Presentation on theme: "Expanding Our Territory THE EARLY CHURCH. RECAP Jesus the Founder – The son of God proclaimed to Peter that upon him, Jesus would build his church. Jesus."— Presentation transcript:
Expanding Our Territory THE EARLY CHURCH
RECAP Jesus the Founder – The son of God proclaimed to Peter that upon him, Jesus would build his church. Jesus then commissioned all believers to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all people. Jesus’ Business Plan – The disciples were told not to leave Jerusalem until they received the expected gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift, Jesus had told them about would give them power from on high. The Grand Opening: The awaited gift of the Holy Spirit to came to man and the church started to explode!
INTRO As we continue to look at the early church and compare it to a business model, the next piece to look at is expansion. During this discussion, we’re going to talk about expansion and the unending call to that expansion until every ear has heard and every eye has seen the love of Jesus Christ.
WAL-MART Imagine what the world would look like if Sam Walton had never decided to expand from his original 5 and dime store. I can’t tell you the number of times Kelly and I have run to Wal-Mart for something. They are everywhere! If you are traveling and need something, chances are good that there’s a Wal-Mart nearby.
STARBUCKS Starbucks started as a small independent coffee bean roaster in Seattle, WA. By expanding their territory, they launched an entirely new branch of the food industry tree, the espresso shop. You would be hard pressed not to find an espresso cart, drive through stand, or espresso shop in nearly every city and town in the United States.
Both of these examples from industry have been very successful when evaluated from a business perspective. Both have grown worldwide, and each has really launched a new version of their respective industry.
PAUSE THE VIDEO AND DISCUSS Can you think of any examples of business, industry, or service that have revolutionized their industry and grown nationally and maybe internationally? What was different about them?
HERE ARE SOME YOU MAY NOT HAVE THOUGHT McDonald’s Microsoft U-Haul Amazon.com
THE CHURCH IS NO DIFFERENT When Jesus founded the church there were many factors that were in play. Factors that all had to be right for success to be achieved. You have to have a need, you have to have a viable solution to the need, and most importantly your timing must be right.
When god knew the time was right, and that man’s sin and plight had hit an all-time low, He sent His son to bring salvation and start a movement that would forever change history and split time.
God knew the problems, and He knew man’s needs, but there were a couple of timing issues that needed to be in place. Man had to realize where he was at and understand his need for a savior. There also had to be a way to spread the good news of Jesus.
The Romans took care of this by conquering the known world and creating passable and relatively safe roads throughout the known world. All of this came together for the perfect launch and subsequent growth of the church.
There was one problem though, people. Mankind is an interesting bunch, aren’t we? We get something the way we like it, and we keep it that way. It’s comfortable, there’s no surprises, we know what to expect.
Yes, there are some exceptions, but by in large most of our miscommunications and disagreements with other people fall into a category of preferences and thinking if everyone else would just do things and see things the way we do, life would be much more interesting.
PAUSE VIDEO AND DISCUSS Take a few moments in your group and talk about some of the things that you find yourself saying, “If people would just see it my way, or do it my way, or be my way, life would be better for everyone.”
I’ll bet that was a discussion! God created each and every one of us individually. I like to say, “You are unique; just like everyone else.” How boring life would be of we were all the same. God didn’t create us to be the same.
The early church really struggled with this. They started with the mindset of being a sect of Jews like the Pharisees or Sadducees. This was not what God had intended, nor what Jesus instructed or exampled. But, we as humans often tend to get on a path and stick to it.
ACTS 10:9-16 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. (10) He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. (11) He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. (12) It contained all kinds of four- footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. (13) Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." (14) "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." (15) The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." (16) This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
ACTS 10:24-35 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. (25) As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. (26) But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself." (27) While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. (28) He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. (29) So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"
ACTS 10:24-35 (30) Cornelius answered: "Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me (31) and said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. (32) Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.' (33) So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us." (34) Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism (35) but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.
ACTS 10:44-48 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. (45) The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. (46) For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, (47) "Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." (48) So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
Peter had to learn what Jesus had intended when he said to go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples. The initial thought was more than likely one of we need to spread this gospel message to the Jews around the world. But Jesus said it was for everyone. Paul reminds us of this later. He says the good news of Jesus Christ is for everyone, first for the Jew and then for the Gentile. We have all been created in the image of God for the purposes of God, in a relationship with God.
Through this vision and subsequent witness with the Roman Centurion and his household, Peter realized that the gospel was not just for the Jews. It is for every one! This was revolutionary! This was new! This opened the world up! The early church spread like wild fire. Yes, some of the expansion was forced by persecution, but they never lost sight of their mission or who they were in Christ. Look at the roots of our languages. How much of our language is based on Latin and Greek? What does that tell you? The church spread over much of the world.
Today we are tasked with the furtherance of this same mission and expansion. The commission hasn’t changed. It has been handed down from generation to generation to reach each generation the world over. There is no one solution, and no one group it is meant for. God is calling and equipping people from every tongue and tribe to reach every tongue and tribe using every means possible to spread the gospel and be a witness to the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus Christ.
The Internet today is the same as television was 50 years ago and radio was 80 years ago. Technology does not take the place of person to person sharing, serving, fellowshipping, and loving. The church will be won and lost one person at a time on front porches, at kitchen tables, in coffee shops and taverns, in airplanes and buses, and in state houses and work places.
Are you ready to expand? Are you ready to push forward? There will be growing pains and it won’t be comfortable. You will need to stretch and it may pull you a little too taught at times. That’s okay. God is with you. Go love someone in the name of Jesus Christ with absolutely no ulterior motives or expectations. It’s fun!
PAUSE VIDEO AND DISCUSS Discuss ways you can expand the Kingdom of God by loving people.
CONCLUDE Expanding our territory is a part of Jesus’ plan. How can we do that? We need to be ever watchful of opportunities to serve in the name of Christ and give all of the glory to him.
NEXT PART Next time we’ll be discussing part 5 of the Early Church titled Franchising. You won’t want to miss it.