Andrew Fountain - Values of Newlife Church

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Full sermon notes - Values of Newlife Church

  • Today I want to talk about the values of Newlife Church
    • Its important to have values If you don’t, then you could end up with anything:

“No Values (Upside Down Church)”

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  • I once heard a preacher ask the question: “What is God’s job description”
    • Of course God can do whatever he wants, but if you ask what he loves to do...
    • He loves to undo all the evil that Satan has done
    • and to turn it into something even more wonderful that it was originally
  • But his main tool for accomplishing this is the church
    • We are the body of Christ—the hands and feet
    • Jesus didn’t stop working 2,000 years ago, he carries on through us
    • Not just as individuals, but through a harmoniously working body—the church
  • For some people, their vision of a church is something like this:

“Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal”

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  • Will we ever own a building—I don’t know
  • I would rather rent the Skydome than own something like this:
  • So did Jesus give us any plans for how to build a church?
    • He actually gave us a whole book as a blueprint
    • The book of Acts was intended to be taken as a pattern for us
      • except in the places where it was clearly an unrepeatable event
      • Many people have notices that Luke very often gives us pairs of stories
        • Two accounts of Paul preaching to pagans
        • Two accounts of the Spirit being poured out while the church was in prayer
        • Two accounts of Paul giving his testimony
        • Two accounts of people being raised from the dead
        • More than two missionary journeys where the main goal was to plant churches
      • A good rule of thumb is that if Luke gives us two examples, and they are both positive and repeatable
        • then Luke is intending to show us a pattern
    • The first church that was planted in Antioch, just up the coast from Palestine

“The city of Antioch today”

Image source: Pictorial Library

  • We are going to look at Acts 11:19-30 and 13:1-3

1. Evangelism and Growth by God’s grace

  1. Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.
  2. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus.
  3. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
  • First and formost we are about making disciples of Jesus (that’s what he told us to do!)
    • Any way we can, we want to reach Toronto
    • New life picture
    • Valley of dry bones
  • Growth. Not growing is not healthy!
    • Vision of a strawberry plant
    • Each one not more than 200-250 people
    • But doing things together as a single body

2. In Relationship with other churches

  1. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
  2. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,
  3. for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.
    And a great many people were added to the Lord.
  • Received help from the apostolic team in Jerusalem
  • more people saved!

3. A foundation of excellent teaching

  1. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
  2. and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
  • Barnabas fetched Paul (Saul was his Hebrew name) because he knew he was the best teacher
    • He knew that if this was going to be the sending base for the Gentile world, it had to have a very strong foundation.
    • Can you imagine a whole year of Bible training from the Apostle Paul!

4. Strong in all the supernatural gifts

  1. Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
  2. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius).
  • One of the five-fold giftings
    • Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers
    • we see them all here (pastors not explicit, but Barnabus was an encourager)

5. Love to those in need

  • Sacrificial love to those in need, demonstrated in practical ways
  • A church that loves one another sacrificially and responds to social needs
  1. So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea.
  2. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
  • The Kingdom of God must be demonstrated as well as taught
    • Of course not just physical needs
    • But that is a picture of what the kingdom does spiritually
    • Yet if we ignore physical needs James condemns us!
  • Interlude in ch 12 where Herod persecutes the church
    • follow Barnabas and Paul down the coast to Jerusalem, then the camera follows them back
    • focus at this point shifts to Antioch
    • (finally Rome)

6. Diversity

  • A church whose people and leadership are diverse in culture and social position
  1. Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers,
    • Barnabas,
    • Simeon who was called Niger,
    • Lucius of Cyrene,
    • Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch,
    • and Saul.
  • Different ethnic backgrounds
    • and different strata of society
  • Ethnic:
    • From Cyrene
    • Niger means dark-skinned
  • social:
    • nobleman
    • Discipes were similarly very varied
  • no accident that Luke mentions this

7. Prayer / God’s Presence

  • A valuing of prayer and God’s presence as our source of their strength
  1. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting,…
  • They depended on God totally
    • They didn’t just read the lasted books on church growth strategies

8. Missions

  • A church that has missions at it’s heart and is a strong sending and resourcing base
  1. (cont’d) …the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
  2. Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
  • I want to see this
    • We have all the nations gathered here in Toronto
    • In Canada we have two very large groups that I long to see the Kingdom break into:
      • French Canada —Quebec and some other regions
      • The First Nations people, where so many social programs have failed
    • We cannot rest as Canadians when there is such darkness, so close to us

Values of Newlife Church

  1. Evangelism and Growth by God’s grace and favour
  2. In Relationship with other churches
  3. A foundation of excellent teaching
  4. Strong in all the supernatural gifts
  5. Loves one another sacrificially and responds to social needs
  6. People and leadership are diverse
  7. Values of prayer and God’s presence as our source of strength
  8. Has missions at it’s heart and is a strong sending and resourcing base
  • If we were to take an inventory, then I would say the areas we need to particularly grow in are:

Areas for Growth

  1. Evangelism and Growth by God’s grace and favour
  2. Strong in all the supernatural gifts
  • What should we do about it?
  1. Not do anything—just wait
  2. Other extreme: use the best techniques and strategy and hope God helps
    • Zec 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
  3. We could follow Paul’s example: “Toward this goal I also labour, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me.” Col 1:29

Summary

  • God’s kingdom come in Toronto, demonstrating
  • the love of the Father,
  • the truth of Jesus Christ,
  • and the power of the Holy Spirit
  • Do you know God’s love for you?
  • Do you know the truth that Jesus can set you free, give you complete forgiveness and a hope for eternity?
  • Do you know God’s power in your life?
    • Ask, it’s free!

Updated on 2013-07-15 by Andrew Fountain