There is a lot of variety in churches today. Different styles, looks, bible translations, music, dress, emphasis but what are the essentials? What should be there no matter the packaging? In this series, we will go through Acts 2 and explore the “Marks of the Biblical Church”, while there’s a lot of things that a church can do we are going to look at the things that a church must do.
“Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. – Acts 2:37-41
A true gospel-centered church not only talks about the gospel but it sees lives transformed by the gospel. A church should be seeing people transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light on a regular basis and nothing should be a cause for greater celebration and greater joy in the church than that. Peter preaches this first sermon after Pentecost and what does he do? He essentially gives the first altar call and tells the thousands of people in the crowd that they need to repent and believe on Jesus. In response to Peter’s message the people realize their need, “what shall we do?” and Peter responds that there only hope is to repent and turn to Christ. Again and again we see throughout the book of Acts a priority not only on preaching the gospel but a priority on seeking the personal conversion of sinners.
The early church was on a mission to see people come to trust in Christ.
One of the main reasons that churches die is because they lose their focus on this mission. If we are not passionate about advancing the Kingdom of God through preaching the gospel then we are in danger of being nothing more than a religious club that exists only to meet the needs of our members. A church that is only inward focused is in effect already dead, while it may take years to actually close the building the church has ceased to effective in reaching its community and accomplishing its mission.
“When the preferences of the church members are greater than their passion for the gospel, the church is dying” – Thom Rainer
A biblical church is a church that preaches the gospel and is passionate about seeing people come to trust in Christ. This is the drive, the focus of the biblical church. Everything the biblical church is done through the lens of “Does this help us accomplish our mission of reaching people for Christ?”. The members of a biblical church are willing to put aside their own preferences, opinions, and feelings for the purpose of accomplishing the mission.