A Spirit-Empowered Church

Sermon Outline for Sunday, May 22-29, 2022


Pastor Andy Lambert

PASSAGES:  Isaiah 64:1-3; Matthew 11:6; Acts 2:4; Acts 2:42-47; John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:9-11; 


 

Does God have a plan for our church – or not? YES, God has a plan for every church. The real questions are: ‘Is the church willing to allow God’s plan to work in the church’ AND ‘Is the Holy Spirit willing to share God’s plan with us?

 

The entire chapter of Acts 2 has a process is built on understanding that God has a plan and the Holy Spirit wants to reveal it to us. There are five biblical function of the first-century church that we need to make sure they operate in our church today and they are a pathway from values to vision for the church.

 

We must recognize that without the Holy Spirit empowerment in our church, the mission, vision, values and plans merely amount to programs. And programs do not grow a church, but programs can grow a social club. We need the Holy Spirit empowerment revitalization. Needing revitalization doesn’t imply that our church is dead and lifeless, because we are not. It does mean that we know we can use more of the Holy Spirit.

 

We can all cry with Isaiah 64:1-3 ~ “1 Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence— 2 as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! 3 When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.”

 

And also we need to look at what Jesus told John the Baptist followers after talking about the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, the lepers being cleansed and the deaf getting their hearing back, Jesus said in Matthew 11:6 ~ “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.””

 

We do ourselves a great disservice if we think that because we’re in a Spirit-filled church we have nothing to gain by praying for, seeking, and expecting revitalization. We can miss out if we assume we’re already as full of the Holy Spirit in our personal lives and services as we can be. Don’t be offended by this talk of revitalization if you’re in a church that’s already experiencing the Holy Spirit. Instead, see this as an opportunity to bring it to a higher spiritual level by being hungry for more of Him! In addition, don’t think that the Holy Spirit has no place in a strategic plan because the Spirit who can inspire us spontaneously is the same Spirit who helps us learn God’s plans for our churches.

 

Let’s look at the Acts 2 Holy Spirit Plan for the New Testament Spirit-Filled Church

Acts 2:4 ~ “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
This was God’s plan for His people on earth. Contrary to some thinking, the presence and flow of the Holy Spirit doesn’t imply a complete loss of order. God established a plan for His Spirit-Empowered Church and we read about that plan here …
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
 

 … and we have clarification on the function and activities of the New Testament Spirit-Empowered Church, that we are a part of today. This plan hinges on fellowship, discipleship, gift-oriented ministry, evangelism and worship. We must also realize that evangelism is what the church engages in and it must not stop.

 

God does nothing out of order, there is a divine purpose in all He does. He didn’t establish a pattern on this earth devoid of order and motivated only by how we individually interpret the Spirit; God had something in mind and because we have His blueprint, we are a part of that plan.

 

We need to also notice that the plan God has laid out for us is the basis of the CV Vision and Mission. The four principles of the CV Vision and Mission are: WORSHIP, LEARNING, CARING and SHARING. We built this on God’s plan.

 

The plan of God is about people and the primary focus of the plan is to nurture people to become what God wants them to be; this plan is all about people. This plan is broken down into five key points: CONNECT, GROW, SERVE, GO and WORSHIP.

 

 

CONNECT

 

• Connect is about far more than fellowship. It’s also about hospitality and welcoming visitors warmly so they want to return and become a part of your body of believers. It’s about our horizontal relationships with other people, but it’s also about our vertical relationship with God. The better an individual’s and a church’s relationship with God, the better their relationships will be with others.

 

• Love among believers isn’t optional; it’s essential and central to God’s calling for the church. On the night Jesus was betrayed, one of His final instructions to His followers was about the nature of their relationships:

 

John 13:34-35 ~ “34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.””

 

• John was paying attention that night. In his first letter, he captured the heart of Jesus’ teaching: Our love for others flows naturally (or supernaturally) from our experience of Jesus’ great love for us.

 

1 John 4:9-11 ~ “9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

 

• In building an Acts 2 church, love is the glue that holds everything together. In his book, Natural Church Development, Christian Schwarz comments, “Growing churches possess a measurably higher ‘love quotient’ than stagnant, declining ones. Healthy growing churches practice hospitality as believers invite others into their homes as a normal part of their Christian lives. People don’t want to hear us talk about love, they want to experience how Christian love really works.

 

• The way you welcome and treat people who come into your church is the first piece of connect. This is that vital first impression, and, cliche or not, people establish a great deal of their opinion about your church the moment they walk through the doors—if they haven’t already formed it in the parking lot! We simply can’t overstate how important it is to welcome people warmly.

 

• But the biggest question is “WHERE DOES CONNECT BEGIN?”

 

• First we look at some information: It is widely reported that over 50 million people attend church every Sunday; we are talking IN-HOUSE. However, most of those people never answer the question of WHY? Some go out of guilt, some because they feel pressured by family members, some out of habit, some because the Pastor keeps calling and texting and asking them, some because it’s the thing to do.

 

• Millions more avoid church attendance for a variety of other reasons: sermons are boring, people aren’t friendly, all the preacher wants his our money, they need Sunday to rest, it’s laundry day, I ran out of peanut butter.

 

 

 

 

• Wonder what many of you here would say as to WHY? But, let’s move forward, shall we.

 

• Before we welcome people to church and before we help them get plugged in to grow and serve, we must first invite them. And how will we invite them if we ourselves don’t know why we go? Reaching out to the unchurched begins with one simple thing: connecting to others and welcoming them to our family.

 

1 Peter 1:3 tells us that we are born into a family; what’s the name of this family? THE CHURCH! Good, bad and ugly we are all family!

 

• The church exists on the earth to share the gospel and to be a support and foundation upon which we can build our lives and relationships by facilitating people’s relationship with Jesus Christ. The Christian life is more than belief and action – it’s a relationship, connection, belonging, community – FAMILY!

 

• I hear people often tell me – I can be a Christian and Worship from home. And you know what? In the world we live now, that maybe true, when we plug in and connect with a church family like we have many that do through our live feed. HOWEVER, not connecting to a church family is like saying you want to play football in college, but not be a part of a team; be a soldier in an army of one; play a musical instrument, but not be a part of a band.

 

• A Christian without a church family is like an orphan. Orphans, in most all cases, like the support and foundation necessary to make it through rough times and they grow up disassociating with society, feeling burdened by trust issues, and mission out on the power and support of family.

 

• Church is more than occupying a pew. God didn’t plan for us to be consumers in the body of Christ without giving back. God expects each believer to contribute to the body of Christ, and He has given us abilities, talents, gifts, and unique backgrounds that can help other people. Any time you use your talents or abilities to help someone you are ministering to that person.

 

• Only a small percentage of Christians are called into the full-time ministry, but we’re all called to minister. A Christian who isn’t ministering is actually a contradiction. One day we’ll stand before Christ and give an account of how we used the talents and gifts He gave us. That’s why one of the major jobs of the church is to help people discover and develop their ministry and to provide a venue to help them give to others .

 

• Paul explained it like this: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). You aren’t a mistake; you’re a masterpiece, a work of art, truly one-of-a-kind. Even if your parents didn’t plan your birth, God did. He designed you, and regardless of the circumstances of your birth, He wants you on this earth for a purpose. Your unique offering to the world is your ministry—the “good works” Paul mentioned.

 

 

GROW

SERVE

GO

WORSHIP


Pastor Andy Lambert ~ pastorandy@cvcog.church

Call/Text: 205.642.8744 ext 101

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