Where Lives Are Changed
The good, the bad, and the ugly--change is a natural part of life. Whatever you're going through or whatever season of life you're in, we want to go through it with you. We're here for you! Learn more about Calvary Albuquerque in our series Where Lives Are Changed.
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||Where Lives Are Changed
||Where Lives Are Changed
"When you're through changing, you're through!" So wrote American author Bruce Barton. It's true, isn't it? We're all changing, all the time, for the better or for the worse. But for the believer, the change is dramatic and eternal. Over the years, we've seen thousands of lives change for the glory of God here at Calvary. Such a privilege is both humbling and inspiring. Let's celebrate together as we consider what this change is all about and how it operates in us.
Connect Group Recap: October 4, 2015
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: Where Lives Are Changed
Text: Romans 12:1-2
"When you're through changing, you're through!" So wrote American author Bruce Barton. It's true, isn't it? We're all changing, all the time, for the better or for the worse. But for the believer, the change is dramatic and eternal. In this message, Pastor Skip teaches us what change is and how it operates.
- Change Is Possible (v. 2)
- Change Is Personal (v. 1)
- Change Is Progressional (v. 2)
- Change Is Practical (v. 2)
Change Is Possible (v. 2, "do not be conformed...be transformed"
- Change is the one thing that never changes, and it comes in many forms.
- When there is a deep and profound change, it can result in a change of life—transformation.
- The Greek word for transformation is metamorphoó, as in metamorphosis. It means to change from one form to another. Biblically, it describes the radical change of the inner person.
- Because Jesus rose from the dead, change is possible. Church should be a place where change happens and produces hope.
- Probe: Discuss the moment God first changed you. How did your life transform?
Change Is Personal (v. 1, "you therefore, brethren...present your bodies"
- Change is a personal experience—the result of a personal response to God.
- In this text, Paul made an appeal for us to apply what God has done for us ("the mercies of God"—what Paul described in Romans 1-11).
- In view of what God has done for you, you are to present yourself to Him and let Him change you.
- How does this happen?
- Don't be changed by the world around you, but allow yourself to be transformed by God: human cooperation with divine operation.
- This is your "reasonable service"; the most rational and logical thing you can do is turn your life over to the One who can change it—God.
- Probe: How are Christians to cooperate with God in their life?
Change Is Progressional (v. 2, "by the renewing of your mind"
- Renewal is the gradual conforming of your mind into a life marked by Christ; it is both an event and a process.
- Renewal takes place in the mind. The heart is not opposed to the mind—it is the mind, biblically speaking (heart and mind are often used as synonyms in Scripture).
- The renewal of the mind is how transformation happens; a mind saturated with Scripture is the place where lives are changed.
- Transformation requires discipline: Bible study, prayer, fellowship, communion, evangelism, service, etc.
- Probe: Spiritual disciplines are important. Which areas of discipline can you improve in?
Change Is Practical (v. 2, "you may prove...[the] will of God"
Connect Up: Take a moment to pray or sing, thanking God for His work in your life.
- "That you may prove...[the] will of God" is a result clause; it is the result of a life saturated in Scripture, seeking and finding the will of God.
- When we present our bodies to the control of God and allow the Word of God to renew and transform our minds, then we are able to discern the will of God.
- God's will is good—the highest good; acceptable—that which pleases God; and perfect—developing in you a mature spiritual life.
- Transformation isn't some mystical event, but the result of a renewed mind.
- In which direction are you being changing and transformed—toward the world or toward God?
- Probe: How can the church better celebrate the transformed life?
Connect In: Pray for a fellow Christian who you know is struggling, and ask God to give them the discipline needed to prove that which is good, acceptable, and perfect.
Connect Out: Pray for a coworker, neighbor, or family member who is not a Christian. Ask someone in your Connect Group to join you in regular prayer for them.
- Change is the one thing that never changes
- No one can stop change; it happens around us and to us
- It can come suddenly or incrementally
- Transformation is an inward change that produces an outward change
- Change Is Possible (v. 2, "do not be conformed...be transformed")
- Metamorphoó = to transform
- Metamorphosis means to change from an immature form to a mature or adult form in distinct stages
- A profound, radical change to the inner you (see 2 Corinthians 3:18)
- Church ought to be a place where people hear that they do not have to stay the same
- People come to church because they want to enrich their lives
- Lives enhanced
- Hope of something different
- If Jesus can conquer death, He can conquer our dying hopes
- Change Is Personal (v. 1, "you therefore, brethren...present your bodies")
- A result of a personal response to God
- Mercies of God refers to the truths Paul explained in the previous eleven chapters in Romans
- Justified by faith
- Access to God
- Hope of heaven
- Shaped by trials and tribulations
- We have the grace of God
- We have the Holy Spirit living in us
- Both Jews and Gentiles have God's great promises
- Paul urged his readers to surrender their life to the God who can change it
- You cannot do the transforming on your own; allow God to do the changing
- The most reasonable thing we can do is turn our lives over to God
- Logikos = reasonable, rational
- Personal choice must be engaged in order that change may occur
- Must be a human cooperation with a divine operation
- If we truly surrender, the sky is the limit
- You may think you are unworthy, but God can do mighty works through your life if you let Him
- Sarah was barren, but God gave her a child and built a nation from him (see Genesis 17:1-18:19)
- Moses was not an eloquent speaker, but God used him to speak to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites (see Exodus 4:10-15)
- Paul was small in stature and had a small gait, but God used him to spread the gospel around the known world
- Change Is Progressional (v. 2, "by the renewing of your mind")
- Change is a process; it does not happen overnight
- The new birth is an event; growing up is a process
- Salvation, then sanctification
- The Bible uses the terms heart and mind to mean the same thing (see Proverbs 23:7; Matthew 9:4)
- It is acceptable for Christians to think (see Isaiah 1:18)
- We are to love God with all our mind as well as our heart, soul, and strength (see Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:17)
- To be changed, you must be saturated with the Scriptures
- Bible study
- Change Is Practical (v. 2, "you may prove...[the] will of God")
- God is always practical
- We will be able to discern the will of God
- God's will is good
- It is not always fun
- God causes all things to work for good (see Romans 8:28)
- God's will is acceptable
- God's will is perfect
- In which direction is your life changing?
- Are you being shaped to God's will?
Greek words: logikos, metamorphoó
Cross references: Genesis 17:1-18:19; Exodus 4:10-15; Proverbs 23:7; Isaiah 1:18; Matthew 9:4; 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:17; Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 3:18
Topic: The Christian Walk
Keywords: change, transformation, metamorphosis, church, hope, response, grace, promise, surrender, discipline, discern, God's will
||Where Lives Are Changed
||With One Another
Every week, sixty U.S. churches close their doors. The church should never need a reason to gather other than Jesus Himself, and it's at church where we learn how to be a vibrant and effective body of believers. As we study the early church in the book of Acts, we discover that as believers, we can't survive or thrive without fellowship.
Connect Group Recap: October 18, 2015
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: With One Another
Text: Acts 2:40-47
Every week, sixty U.S. churches close their doors. The church should never need a reason to gather other than Jesus Himself. In this teaching, Pastor Skip gave us a New Testament demonstration of an Old Testament declaration: "It is not good that man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18). It’s at church where we learn how to be a vibrant and effective body of believers. Together, we look at the basic fact that we can’t survive or thrive without fellowship.
- What does fellowship mean?
- Why is fellowship needed?
- How is fellowship done?
- When does fellowship happen?
What does fellowship mean? (v. 42)
- Fellowship is taken from the Greek word koinónia. It connotes being in communion, contribution, partnership, and sharing life together.
- Fellowship isn’t just a social gathering; it’s being social over spiritual things.
- All the activities described in Acts 2:40-42 are spiritual: teaching and learning the apostles’ doctrine, prayer, and Communion. The early church was intensely relational and spiritual.
- The goal of fellowship is to stimulate each other to spiritual growth.
- Probe: Discuss how Christian fellowship is different from just hanging out (even if we slap a spiritual name on our activity).
Why is fellowship needed?
- Christian fellowship is the antidote in a world of increasing isolation and persecution.
- With everything in our society fighting against Christian fellowship (social media, technology, etc.), the need for personal fellowship is essential. Social media is less "social" than its name suggests; as a potentially addictive and definitely isolating form of media, it turns you away from actual community, not out toward others.
- Probe: Are you guilty of using social media instead of participating in personal fellowship? If so, what are some strategies you can use to get back to the real thing?
How is fellowship done? (v. 46)
- Fellowship is done in big and small groups: "in the temple" and "from house to house."
- The temple was the formal structure: prayer, instruction, and inspiration occurred there. In the temple (the church), the preacher has something to say, and together we study and worship God.
- Gathering from house to house is the informal structure. It’s where the principles of the biblical text are worked out through interaction and collaboration. Here the individual has something to say, and together we study and walk with God.
- Probe: Discuss the benefits of both large and small gatherings. Why are both important to the spiritual life of a Christian?
When does fellowship happen? (vv. 44-46a)
Connect Up: How does fellowship strengthen your relationship with God? What does fellowship tell you about the nature of God (especially when it comes to the Trinity)?
- This is up to you. If fellowship is crucial, then involvement should be central to our Christian experience.
- Notice that in the early church, all Christians experienced fellowship: "all who believed" (v. 44).
- Our fellowship should be frequent rather than infrequent, regular rather than irregular.
- The disciples "[continued] daily with one accord" (v. 46a). That is, they were committed to fellowship on a regular basis.
- When we don’t fellowship, we are disobeying a direct command of God.
- As John Wesley stated, "I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field." Fellowship helps equip us for a whole Christian life.
- Probe: How often are you in fellowship? What difference do you notice in your life when you’re in fellowship versus when you’re not?
Connect In: How does fellowship strengthen the body of Christ? When we gather, what does it do for our spiritual and social well-being?
Connect Out: Jesus said the world will know us by our love for one another (see John 13:35). How does fellowship act as a witness to the world? What did Pastor Skip mean by saying our "with-ness will enhance our witness"?
- God's people should never have to be convinced that they need to gather together
- Churches live or die because of the people who attend
- We belong to the greatest company in the world (the church)
- We have a product that works universally (the gospel)
- We have offices worldwide (in every corner of the world you will find gatherings of believers)
- We have great benefits
- Forgiveness for our past
- Hope for our present
- We have the greatest retirement package (heaven)
- The church is not a spectator sport; it is a team activity
- We cannot survive and thrive as believers without fellowship
- God designed people to live life together
- What Does Fellowship Mean?
- Koinónia = fellowship
- Also translated communion, contribution, sharing, a partnership
- Sharing the life of Jesus Christ
- Being social over spiritual matters
- What fellowship meant to the early church
- Learning from the apostles
- Breaking of bread and Communion
- Praying together
- When we gather together, our goal is to stimulate each other to spiritual growth
- One another
- Phrase appears about sixty times in the New Testament
- Romans 13:8; 14:19; 15:14; Ephesians 4:32
- New Testament church was intensely relational
- Why Is Fellowship Needed?
- The seedling of persecution (see Acts 2:12-13)
- Persecution became more intense (see Acts 4)
- Christians were thrown in jail (see Acts 5:17-41)
- The church was scattered (see Acts 8:1-8)
- We need each other more than ever before
- We live in a culture that is increasingly hostile to believers
- Our society is marginalizing us
- Modern technology is becoming so personalized it is turning us inward toward ourselves instead of outward toward others
- We essentially become the god of our own little universe
- The word friendship has been cheapened by technology
- Being someone's friend on Facebook or following them on Instagram is not fellowship
- Everything about the church fights privacy and isolation
- Fellowship is needed because of pressure
- Of a godless society
- Of technology that turns us inward
- How Is Fellowship Done?
- A twofold structure
- A big meeting
- Where the Scriptures are studied
- Where we worship God
- Requires listening to a message
- A small meeting
- Where we apply the Scriptures
- Where we learn to walk with God
- Requires discussion
- When Does Fellowship Happen?
- Some people don't want anyone to get too close to them
- The church in Acts was a mega-church
- It kept multiplying
- The mega-church was the New Testament norm
- They all had fellowship
- Everyone can have an intimacy of fellowship
- A man who has friends must be friendly (see Proverbs 18:24)
- The size does not matter, but the significance of the heart
- They met together regularly (see Acts 20:7)
- Hebrews 10:25
- Failure to participate in the life of a local church is to disobey a direct command of Scripture
- We need to reject the idea of convenience fellowship
- We are in it together
- We live life together
Greek words: koinónia
Cross references: Proverbs 18:24; Acts 2:12-13; 4; 5:17-41; 8:1-8; 20:7; Romans 13:8; 14:19; 15:14; Ephesians 4:32; Hebrews 10:25
Keywords: fellowship, the Christian walk, church, forgiveness, apostles, Communion, social, prayer, spiritual growth, relationships, persecution, friendship, isolation, mega-church
||Where Lives Are Changed
||We Pursue God...Through Worship
||Acts 2; Revelation 4-5
We live in a world of narcissism—"It's all about me!" To offset our self-worship, we need sovereign worship—"It's all about Him!" As we look at both the early church and the eternal church, we discover the cure for our self-centered culture.
Connect Group Recap: November 1, 2015
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: We Pursue God...Through Worship
Text: Acts 2; Revelation 4-5
We live in a world of narcissism, where it’s all about me! To offset our self-worship, we need sovereign worship—theism. In this message, Pastor Skip shows us the cure for our self-centered culture.
- Worship Is Fundamental
- Worship Is Intellectual
- Worship Is Physical
- Worship Is Musical
- Worship Is Vocal
- Worship Is Emotional
Worship Is Fundamental
- Acts 2:47 is a summary statement of verses 41-46. It shows us that the early church’s activity was both vertical (“praising God”) and horizontal (“favor with all the people”).
- Worship is foundational to the mission of the church; it’s the number one activity done on earth that will continue in heaven.
- In a culture that says, “It’s all about me,” a culture of worship says, “It’s all about Him.”
Worship Is Intellectual
- In Revelation 4 verses 8 and 11, the apostle John showed us worship based on who God is and what He has done.
- Worship is an intelligent response to God; it involves our mind. Our theology should form our hymnology, acting as a “praise-prompter” (a term from Randy Alcorn).
Worship Is Physical
- In heaven, the elders responded to God with physical worship: they fell down before Him, awestruck (see Revelation 4:10; 5:8).
- In the Old Testament, the most common word used for worship is shachah—to fall and bow down, to stoop and do obeisance to.
- There are several physical acts of worship demonstrated in Scripture: lifting hands (see 1 Timothy 2:8), standing (see Psalm 135), lifting eyes (see Psalm 123), and even dancing (see Psalm 149:3).
Worship Is Musical
- Notice the word “harp” in Revelation 5:8. The harp was an ancient instrument that was strummed or plucked.
- Music has always been part of worship, from the Old Testament to the New.
- Martin Luther said, “Next to theology I give to music the highest place and honor. Music is the art of the prophets, the only art that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.”
Worship Is Vocal
- Notice that those in heaven “sang a new song” (Revelation 5:9). One researcher said that singing improves posture, circulation, and mental alertness. As a Christian, it also improves your faith.
- When we sing, we obey the clear teaching of Scripture, we implant truth, and we testify.
- Throughout the ages, the church has always sung songs, including “new songs,” new expressions of what God is doing now.
- Truly, the church has something to sing about—the risen Lord!
Worship Is Emotional
Connect Up: How does worship draw you close to God? What does it mean to worship “in spirit and truth”?
- Notice the term “loud voice” (Revelation 5:12). This implies intensity and emotion.
- When revival comes to the human heart, renewal comes to the human voice.
- Jesus said we’re to worship God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). Notice “spirit” is lower case, referring to the human spirit—the mental and emotional component of the human life.
- Think of all the things we are enthusiastic about—weddings, sports, financial blessings. Why do so many Christians think enthusiasm for the most worthy subject in the universe must be constrained?
Connect In: Like an orchestra of many instruments, when the church worships together, we convey a message of hope to one another. Read Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19. How does worship bring the body of Christ together?
Connect Out: Pastor Skip shared a story of how his singing at home caused his neighbors to ask about the lyrics. How can worship be a tool for evangelism? Have you experienced an instance where music helped bring someone to Christ?
- We live in a very narcissistic culture
- "It's all about me!"
- The cure for narcissism is worship
- Worship is about shifting the focus from ourselves onto another
- A worship culture says, "It's all about Him"
- Worship Is Fundamental
- It is at the core of who we are and what we express
- Acts 2:47
- Summary of the life of the early church
- Vertical: "praising God"
- Horizontal: "having favor with all the people"
- Revelation 4:2-6, 8-11
- Worship is one activity we do now that we'll also do in heaven
- Worship is fundamental to who we are historically and fundamentally
- Worship Is Intellectual (see Revelation 4:8, 11)
- Involves the mind
- God's character is eternal
- He created and sustains all things
- Worship is not working yourself into an emotional frenzy (see Romans 12:1)
- Our theology should inform and form our hymnology
- What we know should influence what we say
- "The world is full of praise-prompters—the New Earth will overflow with them" —Randy Alcorn
- God's action is what prompts our reaction in praise
- Mark 12:30
- Worship Is Physical (see Revelation 4:10-11; 5:8)
- God wants you to use the body He gave you to praise Him
- Shachah = to bow down
- Psalm 95:6
- God is supremely worth it
- Forms of physical worship
- Bowing down
- Raising hands (see 1 Timothy 2:8)
- "Draw me close to You"
- "Pick me up"
- Lifting eyes in worship—expectation is from heaven
- Dancing (see Psalm 149:3)
- Worship Is Musical (see Revelation 5:8)
- Music has always been part of God's people (see Psalm 150:4-5)
- Martin Luther wanted to bring fresh music into the church
- Worship Is Vocal (see Revelation 5:9-10)
- God's people sing
- Physical benefits to singing
- Mental alertness
- Spiritual benefits
- When you sing, you obey
- When you sing, you implant truth
- When you sing, you testify
- New songs
- Fresh expressions
- God is still alive, still at work, and still moving
- When the old hymns were first written, they were new songs
- Worship Is Emotional (see Revelation 5:11-14)
- They sang with a loud voice
- Phóné = a voice, sound
- Megalē = loud
- When revival comes to the human heart, renewal comes to the human voice
- When you love the Lord, you cannot help but sing
- When you sing, sing like you mean it: with all your strength (see Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27)
- We are rehearsing for heaven
- Worship does not mean just singing songs
- It means being obedient to God
Figures referenced: Randy Alcorn, Martin Luther
Greek/Hebrew words: megalē, phóné, shachah
Cross references: Deuteronomy 6:5; Psalm 95:6; 149:3; 150:4-5; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27; Acts 2:47; Romans 12:1; 1 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 4:2-6, 8-11; 5:8-14
Keywords: narcissism, theism, expression, heaven, God's character, emotional, theology, hymnology, praise, dancing, instruments
||Where Lives Are Changed
||We Pursue God...By the Word
In a world where biblical illiteracy is rampant, Christians must learn to love the Word. Why? The Word of God does the work of God by the Spirit of God in the lives of the people of God. As we unpack Acts 2:42a, we see the biblical vision of Calvary Albuquerque and discover three decisions we need to make concerning Scripture.
Connect Group Recap: November 8, 2015
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: We Pursue God...By the Word
Text: Acts 2:42a
In this teaching, Pastor Skip unpacks Acts 2:42a, helping us see the biblical vision of Calvary Albuquerque. Here is the path he took through the text:
- To Grow, You Must Learn
- To Learn, You Must Hear
- To Hear, You Must CommitPoints
In a world where biblical illiteracy is rampant, Christians must learn to love the Word. Why? The Word of God does the work of God by the Spirit of God in the lives of the people of God.
To Grow, You Must Learn
- Doctrine is a biblical word that means instruction—that is, truth taught.
- There were three aspects of the early church’s relationship to the Bible: they were learning, they were learning truth, and they were learning truth continually.
- The Bible is the manual of truth. In order to be truth-tellers, we need to tether ourselves to the truth, allowing it to teach and transform us.
- If we are to put our lives in the hands of God, we must learn to know Him. As you get to know the Bible, you get to know God.
- If we are not taking in spiritual food, we’ll become weak and malnourished.
- Probe: Discuss your daily Bible reading practice. Do you simply read it, or is deeper study part of your daily plan? What do you enjoy most about reading the Bible?
To Learn, You Must Hear
- The word doctrine was originally used to describe the apostles’ explanation and commentary on how the Old Testament applied to them.
- Apostolic preaching was expository, letting the text speak for itself. It was rooted in the power of the text, not the personality of the teacher.
- As a general rule, people grow by learning and learn by hearing.
- Probe: Expository teaching is teaching that details the meaning of the text; it explains what the Bible means by what it says. Why is this an essential component of biblical teaching? Why is attending a Bible-teaching church on a weekly basis important?
To Hear, You Must Commit
Connect Up: Read Psalm 19:7-11 and Philippians 4:6-7. How does in-depth study of Scripture help you in your relationship with God?
- Notice the phrase “continued steadfastly”; in the original Greek, it’s one word that means persevered. In other words, nothing stopped the apostles from teaching and studying the Bible—they let no hardship or trial curtail their commitment to the calling.
- If we stop listening to the Bible, we grow deaf to its instructions.
- When we study the Bible, we persevere in truth and thus will persevere in life.
- As teaching dominated the early church, so learning dominated individual lives.
- The church holds up the truth like pillars hold up a temple.
- We learn the Bible to become mature Christians, holy and healthy in Christ when we hear and commit to His truth.
- Probe: How committed are you to the daily study of Scripture? What can you do to improve your commitment to learning the truth? What practices have helped you be more consistent in doing so?
Connect In: Read Acts 2:41-47, Ephesians 2:19-22, and 1 Corinthians 12:12-14. How does in-depth study of Scripture help build and strengthen the body of Christ?
Connect Out: Read Matthew 28:18-20 and John 10:16. How does in-depth study of Scripture help foster an atmosphere of evangelism and outreach?
- "God helps those who help themselves"—Benjamin Franklin
- Widely believed to be a verse in the Bible
- 81 percent of people who call themselves born-again Christians believe this is a verse in the Bible
- Many do not know that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount
- As Americans, we revere the Bible, we just do not know what is in it
- "We pursue the God who is passionately pursuing a lost world; we do this by connecting with one another, through worship, by the Word, to the world" —Calvary Albuquerque Vision Statement
- The church is the only institution Jesus promised to build and bless
- The Word of God does the work of God by the Spirit of God in the lives of the people of God
- Descriptions of the church
- The flock
- The bride of Christ
- The building of God
- Perhaps the most famous description of the church is the body of Christ
- A body needs nourishment (see Job 23:12; Jeremiah 15:16; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4)
- The early church had a unique relationship to the Word of God
- They were learning
- They were learning truth
- They were learning truth continually
- Acts 2:42
- Fifty days after Passover
- The day the early church was born
- 3,000 people came to faith
- Jesus had been executed six weeks prior, so these new converts were coming in to a hostile environment
- The civil and religious government had their eye on them
- The persecution would begin to be more intense
- The early church was trying to figure out how to train the new converts to survive, thrive, mature, and grow
- To Grow, You Must Learn
- Good, wholesome instruction or truth that is taught
- We get doctrine from the Bible
- Many people try to live their lives without the manual—the Scriptures
- They try to wing it without trying to figure out what the manufacturer (God) said about who they are
- They don't want knowledge; they want an experience (see Proverbs 19:2; Hosea 4:6; 2 Peter 3:18)
- There are four activities the early church did
- Apostles' doctrine
- Breaking of bread
- If we get to know the Bible, we get to know our God (see Psalm 19:1-4, 7-11)
- 1 Peter 2:2
- To Learn, You Must Hear
- There were many false doctrines going around back then
- The apostles' doctrine
- They preached, spoke with their mouths
- They applied the Old Testament Scriptures to what they were going through at that time
- In Acts 2:14-17, Peter quoted the prophet Joel (see Joel 2:28)
- He was showing that Scripture had been fulfilled
- Peter's text was rooted in the text of Old Testament Scripture
- In Acts 2:23-25, Peter showed that Jesus' death and resurrection was foretold in the Scripture (see Psalm 16:8)
- The preaching was expository
- Believes in the power of the text versus the power of the personality of the preacher
- It is God's power displayed that can change a life
- Romans 10:14, 17; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Ephesians 4:11
- To Hear, You Must Commit
- Proskartereó = to attend constantly
- Once you stop hearing truth for a while, you become deaf to its instruction
- Reading the Bible is like taking vitamins
- You may not always feel a jolt of energy
- The long-term benefits are worth it
- Continue in the truth, and make it a priority
- If you don't, you will fall in the category of warning (see Mark 4:16-17)
- Keep coming to Bible study and church, and keep reading the text
- You will find you are able to persevere in life
- You will not be crushed or devastated when hard times come your way
- You will resort to a promise from Scripture that holds you firm (see Psalm 56:4, 10)
- Make God's Word your priority in times of delight as well as times of distress
- A true church is one that is continually immersed in the study of biblical truth (see 1 Timothy 3:15)
- God has given us His Word that we might know Him (see John 3:16)
- The Word has the effect of enlightening the eyes
Figures referenced: Benjamin Franklin
Greek words: proskartereó
Cross references: Job 23:12; Psalm 16:8; 19:1-4, 7-11; 56:4, 10; Proverbs 19:2; Jeremiah 15:16; Hosea 4:6; Joel 2:28; Matthew 4:4; Mark 4:16-17; Luke 4:4; John 3:16; Acts 2:14-17, 23-25; Romans 10:14, 17; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18
Topic: God's Word
Keywords: Bible, the church, Word of God, flock, bride of Christ, building of God, body of Christ, Pentecost, Passover, doctrine, truth, Scripture, knowledge, false doctrine, prophets, expository
The word gospel means good news—and to the Christian, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the best news. For some, however, it is the best-kept secret. As we study the early church in Acts 2, we find out what happens when the called ones become the sent ones.
Connect Group Recap: November 15, 2015
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: To the World
Text: Acts 2:47
The word gospel means good news—in fact, it's the best news. For some Christians, however, it is the best-kept secret. Evangelism is making sure that the best news doesn't become the best-kept secret. In this message, Pastor Skip taught us how to deliver the most important news the world can hear. His path was as follows:
- It's a Divine Work
- It's a Double Work
- It's a Daily WorkPoints
What happens when the called ones become the sent ones? They evangelize. The early church was saved souls wanting to see more souls saved.
It's a Divine Work
- Evangelism is God's work: "The Lord added..." (Acts 2:47).
- But evangelism is also a human cooperation with divine intention, the intersection between divine predestination and human volition. As J.I. Packer stated, "It is a matter, not merely of informing, but also of inviting."
- Three forms of New Testament evangelism:
- Mass evangelism: an evangelist speaking to a crowd
- Personal evangelism: person-to-person witnessing
- Local church evangelism: a natural outpouring of a healthy church—inviting others to hear the good news
- In all three, there is a cycle: worship leads to witness and witness leads to worship.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8 shows how the gospel came to people and through people; they were both receivers and transmitters.
It's a Double Work
- Notice that the Lord was adding to the church "those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). There is a twofold work: adding and saving.
- God didn't add people to the church without saving them, and He didn't save them without adding them to the church. Salvation and church membership go together.
- When a person is saved, he or she belongs to God, and God wants them to belong to the church.
- Evangelism helps goats become sheep. Because of this, the church should be more concerned about feeding the sheep than entertaining the goats.
It's a Daily Work
Connect Up: How does evangelism draw you closer to God? What spiritual benefits come from reaching out to the lost?
- Notice that the Lord added people "daily" (Acts 2:47).
- Evangelism is not a sporadic event; it is a daily, lifelong event—part of our mission.
- There are never enough saved people; the church is never full enough. Put another way, there are never too many people in heaven.
- Bishop J.C. Ryle reminds us: "The highest form of selfishness is that of the man who is content to go to heaven alone."
- Here's the process: God makes goats into sheep through evangelism and the work of His Spirit; those new sheep grow in Him and then go out and help Him make more goats into sheep.
- There are some religions willing to give their own life and take the lives of others for a lie. Are you as willing to go all in for the truth as others are willing to do for a lie?
Connect In: Read 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8. How does evangelism bring Christians together? What does a growing church tell you about that church?
Connect Out: Read Romans 8:30. Pastor Skip reminded us that if there were only twelve Christians on the earth and they led one person to Jesus Christ every year, there'd be twenty-four believers in two years, forty-eight in year three years, and so on—exponential growth. If the process continued, it would take fewer than thirty years to evangelize the world. How does this simple fact motivate you? What can you do to share the gospel with one person this year? Think of a person you can invite to church or share the gospel with. Take a moment to pray for them, then follow through. As Pastor Skip reminded us, evangelism happens when called-out ones become sent-out ones.
- Most of us know the gospel as the good news
- We must assure the gospel does not become our best-kept secret
- We have to tell others about it
- How did the early church deal with the gospel?
- They were a learning church (see Acts 2:42)
- They were a loving church (see Acts 2:42)
- They were a giving church (see Acts 2:45-46)
- They were an evangelic church (see Acts 2:47)
- Evangelism happens when called out ones become sent ones
- Ekklésia = an assembly, congregation, church (see Matthew 16:18)
- Apostolos = a messenger, one sent on a mission, an apostle
- The called out ones continuously became the sent out ones (see Acts 4:33; 5:42; 8:4)
- The worshipers became witnesses
- The early church were saved souls wanting to see more souls saved
- In a world that seems like it is burning down, what should the church be doing?
- It's a Divine Work
- The Lord added to the church
- There was an outside force that added to their numbers besides what they were doing themselves (see Acts 2:41)
- The someone was God
- Evangelism is God's work
- Romans 8:30
- Evangelism is our cooperation with God's operation
- To save people
- God does not want anyone to perish (see 2 Peter 3:9)
- Evangelism is the intersection of divine predestination and human volition
- We are chosen in Christ (see Ephesians 1:4)
- We also choose Christ
- Should we actually invite people to come to Christ?
- Some think we should not because it places too much emphasis on the person rather than God doing the calling
- John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:11
- Three types of evangelism in the New Testament
- Mass evangelism
- Jesus invited crowds of people to follow Him (see Matthew 11:28)
- Peter on the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:38-41)
- Paul used mass evangelism (see Acts 14; 17:22-34)
- Personal evangelism
- One on one through personal relationships
- Jesus did this in the New Testament as well (see John 4:5-30)
- Philip witnessed to the Ethiopian (see Acts 8:26-39)
- It is our privilege to share with people how to know Jesus
- Local church evangelism
- Natural outreach of the local church
- Cycle of evangelism
- Worship should lead to witness
- Witness should lead to worship
- I Thessalonians 1:5-8
- Exécheó = to sound forth
- It's a Double Work
- God added to the church those who were being saved
- Salvation and belonging to a church go hand in hand (see Acts 5:14)
- Believers are added to the Lord, and the Lord adds them to the church
- The church is a group of saved people
- Saved people need to be fed and equipped to reach unsaved people
- The church exists primarily to worship God and equip believers
- It's a Daily Work
- The Lord added to the church daily (see Acts 4:4)
- Someone back then was counting
- There are never enough saved people (see Luke 14:23)
- It is our opportunity to fill the house for eternity
- "The highest form of selfishness is that of the man who is content to go to heaven alone" —J.C. Ryle
- We plant and sow the seed of the gospel to those who are literally standing in line to go to hell
- Are you willing to do for the truth what others are willing to do for a lie?
- We must not let the best message become the world's best-kept secret
- Gospel means God's story, good news
Figures referenced: Barna Research Group, John Currier, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, Billy Graham, John F. Kennedy, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, J.I. Packer, J.C. Ryle, John Stott, Billy Sunday, John Wesley, George Whitefield
Greek words: apostolos, ekklésia, exécheó
Cross references: Matthew 11:28; 16:18; Luke 14:23; John 1:12; 4:5-30; Acts 2:38-42, 45-47; 4:4, 33; 5:14, 42; 8:4, 26-39; 14; 17:22-34; Romans 8:30; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8; 2 Peter 3:9
Keywords: gospel, good news, church, early church, evangelism, worship, witness, predestination, human volition, salvation, heaven, hell
||Where Lives Are Changed
||We're Here for You
In an age of low-commitment Christianity, the church is viewed skeptically and is seen as too intrusive. We in the church have an important role to play in changing people's minds, and that comes from making ourselves available and saying, "I'm part of those who belong to Christ, and I am here for you." As we wrap up this series, we discover four steps we can take to improve our availability.
Connect Group Recap: November 22, 2015
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: We're Here for You
Text: Acts 2:43-45
Evangelicals often use the phrase "a personal relationship with Jesus Christ." For those outside the church, this phrase conveys the difference between impersonal religion and embracing the God who gave it all for each of us. In an age of low-commitment Christianity, the church is viewed skeptically. It's seen as intrusive—too much of a commitment, too much accountability. We in the church have an important role to play in changing people's minds, and that comes from making ourselves available and saying, "I'm part of those who belong to Christ, and I am here for you." There are four steps we can take to improve availability.
- Recognize Variety
- Emphasize Unity
- Develop Community
- Anticipate MajestyPoints
- The early church had a broad range of believers, from apostles to new converts, from spiritually mature to spiritually immature, from economically blessed to economically depressed.
- We need that diversity! It helps combat our tendency to look at new believers and think, Now that you're saved, you need to become like me—dress like I dress, listen to my songs, read my translation, etc.
- The body of Christ has a variety of gifts to meet a variety of needs.
- God reserves the right to use people you don't like or agree with.
- Don't fight variety; enjoy it—God made you, saved you, gifted you, and then threw away the mold. You're unique!
- The early church was united in two ways: location and vocation. They assembled together as a unit, and they lived in harmony as followers of Christ.
- Their variety and individuality was counterbalanced by their unity.
- Without unity, such a group will malfunction as each person does their own thing—much like the human body with all of its parts and functions.
- Unity does not mean uniformity. As Augustine said, "In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, charity."
- The early church pooled their resources and shared them.
- Read Acts 4:33-35. The nature of these acts was voluntary, not forced. Their hearts and their treasures were in the same place—with God's people.
- The idea is, "Whatever deficit I have is covered by your asset, and vice versa." We share strengths and weaknesses.
- Everyone has blind spots and weaknesses. Read 1 Corinthians 12:20-26. Our shortcomings are mitigated when we commit to being available for one another.
Connect Up: As Tozer asked, are we losing our oh!? Confess your spiritual apathy. Then in your Connect Group, say together, "God is here, now." What has God done generally, biblically, or in your life or the life of someone you know that just overwhelms you? Share these things with one another, and give Him praise and thanks.
- The early church had a strong sense of God's divine presence in their everyday lives.
- Read Matthew 18:20. Whether in your Connect Group or at church, recognize that God is present and moving, changing lives and working all things together for good.
- The term accidie (AX-uh-dee) was used by medieval Christians to describe spiritual listlessness and cynicism—going through the motions. The cure for that is to find purpose in being there for one another.
Connect In: Read John 17:22-23, Ephesians 4:3, and 2 Corinthians 13:11. What is the common theme of these passages? Think of the four main points of the message. How can you use those points to say, "I'm here for you" to others?
Connect Out: Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-6. What differences are described? What is the key similarity? What does that tell us about God's view of diversity and unity in the church? Beyond our fellowship at Calvary Albuquerque, how can we come alongside other churches in our community and around the world to support them in loving and truth-filled ways?
- In the ministry, we are called to serve people
- We represent the God who is always there
- Life is never dull at church
- Evangelicals use the phrase "personal relationship with Jesus Christ"
- There is a difference between going through the motions religiously and experiencing God on a personal level
- One might get the idea that we are a bunch of individuals in an isolated, self-contained relationship with God
- This phrase is not in the Bible
- Instead, the Bible speaks about our corporate relationship with Christ, the body of Christ
- Creates sense of unity with other believers
- There are steps we can take to battle low-level commitment Christianity and improve our availability
- Recognize Variety
- The early church had a broad range of believers
- Apostles and new believers
- Spiritually mature and spiritually immature
- Economically blessed and economically depressed
- We need to recognize there is variety in any church group
- We worship the same God
- We try to conform people to an image of what we think a true Christian is
- The body of Christ is essentially a people with a variety of gifts that are meeting a variety of needs (see 1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
- God works through all of us
- God loves variety
- His creation is filled with it
- We all have different gifts
- It's a variety of people with a variety of gifts that keeps the church interesting
- God reserves the right to use people that you don't like or agree with
- Do not fight the variety
- Enjoy it
- Emphasize Unity
- Unity in both location and vocation
- They were of one purpose, one heart, one vision
- With a variety of individuals, you run the risk of everyone doing their own thing
- Without unity, a group of people will malfunction
- Like the human body
- The head of the church is Christ
- Has the right to send signals to all the different members of the body
- Tells the members what to do with their gifting
- The Holy Spirit conveys the messages of the head to the rest of the body like the nervous system
- Jesus prayed that we would exhibit unity (see John 17:21)
- Paul urged the Ephesians to walk in unity (see Ephesians 4:3)
- What does unity mean?
- It does not mean we agree on every topic
- Unity does not mean uniformity; it means we're all together on what's essential
- The twelve apostles argued several times (see Matthew 18:1-6; Mark 9:33-36; Luke 9:46-48)
- Paul and Barnabas split company because of an argument (see Acts 15:36-41)
- In Acts, there was a disagreement about salvation (see Acts 15:1-12)
- We were all saved the same way, and we can agree on that
- There are essentials in the Christian faith that we can agree on
- There are nonessentials that we agree to disagree on
- Develop Community
- We should develop a sense of community with one another
- Koinónia = fellowship
- They sold their possessions and divided the money among those who were in need
- This was beginning to be a common practice (see Acts 4:33-35; 5:1-2)
- This was completely voluntary; not everyone did it (see Acts 2:46)
- When it's forced, it's Communism
- When it's voluntary, it's common-ism
- Their heart was with each other (see Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34)
- They had all things in common
- We all have assets that others do not have
- We cover each others' weaknesses with our strengths
- 1 Corinthians 12:20-26
- Anticipate Majesty
- Phobos = fear, terror, reverence
- A sense of divine presence
- A sense of majesty when we realize that God is here now
- When we gather, we must never lose the sense of majesty, the fear of God
- We can say, "We're here for you":
- When we recognize variety
- When we emphasize unity
- When we develop community
- When we anticipate majesty
- Accidie was used by medieval Christians to describe apathy of the soul
- Cynical about Christian ideals
- In ministry, it is going through the motions
- The cure is when we say, "We're here for you"
Figures referenced: Augustine, Martin Luther, A.W. Tozer
Greek/foreign words: accidie, koinónia, phobos
Cross references: Matthew 6:21; 18:1-6; Mark 9:33-36; Luke 9:46-48; 12:34; John 17:21; Acts 2:46; 4:33-35; 5:1-2; 15:1-12, 36-41; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 20-26; Ephesians 4:3
Topic: The Church
Keywords: ministry, serve, relationship, body of Christ, early church, variety, worship, gifts, unity, purpose, Holy Spirit, the church, community, Communism, majesty, fear