2:45-47

 

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:6-8

 

  1. There is evidence of growth

 

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47

Catch the Vision: HOW?

Review:

 

Why do we need to catch the vision?

Because we are to fulfill Christ’s mission.

  • We are to explain God to others
  • We are to bring God’s Kingdom to others
  • We are to make disciples
  • We are to surrender our lives

 

How did Jesus fulfill his mission?

 

  1. He taught _crowds_

 

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable… Luke 8:4

 

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd… Acts 2:14

 

  1. He equipped _a small group__

 

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases. Luke 9:1

 

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

 

  1. He sent _them out_

 

And he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Luke 9:2

 

Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. Acts 2:43

A Church Sees God at Work

Should I not be concerned about that great city? Jonah 4:11

Warning Signs that God is not at work…

Sign #1: You rest on what was done in the past

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

Sign #2: You start referring to us & them

Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. Acts 10:28 (NLT)

Sign #3: You retreat to the church

Sign #4: You would rather die than change

 

God at Work Signs…

Sign #1: Growth

(Jesus said) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

  • Spiritual Growth
  • Numerical Growth

 

 Sign #2: Hope

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

Sign #3: Compassion

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36