Date: September 22, 2013
Bible Text: Acts 6:1-3 | Steve Damron
Series: Transcribed Sermons
Acts chapter 6, we’re going to read a couple passages, and you’ll see where I’m heading with my message. In the first couple of verses of chapter 6. “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.” You’ll see a meeting occurred. You’ll see where I’m going here.
Then we go to Acts chapter 15, verse one says, “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” So they were adding things to salvation, “When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.” So, in order, we were coming together, and at the, when all of us joined the church, there’s a little form that we fill out. On the back of it is the church covenant. It goes through a bunch of things. It says we engage the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love, to give preeminence over all institution of human origin, to contribute faithfully, regularly. We covenant together as a church to believe some things. All of us that are members have done that, but I thought it would be fitting at the start of our ministry to have our first business meeting. Oh, yeah, you know how exciting they are. In fact, we’ve got one coming up, and I am so excited because you know how pumped you guys all get during those business meetings, but I thought it would be a different type of church business meeting tonight, and we would have three different motions tonight that we would pass. Three different motions, but I think you’ll see that these are things that help us keep another 43 years. Now, as I was thinking about the 43 years, and then another 43 years, I’m pretty sure that the next set of 43 years, I’m going to be out there with you or in the jolly sixties or on one of those handicapped minibuses, something like that, but we want to keep going in the same direction. So, how do we do that? So, I thought of three things in the book of Acts because the book of acts brings us to the point where the church was starting, getting going. The apostles were starting to, God, I believe, was establishing the church, and we know that at the day of Pentecost the church was established. So, what can we do?
We can go to Acts chapter 13, and we can look at our first motion. Our first motion. Acts chapter 13, verse 33 says, actually you go to verse 26. Paul and Barnabas are here preaching. “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. And then Paul continues on going down to verse 33. And he goes down, in verse 37, “But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:”
Now our first motion as a church, our first matter of business is that I move that we as a church will always lift up the Savior. We will always keep Him prominent. We will always keep Him at the forefront of our preaching. There are many people, in fact, you can see in Acts chapter 4, verse one, “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” So you see here in Acts chapter 4 that some of the people got mad that they were preaching Christ. 5:29 “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” Notice verse 33 it says, “When they heard that, they were cut to the heart and they took counsel to slay them.” Lifting up Jesus Christ as we covenant together, as we say, “You know what, we will always lift up the Savior.” That’s not always going to keep us popular. It’s not always going to be something that people say, “Oh yeah.” You know why? Because sometimes seeing Jesus lifted up on a cross means that it’s not very pretty sometimes, and it also means when we lift up Jesus Christ that we’re looking to Him and Him alone for salvation—that’s it. We’re not looking to our works, we’re not looking to some church attendance, we’re not looking to the good things that we do. And you know what, there’s a lot of churches event hat have gone away from lifting up Jesus Christ. As a church we need to say, You know what? We will keep lifting up Christ. If it becomes in vogue, then all of the sudden, everybody’s coming out saying, “Yeah, they lift up the Savior. “ You know what, we’ve been doing that already. When it become out of vogue, and they say, “That’s kind of brutal, kind of hard.” No, no, no. We kept to what Jesus wants us to do. And what Jesus wants us to do is to lift up the Savior. And in Mark chapter 12 and Matthew chapter 21, Christ calls himself the chief cornerstone. The Cornerstone, now the cornerstone in our minds as Americans is a stone that sits outside or even higher on a building and we’re like, “yeah, that’s the cornerstone.” Oh, sorry. I didn’t even hear anything, Courtney. I thought it would be a little loud tonight, but he’s feeling a little bit uncomfortable, maybe, because we’re preaching the Word. Oh, sorry about that. Anyways. Sorry, Cornerstone, this is something new, never heard before. Just kidding. We’ll be there Wednesday and hopefully you’ll be friendly. But Mark chapter 12 and Matthew 21, Christ calls Himself the chief cornerstone. As we’re mentioning in America sometimes it’s lifted higher, but in Jewish times and old historical times, when the Bible is referring to the cornerstone that was laid, it was that first stone laid for a foundation. And what the builders would do is they would go to a quarry and chisel out very tediously one cornerstone and they would get it as close as possible that every angle would be as right as possible. That way, then, the rest of the building could be laid correctly. Why? Because the cornerstone is where everything was based off. And in our church, it shouldn’t be, and it has been this way for 43 years, it’s not lift up the pastor, and you know what, I’m grateful. Because tonight, it’s not necessarily about me, it’s not necessarily about preacher. It’s about God’s faithfulness over 43 years. God’s the One that is faithful, and if we are faithful in lifting up Christ, you see, He’s that cornerstone, and everything else should be based off of Him. And when it comes to salvation, we know that’s true. But it also, and this is what happens in many churches. We look to Christ, or He is the measure of our faith, but He’s also the measure of our practice. What do I mean by that? We look to Christ for our salvation for our sanctification. And that means being set apart. We should look to emulate Christ in our walk. Many churches today say that they are lifting up Christ, but they don’t seem to be doing that. You see, they say that, you know, “We’re lifting Him up,” and then they’ll have a rock concert or they don’t preach the whole council of God, as Preacher mentioned this morning. The whole council of God is also that we worship Him and we look to Him for salvation, but we also look to Him for our sanctification, and that’s how we are set apart in this world. We live righteously. You know Christ is the one who said you cannot serve two masters. He despised duplicity. Jesus Christ said that, and most churches today are hypocritical. They’re unstable because they’re double-minded. They say they want to lift up Christ while they cling to the world. And their actions deny what they are saying. And both our actions and our words should be in lifting up Christ, so we move tonight that we always will lift up Christ.
Secondly, in Acts chapter 2, we’re going to start in verse 14. dl moody was talking to a critic one time that was criticizing him about his ministry. I fyou know anything about dl moody, he loved to reach the lost, and he told this critic, I think it must’ve been a pastor, and he said the church reminded him, he said, of a fireman straightening pictures on the wall of a burning house. He looked at this minister who was criticizing him saying hey, you’re out there with the heathens, trying to wint he lost, and that’s what his illustration was. And that’s what I believe many churches are doing—they’re straightening pictures when there’s a blazing fire burning the house down. Taking the lost. And in Acts chapter 2, verse 14, “And Peter standing up with the eleven, lifting up his voice…..” What he was saying is, remember at the time of Pentecost, many people confused the Day of Pentecost. They think that Peter was speaking in tongues, actually if you read the passage, everybody was hearing in their tongue. He was speaking just in his Hebrew tongue, and everybody else was hearing—if it was a Roman citizen, he was hearing his language, if it was somebody else, they were hearing their language. They couldn’t believe it. And they said, “Are those guys drunk?” And that’s what he said, no, it’s the third hour of the day, but this is that which was spoken of by the prophet joel, and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, that I will pour my spirit…………..dreams.” And then verse 32. Notice what he keeps saying. We pick it up at verse 32, this Jesus hath god raised up, whereof we are all witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted and having received of the father the promise of the holy ghost he hath shed forth this…………….Notice what they did at the end of verse 37, men and brethren, what shall we do. What does he say, and Peter said unto them repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. You know what, the church, one of its first purposes, and we motion for this tonight. We said, first of all, we’re going to always lift up the savior. The second thing we’re always going to do is reach out to the sinner. We’ll always reach out to the sinner. This morning was for reaching out for sinners. To cry out to sinners. To cry out to them and say, Hey we have a savior, but you’ve got to come. As a church we can’t, some churches do this, they get all caught up in their theology, and some of their theology makes them dead. They no longer witness and they no longer have souls saved. You might as well have the funeral. Oh, they can sit and spout all kinds of theology and they may know some Hebrew, they may know all kinds of things about the word of god, but they start babbling when a sinner walks into the church. They’re not used to it. What do we do? We get them saved!! We need to understand and we need to move that we will always reach out to sinners. We need to be aggressive as a church at reaching the lost. We need to be actively involved at bringing sinners to Christ. This means that we knock on doors. This means we go house to house inviting people to church. This means we go to nursing homes. WE got to prisons and we go and we go and compel the lost to come in, and sometimes they won’t come here, so we’re going to them. We’re saying, “Jesus saves.” That’s what He does—He saves. We are criticized across the nation because we bring sinners to hear about Christ. You know what, let them. Because as church, their church can do whatever they want. They can have a dead, cold, uncomfortable >>>>>>>>>>>>> where people come in and fall asleep and sinners go to hell, because going to their church they’re not going to hear about Jesus. They’re not going to hear about Savior that died to set them free. It’s a great message. It’s a positive message. We’ve got a positive message trying to bring people to Jesus Christ. You know Jesus, and this is what’ interesting to me as you read the Bible. I have studied it. I know my Bible decently, and it’s amazing to me, that this point does not seem to line up with Christ. I cannot find a place that Christ was not actively seeking the lost. He was finding them in the streets, he was finding them in homes. He was finding them hanging out in trees. He healed the demon-possessed, he cleansed the lepers, he brought the blind sight, and on and on we could go. He even scolded the disciples who held back the little children, and said, “No, no, no. Suffer the little children to come unto me.” I love walking down the hallway on a Sunday morning. I love hearing the children sing bible songs, quoting bible verses, Mr. Fly scaring the snot out of them. Oh, I’m sorry. You said, Mr. Fly; that was the other grievance. It’s all older folks. Mr. Fly said Thursday night that he wasn’t even in the video. He wasn’t in the video. Didn’t you say that, Mr. Fly? I told him I’d give him a shout out on Sunday night, so quit scaring the children. But my prayer is that the church will never move away from reaching the lost with the message of salvation. We have a Savior that can save sinners.
I read a story about a beggar, many years ago, I think, about 100 years ago. There’s a story of a beggar who was there on the street and he stopped a lawyer. He was there in this southern city there and he stopped this lawyer and asked him for a quarter. The lawyer took a long, hard look at the beggar and said, “You know, do I know you?” The beggar looked up at him and said, “You should. I’m your former classmate. Remember second floor, old main hall, and they started telling a couple of stories. His name was Sam, the beggar. And he said, Sam of course, I remember you , I know you, and right at the end of their conversation and they talked for a while, the lawyer took out his checkbook and wrote him a check for one hundred dollars. “I’m not going to give you a quarter; I don’t know what your problem is, maybe you’ve had a hard time. But this 100 you take it and start over. The lawyer had to hurry on, and tears welled up in the man’s eye as he started heading towards the bank. He started thinking about 100.asked for the quarter and got 1100. He stopped at the door and looked through the glass and saw well-dressed tellers, spotlessly clean interior and then he looked down his rags and smelled himself, and said I smell, I stink. They won’t take this from me. They’ll say I forged it. He muttered as he turned away. The next day the lawyer saw the beggar again and said sam, what did you do with my check? He hung his head an d reached down and pulled out the wrinkled check. He said, Sam, why didn’t you cash the check? You should’ve seen, it was all clean people in there. They wouldn’t have done anything for me.” You don’t understand, he said. My name is on that check. It’s not you that is going to answer for that check. I already paid for it. All you had to do was get in there and cash it and that 100 was yours. And with that, he walked into the bank. You see, Sam in our situation we’re talking about , is a sinner. He’s a sinner, he walks into our church and he looks shabby. Maybe he’s had a hard life, hooked on drugs, or maybe alcoholic, or maybe it’s just sin because all have sinned. And we have to tell sinners, that , guess what , you don’t have to do anything. It’s not how you look, it’s not up to you, it’s turning to Jesus Christ , the savior. WE always want to be reaching out to sinners.
Lastly, our third motion, we said we’re always going to lift up the Savior, we’re always going to reach out to sinners, but then look at Acts chapter 20. This is toward the end with Paul and Paul he calls the ephesian elders together and he’s talking to these leaders of the church in chapter 20:17, “………………………and then he says he going bound, verse 26…..we already used this phrase, I have not shunned to………..and then he tells the leaders to feed the flock, which he hath purchased with his own blood, for I know this, and he tell them that there are wolves and people who will come in and try to hurt the flock of God. And then verse 31, “………………………” Our last motion, is that we as a church will always build up the saints. We will always work to build up the saint. Paul here, we’re looking at the church here, we take it and look at it and ask, what should the church do? It should lift up Jesus, it should bring sinners in, and then when the sinners get saved, we don’t forget them. And as Paul says, we build up the saints, and how do we build up the saints. I thought of three quick things. I thought that as a saint, how do I get built up? I get built up by having a surrendered life. I get built up by being Spirit-filled, I get built up by working with a servant’s heart. Those things will help us become what we should be as a church, as a saint, as somebody who is saved. That’s what I’m asking you, young or old. Young or old. Are you stagnant? Are you dead? Are you cold? Now, my prayer is as a church, you can’t look at us and point the finger and say, “Yeah I was a member of that church for 55 years and I haven’t done this for Christ. Well, I hope you find another church. Because I’m hoping that by the time you say, “I haven’t lifted…”, it gets shot off, alright, or we run you out. WE do something. Why? Because as a church, we should be growing, as a Christian. You know what happens as you grow, you want to serve more, do more. People come by and say, “Man, that’s unbelievable—you have work party.” Most churches today, they drop the work and just have the party. We’re not following those fashions. WE want you to come work and if you can’t do that, give. Right, Rufus? Give us your money!!! We all vote that Rufus give us his money. All in favor, right there. Steve, you can’t vote; you’re not even a member here. Man, Cornerstone’s getting…revived. But what do we have to do? WE have to build up the saints, and that means we work together, and sometimes it’s not real popular.
I was reading a book this weekend—Friday and Saturday—it’s a book I think from the 1600s, 1700s a pastor. It was amazing to me because one of his big things was that he was talking about, he used this passage take heed to yourselves, from right here in acts chapter 20, here was a guy from the 1600s or 1700s, and this is what he said, it shocked me. He said, “Woe to you as a preacher that will get up in the pulpit and say thus saith the Lord and in the pew…” and what he meant was outside, you won’t say it too to their face. I was like, “Whoah. Man, I can’t believe that guy. But you know what, woe to a church who will get up and say, hey, you gotta live and you gotta do this and you gotta do that, and as church members, we don’t help each other grow. As a preaching staff, or as a pastor, if I see you going wrong or haywire, woe to me if I don’t say, “Hey, stop that!” Because, guess what? We’ve got to build up the saints. We’re not just going to let you go your own way. We know where that ends. It’s lonely, it’s empty, it’s vanity because the Bible teaches it. And we have to as a church say, “I’m going to listen to the whole counsel of God.” And the whole counsel of God needs to be preached then. So as we close, I think of there was a poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He was once asked how he managed a long and happy life. He pointed, and looked over, you know, he was a poet, and he looked over and saw an apple tree. And the writer looked at this person that asked him and said, “You know the secret of the apple tree is that it grows a little new wood every year.” And he said, “That’s what I try to do. No matter what age, I try to grow a little bit. No matter what stage of life, I try to grow a little bit.” This is what we need to do. My challenge to you--Most sitting here, you came because this is your church. We’ve covenanted together, we say, Hey, I believe god, and I don’t think may of us have a problem with lifting up the Savior and most of us don’t have a problem reaching out to eh sinner, but sometimes you have a problem when we are trying to build up the saint, and it might get a little bit uncomfortable sometime. But what do you want? I say, I know, that’s what happens with being outdoors. You get bugs. But, we could be in that cold auditorium. I was thinking about that right now. You’d be freezing right now, but what we have to do is challenge ourselves then to grow every year. Alright, every day, every month, every week, we need to say, God, you know what? When they get up and they’re preaching, whether it’s on the family or on some area of surrender in my heart, spiritually, I’ve got to say, “God, build me up.” Don’t put up a wall. Don’t say, You know what? I’ve been here for so long. No. You know what? Be young, spiritually. Spiritually be young and say, God, revive that heart. Keep it fresh. That’s what we want as a church. What’s our challenge? Old or young, child, teen, or adult, have you given up on one of our motions? Lifting up Christ, reaching out to the sinner, alright. I say most because some of you, hey, we had a big day. Some of you though, what’d you do? Was it empty? Was it hollow? I was thinking about this over the weekend, as we were talking it Saturday morning with the bus workers and telling them make sure you’re praying. If we get all wrapped up in the activity, and man, there can be activity. WE have to plan this and plan that, but if we’re not spiritual, guess what? I’ve got to have more activity. Why? Because it’s empty. And that’s what happened to our modern church movement. They’ve got to have more and so now they’ve got to have a rock band. It didn’t start that way. It was just a little bit here, more and more because activity doesn’t satisfy. Just activity alone doesn’t satisfy. Being spiritual, being spiritual satisfies. We sing it, Only Jesus Can Satisfy the Soul.