Praise God Church!!!! How many in here tonight enjoy reading your Bible? How many are familiar with the book of Acts? It's a fascinating book. Amen? Full of the testimonies of the early church. Full of the testimonies of ordinary people, just like you and me, Who were walking in the power and anointing placed on them by an almighty God. Amen? Amazing things took place in the early Church. the early christians were certainly a peculiar people. The Bible says that they were anointed and full of the Holy Spirit When we read Acts we see that they preached the Word of God with a Holy boldness. Miracles, Signs and Wonders followed the preaching of the Word Thousands were being saved and added to the church daily People gave themselves, their possessions fully to the cause of Christ. They were so united and they were so filled with the Holy Spirit that they turned their known world up down for Jesus Christ. They shook the globe with the gospel.
When we read about these great signs and wonders, or when we ponder the words of Jesus, When He said greater miracles than these you will do, When we're challenged by the scriptures that promise power and a life of victory to the believer. We have to ask ourselves where did the miracles go? Signs? Wonders? Where is the Power? And why is it not moving in my Church? 2) What/Who Has Changed?... The Bible declares that Jesus never changes, He cannot change: Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. God never changes. If God doesn't change and if God is the same: Why are we not seeing the power of God at work in the church? Why are we not seeing people being saved? Why are we not seeing miracles, signs and wonders?
Everybody say God is not dead!... He hasn't changed!.... He is the same! 3) What Has Taken Place.... We seem to know so much more, these days: We have more information than ever before We have greater teaching than ever before We have more people than ever before But somehow in our churches today we are lacking in the Power department. We're not seeing the divine intervention that took place in the ministry of the Apostles. Alot of the churches today have a form of Godliness but seem to deny the power thereof. I believe it's because the church today is missing some of the basic elements that existed in the early church. Things like love, fellowship, unity, just to mention a few.
I believe there are many aspects of the early church that contributed to its success but today I want to highlight on one aspect and that is: UNITY. 4) Unity... In the book of Acts there is one phrase, which appears again and again, and that is the term in one accord. The early church was in one accord, They were united. Amen?
The phrase "in one accord" is actually repeated 11 times in the book of Acts and only one other time in the New Testament.
The early church was in one accord and I believe that unity was one of the reasons why the blessing and the power of God, was upon it. The believers had one mind, one purpose, one heart and this contributed to their spiritual success.
If we want to see the power of God manifested in our churches today, we need to be a church that is of one accord, a church based upon the unity that the Spirit of God brings. Psa 133:1 .....Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psa 133:2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; Psa 133:3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life forevermore.
The Bible says that the Lord commands His blessing on the church and that God's blessings come upon the people of God that are united.
I believe that the greatest challenge the church faces today is brothers and sisters that come from different walks of life, Old and Young, Black, White, Brown, Yellow, and red, joining hands and dwelling together in unity. They say that Sunday morning at 11 am is the most segregated hour in America. How many knows that segregation equals separation? I'm not really even talking about racial, or cultural barriers here this morning. etc. etc. etc. But when People who coming from all walks of life, are truly transformed by God, and start living in unity, then that's powerful That's the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The early church, was a united church, it was a church in one accord and today I want to highlight three areas that they were unified in, Because the church today needs this same type of unity. a) United in Prayer
There is a story in the Old Testament about a great army that came against King Jehoshaphat. 2Ch 20:2 Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi. 2Ch 20:3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 2Ch 20:4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. It is important to know, that we also as a church today are involved in a battle, this battle is of a spiritual kind. The battle that we are involved in as a church is between the kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God.
But here in 2 Chronicles, the people of Judah and Jerusalem were united together to seek God through prayer and fasting. There will be times when the church today is going to experience crisis and these battles are not going to be with people but they are going to be battles in the heavenly places, between the forces of darkness and that of the Kingdom of Light. These are the times when the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, needs to be united in prayer. The church needs people like Jehoshaphat that will lead us into prayer and seeking God.
The people of Judah not knowing what to do, they put their faith in God who was able to deliver them. God spoke to Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah, saying: 2Ch 20:15 ....Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's. Why do we need to be united in prayer? We need to be united in prayer because we have understood that the battle is not ours but the Lord's. etc. etc. etc. etc. One of the aspects of unity in the early church was unity in prayer. Do you remember when the 120 were in the upper room, the Bible says in .... Act 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication..... When Peter and John were released from prison the Bible says: Act 4:24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: When the early believers were in one accord and in one place praying, something happened in that place. God came down by His Spirit and the place where they were gathered shook from its foundation.
If there is something that the church needs today, more than ever before, it's to be united in prayer. The church needs to cry out to God with one voice recognizing that without the power and the presence of the Spirit of God, the church is powerless and ineffective. Everything we do must be immersed in prayer. It is the time for the church to again begin to understand the need for prayer and unity, and cry out to God for His provision, blessing and power.
The second thing we find about the early church is that they were united not only in prayer, but also in vision and in purpose. b)United in Vision Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Here was a group of people who were different in many ways, but now, we find them in one accord, united in purpose to see the fulfilment of the promises of God to them. The people were united in purpose.
The church today, needs to be united in Vision, which is our purpose and direction, more than ever before. The moment we loose sight of the purpose that God has for His church, we will begin to turn on each other. See we need to know where we're going and what we're doing. Amen?
The church is to be a place where: We worship God in spirit and in truth We grow and mature, become more like Jesus We encourage and build one another up We minister and serve
The church is to be a place that reaches out: To those who are perishing To those who are hurting To those who are lost and without hope We are to reach the lost at any cost. We are to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ the only Saviour of the world. Let me say this: The moment the church looses sight of the vision and purpose that God has given, The moment the church looses sight of the kingdom values, Then division will begin to creep into the church. Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation (Vision), the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.¨
The early church was united in Prayer, in Vision and Purpose and was going in the same Direction. The third aspect is that the early church was united in faith. c) United in faith Act 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. If you read this passage you see that the unity contributed to, many being added to the church and many were being healed and set free by the power of the Holy Spirit. Where there is unity in the body of Christ, there is an environment created for faith to be released. In the gospel of John, Jesus prayed for His disciples and the church, saying: Joh 17:23 ...... that they may be made perfect in one (complete in unity); and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. In other words, Jesus prayed that they might be one. WHY? So that the world may see the unity within the church and know and believe that God has sent Jesus Christ to be head of the church. Where there is a church in unity.... Where there is a church in one accord...... Where there is a church that stands united in faith..... Many will be saved, and many miracles, signs and wonders will be performed in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Signs and wonders will follow the preaching of the Word of God, Amen?
There is power in unity. The early church demonstrated this, as they remained in one accord.
The enemy knows that there is power in unity. That is why he is the master of division. His job is to kill, steal and destroy. He uses misunderstanding, conflict, he uses differences to divide the body of Christ and thereby weaken it. I pray that God will unite our hearts, our mind that we will be a church in one accord. The unity in the church does not just happen; it happens as we the body of Christ make every effort to pursue unity, and where each member does his/her part.
The Bible says in... Eph 4:3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. One of the reasons why the early church was so effective was because it was united. I pray that we will be united, united in prayer, united in vision and purpose and united in faith. There is something powerful that will happen when the body of Christ is united together and in one accord. Jesus declares in .... Mat 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. As we fulfil God's Word, God will pour out His blessing on His people, and nothing will be impossible for us. As we unite ourselves, God is with us and He will command His blessing upon the church.