in pete’s first letter, he challenges and encourages all christians to understand who they are as the people of God. he uses language familiar to the ancient jew about temple, priest and sacrifice (see 1 peter 2) to remind his readers that they no longer need the old system. they ARE the temple, and the priests; and their very lives are their living sacrifices to God each day. all this because Jesus died to take away their sins and give them new life.
NOW, as saved followers of Jesus, they are compelled to live strong, standing firmly in the grace they have been given – see 1 peter 5.12 – to be the church that Jesus had in mind.
in yesterday’s talk, we examined the description & prescription of the church Jesus had in mind, the church that came to be on the day of pentecost – see Acts 2.
we noted 11 characteristics of this church, and emphasized that the church is simply this: saved Christ-followers in COMMUNITY. and we ended the day as we began it: by offering each of you an opportunity to join a cell. i implore you – do not attempt to follow Jesus i isolation. you will fail. you need others around you – for support, for mutual encouragement, for friendship, and for accountability.
and as i said yesterday, if you are too busy to be in small group community with other Christ-followers, you are just too busy.
here are the 11 characteristics found in Acts 2.42-47
1. devotion – v.42
2. learning the Word (apostles’ teaching) – v.42
3. fellowship – v.42
4. prayer – v.42
5. awe – v.42
6. sharing – v.44-45
7. regular worship – v.46
8. sharing meals together – v.42,46
9. joy and generosity – v.46
10. goodwill of outsiders – v.47
11. salvation of more people – v.47
i believe with all my heart that this is the prescription for every church that dares to claim the name of Jesus Christ, and by default, it must be the lifestyle of every person in those churches. i have a growing passion to see each of you living this life – it is my very vision and heart for Threshold (more about this at our dinner this saturday).
for now, this week, examine ourself – preferably in the context of your cell – and be honest with your cellmates: where are you missing the boat? which of these traits is weak in your life?
are you a regular and committed worship – or will you miss worship on sunday for just any reason?
are you learning the teaching of the apostles – the bible, esp. the new testament?
how active is your prayer life?
how generous are you? are you giving as you should be?
what are non-christians saying about you? are you a jerk? or can they tell you care?
is anyone coming closer to Christ because of you?
in your cell this week, challenge and prayer for each other!