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The Culture of the Movement

The Culture of the Movement

May 05, 2019

Passage:Acts 2:42-47

Preacher: John Welborn

Series: The Movement: A Journey with Theophilus

Detail:

May 5, 2019

Pastor John Welborn

The Movement: A Journey with Theophilus

The Culture of the Movement
Acts 2:42-47

“Now the Christians, O King, by going about & seeking, have found the truth. For they know & trust in God, the Maker of heaven & earth, who has no fellow. From him they received those commandments which they have engraved on their minds, & which they observe in the hope & expectation of the world to come. For this reason they do not commit adultery or immorality; they do not bear false witness, or embezzle, nor do they covet what is not theirs. They honor father & mother, and do good to those who are their neighbors. Whenever they are judges, they judge uprightly. They do not worship idols make in the image of man. Whatever they do not wish that others should do to them, they in turn do not do; & they do not eat the food sacrificed to idols. Those who oppress them they exhort & make them their friends. They do good to their enemies. Their wives, O King, are pure as virgins, & their daughters are modest. Their men abstain from all unlawful sexual contact & from impurity, in the hope of recompense that is to come in another world. As for their bondmen & bondwomen, & their children, if there are any, they persuade them to become Christians; & when they have done so, they call them brethren without distinction. They refuse to worship strange gods; & they go their way in all humility & cheerfulness. Falsehood is not found among them. They love one another; the widow’s needs are not ignored, & they rescue the orphan from the person who does him violence. He who has gives to him who has not, ungrudgingly & without boasting. When the Christians find a stranger, they bring him to their homes & rejoice over him as a true brother. They do not call brothers those who are bound by blood ties alone, but those who are brethren after the Spirit & in God. When one of their poor passes away from the world, each provides for his burial according to his ability. If they hear of any of their number who are imprisoned or oppressed for the name of the Messiah, they all provide for his needs, & if it is possible to redeem him, they set him free. If they find poverty in their midst, & they do not have spare food, they fast two or three days in order that the needy might be supplied with the necessities. They observe scrupulously the commandments of their Messiah, living honestly & soberly as the Lord their God ordered them. Every morning & every hour they praise & thank God for his goodness to them; & for their food & drink they offer thanksgiving. If any righteous person of their number passes away from the world, they rejoice & thank God, & escort his body as if he were setting out from one place to another nearby. When a child is born to one of them, they praise God. If it dies in infancy, they thank God the more, as for one who has passed through the world without sins. But if one of them dies in his iniquity or in his sins, they grieve bitterly & sorrow as over one who is about to meet his doom. Such, O King, is the commandment given to the Christians, & such is their conduct.” The Apology of Aristides to Emperor Hadrian (approximately 130AD)

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  Peter Drucker

Main Idea: The Church is a Worldwide Movement with a very Distinct Culture

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching & the fellowship, to the breaking of bread & the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, & many wonders & signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together & had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions & belongings & distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together & breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad & generous hearts, praising God & having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”  Acts 2:42-47

Four Cultural Distinctives of the Movement:

I. Culture of Devotion
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching & the fellowship, to the breaking of bread & the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, & many wonders & signs were being done through the apostles.”  Acts 2:42-43

True Doctrine
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good & acceptable & perfect.” Romans 12:2

Tight Relationships
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love & good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, & all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:24-25

Focused Prayer
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer & supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

Amazing Power
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

II. Culture of Generosity
“And all who believed were together & had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions & belongings & distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.”  Acts 2:44-45

• Everything We Have Came from God

• Everything We Have Belongs to God

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous & ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they make take hold of that which is truly life.”  1 Timothy 6:17-19

III. Culture of Joy
“And day by day, attending the temple together & breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad & generous hearts, praising God & having favor with all the people...”  Acts 2:46-47a

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice & be glad in it.”  Ps. 118:24 

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”  Philippians 4:4

“A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms.”  William Barclay

IV. Culture of Increase
“And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47b

• Making Disciples
• Multiplying Churches

“By contrast, Christianity was first dominated by Jews & centered in Jerusalem. Later it was dominated by Hellenists & centered in the Mediterranean. Later the faith was received by the barbarians of Northern Europe & Christianity came to be dominated by western Europeans & then North Americans. Today most Christians in the world live in Africa, Latin America & Asia. Christianity soon will be centered in the southern & eastern hemispheres.”  Tim Keller (The Reason for God)

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  Phil 2:5-8

Sources and Further Reading Opportunities:

• Bible Exposition Commentary – Warren Wiersbe (1996)
• Holman NT Commentary: Acts – Kenneth O. Gangel (1998)
• Preaching the Word: Acts – Kent R. Hughes (1996)
• New Bible Commentary – D.A. Carson (1994)
• New American Commentary Series: Acts – John B. Polhill (1992)
• Daily Study Bible Series: Acts of the Apostles – William Barclay (1976)
• Word Pictures in the New Testament – A.T. Robertson (1933)
• MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Acts 1-12 – John MacArthur (1994).                                                                                                                             • The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Craig s. Keener (1993)
• The Apology of Aristides – Aristides (1893)
• The Reason for God – Timothy Keller (2008)