I. We are part of something big, the most successful and influential enterprise in the history of mankind, we are part of the greatest campaign ever—the Gospel!
A. We are God’s Church—ekklēsia meaning called out ones.—1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Chosen, royal, holy, special—these words convey something powerful
Proclaim—publish the goodness of God
THE LOCAL CHURCH IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD. It’s the God-ordained redemptive agency upon which the destiny of the entire world hangs. – Bill Hybels
B. God’s glory is upon His Church!—John 17:20-22
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.
C. God’s is building His Church!—Matthew 16:18-19
Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The church is to be unstoppable
We have the authority and power to bring salvation to the people
D. God’s grace is upon His Church!—Acts 4:23-24,31,33
And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord…
…when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
…And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
They were publishing the goodness of God
They were threatened by religious leaders
Their voice (to God and to their world) could not be stopped
Great grace was upon them all
We have something that outweighs everything–favor
II. We discover something very powerful from the early church…
A. When the Spirit of God moves upon us and calls upon us to pray, to serve, to witness and we say yes God will do a work!—Acts 13:40-41
Paul warned the Jews, “Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you: ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.'”
B. Jesus said yes to the Father—John 9:4,5
“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
C. We are called upon to do the same!—John 14:12
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
Her potential is unlimited It comforts the grieving and heals the broken all within the context of a loving community. It builds bridges to those who are seeking and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources for those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden and the disillusioned. It breaks the chains of addictions, frees the oppressed and offers affirmation & belonging to those who have suffered rejection. – Bill Hybels
III. God is calling you to be an active part of His Church. How do we respond when God calls upon us?
A. Saul got the call, notice his response—Acts 9:1-6
1. Paul was religious, self-righteous, legalistic, controlling, oppressing, persecuting the church.
2. His 1st response: Lord, who are you? [We all need to get on the path of discovery and know Jesus intimately.]
3. His 2nd response: Lord, what do you want me to do? [We all need to come to the place where we surrender our lives to his purpose and his plan.]
B. When you say yes to God, He will do a work in you. Paul’s testimony to King Agrippa gives a clear example—Acts 26:16-18
But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
1. God wants to make you a witness of His love and grace!
2. God wants to set you free from your fears!
3. God wants to send you!
C. You begin a personal journey when you say yes!—Phil 3:9-12
That I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings
That I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me…
D. Answering the call is the start of your personal journey
1. To GAIN Christ—v. 8 (personal intimacy, His presence, his approval, his acceptance
2. To be FOUND IN HIM—v. 9 (identity, oneness) Hidden in the N.T. epistles are the truths of your spiritual identity, you have got to mine them, and allow the Spirit, to reveal them to you so they become a part of you. [Mine them—meditation and confession]
3. To KNOW His power and sufferings—v. 10 (YES to God NO to you.)
4. To LAY HOLD of His plans and purposes—v. 12
E. It all begins with prayer: we pray God will do a work!—Romans 8:26-28
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.