Church meetings are necessary evils.
JULY 18, 2022
Church meetings are necessary evils. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
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Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end. And I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Acts, line upon line, verse upon verse, precept upon precept. And I am your tour director and we’re taking our time looking at the sites. And in the 15th chapter of Acts. And that’s where we are right now. In the 15th chapter of Acts, it’s a church meeting. In fact, it was the first meeting of the general assembly, the convention, if you will, of the Christian Church. And it’s interesting, and you can learn a lot from it. So, we’re gonna be looking at a church meeting and we’re gonna learn a lot about church government, about the necessities of both, and it’s going to transform Christendom. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything. Let’s pray and then we’ll get down and study. Father, we come into your presence. And we come here, always surprised that we’re here. They lied to us about having to be good and pure and religious and stuff, in order to talk to you. You were the one who issued the invitation, the welcome child, and we came and we have never left. Father, thank you for your love and your forgiveness and your grace and your mercy. And thank you for the things we see changing in our lives, more love and more kindness and more obedience. And we know because you taught us that if the good stuff doesn’t happen, you won’t love us any less. And that’s amazing. And we praise you. Father, you know the people who are listening to this broadcast, the hard places and the soft places, the tears and the laughter. Father, we praise you because you are the God of everything. Everything we see and perceive and experience is from your hand. And you are good all the time. Father, as always we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins, cause there are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Let me read at least some portions of this 15th chapter of Acts. This section we’re considering is the first 35 verses there. And as I said, it’s a church meeting. And by going to this church meeting, and I hate church meetings. I would rather go to the dentist five times than to one church meeting, but they’re necessary. And, God does stuff with church meetings and he changed the world with this one. It’s called, if you have little headings in your Bible, The Jerusalem Conference. And this is what Dr. Luke writes.
But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you were circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you can’t be saved.” When Paul and Barnabas had no small descension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, reporting the conversion of the Gentiles, and they gave great joy to all the brothers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.”
And that’s what the meeting was about, what we’re gonna do with Goyam, what are we going to do with the Gentiles. They’re coming to the church in droves. I can remember the Jesus movement. And that was a great awakening, in America. It was a wondrous time and I’m so glad that I’m old enough to have been a part of it. Started, part of it started at Asbury and I have some friends who were there during that time. And they were going to have a church meeting and Jesus showed and it never stopped. And then teens started going out across the country and in California, they were baptizing thousands. Christian colleges were packed and our churches were packed with young people who came and droves, sometimes barefooted, sometimes without a bath, sometimes, sometimes without any knowledge, but Jesus had found them, changed their life and it swept across the country. I think of those days sometimes, and remember them and I pray often. Lord, could you do it again? Could you do it again? And I kind of believe we’re sitting on top of him doing it again, but at any rate, at this, at this meeting in Jerusalem, they had to decide, what are we gonna do with all these new Christians? They’re coming in droves and we’ve got to do something and we’ve got to decide right now. Same thing during the Jesus movement, I was serving the prestigious First Presbyterian church in Quincy, MA, where two presidents had been born. The church was right up the street from their birthplace. I wore a collar and robes and stoles, and we did liturgy and things that you’re supposed to do religiously. And these kids started coming to the church. I mean, not just one or two, but I mean, bunches and bunches of them. And I didn’t know what to do with them. They didn’t fit into our formalities. They didn’t know about our liturgy. They didn’t understand theology and doctrine. They didn’t even have Bibles. They just had found Jesus and their lives were changed and their enthusiasm changed our lives too. We had revival in that church and it was amazing. And if I had time, I’d tell you the stories. We went from having no mission program whatsoever, to doubling the mission program and then doubling it again and doubling it again. Young people started coming from colleges and universities. It was just amazing. And I was pretty new at this thing. I mean, I had been a liberal. I thought I was an intellectual and Jesus whacked me upside the head and I joined you guys. And I didn’t even know what the Bible said. I was reading a verse and telling him what I thought it meant. And people were taking notes and God was moving and it was an incredible time. And it wasn’t all together different from the 15th chapter of Acts and that church meeting. Now, I’m going to skip down and I’m going to skip over a good deal of that cause that’s a long text, to the (22nd) verse and we can see the outcome. And then tomorrow we’ll talk about it.
Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. Since we have heard that some persons from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, in assembly, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what is strangled, and from unchastity. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
That is so good. You know what they were saying from the assembly in Jerusalem? You go bro, you go sisters, you are on the right track, follow Jesus, wherever he goes and forget about all the stuff that’s troubling you. Just follow Jesus and let the devil take the hindmost. Us too. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, guiding us through Acts chapter 15. We’ll continue to dig into this chapter, the rest of the week. We would love it, if you joined us for that. Well, as we learned today, God is always at work in his church, even in the early days, he was subverting assumptions and into the late 20th century with the Jesus people movement that Steve mentioned and beyond that, What does the church of tomorrow look like? Well, whatever it looks like, we know that God has called us to put new wine into new wineskins. Well, what does that entail? Well, Steve spoke about that in a sermon called The Sound of Exploding Wineskins, based on Matthew 9. Get your free copy of that sermon on CD by calling us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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