WHAT DOES YOUR CHURCH OFFER?
What does your church offer? A survey of the religious neighbors may leave some feeling inadequate. Many congregations feel like their simple worship cannot compete with the modern performance worship down town. Sometimes congregations just are not equipped to offer some services which are effectively reaching out into some communities. These feelings of inadequacy cause many to be discouraged, some give up, and others to abandon the New Testament pattern for the church and worship.
What does your church offer? No matter how large or small every congregation of the Lord’s people has the tools needed to reach their neighbors, train their children, and grow the church. In Acts 2 we read Luke’s record of the birth of the church. These first Christians had the two things which will grow the church—God’s message and a Godly life.
God’s message remains one of salvation. Peter quotes a prophecy from Joel 2:28-32 which promises signs which will accompany the Last Days or the Messianic age. The signs which were fulfilled by the 12 on Pentecost pointed the way to the greatest promise the world has ever known—“everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21 cf. Acts 22:16; Hebrews 5:9; Mark 16:16). This message of salvation is made possible by Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ mission was verified by God. In the life of Christ, God worked “mighty works, wonders, and signs” (Acts 2:22) so that everyone could know that Jesus is the Messiah (John 20:30-31). Just as we want to check our doctor’s accreditation or our schools accreditation, before we go there, we want to know that Jesus has been accredited by God. God the Father did all He could do to demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, the Lamb of God, and God with us.
Jesus’ mission was accomplished by God. Peter said that Jesus was, “delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23 ASV). Jesus’ rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection was God’s work. God had revealed these things through the Old Testament prophets so that men could recognize what was happening in the life of Christ. God providentially made certain that Jesus fulfilled each and every prophecy with perfect detail so that everyone can be certain that Jesus is the Messiah.
Jesus’ resurrection offers hope from God. The body of King David was left in his tomb to decay (Acts 2:24-28, 34), but God raised him from the dead. Because of that we have hope! We need hope. Many of the Jews believed Jesus offered them hope and they knew that had caused him to die. They said, “men and brethren what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).
When we preach Jesus, we must also preach his plan of salvation (Acts 8:35-38). Jesus death, burial, and resurrection serve as a pattern of obedience we must follow in order to live with the hope of eternal life (Romans 6:1-5). Jesus’ Great Commission included this plan (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). At their request, Peter delivered God’s plan of salvation. He said, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 ASV).
What does the church have to offer? We have the greatest message the world has ever known. Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus is man’s Savior from sin. Jesus is man’s assurance of eternal life. Through faithful obedience to Christ we find Heaven. Heaven overshadows our anxiety, despair, disease, poverty, relationship problems, and any other issue which may arise (Romans 8:18).
The redeemed live a different life than those who are without Christ (Romans 6:4). Who could be the same after becoming a Christian? Luke briefly described the new life of the 1st century Christians in Acts 2:41-47. In these verses we see that the early church made a practice of being a part of some activities. These activities are: learning doctrine, participating in fellowship, the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper, and praying together.
These activities provide a foundation for the life of the church. We have activities which offer good Bible study. We must be known as a people of the Book. Other activities encourage fellowship or partnership. Area campaigns, mission trips, service days, and other activities are great ways to encourage the fellowship of believers. Every week will begin by observing the Lord’s Supper and worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). The congregation’s spiritual life should also be nurtured with opportunities to pray together (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
The Christian’s manner of life is the most effective evangelistic tool we have. If Christ has made a difference in your life, then people will see the difference Christ has made in your life. People are searching for the difference Christ makes. People were attracted to the way the first Christians lived, and they can still be attracted by that same way of life today (Acts 2:47; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
We shouldn’t focus so much on what we don’t have and what we can’t do. Rather we should focus on what we do have and what we can do with God’s message and Godly living. The Gospel is still God’s power that leads to salvation (Romans 1:16).