Mission, Vision and Distinctive
Accountability and Generosity
Acts 1 (NIV)
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
God’s will in the hands sinners!
Two words: Ekklesia vs. Kirke
The New Testament Greek Lexicon
- a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly. 2. An assembly of Christians gathered for worship
Easton’s Bible Dictionary
“CHURCH: I. Anglo-Saxon, cyrica, circ, cyric; English, church; Place of rituals. Scottish, kirk; the Latin circus, circulus,the Greek kuklos
“Let us not give up meeting together.” Hebrews 10:25
- “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34
22-28 “Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you—the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge—this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands, and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him. But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him.
What did the First Church Do?
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47
Outside the Box
“Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” Matthew 28:19-20
“As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” Galatians 6:10
The Seven Churches
1) Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) – the church that had forsaken its first love.
(2) Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) – the church that would suffer persecution.
(3) Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) – the church that needed to repent.
(4) Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) – the church that had a false prophetess.
(5) Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) – the church that had fallen asleep.
(6) Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13) – the church that had endured patiently.
(7) Laodicea (Rev.) – the church with the lukewarm faith.
From a letter to Diognetus 120 AD
Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.
And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children. They share their meals, but not their wives.
They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.
Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.”
Our everyday horizontal life should be completely energized by our vertical relationship.
So you are no longer strangers and outsiders. You are citizens together with God’s people. You are members of God’s family.
20 You are a building that is built on the apostles and prophets. They are the foundation. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone in the building. 21 The whole building is held together by him. It rises to become a holy temple because it belongs to the Lord.
22 And because you belong to him, you too are being built together. You are being made into a house where God lives through his Spirit.
Philippians 3:7-8 (NLT)
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.
We are here on Earth to be the hands and feet of God. Not to hide in Him but to abide in Him.