The Kind Of Christian & Church God Wants – Part 2
A Spirit-Filled, Powerful, Fruitful Christian & Church
John 15:8 – “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
John 15:16 – “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain…”
The 1st Key to Being What God Wants Us to Be
In Part 1 of this 2 part series of articles, we looked at the early church in Acts. We discovered the 1st Key we need to have in order to be the kind of Christian & church God wants us to be. We have to be completely devoted and committed to Jesus.
In Part 2 we will look into God’s Word to find the 2nd Key. The thing we absolutely have to do in order to be the kind of Christian & church God wants. If we are totally devoted and committed to Jesus and to doing whatever He commands us to do, then we will have the 2nd Key also. We will gladly do whatever He tells us to do and be whatever He tells us to be. No matter what the cost.
In Part 1 we dug into Acts 2:42-27a. Now we will look at the 2nd half of Acts 2:47.
The Lord Added Daily…
Acts 2:47b – “and the Lord added to their number daily those who were (joining the church ?) being saved.
- Question – how should we define success for a church ? Number of members ? Attendance ? How many programs we have ? How big the campus is ?
- We ought to define success as a Christian and church the way God does. 1) as doing whatever Jesus tells us to do. 2) Is there eternal spiritual fruit being produced in our lives and in our service and in our church ?
- The eternal spiritual fruit shown in this verse is salvations. Many people were being reached for Jesus and saved. Many were being forgiven of their sins and having peace with God. And a new restored relationship with God. And eternal life in heaven.
God Produces Spiritual Fruit Through His Faithful & Devoted Servants
Notice in Acts 2:47b that it is the Lord God that is adding to their number those who were being saved. It is God that produces eternal fruit. And it is God who receives the glory (see John 15:8).
- One of the Main Signs of a Spirit-filled and fruitful Christian and church is that there will be Eternal Spiritual Fruit. Eternal Spiritual Fruit comes in 2 forms. 1) Salvations. 2) Spiritual growth of the believers. In other words, Llves are being transformed.
A Lifestyle of Joining God In His Mission
Notice also that Acts 2:47b says that “the Lord was adding to their number – daily” – this is significant, and it shows that His people, the church, was doing their part regularly in their daily lives. Following and obeying Jesus and doing their part that He commanded them to do was a lifestyle.
They didn’t just do their part as a special event once in awhile, they regularly did their part in their daily life. Because they were fully devoted and committed to Jesus. And Jesus commanded them (and us) to “Follow me and I will make you fishes of men.” Fishers of men are people who actively in their daily life tell as many people as possible about Jesus and how to be saved and have a restored relationship with God & eternal life in heaven.
The 2ND KEY to being the Christian & Church God Wants : faithfully joining Him in HIS mission
- We MUST be on mission with God in order to experience God’s presence/glory/power in our church, and to see Him doing what only He can do. Our part is to join God in the work He is already doing and be on mission with Him… in our “Jerusalem” (local area), our “Judea & Samaria” (regional area), and “the ends of the earth” (as He leads). Acts 1:8
If participating in God’s Kingdom work & mission, or being on mission with God is the 2nd Key in order to be the kind of Christian & church God wants, then it is vitally important that we understand what God’s mission is. Many churches are dead or dying today because they are not filled with God’s presence and glory and power. And they are not filled with God’s presence & glory & power because their hearts are far from God, and they have abandoned God’s mission for their own mission.
What Is God’s Mission ?
Question ? What is God’s mission ? There are 2 Parts to God’s Mission. We need to look into God’s Word the Bible to find out what God’s mission is. God clearly reveals in His Word what His mission and passion is, and that He wants His followers and the church to obey and faithfully participate in His mission:
- I Timothy 2:4 – God wants (desires) all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
- Missions is not about a mission trip, or a special missions or outreach event the church has a few times a year, or a special ministry for a small group of people with a special gift.
- Missions is all about God’s heart, and His desire & passion for all to be saved… for all people to have a restored relationship with Him and eternal life with Him in heaven.
- God has such a strong desire and passion for all to be saved, that He sent His only Son Jesus to suffer and die on a cross… to make it possible for all of us to be saved. His love and desire & passion for this is very strong.
The First Part of God’s Mission
When Jesus was here on earth he stated the first part of God’s mission very clearly:
- Luke 19:10 – “I came to seek and save the lost”.
- He said he came to seek the lost because He knows people’s hearts and He knows lost people very well. He knows that most lost people will not step foot into a church, so because He loves them so much Jesus went out to where they were, to share the Good News of salvation with them. His attitude was that He loved them so much, that if they were not going to come to Him then He was going to go out to them and try to help them to have a restored relationship with God.
- We need to follow Jesus’ example, and love all people like He does and go out to them and try to help them to be forgiven for their sins and have a restored relationship with God… no matter what It costs.
Who Would Fulfill God’s Mission After Jesus Returned to Heaven ?
Jesus knew that He was going to die on the cross and then go back up to heaven. Who was going to continue to go and do God’s mission ? God had a plan:
- Matthew 4:19 – Jesus said “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.
- Literally Jesus was talking to His disciples or His followers in this verse. These were the people who would become the apostles – the leaders and pastors of the new church in the book of Acts
- In most churches today, if anyone at all is doing God’s mission of seeking and saving the lost, it is usually only a very small group of people. Maybe the pastor(s) and the leaders and a few others.
- Is this the way God wants it, only a few people participating with Him in His mission ?
God Provides The Power & Ability to Do His Kingdom Mission
- Before we look at that It is important to note that Jesus said “I will make you fishers of men”. He doesn’t say “go out and do your best at being fishers of men.”
- He is saying that IF we obey Him and do our part and go out and seek and save the lost – share the Gospel with them – then HE will empower us to do the mission work. And He through the Holy Spirit will take care of the results too and produce the eternal fruit and success.
Jesus says this in a different way in Acts 1:8 – “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. These are His last words to His followers before rising up to heaven, so they are very important words.
Is God’s Mission Only for Pastors & Missionaries ?
So, in Matthew 4:19 when Jesus says “Follow me and I will make you “fishers of men”, is He talking only to pastors, full time missionaries, and church leaders ? Or is He talking to all of His people ? Pastors and leaders, or every person in the church ? We need to look into God’s Word to find the answer.
- Acts 8:1,4 – On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria… verse 4 – “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”
- The apostles (pastors & leaders of the church) all stayed in Jerusalem. The rest of the church, the regular people of the church, were scattered to other places. Acts 8:4 tells us that all of the people who were scattered preached the Word (the Gospel) wherever they went. Not just the pastor. All of the regular people of the church preached the Gospel.
- ALL of the people in the early church understood that Jesus was talking to everyone in the church when He said “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” And they ALL obeyed Him and did it. Even though there was a lot of persecution and they could even die for obeying Jesus. That is total devotion and commitment to Jesus.
What God Can Do Through Humble & Devoted People
Here is the result of such total devotion & commitment to Jesus. And obedience to His command in Matthew 4:19:
- Acts 11:19-21 – “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the LORD Jesus. 21The LORD’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the LORD.”
God’s Presence, God’s Power, God’s Resources…
- The Lord’s hand represents His presence, His glory, His resources, and His power… working through the regular people of the church and producing many salvations and eternal spiritual fruit.
- Because everyone in the church did their part, God was able to bless and empower them and He produced the results and the eternal spiritual fruit.
- They all saw God do great things because of their obedience and devotion to Jesus, and they were all in awe of God and the great things He did.
The 1st Part of God’s Mission is for all of us to be “fishers of men”. To actively in our daily lives go and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And share with as many people as we can.
There is a 2nd Part of God’s Mission
- Matthew 28:18-20 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- Once we reach people for Jesus and they are saved, they are new believers and babies in the faith. God wants us to help them to grow spiritually.
Disciples Not Just Converts
- God does not just want converts. He wants faithful and fruitful and Spirit-filled disciples (followers)
- All of us in the church are to participate in this part of God’s mission also. Make disciples.
- We are all to invest our time, efforts, and resources. Invest into the lives of other believers, especially new believers, to help them to grow spiritually. And to help them to grow closer to Jesus and more like Him.
- This is not just the job of the pastor(s) or Sunday School teachers. Or small group leaders. It is the job of all of us in the church. We can all invest our time to help others to grow spiritually. And to love them, and encourage them, and to help them learn to read the Bible. And help them to learn to pray and hear God’s voice.
When we are faithful and do our part, then God will do His part. And He will produce fruit – salvations and spiritual growth. Then we will be the kind of Christian & church God wants. A Spirit-filled, powerful, victorious, and fruitful Christian and church.
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