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Snapshots of a Healthy Church Part 1

September 8, 2019 Speaker: Brian Wilbur Series: Snapshots of a Healthy Church

Topic: Church Health Passage: Acts 2:41–47


An Exposition of Acts 2:41-47

By Pastor Brian Wilbur

Date:   September 8, 2019

Series: Snapshots of a Healthy Church

Note:   Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard   Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Our church family was blessed with an action-packed August. During the course of the month, I took note of the fact that two different individuals – on separate occasions – referred back to our lengthy sermon series on Philippians, which actually ended in mid-May. I suppose that when you spend fifteen months in one book, the passage of three months doesn’t feel like a long time. But what really jumps out to me about August is that in August we lived Philippians in a really tangible way. Fellowshipping with one another, partnering with our missionaries, and being unified as a church family were significant lessons that we encountered from Philippians. These lessons are meant to be experienced and lived – and we get to do this all the time, but we especially did it in August. Consider:

A Wednesday evening picnic and fellowship with one of our missionary families in early August. 42 people.

A Saturday afternoon baptism service followed by food and unrushed conversation. 55 people.

A Sunday evening ‘Family Meeting’. 37 members.

A Wednesday evening dinner at someone’s house – lots of food, lots of interaction, lots of play. 35 people, and it wasn’t even an official church function!

A Thursday morning load-up-the-moving-van event. 23 people were pictured in front of that U-Haul! A Thursday evening unload-the-moving-van event. Another 20 or so people, and two ladies provided dinner. A couple weeks later, Jerry, Becky, David, and Adrian had helped Joel’s family move into their new house across town.

Then there was the August 23-27 Missions Conference:

Laura picked up Emily and Pam in the Dexter area on Thursday.

Lodging for our missionaries was provided by the Welch’s, the Merrill’s, and our family.

The Friday evening General Session included short presentations from Kaylynn and Andy, and Emily gave the main talk. 85 people, including 31 youth.

The Saturday morning Men’s Breakfast featured guest speaker Pastor Charles, a man from Zambia who serves as a pastor of an African congregation in Lewiston. 22 people, including 7 children and youth. Now Pastor Charles wants some of us from South Paris Baptist Church to go and share the Word with his Bethel Christian Center congregation – Jon is doing so next Sunday and Doug is doing so on October 20. Here is potential for regional partnership right in front of us.

The Saturday evening General Session included short presentations from Becky and Joel, and Mark gave the main talk. 53 people. After the service a few men could be seen gathered around Mark, laying their hands on him and praying for him.

The Sunday morning General Session included a short presentation from Jon (Washburn), and another John – the one who is a missionary – preached the sermon. 115 people. More than half attended the Fellowship Meal following the service, and y’all definitely have some decent international cuisine cooking skills.

Of course, larger isn’t always better. We concluded the conference with three smaller gatherings. Mark, Pam, and Emily had the opportunity to share with a small group at our house on Sunday afternoon. 28 people, including the children playing outside. Jon and Vonuo, you can make fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce and samosas with mint-tomato sauce anytime! On Monday John and Linda had lunch with the Welch’s Bible Study group. 13 people. And on Tuesday Linda shared at a morning fellowship. 13 ladies.

So many participated to make our Missions Conference a success – the Outreach Team, the Supper Committee, the Media Team, the musicians, the hosts and coordinators of various events, those who introduced our speakers, the Treasurer, and your prayers and your presence. 

Friends, all this is Philippians-in-action! This is love-on-display! This is the church doing life together as a family! And the point of today’s talk is a simple one: don’t stop now! Keep your hands to the plow, and don’t look back! Let’s grow together in the grace of God!

Brothers and sisters, we are at a point in the life of our church family where we need to press into the Lord and into one another with great eagerness, in order to do the work that God is calling us to do – because the work that God is calling us to do is work that we must do together. There are signs that this church family is being stirred toward local evangelism, regional partnerships, and global missions.  My hope is that our action-packed August whets your appetite for more – for more collaboration, for more disciple-making, for more hospitality and the deepening of relationships, for more Scripture-saturated vision of what God might want to do in us, among us, and through us. Therefore, press in! Let’s leverage late summer momentum into ongoing and eager devotion to the kingdom of God!


When God’s Word and God’s Spirit are actively and powerfully at work in a congregation of baptized believers, August-like months keep happening, and our glad participation in them keeps growing. In Acts 2:41-47, Luke gives us some important snapshots of a faithful church. Let us join together in hearing the Word of the Lord:

“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:41-47)


Luke’s description of the first church in verses 42-47 is nothing less than a portrait of a healthy church. This is what happens when a group of people are transformed by God’s grace: they unlearn their former way of life, and now they live in eager fellowship with the Lord and with the Lord’s people. But before we walk through verses 42-47, we’ve got to back up and look at what happened first.

In Acts 1:9, the risen Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. Thereafter Jesus’ small band of 120 followers (Acts 1:15) was gathered together in prayerful expectation of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom the Lord Jesus had promised to send to them. The Holy Spirit would be given for the express purpose of empowering mission. Jesus, ten days after He ascended into heaven, kept His promise and poured out the Holy Spirit on His people – and this is recorded in Acts 2:1-4. The Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and empowered them to proclaim “the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:11) in many different languages to people from all over the world who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish religious festival called the Feast of Weeks.

Some of the onlookers who heard these 120 disciples speaking in all these different languages thought that they were drunk. It was at this time that the apostle Peter stood up and preached the gospel to many of the people who had gathered in Jerusalem. The gospel is the good news of what God has accomplished through Jesus Christ. God had previously promised that He would do these things through the Old Testament prophets, and so Peter quotes from two of the prophets – Joel and David. The point is that what God foretold that He would do, He did – and He did it through Jesus Christ. God kept His promise!

Drawing upon Peter’s words in Acts 2:22-36, let me proclaim the gospel to you:

1) Jesus Came and Did Mighty Works

First, Jesus came and performed “mighty works”: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know” (Acts 2:22). In a later sermon Peter said, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38) There are many in our day who are also “oppressed by the devil”, and they need the deliverance that only comes through the powerful grace of our Lord.

2) Jesus Died according to God’s Predetermined Plan

Second, Jesus died according to the predetermined plan of God: “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” (Acts 2:23) Although he doesn’t say it here, in one of his letters Peter tells us that Jesus died as a sacrifice for sin: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). So the sacrificial death of Jesus is in fact good news, but Peter is making another point in Acts 2:23. Peter’s point in Acts 2:23 is that you – the people in the crowd who were listening to him – you are in real trouble, because “you crucified and killed” the God-appointed Savior. Stay tuned, because Peter is going to return to this point at the end of his sermon.

3) God Raised Jesus from the Dead

Third, God raised Jesus from the dead: “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be hold by it.” (Acts 2:24) Jesus conquered the grave, and He has opened the door to everlasting life for everyone who believes in Him.

4) The Exalted Lord Jesus Pours Out the Holy Spirit on His People

Fourth, the resurrected and exalted Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit on His people: “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.” (Acts 2:33) These 120 disciples that you see and that you hear speaking in so many different languages about the great things that God has done – this is not the work of wine, and they are not drunk; instead, this is the work of the risen Lord Jesus, and they are filled not with fermented drink but with the Holy Spirit, and so they are overflowing with the power of God at work in the very words of their mouth!

Jesus came, Jesus died for our sins according to God’s predetermined plan, Jesus rose again in victory over death, and – in fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy that looked forward to a future day when God would pour out His Spirit on all of His people – the exalted Lord Jesus is the Mediator of the new covenant and the Messiah who gives the Spirit to everyone who believes in Him.

The Gospel Demands Our Repentance

This gospel is good news for those who humbly receive it, but it is bad news for those who remain bound in their sin. And this is the point that Peter is driving home to the unconverted Jews who were listening to him in Jerusalem: Jesus is the Messiah, but you killed him! As Peter declares in verse 36: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36) Peter’s final word was not intended to comfort his hearers, but rather to convict them of their sin and show them their great need for mercy.

Notice the effect that Peter’s message had on those who heard him: “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

Well, the good news of the gospel is that sinners can turn to the Lord and be forgiven of their sins and be reconciled to God. Yes, the preaching of the gospel is intended to convict sinners of their sin and cut them to the heart, but not in order to leave them in a state of despair, but rather to drive them to the mercy of Christ. Thus Peter holds forth the promise of salvation as he urges his hearers to repent:

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”” (Acts 2:38-40)


Repentance is a deep inward change of heart and mind in which we say ‘No’ to the way of sin and say ‘Yes’ to God. To repent means to turn away from the path of sin and to wholeheartedly embrace the Lord. More specifically, to repent means to no longer reject Jesus as Savior and King, but to lay hold of Him and trust Him and love Him and follow Him. Though you crucified Him as if He were a cursed man, now you ought to confess Him as He really is – as the risen Lord and exalted Messiah.

Be Baptized

This inward turning to the Lord is meant to be acted upon immediately in a physical and tangible way: “be baptized.” The Lord is not interested in ‘secret disciples’ but in wholehearted disciples who immediately and visibly submit to the waters of baptism. Don’t try to be wiser than God: some of you are tempted to think it is okay to repent (v. 38), receive the word (v. 41), and believe (v. 44), but delay your baptism for years. But it is not okay. Do not separate what God has joined together: “Repent and be baptized” as one whole-hearted and whole-bodied action of turning to the Lord. If there is anyone here who claims to have repented and believed, but has not yet been baptized, I urge you to obey the word of the Lord and submit to the waters of baptism – not at some future time, not next summer, but in the early fall.

Be Immersed into the Saving Reality of Jesus Christ

The whole point of this whole-hearted and whole-bodied turning to the Lord is to be fully immersed into the saving reality of Jesus Christ. The whole point is to be detached from a life of sin so that you can be gloriously attached to the life that is found in Jesus Christ: “Repent and be baptized everyone one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Our sins separate us from God, but Jesus the Lamb of God takes those sins away and covers them with His precious blood. And this blood-bought forgiveness has a larger purpose, namely, that we be in fellowship with the living God and that the Holy Spirit be powerfully at work in our lives. The good news of the gospel is that sinners who have spent a lifetime alienated from God can – through the cross of Jesus – enter into a new life of communion with God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

On this particular occasion, about three thousand people responded to Peter’s message: “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41) This verse captures the biblical way in which people are added to the church: they receive the word of the gospel (in other words, they repent and believe), they submit to the waters of baptism, and they are thereby added to the visible fellowship of God’s people.

The New Life that follows after Receiving the Word and Spirit

Now here’s the question: What happens when God’s Word and God’s Spirit are actively and powerfully at work in a congregation of baptized believers? What I want you to see as we walk into verses 42-47 is that verses 42-47 are, in fact, a description of what happens when God’s Word and God’s Spirit are ruling and transforming a congregation of baptized believers, or baptized repenters, or baptized receivers of the word. The way that Luke has set this passage up is by telling us that receiving the word (v. 41) is the foundational starting point of following Jesus. So verses 42-47 describe what happens when the word of the gospel is received and begins to shape the life of a people. Luke has also set this passage up by telling us that those who repent and receive the word and are baptized receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (v. 38). So verses 42-47 describe what happens when the Spirit of God is received and begins to shape the life of a people. The point, of course, is that this beautiful, compelling, and fruitful way of life that is described in verses 42-47 is not something that we manufacture out of our own strength, but is instead the result of God’s Word and God’s Spirit governing and guiding our hearts and lives.


The Word

First, notice that those who received the word (v. 41) continued to “devote themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” This goes right along with the Great Commission that Jesus entrusted to His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) To be a follower of Jesus means, first and foremost, to be a diligent listener and disciplined learner of God’s holy Word. 

Suppose that the President of the United States invited you and a few of your friends to a meeting with himself in the Oval Office. The President doesn’t tell you the purpose of the meeting; he just tells you to come. So you and your friends go, with some amount of fear and trembling. Put politics aside – this isn’t about politics, this is about having a healthy respect for the highest office in our land. You dress for the occasion, show up on time, are cordially welcomed at the White House and then led into the Oval Office. You and your friends walk in, quiet and reserved, and you notice a few staff persons scattered about, and the President standing behind his executive desk. You also notice some wonderful refreshments off to one side, no doubt prepared special for this occasion. What do you do? Remember, this is an analogy, but look at Acts 2:42. You’ve got God’s Word (the apostles’ teaching), you’ve got each other (the fellowship), you’ve got food (the breaking of bread), and you’ve got a tongue for speaking to God (the prayers). And what we need to understand is that the order is important. Now, back to the Oval Office. The only sensible action for you and your friends is to wait quietly for the President to speak, and let his speaking shape your conduct while you are in the Oval Office. Only a fool would rush into the fellowship of socialization with your friends, only a fool would rush to the food at the refreshments table, and only a fool would open up your own mouth and start to speak to the President as if what you had to say was most important. You would be quiet, humble, reverent, and wait for the man to speak![1] Let the one who has ears to hear, understand the point of the analogy. Dear Christians, our first order of business is always to wait quietly upon the Lord for Him to speak. God speaks through His written Word, and God speaks through His preached Word – as we see here with the apostles teaching the people. In either case, it is God speaking, and our first duty as disciples is to let Him speak and hear His voice, and let His speaking shape every other aspect of our life. And we can be sure that God’s Word will always draw us into deeper fellowship with one another.

The Fellowship

Second, we see that these ‘students of the Word’ were devoted to the fellowship, meaning that they were devoted to one another and to the common spiritual life that they now shared. They gathered together, they were woven into each other’s lives, and they took care of one another.

The Breaking of Bread

Third, these Word-shaped, Spirit-filled disciples ate together. This reference to “the breaking of bread” could have the narrower meaning of the Lord’s Supper or it could have the broader meaning of sharing meals together. Just as baptism had physically and tangibly expressed their inward repentance, so now eating together physically and tangibly expressed their spiritual bond of fellowship.

The Prayers

Fourth, this ‘congregation of the Word’ was characterized by prayer: “they devoted themselves to… the prayers.” They were a praying people; they prayed together; they prayed for God to keep doing mighty things in their midst.

Here, then, we have a church family that is characterized by Word and prayer – and within the framework of Word and prayer, they are following Jesus together and sharing their lives with each other.

Holy Fear

Fifth, it is fitting that “the prayers” are immediately followed by – in verse 43 – a profound sense of “awe” and holy fear overwhelmed “every soul” (which I take to mean every soul who was part of the church family, though it could possibly point beyond the church to the wider community as well). “[Awe] came upon every soul,” particularly as “many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.” Brothers and sisters, our prayers ought to be full of expectation as we anticipate God stretching forth His almighty hand to do great and mighty things in our midst.

In Acts 1:14, the small band of disciples “with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14), then in Acts 2 the Holy Spirit came upon them.

In Acts 4 the disciples prayed for boldness to continue preaching the Word and they prayed for God to do healings and miracles in their midst. “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)

Learn this: God is present with His people, and when God is present with His people, God does amazing things among them and through them: people get saved, demons get put to flight, relationships get restored, needs get met, and healings take place. We cannot control and dictate what happens and when it happens and where it happens, because we are not God. But we pray into God’s work with holy fear and eager expectation.

Love-in-Action: What’s Mine is Yours

Sixth, there is love-in-action. One of the vitally important ways that God meets our needs is through one another. We are a church family; we do life together; and we love one another in practical and sacrificial ways. Luke says in verses 44-45:

“And all who believed [i.e., all who repented, all who received the word] were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)

Similarly, Acts 4:32 says,

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32)

This is not the redistribution of property that comes about through government coercion or through some utopian dream. This is the generous sharing of property that comes about through a transformed heart of love. The power of greed and materialism and selfish ambition has been broken, and in its place is a desire to give and help and serve. It is the attitude that says, ‘We are family, and what’s mine is yours.' 

My family was remarkably blessed over Labor Day weekend. We had planned on taking a short vacation to somewhere, but we hadn’t worked out the details. Finally, on Monday August 26 – just four days before our departure – I made reservations for a hotel in Concord, New Hampshire. About the same time I reached out to friends who live in Concord and asked them if we could visit them on that Saturday or Sunday evening and enjoy some pizza and fellowship together. As it happened, however, while we were going away for three nights in New Hampshire, they were going away for three nights in Maine – the same three nights. The next day, on Tuesday August 27, they asked us if we wanted to stay at their place during our vacation. They said, “We would absolutely love for you to get to do that!!” What a huge blessing this was – a large house full of toys (this family has five kids), and a large backyard with a playground and plenty of fun things to do outside. With just a four-day notice, they gladly made their home available for us, and they made us feel very much at home, and they made our vacation about a hundred times more relaxing. Their attitude was, ‘We are family, and what’s ours is yours.’

Together in Daily Worship

Finally, Luke circles back to the daily worship that was taking place in this newly formed church community. The initial description of devotion “to the apostles’ teaching… and the prayers” (v. 42) is indicative of worship, and so it continued: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes” (v. 46). Notice that their life together had two hubs: the centralized hub (the temple), and the decentralized hubs (the homes of believers). It is good to have a centralized meeting place, whether for three-thousand-plus people (as they had) or one-hundred-twenty people (as we have), and it is also good to be in and out of each other’s homes. According to Acts 5, preaching and teaching were taking place at both hubs: “in the temple and from house to house” (Acts 5:42).

These believers had large hearts as they ate together in each other’s homes – “they received their food with glad and generous hearts” (v. 46). They were thrilled to be able to share what they had with others, and they were thankful for the good gifts that they received from others. And the whole thing was punctuated with praise – they were “praising God” (v. 47). And the beauty of their fellowship and worship overflowed in order to make a powerful impact on other people – “and having favor with all the people” (v. 47), which can also be translated “having goodwill towards all the people,” which would put the emphasis on Christians loving their non-Christian neighbors.[2] Either way, they were making an impact! As all this was happening, the church kept growing – “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (v. 47)


With the whole picture of verses 42-47 in our mind, let me make three short observations.

All In

First, all of these disciples were ‘all in’ to what God was doing among them. “[Every] soul” was overwhelmed by God’s powerful presence. “[All] who believed were together.” They were “devoted” to the Lord and to one another. God’s Word and God’s Spirit had transformed their priorities, their relationships, and their handling of possessions. They “had all things in common,” which means that they didn’t hold anything back from one another. In soul and in body, they were ‘all in’. Are you ‘all in’ to what God is doing among us?

Flood of Spiritual Life

Second, these disciples didn’t have neat and tidy compartments for the Christian life. We get tempted to truncate our Christianity and put our devotion into little compartments: we could have the praise and worship compartment, and the discipleship compartment, and the fellowship compartment, and the charitable contributions compartment – and, you know, a few hours a week, and I’m good. But look at Acts 2:42-47 – what do you see here? I don’t see neat and tidy little compartments. I see a flood of spiritual life that touches everyone and everything, all the time. In one moment they are “[receiving] their food with glad and generous hearts” and in the next moment they are “praising God” and in the next moment they are hearing a sermon and in the next moment they are praying for a brother in need and in the next moment they are rejoicing over the newest convert, and it’s not because of some sophisticated scheduling app on their smartphone. Acts 2:42-47 is the kind of thing that happens when God’s Word and God’s Spirit are powerfully present in a congregation of baptized believers. Do you like the religious compartments to keep things manageable and give you ready excuses to sit things out, or are have you come alive in the flood of spiritual life that God pours out on His people?

Effective Evangelism

Third, evangelism happened while they were devoting themselves to the Lord and to each other. I find it interesting that Luke doesn’t say anything about evangelism in verses 42-47. And yet, notice the connection between verse 41 and verse 47. In verse 41, “there were added that day about three thousand souls.” In verse 47, “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” So, read between the lines or ‘between the verses’. This congregation of Word-shaped, Spirit-filled believers were having a powerful impact upon their surrounding community. They were at the temple, no doubt running into Jewish worshipers who didn’t believe in Jesus yet. They were all around the city in one another’s homes, no doubt running into neighbors and family members who didn’t believe in Jesus yet. The apostles continued to preach the gospel. And it is safe to assume that at least some of the three thousand converts also began to proclaim the gospel. And it is also safe to assume that the congregation itself, so full of devotion and love and prayer and sacrifice and togetherness, was a compelling testimony to “all the people” of their city. Do you believe that the Lord will add to our number as we are living the transformed life that Luke describes in verses 42-47? Will you pray into that? Will you expect God to show up in decisive ways?


One of the dangers in hearing a sermon like this is walking away from it with the mindset, ‘Good for them, that’s nice, but that was then, and this is now, and I’m rather settled in my ways.’ You may well be settled, but I have come to unsettle you! Actually, I am not the one who does the unsettling – God does. So I really want to challenge each one of us to ask ourselves, ‘What must I do to more faithfully live the spiritual reality that is described in this passage?’


I have two points of application. The first point of application involves prayer. Would you take this week and prayerfully meditate on Acts 2:41-47? And ask yourself, ‘What is God leading me to do in order to be increasingly ‘all in’ to what God is doing among my church family?’ If you are married, after a few days you and your spouse can sit down and ask yourselves, ‘What is God leading us to do in order to be increasingly ‘all in’ to what God is doing among our church family?’ If you have children, involve them in the discussion. With an open Bible and an open heart, see what God does in you and your family.

Take the Next Step

The second point of application involves an action step. What is your next step? Every one of us should continually be taking ‘next steps’ in order to grow in our walk with the Lord and in our love for our church family. Most of the time our growth is not dramatic but incremental, one small act of faithfulness here followed by another small act of faithfulness there. As you ponder this passage, be honest with yourself: following Jesus and loving your Christian brothers and sisters is not something you can do in one or two or three hours a week. These folks were ‘all in’ – and their stuff was ‘all in’ – and they were together often – and they were living it “day by day”. What step might you take to walk more fully into this reality?

Maybe your next step of obedience is to “be baptized.”

Maybe your next step is to start attending a Sunday School class or midweek Bible Study.

Maybe your next step is to invite people into your home and get to know your fellow believers in a deeper way.

Maybe your next step is to use your material resources in order to meet the needs of people around you.

Maybe your next step is to pray into an enlarged vision for what South Paris Baptist Church could be and should be in the years ahead.

For some quiet and reserved person here this morning, maybe your next step is come to our Fellowship Meal on September 29.

These possible next steps are only suggestive, but in reality the number of potential next steps is exceedingly large. You might be burdened for evangelism, or for a ministry of mercy, or for global missions, or for teaching, or for strengthening relationships among us – and that burden is a gift to this church family. As you pray into your burden and share it with others and draw others into it, will make us a stronger church family that is doing life together under God’s Word and God’s Spirit.

Don’t be a mere hearer of the Word. Instead be resolved to pray about it, and then put it into practice. 

Let’s pray.




[1] I have developed this analogy out of a similar analogy that I heard from Dr. Daniel I. Block, one of my seminary professors at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

[2] Peterson, David G.  The Acts of the Apostles (The Pillar New Testament Commentary).  Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009: p. 164.

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