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May 15, 2005

“Where do I fit in?”  Acts 2:36-47.  1 Corinthians 12

May 15, 2005.  Pastor Matt 


Acts 2:36-41

-         Paul presents the simple Message about Christ

-         The people realized they were wrong about Jesus

-         (37) “Brothers, what shall we do?”

o       When people understand Jesus is the Way and they have been missing it, they often say, “what do I need to do?” This is usually the first question they ask

-         (38) “Repent and be baptized”

o       Why repent?

        True repentance only comes when we realize we have sin and need a savior

        Jesus is not just a free ticket to heaven.

        We believe in Him because we need Him and what He did on the cross

o       Why be baptized?

        Baptism is the outside evidence of what we have already believed in on the inside.

        It symbolizes our old sinful self as dying, and the new person we have become

        It is our decision to walk a new life of obedience to Jesus as Lord of our life.  It is the first thing Jesus wants us to do as a new believer.

        It was a culturally radical change of direction as it is a radical change of direction for us too


(41) those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day”


What does added to their number mean?

(KJV) were added unto them about three thousand souls.


It means, if you…


1. Believed in the message of who Jesus was

2. Repented (acknowledge you have sin and need a savior)

3. Were Baptized (change in direction of life, a walk in obedience to the commands of Christ)


…You became part of the family of God. 


This is not a church membership as we have it today, but a “membership” or a uniting with God’s people.  You are part of the family. 


They united themselves with other people who had made the same decision to follow Christ


If you believe in who Jesus was and what He did, if you know you have sin, need forgiven of sin, and need help overcoming the sin in our life, and you have decided to follow Jesus and do what He says, you will automatically feel like you are a part of something that is bigger than yourself. 


You have joined this worldwide organization, called the Christian family.


Whether or not you are a member of this church does not include or exclude you from that fellowship with other believers. 


That fellowship is supposed to be automatic.


Here at Westwood we want you to be a group of believers who naturally function in the way that believers are designed to function.


(I am not saying we are doing away with membership.  Membership is important because it shows you are committed to the welfare of the church, and you support its beliefs and vision.)


All I am saying is that for now, let us see ourselves as we were meant to be before we modernized the church.


(41) about 3,000 were added to their number that day!


People got saved and that is why we are here


So what did they do that we can do?


So, How did this young church of believers (when they get together as a group) function?



1. They were devoted to the apostles’ teachings


-         not tradition, not hearsay, not old wives tales, not fear, not gut feelings, not modern trends

o       we must teach only what the Bible says

        we cannot add to it or take away from it

        some of us have been taught some things that are not Bible

o       in fact, they were items added to the Bible by our forefathers

        That doesn’t make them bible, it only makes us comfortable

        I challenge you to prove all we do by the scriptures


 2. They were devoted to fellowship


-         fellowship is not shaking hands on Sunday morning

-         it is sharing your life with other people

o       our homes, our problems, our joys, our needs, celebrations and sadness

-         We need to surround ourselves by other Christians.

-         The Christian life is impossible to live on your own.

-         If you are not in fellowship with another person, be the first to take the initiative to create fellowship

Hebrews 10:25.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


3. They were devoted to the breaking of bread


-         Why was it important for them to do communion together?

o       It was as a reminder of what Jesus did for them

o       It united them

o       It kept their priorities in focus.  Jesus is always to be our main focus



4. They were devoted to prayer


-         Nothing we do at this church can happen outside of prayer

-         We must ask His guidance, but mostly we must ask Him to do the work of the church


Read 44-47


Their lives were intertwined with each other


-         they were untied as a body.

o       They sold possessions in order to give to those with needs (took care of needs as a group)

o       They met together in the courts (worshipped as a group)

o       They opened their homes and fed each other (what’s mine is yours)



(44)  All the believers were together and had everything in common.


Key words: Everyone, all, together, all the people


They were no longer individuals; they had become a group of followers of Jesus.

Belief in Jesus automatically puts you in the group.  There is no longer individuals.

They valued each other over themselves or their possessions. 

The corporate body was more important than one person. 

Everybody had become a part of something greater than themselves….the local church!  The Great Church!

Some of us do a great job of doing many of the things the early church did as an individual, but we missed it as a group

Why is it important to understand this group concept?


Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 12


I believe that that early church, even though there was a large group of new believers, was full of people serving and being served. 


It had people who operated from the gifts God has given them. 


It was full of people who saw themselves as part of something that is bigger than themselves.


And what was the result?


It says in verse (Acts 2:47) that they “… enjoyed the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”


Church can be a joy and not a burden


People will come to the Believe in Jesus.  That’s why we are here!


I come to you tonight as one part of this church. 


I come to you to let you know of the needs we have in this church.


I believe that you are all here because you know you are a part of something bigger than yourself.


This church is your church.  It will become what your gifts let it become. 


My concern is that we will suffer as a church, and lives will not be reached. 


Some of you have not been serving in this church or any church because you are not a member. 


But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to be a member of an earthly church to be a believer serving fellows believers.




Ask God to show you the gifts he has given you and how you can start using them.


Ask God if now is the time to commit to this local church and start using your gifts for Him, whatever they might be.


Ask God if you are supposed to serve in some of the areas we need help with in the church.


He made you who you are, so give everything you are to Him.