Pastor's Pen
Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 8)
A mighty church collectively calls upon God in prayer.  Acts 2:42: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
Why should we pray? It is a privilege we have because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, which gives us access to the throne of grace. We can talk to God at anytime. Hebrews 4:16: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need.” The early church was known as a praying church (Acts 1:14, 4:31, 6:4). It is important when the church meets together to invest time praying for others.
What could the problem be when we feel our prayers are not answered?
1.  Failure to ask in Jesus’ name. This means praying in agreement with God’s will.  In John 14:13-14, Jesus said: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that my Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”                                          
2.  Failure to ask for a specific request. We need to look at our motivation and our present needs, and we need to beware of a desire to fulfill our lusts. James 4:3: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
3.  Failure to abide in Christ. John 15:7: “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”  We fail to give Him control over our lives.
4.  Failure to believe God will answer. Jesus said we are to have faith in God and believe that He hears and will answer (Mark 11:22-24).
5.  Failure to ask persistently. See the parable of Jesus in Luke 11:5-10. Here we find an example of persistent prayer.  Jesus said: “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Verses 9-10)
It is not our posture in prayer or the time of day that we pray but the attitude of our heart. A reminder from Psalm 66:18: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
We have a God who cares about us. He died for us, was buried, and resurrected from the dead for our justification. He wants us to call upon Him and talk to Him communicating the details of our lives and asking for guidance at any time. We are invited to come boldly!
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.6/26/2020 10:05:02 AM

Marks of a Mighty Church (Part 7)
A mighty church remembers the sacrifice of Christ.  Acts 2:42: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  The breaking of bread referred to the importance of celebrating the memorial (communion) of Christ’s death.  Christ instituted this with His disciples at the last Passover (Matthew 26:26).  1 Corinthians 11:26: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.”
Why did Jesus have to come in the flesh to die for us?  All have sinned (Romans 3:23).  Jesus Christ went to the cross and willingly died for our sins.  He was buried and rose again, so we may have eternal life.  
There are six reasons to keep our eyes on the cross of Christ.  
1.  It is our salvation.  Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
2.  It is our access to God.  Romans 5:1-2: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  Justified means we have been declared righteous in the sight of God.  This means we can go to the God of the universe at anytime.
3.  It gives us peace.  Colossians 1:20: “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”  There are many things people do to try to gain peace.  Our peace is in Christ.  There is no peace without the cross.
4.  It keeps us pure.  Knowing all that Christ has done for us, we do not want to disappoint Him by continuing in sin.  1 Corinthians 10:23-31 concludes that we are to do all for the glory of God.
5.  It gives us hope.  This hope is in Christ which makes it a sure thing.  Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us to keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  
6.  It prompts us to tell others about Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:19-20: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”  He has given us the ministry of reconciliation and appointed us to be ambassadors for Christ.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.6/13/2020 3:49:11 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 6)
A mighty church loves to fellowship together.  Acts 2:42: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  Acts 2:41 points out that they gladly received the Word and were baptized.  Biblical fellowship begins with salvation, then continues with learning God’s Word and growing in Christ.  Our fellowship centers on Christ and His Word, and it draws believers together.  
Fellowship with God.
We must have a right relationship with God.  Jesus Christ went to the cross and willingly died for our sins.  He was buried and rose again, so we may have eternal life.  1 Corinthians 1:9: “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Ephesians 3:9-13 points out that from the beginning of the world, God desired our fellowship, and we have access to Him because of our faith in Christ.  Being a Christian does not mean that our lives are free from trials and tribulations, but we walk with God through the good and bad times.  Philippians 3:10: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
Fellowship with others.
In 1 John 1:1-4, the Apostle John gave testimony of having seen and touched the Lord, and he was compelled to share the news of having fellowship with Him and with other believers.  This fellowship is to be joyous.  1 John 1:4: “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”  In  Corinthians 1:3-4, our fellowship is to bring comfort to those who our hurting.  We need each other.  We are also to be an encouragement to others.
Fellowship with the world.
Once we become a Christian, our fellowship with the world will be changed and in many cases discontinued.  2 Corinthians 6:14: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbeliever.”  Yoked is a reference to fellowship. This verse is not just referring to marriage but to any arrangement with unbelievers that would draw us away from God’s will.  James 4:4 points out that friendship with the world is enmity with God.  It will hurt our fellowship with God.  1 John 2:15: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  To maintain a proper relationship with God, we must stay in God’s Word and apply it diligently to our lives that we may grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr. 5/30/2020 10:42:19 AM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 5)
A mighty church remains faithful to the Word of God.  Acts 2:42: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Doctrine is the teachings and instructions given by the apostles.  We are blessed to have the same Word of God today.  In spite of persecution, Christians through the ages have remained faithful to God’s Word.
What does the Bible say about itself?
Psalm 119:89: “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”
Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Jeremiah 15:16: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.”  Jeremiah said God’s Word was the joy and rejoicing of his heart.  
Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
God’s Word changes lives
2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
In 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul charges Timothy to preach the word.  Timothy (and all who preach the Word of God) will one day be judged.  Therefore, he must be faithful.  He is to preach (herald forth) the word, be instant (ready) in season, out of season; reprove (admonish, convince, convict, chasten, confront with conviction), rebuke, exhort (invoke, beseech, come along side).  This is to be done with long suffering and by teaching doctrine, knowing a time will come when many will turn away from the truth.  We see evidence today of those who will not endure sound doctrine and do not care about the truth.  It is important to remain faithful.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.5/17/2020 8:07:52 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 4)
Acts 2:41: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”  A mighty church dramatically affects others and reaches out to a lost and dying world.  It exhibits an evangelistic heart by faithfully preaching, professing, and practicing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A servant’s attitude is also evident in a mighty church.
Matthew 5:13-16 tells us to be salt and light in the world.  “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
We are encouraged to minister to and serve others in Mark 10:42-45: “But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
In Galatians 5:13-16, we are reminded to serve others and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
What affect does your life have on others?
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.5/2/2020 9:19:13 AM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 3)
A mighty church commits to doing the will of God.  The Christians in the early church believed in Christ and were baptized as a testimony of their salvation.  Acts 2:41: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”  There are three different methods of baptism practiced today: sprinkling, pouring, and immersion.  Baptism comes from the Greek word “baptizo” which means “I immerse”, such as in dyeing fabric.  The early church in Acts 2 obeyed God.  Coming from a Jewish society, this often meant being disowned and shunned and the loss of one’s inheritance.
Mighty churches obey God because they love Him.  Jesus said in John 14:15: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  His love should constrain us and compel us to do His will even if it leads to persecution and martyrdom.  We can read the testimony of the apostles’ imprisonment in Acts 5:17-32.  They were beaten and warned not to preach (verse 28); however the angel of the Lord miraculously brought them out of prison.  When the guards went to bring them to the high priest, they were not there.  They were found teaching in the temple and brought back before the council.  Peter’s brave response is found in Acts 5:29-32: “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”
Daniel was forced to choose between being faithful to God in prayer or being thrown into the loin’s den in Daniel 6.  He refused to bow down and pray to the image of King Darius.  Without hesitation, Daniel “went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Daniel 6:10).  He was caught and thrown to the lions, but God’s angel protected him.  King Darius gave recognition to Daniel’s God and promoted Daniel.  He willingly faced the lions rather than stop praying.  What would you have done?  
Early church history is filled with the persecution and martyrdom of faithful Christians.  Only those who love God and are committed to doing His will are willing to suffer for Him.  Matthew 10:39: “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  Are you willing to live your life for God and do His will?
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.4/12/2020 1:10:04 AM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 2)
A mighty church is not found in numbers or dollars, but is a place where God is glorified and men are edified.  A mighty church will gladly receive the Word of God (Acts 2:41).  The church grows as its members grow spiritually.  Growth is centered upon the constancy of God’s Word.  It never changes.  Hebrews 10:25: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Christ established the office of pastor to build up and equip the saints (Ephesians 4:11-12).  Well-equipped believers (set apart, fully prepared) are unified by a proper understanding of doctrine (teachings from God’s Word).  There are four basic tools for equipping the saints.  The first is God’s Word.  The pastor is called to faithfully teach the Bible.  2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto good works.”
Prayer is the second tool.  A pastor’s responsibility is outlined in Acts 6:4 : “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”  He sets the example for others to follow.  All believers are to pray.  1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.”  We have the example of Epaphras who was one that was “always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Colossians 4:12)
The third tool is testing.  God uses testing, a purging or cleansing experience, to perfect us.  James 1:2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  When you consider a tea bag, it is only when hot water is added that the flavor in enhanced.  God’s testing or “hot water” is used in our lives to build Christian character.  
Suffering is the fourth tool that God often uses to spiritually strengthen us.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.3/13/2020 4:40:16 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 1)
Acts 2:41-47 indicates that God has called believers to build a mighty church; a place where God is glorified and people are edified. Acts 2 tells us of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the church. The one hundred and twenty people who had gathered in the Upper Room were suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit, which gave them the ability to speak clearly in languages of all the people who had gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2:4-12). Amazement, astonishment, and mocking caused many to question what was happening.
Peter rose to tell the people about Jesus. His sermon in Acts 2:14-39 was given at the birth of the church and was given mostly to the Jews who were there to celebrate the Passover. Acts 2:41 says: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” The foundation of the church, then as now, is Jesus Christ. It is He who establishes and builds the church.
One mark of a mighty church is godly leadership. Leadership for the church is pastor, deacons, and lay leaders. The Bible gives specific guidelines regarding the character of a pastor (bishop). Read 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and study carefully through the list of admonitions and requirements. The first important requisite that stands out is that it is to be a man (not a woman), and he is to be the faithful husband of one wife. The church is not built around a man, but a pastor gives direction to the church and answers to God on behalf of the church. 1 Timothy 3:8-13 lists the qualifications for a deacon. Lay leaders are those in the church who have no official office but serve in areas of ministry because of their love for Christ and the church.
Leadership affects the entire church. We are all to be an example to others, and the qualifications given for leadership is expected to be the standard for all who serve Christ. Failure to accept God’s standard in leadership is sin. A mighty church must have godly leadership for God to be glorified and for believers to be edified.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.2/28/2020 6:18:34 PM