A Feared Church
God’s Prototype of the Local Church Part 5
Acts 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Intro: One of the characteristics of the first church was that it was a church that was feared.
The word FEAR here is phobos which means: fear, dread, that which strikes terror
There are two other places where this phrase is found: and fear came
- SEE Acts 5:5, 11
This word literally means a terrorizing fear
The early church intimidated their city.
They were a force to be reckoned with.
The Acts 2 church was so powerful and influential that FEAR CAME UPON EVERY SOUL.
What a testimony! What a statement!
I believe that the early church struck fear in the hearts of people.
It wasn’t just because of their size, but it was because of their stand, their sincerity, their soberness, their seriousness.
The world is playing games.
The world is obsessed with fun, entertainment, amusements, virtual reality, make-believe, pretend.
This church – God’s Prototype of the Local Church – wasn’t playing games.
I’m sad to see the current state the church.
The church today is not producing fear in anyone’s hearts.
The church today is mocked, the butt of jokes; has little to no influence and impact.
They are not being persecuted for their stand many times, but rather for their hypocrisy.
This country is filled with churches sitting on the side of the road that nobody knows exists.
People drive by them for years and never see them; never hear anything about them.
Instead of being a lighthouse, they are a monument to dead religion.
Churches make the news today only when there is sexual immorality or a financial scandal.
Preachers don’t get recognized by the media for their powerful preaching, but by their perverted promiscuity.
The church wasn’t put here to serve coffee.
The church wasn’t put here to form ball teams.
The church wasn’t put here to build a kingdom and an empire unto themselves.
The church wasn’t put here to promote social justice.
Don’t ask me if I’m “woke”. I never went to sleep!
The church was not here to be the propaganda arm of the liberals and the progressives.
The church was put here to represent the interest of God Almighty.
The church was built to wage war on the gates of hell.
The church was put here to preach the Gospel; model Biblical Christianity and bring glory to God.
A church that does that will make an impact in their community.
A church that will get people’s attention and make a difference.
I believe the early church – God’s prototype of the local church was feared because of:
I. The Conviction of their Message
It started way back in 2:6 THEY WERE CONFOUNDED
CONFOUNDED: to disturb; to confuse; to cause an uproar
- Verse 37 – they were pricked in their heart
PRICKED: to prick, pierce; to pain the mind sharply, agitate it vehemently
- Verse 38 – Repent, and be baptized EVERY ONE OF YOU
- Verse 40 – save yourselves from this untoward generation
UNTOWARD – crooked; perverse
Any church that preaches this message will make people uncomfortable.
One thing is certain – the first church did not preach a message of acceptance.
They were not building bridges.
The churches today have allowed the unsaved to dictate the message of the church.
Churches today, instead of putting fear in the hearts of the world, it has become the other way around.
Instead of girding up their loins and standing, many are tucking their tails and running.
The world has the church on the run.
The intellects have the church on the defense.
The heathen rage, and the church trembles.
The government barks, and the church goes into hiding.
The church should be terrorizing their community with their witnessing, preaching and conviction.
We are not the ones that should be having second thoughts – we should be causing them to have second thoughts!
II. The Continuation of their Members
This church was legit – it was for real – it was not a fly-by-night outfit that flamed out after a few weeks.
People were getting saved every day, and they were joining the church every day.
They were being discipled every day.’
They were continuing stedfastly in the apostle’s doctrine every day.
They were continuing stedfastly in the apostle’s fellowship every day.
They were continuing in breaking of bread every day.
They were praying with one another every day.
This church wasn’t dissolving; it was expanding.
This church wasn’t fizzling out; it was exploding.
Nothing threatens an untoward generation more than a group of dedicated, committed Christians.
People that are not just saved, but growing, thriving, learning, praying, continuing.
A lot of people start out, but few stay.
A lot of people get started, but many do not finish.
- John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
When a church full of people continue, AND I MEAN CONTINUE – they become a force to be reckoned with.
People that were here at this church thirty years ago come by and can’t believe we are still continuing!
Missionaries that came through here ten and fifteen years ago marvel that we are still continuing!
Adults come by that went to school here forty years ago and can’t believe it. We are still continuing!
Churches today are changing their message, their methods, their mentality, their motivation, their ministries.
They’ve changed Bibles, they’ve changed music, they’ve changed their doctrine, they’ve changed their name.
Quitting is easy; continuing is difficult.
A great amount of emphasis is placed in Scripture on continuing.
- Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
- Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
- 2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
III. The Confirmation of their Ministry
It was evident that God was with them.
The Bible is clear – they performed many wonders and signs.
These were daily reminders that God was working; lives were being changed.
They valued these Divine confirmations; they prayed for them.
- SEE 4:29, 30
Though God works in a different way, God still works.
God has not stopped working.
His power has not diminished.
Things were happening; uncommon things; unprecedented things.
Though the church no longer performs miracles, or signs and wonders, make no mistake – God still wants to work!
The world is desperate to see something that is real – something that actually works.
- 2 Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Notice Paul’s admonition to the Romans:
- Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
PROVE: to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals; to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy
God’s will for the believer and for the local church is to prove to a lost and dying world what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.