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Church … Been There, Done That

posted Feb 2, 2014, 6:25 AM by Website Administrator   [ updated Feb 2, 2014, 6:26 AM ]
January 26, 2014
Key Passage: Acts 2:37-47

“Church … Been There, Done That”

Growing up, the look and feel of the churches I went to formed a place of fellowship for me as well as the foundation for confusion and paradox.  For instance, how could people who love each other turn on each other so quickly?  How could people who profess to care about God’s Word not have a clue what it actually says?  How could people who care so much about the goings on in the church not give a rip about the dying world outside its doors, and how could people who did care about the sin lives of others have no regard for their own sin?  As a result, I kicked church to the curb from the time I was 18 until Lynn began to drag me back at age 26.  I’d developed a “been there, done that” perspective.  In fact, it wasn’t until I was 30 that I was actually saved.  That’s when it occurred to me that life doesn’t just “happen.”  God is in control, He loves me, and he never makes mistakes!  His purposes and power are behind everything.  Today’s passage shows us what the “church” should really look like … especially when it comes to sharing with and caring for a dying world. 

“Cut to the heart”….(Hebrews 4:12-13)Jesus is the Word, and the Word is a double-edged sword:

“Living” – If the Bible doesn’t seem alive to you, we can draw one of two conclusions: 1) the Word is dead, or 2) your heart is in trouble.  Even Jesus says that hearing the Word is like a farmer sowing seed.  When the seed of the Word of God goes into believer’s hearts, it comes alive.  It takes on a life of its own.
“Active” – It’s active, it grows, it affects, it moves us.  We get our word “energy” from the Greek form of “active.”  “News may inform us; novels may inspire us; poetry can enrapture us, but only the Word of God can transform us.”
“Penetrates” – What’s the big deal about a double-edged sword?  It cuts both ways.  The reason why the Roman Empire was so powerful was because they created the double-edged sword – it was the atom bomb of its day (and it’s what Peter used to cut off the ear of the soldier).  No surgical technique can change bad attitudes, lust, hypocrisy, greed, hatred, and an unforgiving spirit.  Only the Word of God can change the hearts of people.
“Judges” – “judge” here doesn’t mean “condemn” – it means “assess.”  Remember, every time someone met Jesus their heart was revealed to Him – and to them (e.g. the woman at the well).  The Word discerns the intentions and motives of the heart – and reveals them to us by conviction.
“Lays Bare” – this is a sacrificial term – the phrase they used to describe an animal whose neck is being bent back before their throat is slit….there’s a nice visual for you, but that’s actually us.

Acts 2:42-47 Marks of the first church in existence … what a “real” church should look like:

1. Absolutely committed to the Word of God and absolute truth. Most churches today rely on a “feel good” message to appease people and grow membership.  The first church didn’t give a rip about numbers - they were totally committed to studying, discussing, and sharing God’s truth.

2. Absolutely committed to worshipping and praying together.  The idea that one can be a follower of Christ and not be committed to getting together with other Christians was completely foreign.

3. Absolutely committed to evangelism – sharing God’s Word in order to bring others to Christ.

4. Absolutely committed to taking care of the “least of these.”  That said, “social activism Christianity” without the first three just makes this a better place to go to hell from …

Bottom Line: Part of our integrity problems are in the misconception that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin.  It’s a change in belief without a change in behavior.  It’s revival without reformation, without repentance.  Simply said, this is known as having “been there, done that” disease – and it’s deadly.  If the spirit of God has given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God, you know there is no criminal who is half as bad in actuality as you know yourself to be in possibility.  Therefore, since we serve a Savior who indeed has “been there, done that,” our lives should reflect the same … and so should our church.