Jude 8-10

Verse 8

  • What do these people base their decisions on?
  • What role should dreams play in determining the will of God? Consider Acts 2:17 and Jeremiah 23:32.
  • There are three results of relying on dreams. What are the definitions of each of these three results?

Verse 9

  • What does it means to “blaspheme the glorious ones”? Consider 2 Peter 2:9-11 and Jude 15.
  • What does the example of Michael teach us? Consider Zechariah 3:1-5 and 2 Peter 2:10-11.
  • What does the example of Jesus teach us? Consider 1 Peter 2:21-23.
  • How should you think when you are attacked or slandered?

Verse 10

  • According to verse 10, what is the danger of ignorance?
  • What are the basic animal instincts?
  • How can these desires in us lead us to judgment/destruction?

Faith, authority, and sexuality were struggles in the church in Jude’s day. We are no different. What does it look like then, for you to contend for the faith?

Being the Church; Ephesians 1-4

Main Point: Being the church is a glorious calling.

Today is a special day for me because it was 15 years ago that I preached my first sermon as one of the pastors here. I am keenly aware of how much grace you have given me because of my pride and fear and immaturity and selfishness. I pray that I make progress in putting off these sins. This means anything good in this church is the product of God’s grace working in us and through us. I thank God for you.

If you would humor me, we are going to push pause on our journey through Acts and look at the book of Ephesians and the great blessings that our ours and how these blessings should shape us for the next 15 years.

Read Ephesians 1:15-23

I. You have received the greatest and strongest blessings

Here is the strongest and greatest blessing on which every other blessing depends

  • We have been united to Christ

I want to introduce you to what it means to be united to Christ because our experience of the blessing of being the church will grow as our understanding and dependence on Christ grows. Turn now to Ephesians 1:1. This letter was written to the saints in Ephesus. 1:4 celebrates the fact that Christians are chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless before him. God’s goal for your life is holiness. We are made holy and kept holy in Christ (1:1-4). We can’t keep ourselves, but Christ makes us and keeps us pure.

The big picture is we are blessed in Christ. 1:3 tells us that we are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. We have the righteousness of Christ, the gift of the Spirit, the loving care of the Father, eternal life, a sure inheritance, the church, and so much more. We are #blessed.

We are chosen in Christ, chapter 1 verse 4. Before the foundation of the world, God set his love on particular people; he set his love on us. Just as we are made holy in Christ and blessed in Christ we are also chosen in Christ. Every good thing, even election, is connected to Christ.

With Jesus, we are given the rights of sons. Chapter one verse 5, the Father determined to make us his sons and daughters through Christ. You don’t get yourself to God. God gets you to himself through Jesus. This is power and faithfulness and love.

But before you get too puffed up, remember we are the display of God’s grace in Christ. Chapter 1 verse 6, we are to the praise of his glorious grace. We look around and understand the only reason for holiness, the only reason for blessing, is the grace of God. None of us deserve to be here. None of us deserve to be loved or cared for or made holy. We, once broken and powerless, live lives of faith as a display of God’s grace. We were trapped in sin, but God saved us by his grace.

So, remember how we got here. We have been redeemed from sin through Christ’s death. Chapter one verse seven says we have redemption through his blood. Chapter two verse seven looks into the future saying in the coming ages God will show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For all of forever, we will celebrate God’s kindness towards us because of Jesus Christ. We have a future!

We have an inheritance in Christ. 1:11, “In him we have obtained an inheritance.” The God who works all the details of every good thing and every bad thing according to his will, has committed to giving you a good future. You may have been dealt a terrible hand of difficulty or suffering, but God has promised to gather all the cards, make all things new, and give you a glorious future. You are sore from the fight but lift up your eyes to the blessing of what lies ahead.

Look around and take in what is happening right now. In Christ, we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit (1:13-14). You heard the gospel, believed the gospel, and received the Holy Spirit. The Spirit in you, strengthening you, correcting you, and speaking to you, is the guarantee that you will make it to God. That’s chapter one! Now some of the blessings of chapter two.

We are brought to life with Christ. 2:5, “we were dead in trespasses and sins.” We were set on destroying ourselves living life without God. We were slaves to our dreams of a better life on our terms. But God brought us to life. God opened our eyes. God made us alive with Christ. This is resurrection language. We are blessed with the ability to live a new life. Do you hear the emphasis on “we”? You are not alone.

We are brought into the people of God in Christ. Jesus is the gate through which we get in. 2:13 paints a dismal picture of our past lives. We were far away from God. We were outsiders. We had no hope and were without God, but God brought us in by joining us to Christ. Some of you grew up with an awful biological family. God has given you a new spiritual and eternal family.

Hold fast to the truth that all these blessings are undeserved and unearned. We have these great gifts because we have Jesus.

We are reconciled to God through Christ. 2:16, both Jews and Greeks are reconciled to God together. At Mary’s funeral, Manuel reminded me of the recent story of rival gang members in Coffield prison being baptized together. In Christ, because of the blessings of Christ, those who were once separated from each other come together. And we come together to form something unthinkable.

In Christ, we are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Look at 2:21, “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” God’s plan is to dwell with us. We are gathered together each Sunday. We roll ourselves out of bed and we dust ourselves off from a hard week so that we can come together as the dwelling place of God on earth.

What a blessing! God wants to be with us. Church, we have only scratched the surface of what it means to be the people of God. These good things we are enjoying are the smallest taste of the good to come. So, why do we gather together? We gather as the church each Sunday because God wants to be with us. We are united to Jesus and he brings us to God. We are drawn together by the Holy Spirit to be the temple of God.

We have received the greatest and strongest blessings and we want to grow in them. We want more of Jesus! And here’s what’s cool about us getting more Jesus. When we get more Jesus, it puts the goodness of God on display.

II. God’s plan is to display his glory through us

Let me prove to you that God wants to demonstrate his greatness through little old Mambrino Baptist Church. Let’s start big

  • God’s plan is to unite all things in Christ (1:10, 22)

Ephesians 1:10, God’s plan is to unite all things in Christ. When the time is right, when the fullness of time comes, the Father will make everything right because of and through the Son. Look over at 1:22, the Father put all things under the Son’s feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Right now, God wants to demonstrate the greatness of Jesus. Do you know how God plans to show his glory? The Father has given his Son to Mambrino Baptist Church so that we can be filled with the life, joy, and holiness of God. The church is currently the fullness of him who fills all in all. Let’s start getting specific about how this works

  • The salvation of these early Jews and Gentiles displays God’s glory (1:12)

When Ephesians was written, Jews and Gentiles were like rival gang members; they did not get along with each other. Go back to Ephesians 1:12. Those early Jews and Gentiles were given an inheritance and predestined for the express purpose of praising God’s glory. The world looked at those early Christians and said, “Would you look at that! Those enemies who despised each other now love each other. That is God’s grace!” Now, what was true of them is supposed to be true of us.

  • The church is the display of the wisdom of God (3:10)

Flip over to Ephesians 3:10. After celebrating this unthinkable, spiritual, and God glorifying union of Jew and Gentile as the people of God, we learn God’s plan, “so that through the Church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

There is so much hatred in the world. There is so much pain and selfishness and abuse and tyranny. There is too much pride and waiting on the other person to make the first move. But look at the church. There is the manifold wisdom of God. The church is a people where enemies become brothers. Satan and the fallen angels who rebelled with him see the wisdom of God in the unity of the church. Satan and his angels are meant to see the wisdom of God in the unity of the church. This is precisely why Satan works so hard to divide Christians. Satan doesn’t want church members united around Christ. Our unity is a display of God’s wisdom. Every word out of our mouths must build up and give grace to those who hear because our unity displays God’s wisdom. We are made to glorify God through our shared concern for one another and

  • We are meant to be a display of God’s power (3:20-21)

Look with me at Ephesians 3:20-21 and you will see something wonderful, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Now let’s be careful and follow Christ our example. God’s power worked in Jesus’ death and his resurrection from the grave. While it is not always the case, it is generally the case that God’s power at work in us is God’s power at work in our weakness and sacrifice and suffering. Like the Son dependent on the Father, we are to be dependent on Christ. God is most clearly glorified when we keep asking and keep trusting and keep depending. God has designed this world so that his power is seen in our weakness.

Let’s ask it this way, what will it look like for God to be glorified in Mambrino Baptist Church?

III. How we can live for the glory of God

Ephesians chapter 4 is a fundamental passage in my thinking when it comes to the actual structure of a church. This chapter helps us understand what a church should look like. Now let’s consider how we should live for the glory of God. God is glorified by

  • Everyone being careful

We are so often slow and selfish, weak and wrong-headed. We dig our heels in and stand our ground when we should go and be reconciled. Look into chapter 4 and how we should live. This is 4:2, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Be careful how you think about these brothers and sisters. Be careful how you talk about these brothers and sisters. Christ gave his life for him. Christ gave his life for her. Address weaknesses, sin, and disagreements with care. A careful church glorifies God and God is glorified by

  • Everyone coming together

4:4, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” It’s easy to focus on just the local church. It’s easy to focus on just the universal church. We glorify God when we strive to come together on both levels around our reconciliation with God through Christ. But there are so many disagreements and there are so many things to do. God is glorified by

  • Everyone getting equipped

The picture painted by Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12 is that every Christian has been gifted by the Spirit of Christ in order to do good to others. Some Christians are gifted to be, Ephesians 4:11, “apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers.” I believe the offices of apostle and prophet ceased when the foundation of the church was laid but evangelists, shepherds, and teachers continue in order to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. Every one of us gathers with the church in order to be better trained to go out and do ministry. In some sense the church is like a gym where we gather to get bigger, stronger, and faster so that we can go out and do the work to the glory of God. God is glorified by

  • Everyone getting to work

The image of Ephesians 4:11 and 12 is not a pastor doing all the ministry or a group of pastors doing all the ministry. The image here is every member doing his or her part of the ministry. Pastors and teachers lead the members to do the work. We all do our part because God is not glorified by you showing up each week and then doing nothing. God is glorified by you working to help and encourage and strengthen your church family. God is glorified by everyone working and by

  • Everyone growing up

Verse 12, we’re all working to build up each other with the goal of spiritual maturity. We labor, verse 13, to attain the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. At times, we are going to disagree about what it looks like to follow Jesus. Go back to 4:1-6 for direction here. We are going to disagree; that’s ok. What’s not ok is to respond to one another sinfully when we disagree. What’s not ok is to let disagreements fester. Listen, baby Christians are not bad. I hope we always reach more souls and have a steady influx of baby Christians. That is good; stuck Christians are bad. Stagnant Christians are bad and easily swayed by false teaching. We must keep growing together by teaching the truth and correcting error. Know this, God is glorified by

  • Everyone speaking the truth in love

Instead of being sneaky, crafty, underhanded, or deceitful, we must (verse 15) speak the truth in love. We must work out our disagreements and differences with love. We don’t gossip. We don’t talk behind people’s backs. We say what needs to be said in order to build others up and we say it with love. A healthy church is made up of members who say hard things to each other because of love. It is this loving truth-telling that keeps us following Jesus and growing more like Jesus. When each joint of the body is loving the others and serving the others the body builds itself up in love.

I want us to think now about specific ways Mambrino Baptist church can glorify God. Let’s talk

IV. Priorities for the future

  • Grow in our dependence on Christ

Since every blessing is received and enjoyed because of our union with Christ, we need more of Jesus. We need to gather around the word of God that points to Jesus every Sunday and throughout the week. We need to gather together and praise God as God’s house and house to house. We need the big family gatherings and the one on one gatherings. One on one discipleship is necessary to help one another grow in dependence on Christ. We have different gifts and different circumstances, so we need particular help. Expect us to keep urging you to gather with the church, join a Sunday school group, and meet up with others throughout the week so we can enjoy more of Christ.

Here is our next priority

  • Get into the Next Gen building

We need you to continue to give, to get back to giving, or start giving. Thank you for what you have given.

If you have ever worked on a house or built a house, you know it takes a lot of mental and physical energy. A building can be a great tool. Let’s keep at it and get in it. The spray foam insulation is in and the sheetrock is coming next. The metal walkway has been painted and the metal is going up soon. In our Members’ meeting on August 25 you’ll get a detailed update as to expenses to date and cost to finish. And let’s remember that this building is a tool to help us do ministry. Another priority moving forward is for us to

  • Get into our community to meet needs

We want to equip you to do the ministry. We want to give you opportunities to do ministry. We want you to join us Thursday at 2pm when we go to Mambrino Elementary School to encourage and pray with teachers. They know we’re coming, we’ll have cold water and sodas for you to pass out. Let’s go and serve others this Thursday, 2pm at Mambrino Elementary.

But that’s only the beginning. Baptist Student Ministry lunches will start soon at the Granbury campus of Weatherford Community College. Be watching for this opportunity to get to know college students and share the hope of the gospel with them. Our youth are working on mission projects to encourage one another to get out and care for others. The new Sunday school year is starting for our students and AWANA will begin on September 4. Brothers and sisters, we are called to evangelize and disciple the next generation. Our moms and dads are doing great work. We need you to volunteer to come alongside that discipleship in the home. Come and be a part of this church glorifying God in a hundred different ways. Stand firm on Christ. He is the blessing and the only firm foundation. Let’s look to Jesus.

Discuss Ephesians 1-4

Instead of Acts 3 this week, we will be looking at the great blessing of our union with Christ in the book of Ephesians. Take time on Friday or Saturday to read Ephesians 1:15-23 and pray for your church family.

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. Ephesians 1-4 identifies many blessings because of our union with Christ. Which blessing do you most richly enjoy?
  3. Which blessing do you want to make progress in? What’s your plan for making progress?
  4. How does it change your plans to know that God plans to unite all things in Christ?
  5. List some ways that God’s wisdom is being displayed through Mambrino Baptist Church.
  6. Is there anything you are currently doing, thinking, or saying that is keeping us from enjoying unity together in Christ?
  7. How do your weaknesses display God’s power?
  8. Read Ephesians 4:2. What will it look like for you to do these things with greater dependence on Jesus? Where do you need to grow?
  9. In what areas of life do you need to be better equipped so you can more clearly glorify God? Talk to a pastor or teacher and ask for help growing in those areas.
  10. Prayerfully consider giving to help us get into the Next Generation Building.
  11. Can you volunteer with our teacher outreach, BSM outreach, Sunday school, or AWANA? Talk to a pastor or teacher about getting involved.

Be Together; Acts 2:42-47

Main Point: Biblical fellowship is essential to the Christian life.

My goal this morning is to prepare you to take the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner. We want to devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching. In 1 Corinthians 10&11, the apostle Paul teaches Christians that it is possible to come together as the church and be worse off for it. It is possible to come together and eat your own snack of bread and juice and not eat the Lord’s Supper. Gathering that way, doing our own things with a little juice and a little bread is not good. Coming together and taking the Supper is an unworthy manner is coming together for judgment. We want to come together for the better. We want to come together and eat the Lord’s Supper. Our goal is to participate in the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to fellowship with Christ together.

You know how when something goes wrong with your phone or computer you can hold a button for 10 seconds and do a reset? Preparing for the Lord’s Supper is a reset button so that you can get back on track and enjoy the blessings of this fellowship meal with your brothers and sisters. Let me be clear on that point. The Lord’s Supper itself is not our restart. The Lord’s Supper, celebrated with faith and with one another is a part of regular church-life. Preparing for the Lord’s Supper, judging yourself as to where you have wandered off, is the reset.

With the Lord’s Supper in mind, we will consider Acts 2:42-47. Read Acts 2:42-47

I. We must diligently pursue unity on four fronts

Because we swim in 21st century individualism, the apostles’ teaching about the church can appear idealistic or unrealistic. We live in a culture that expects to give the minimum and receive the maximum. To use Jesus’ words, we are people who reject the call to lose our lives for the good of others. I mean, let me know the minimum required and I’ll be good with that, thank you. We read Mark 8 on Friday in our daily bible reading. Jesus warns us, if you protect your life you will lose your life. The call to follow Christ is the call to deny yourself and die to yourself for the good others. Christianity is finding life and joy in Jesus while giving our lives and joy away to others. Let’s work through these four fronts of Christian unity.

  • Pursue unity by helping others grow in the faith

Acts 2:42 draws a picture of normal people repenting, believing, receiving the Holy Spirit and then committing themselves to growing in God’s way of thinking. Continuing in the apostles’ teaching is the way we, Romans 12:2, renew our minds. Remember, it is the apostles who were taught by Jesus how to live the Christian life. The apostles’ delivered Jesus’ teaching to the church and the apostles’ teaching was recorded in the Bible. We are a people who devote ourselves to understanding and obeying the apostles’ teaching because it is Jesus’ teaching.

As we prepare for the Lord’s Supper let’s judge ourselves and hit the reset button. Do you care about the spiritual growth of these people in this room? Glance around the room a little bit. Does the spiritual growth of these people matter to you? Are you helping your brothers and sisters become more and more like Jesus? Are you using your blood-bought Spirit-given gift to build us up?

God did not rescue, redeem, and gift you so that you can go off by yourself and do your thing. God rescued, redeemed, and gifted you so that you will, Hebrews 12:15, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God.” God rescued, redeemed, and gifted each of us so that we will, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “encourage one another and build one another up.” One way we devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching is to devote ourselves to the church built on the apostles’ teaching.

The first front of Christian unity is discipleship; helping one another make progress in the Christian life. The second front is fellowship. We must

  • Pursue unity by seeking the good of one another

Again, our 21st century American individualism fights hard against biblical fellowship. What is your first response to verse 44, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common”? Do you immediately go to qualifications that help you escape from the responsibility to care for others? Would a member of another church be able to look at your budget and know which church you are devoted to? The Christian life is about so much more than being on a membership list. The Christian life involves the call of 1 Corinthians 10:24, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” Following Jesus’ teaching, passed on by the apostles, calls us to sell our possessions and belongings and distribute the proceeds to all, as any has need.”

Before you qualify and explain away these verses in Acts 2, ask yourself if the good of your brothers and sisters gathered in this church, regularly crosses your mind. Hit the reset button. The Lord’s Supper calls us together to care for one another and to share in the life of Christ together.

Discipleship, fellowship, and the breaking of bread

  • Pursue unity by celebrating the Lord’s Supper as one

1 Corinthians 11 identifies three dangers when we come together to break bread. The first danger is celebrating the life, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus solely as individuals. We take the Lord’s Supper for the worse when we eat our own individual meal thinking only of ourselves (1 Cor 11:21). A growing faith is a faith that is centered on Christ and moving towards the good of others. If your remembrance and fellowship with Christ does not push you towards others, there is a problem that needs to be sorted out.

The second danger is eating in an unworthy manner (1 Cor 11:27). Eating and drinking in an unworthy manner is caring only for ourselves and what we can get from Jesus. Eating and drinking in an unworthy manner is being flippant or silly with the bread and cup. Is this nothing more to you than getting a snack in church or do you grasp the reality of Christ with us and for us through his death, burial, and resurrection? If the bread and cup are a game to you then you take it in an unworthy manner.

The third danger is the danger of eating without discerning the body (1 Cor 11:29). This involves both a right understanding of life with Jesus and a right understanding of life with this body, the church. The apostles’ teaching concerning the Lord’s Supper is that in the meal we enjoy fellowship with Christ together. So, when you eat the Supper and think of Jesus it should lead you to think about these people whom Jesus loves and died for. When you eat the Supper and think of these people it should lead you to think about Jesus who gives them life. To stop at you and Jesus is to stop short. To stop at Jesus and his people is to stop short. Looking at Jesus draws us into his church. Looking at his church draws us to Jesus. We fellowship with Christ in this meal together.

Discipleship, fellowship, breaking of bread, and the prayers

  • Pursue unity by praying together

The book of Acts records how Christians continued going to the temple at set times for prayer. Acts 2:46 tells us they attended the temple together. Acts 3:1 tells us that Peter and John went to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour, or 3 pm. It is likely that these early Christians in Jerusalem continued this practice until persecution broke out around Stephen in Acts 7. Nowhere is the practice of going to the temple at set hours for prayer encouraged or commanded. Christians understood that it was good and right to gather for prayer, and they continued for a time in the Jewish practice that they were accustom to.

The book of Acts also records, with greater frequency, how Christians gathered in homes for prayer. Acts 1 shows them gathered for prayer. The emphasis on them meeting together in homes in Acts 2 gave time to devote themselves to prayer. Acts 4:23-31 points toward an informal gathering of Christians for prayer. In Acts 12 the people gather to pray for Peter who had been arrested. In Acts 13 the church prays together for Paul and Barnabas. You get the picture.

The point is that maturing Christians have an ever-increasing understanding of their own insufficiencies. The more you know of yourself and God’s will, the more you know you need to pray. Christians are enabled to accomplish God’s will because they are led by the apostles’ teaching and strengthened through prayer. We are not called to do what we think is best or what feels right. We are called to devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and pray together so that we will know God’s will and be strengthened to accomplish God’s will.

As I did last week, I want to give you some ways to build up and join in our devotion to prayer. Start by using the bulletin each week to pray for our weekly members and missionaries. Once you have made progress in that discipline, begin praying through the church directory at a rate that is meaningful for you. Each Saturday before you go to sleep, read the sermon text and pray for our weekly gathering. Pray for your Sunday School teacher and for your pastors to walk with Jesus and live holy lives. Each Sunday, pray with us in our weekly gathering. Do not let your mind wander when someone else prays. Think about what is being prayed and expand it in your own prayer. Parents hold your child close and whisper your prayer into those little ears. Agree with us in prayer with a simple nod of the head or a “yes” or “amen”. Come to the 2nd and 4th Sunday prayer gatherings each month at 6 pm. We will meet tonight at 6. Come and join us.

During the sermons, listen for something that you can pray for during the invitation hymn or during the Lord’s Supper. On this point and the Lord’s Supper, use the time spent passing out the bread and cup to pray for your brothers and sisters.  Redeem the time! Pray for your brothers and sisters to grow in their understanding of Jesus. Pray for your brothers and sisters to grow in their love for the church. Pray for your brothers and sisters to experience fellowship with Christ as we remember his death and resurrection.

Those are our four fronts of Christian unity: the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, and prayer. Before we eat together, think on this point

II. Our unity helps explain and empower evangelism

Gossip, division, and selfishness in here slow the spread of the gospel out there. Godliness and unity advance the gospel. Consider your neighbors and coworkers from this angle

  • People like to be cared for by Christ-like people (47)

Look at Acts 2:47, they were “praising God and having favor with all the people.” The Christlike united church was looked at favorably by their neighbors. It is true that the religious leaders didn’t like the Christians but every one else liked having them around.

Now, your coworker may not agree with everything you believe, but generally speaking, are your coworkers glad you are there? Does the way you work and the way you help and the way you disagree and the way you try to solve problems communicate that you are not seeking your own good but the good of your neighbor (1 Cor 10:24)?

What about your neighbors? Do the people who live beside you and around you like having you around or do they wish you’d move away so they could get better neighbors? Generally speaking, when we are growing with Jesus and his church, we will enjoy favor with our coworkers and neighbors. How are you doing on that front? Use preparing for the Lord’s Supper and the call to love and give to others as a reset button. How is Jesus leading you to love and care for others?

This is what we are after

  • Christian unity is out of this world (43)

As these Christians devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and the prayers, verse 43 tells us that awe or fear came upon every soul. Something crazy is going on over there. Their holiness and faith and unity and love caused their neighbors to stop and think and wonder and fear God.

Jesus told his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will now that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This means making progress in the apostles’ teaching is not simply being able to pass a theology exam or a bible quiz. Growing in the apostles’ teaching is growing in your love for these people in this room.

Use preparing for the Lord’s Supper as a reset button. Are you a church member? Have you committed and gone public with your love for God’s people? How is your love for Christ’s church? Man, this is convicting. Does the tenacity and joy and fruitfulness of our love for one another cause outsiders to be in awe? Are you holding back or are you all in? Jesus calls us to be all in. When we are all in crazy stuff happens

  • Unity around truth and in prayer moves us toward the miraculous (43)

Acts 2:43 connects submission to the truth, unity in the church, loving service, and devoted prayer to the miraculous. Verse 43 says, “and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.” Reading the book of Acts points out how the apostles, an office that existed only as the foundation of the church was built, these apostles were unusually gifted by the Holy Spirit to perform signs and wonders. The office of apostle and therefore the power to works signs and wonders does not continue today. BUT. But, the God who hears our prayers and answers our prayers exists today.

We should gather together and pray for God to heal the sick. We should gather together and ask God to add to our number those who are being saved. We should devote ourselves to prayer, continuing together, knowing that God cares for us and hears us because of Christ.

The apostles’ teaching spells out what we should be doing and praying for. May preparing for the Lord’s Supper stir us up to knowing God’s will and praying according to God’s will. Here’s our last stop before the Lord’s Supper.

  • Commit to care for us according to the apostles’ teaching and for the advance of the gospel (47)

Acts 2:42-47 paints the picture of a joyful people gathering together to listen to God’s word and care for one another. There was praise and prayer and food and fellowship. There was no program or building or personality that drew people to believe in Jesus and be saved. Normal people, repenting of sin, believing the gospel, and following the Holy Spirit created a fellowship of love. This fellowship was directed by the apostles’ teaching so that their holiness and their care for one another drew in their hurting and searching neighbors.

Your relationship with Christ should push you out to love and care for others. Your relationship with the church should draw people in to know more about Jesus. Use preparing for the Lord’s Supper as a reset.

Are you a Christian? You can be today. Repent of your sins and trust Jesus to make you holy. You can be saved and restored to God. If you are a Christian, are you a church member? Have you committed to care for the church and have you submitted to the care of the church? Talk to a pastor today about becoming a church member. If you are a church member how is your love and fellowship? Thinking about these things, judging ourselves, will cause us to find sin. So I must remind you that sin does not keep us from celebrating the Lord’s Supper; unrepentant sin keeps us from celebrating the Lord’s Supper. The apostles do not require perfection in order to take this meal. The apostles require repentance and faith in order to take this meal.

Let’s pray and let’s use the Communion Hymn to prepare for our fellowship with Christ together.

Jude 5-7

  1. Read Jude 1-7
  2. The call to remember is a necessary part of growing in the faith. Read Deuteronomy 4:9, 23; 5:15; 6:12; 7:18; 8:2, 11, 14, 18, 19; 9:7; 15:15; 16:3, 12; 24:9, 18, 22; 25:17; 32:7; and Judges 8:34.
  3. Look at Jude 17-18. What are we called to remember in these verses? Why is this important?
  4. Read Jude 5. Why do we want to forget that the Lord destroys those who do not believe?
  5. Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-6. The desire for evil is dangerous. The battle for faith is won at the level of “small” temptations. What small things are you excusing that you need to be put to death?
  6. Read Hebrews 3:12-19. How do we guard and strengthen our hearts?
  7. Why do we need daily exhortation? How will you get this daily encouragement from others?
  8. Read Jude 6-7. What did these angels do wrong?
  9. How does this temptation look for us today?
  10. What did Sodom and Gomorrah do wrong?
  11. How does this temptation look for us today?
  12. Contending for the faith (Jude 3) includes daily exhortation (Hebrews 3:13). How can you engage in this crucial ministry towards us?

Discuss Acts 2:42-47

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. What is one practical way you can help the members of Mambrino Baptist Church grow in the faith?
  3. Who is rejoicing and how can you share in their joy? Who is weeping and how can you share in their sorrow?
  4. Why does celebrating the Lord’s Supper as individuals defeat the point of the Lord’s Supper? What is the point of the Lord’s Supper?
  5. What would it look like for you, in particular, to take the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner?
  6. What can you do to help the church gather together for good when celebrating the Lord’s Supper?
  7. How can your prayers strengthen our unity as the church? What can you pray for and how can you gather with others for prayer?
  8. What do you think it would take for your neighbors to be in awe of your love Christ and his church?
  9. Pray for us to devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer in such a way that the Lord blesses our witness and adds to our number those who are being saved.