Manage episode 340140647 series 3038820
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Holy Father, you are worthy of all worship. You've created everything. You've given us life. You've created a way for us to be given new life through your son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, we thank you for fulfilling all of the commandments on our behalf and presenting yourself as a sacrifice on the cross. We thank you that you bore the wrath of God, that we deserve for our law breaking, our rebellion, our selfishness, our sin. And Lord, we thank you that you didn't stay dead. The third day you were resurrected. You laid down your life only to take it up. And you promised us that when we repent of sin and trust in you, all of our sins of forgiven, past, present, and future. And you give us the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit, I pray, bless our time, the holy scriptures today, show us what your plan for the church is. What the church at the very beginning did. And Jesus, remind us how much you love your church. Lord, you did everything for your church. The church is your bride and you love your bride. You love your bride so much that you gave yourself for her. And I pray now, Lord, I pray by the washing of water with the words, cleanse each one of us, sanctify us, refocus us on what's most important, especially in the life of the church, which is worshiping the great triune glorious God.
Gathering as Christians to have true community and fellowship around the truth of the gospel, and to serve you, and as we do those things, we are not to forget that we do all those things as we're fulfilling the great commission. So you gave us a job to go and make disciples of all nations. Lord, if there's anyone here who's not yet a Christian today, I pray, cut them to the heart with the gospel. Draw them to yourself. Give them the gift of repentance and the gift of mercy. Bless our time in the scriptures. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
We paused our Roman sermon series for two weeks, last week and today, to revisit the DNA of the church. What are the values? And then how do those values work themselves out in the life of the church? We talked about love Jesus simple. By love, what do we mean? We mean a great commitment to the great commandment, and the great commission, and the great compassion. That's what makes for a great church. We talked about that last week.
The great commandment is love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. And if you're really doing that, if you really love God, if you really love neighbor, and you find out that your neighbor is a Christian, you want to spend time with them, have fellowship. If you find out that your neighbor's not a Christian, then you want to evangelize, You want to share the gospel. And that's what brings us to the great commission for you to fulfill the great commandment.
We want to fulfill the great commission, which is go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. So we talked about all that last week. That Jesus is at the center of all of that. And today we're going to talk about the rhythms of this church. What do we focus on? Which is worship, community, and service. Which then leaves margin in life to do the great commission. When you start a church... So we started Mosaic coming up on 11 years ago. When you start a church, you want to learn as much as you can from the early church.
Well why? Because they were the very first witnesses of Jesus Christ, of the power of the Spirit, working through the apostles in the very beginning. Second, the Holy Spirit laid a foundation for what the church is and what the church should be doing. What should the church be focused on? How should the church be using its resources? And third, it refocuses us on what we need to be focused on. Cause clearly the early church was highly effective. Sociologists tell us that by the time Constantine comes to power, in the fourth century, he looks around to consolidate power. He realizes he has to become a Christian, or at least say he's a Christian. Why? Because over 50% of the population were believers. How do they do that in a few hundred years? Well they did that by focusing on what God told them to focus on, which is worship, community and service.
We see that the early church devoted themselves to these three things, and that was the extent of their church life. What did they do with the rest of their time? Well they loved people, they served people, and they shared the gospel. They proclaimed the gospel with everyone that they had an opportunity to. That's the margin that they had. And this is really important in a place like Boston, because this place is busy. You get busy. And the longer you're here, and if you have a family, you're just busy, busy, busy, busy. And that's why we don't want to fill up your time with a lot of church activities. Worship service, get that on your calendar, community group, get on your calendars, join a service team, and the rest of your allotted time, the rest of your time that you have, that's the margin. We devote that to spending time with those who are far from the Lord, in order to share the gospel.
So let's look today at Acts 2:37-47. This is the account of the early church. "Now when they heard this they were all cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 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 3000 souls.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who are being saved."
This is the reading of God's Holy inerrant, infallible, authoritative word. May He write these eternal truths upon our hearts. To a little context before we get into our points, the context first of all is that the book of Acts is the primary source historical account of the early church and it's also sacred scripture. So this is all historically accurate. And this word has been inspired by the Holy Spirit to teach us about how the early church structured their life.
So the context of the text in particular, is that Peter, who was a disciple of Jesus Christ, he was a fisherman by training, had a small fishing business, never preached, but he spent three years with Jesus Christ. And Jesus, after he ascends to Heaven, he says... Before he ascends to heaven, he says, "Don't do anything." After his resurrection, before his ascension, he says, "Don't do anything until the Holy Spirit comes." So the church is waiting, church is waiting, church waiting. Holy Spirit, comes descends upon Peter, Peter gets up and preaches his very first sermon. And at his very first sermon, 3000 souls got saved. How many people over there? I don't know, thousands. He preaches a sermon. Now there's at least 3,120 Christians, at least, maybe 3,500 because 500 people witness the resurrection of Christ. And says that they were cut to the heart with the message that he preached.
Well what did he preach? He preached the gospel. And what he told these people who grew up in the Jewish community, they grew up with the Hebrew scriptures, that they grew up going to the temple. What he told them was the Messiah has come, His name was Jesus Christ, to fulfill all of the scriptures he has come, he's done a perfect work, and you killed him, you Israel, you killed him. That was his message. And they said, "What do we do? What do we do?" And Peter just says, "Repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ." He gives him the gospel. They get saved. We got a brand new church. Now the question is, how are we, church, going to disciple 3000 baby Christians.
There's 3000, imagine if 3000 people showed up to Mosaic today. 3000 people are like, "We got saved, we're saved. What do we do?" And we're going to say, "Thankfully there's 1400 seats here." So we can do two services. We would fit everybody. What else would we as a church do different? We would do nothing different. We would do exactly what they did in the beginning. They focused on worship, community, and service. So that, those are our points. Devote yourself to worship, devote yourself to community, and devote yourself to service. And this is all within the context of the life of the church.
First of all, devote yourself to worship, Verse 46 of Chapter 2. "And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God." Glad and generous hearts. They finally realized what Jesus Christ had done for them. They finally realized the great plan of salvation.
Verse 23, at the beginning of Peter's sermon, "this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men." You're saying this, Jesus Christ, you killed him. This is all God's plan. The gospel's God's plan A from the very beginning. It's according to the definite plan, according to the foreknowledge. And it's all according to God's plan for you to hear the gospel and to receive grace. And they're cut to the heart with this message. Their hearts are changed. Now they devote themselves to God. They don't do it to receive love. So a lot of people don't understand Christianity because they look at Christianity with a very religious mindset. A religious mindset is a works based salvation mindset that you can do something to earn favor with, God or you can earn acceptance with God, or you can earn a relationship. You can't earn anything with God. No, we're accepted by God because of Jesus Christ.
So we devote ourselves to God because we have already received love, because we've received forgiveness and acceptance. So they've been transformed, they received the grace. Now what do they do? Verse 42, "they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching." What does it mean to devote yourself to something? It means to hold fast and endured, to stand perpetually ready to persevere in. And you do have to devote yourselves to things that do not come naturally. Naturally speaking, in the flesh, we're a little lazy. You got to devote yourself to things that are good for you, but kind of hard. No one accidentally works out five days a week. No one does that accidentally. You devote yourself to that. No one accidentally eats healthfully. You got to devote. Broccoli, nobody accidentally eats broccoli. No, you got to devote yourself to health. So there are things that are good for us that are hard to do because of the flesh.
He says they devoted themselves to this because they realized that this is important. They prioritize this because they realize there's nothing more important than this. So they're cut to the heart and they devote themselves to the apostles' teaching. Openness to being fed by the Word of God is a key evidence that one is truly regenerated. The Word of God is at the center of their worshiping of God. Why? Because you don't... How can you worship a God that you don't know? We need the Word that reveals who God is, reveals the person of God, reveals the character of God, reveals the purposes and the plans of God. And we as believers, we are to long for the word, 1 Peter 2:2, "like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk that by it you may grow up into salvation." We're to long for this.
You don't have to teach an infant to long for milk or to long for food. And this is a sign that person is regenerated where they do want to spend time with believers. You do want to jump into the Word. You want more of scripture. They were cut to the heart and you can only be cut by something that's harder than you. They received a really hard truth, a transcendent truth, a truth that broke their heart. They realized, "Oh my, we've been living a lie this whole time." Jesus told them to continue in the scriptures, to grow in the scriptures because the scriptures not only reveal who God is, but they also have a sanctifying power over our souls. They don't just nourish us, they also cleanse us. So in Ephesians 5, where Jesus Christ is talking to husbands, "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."
And then the scripture says, and then Jesus, what is the, having cleansed the church by the water with the Word. There's a cleansing process that happens when we read the Word. When we sit under the Word, when we let the Word of God speak to us. And there is a cutting. There should be a cutting. The Word of God is a sword. It's a living and active sword. It cuts, it cuts sharper than, it's sharper than any two edge sword. It cuts down between separation of soul and spirit. We need the Word of God. This is exactly what they devoted themselves to, and it transformed them. Acts 2:42, "they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers." So there's the apostles' teaching, there's the prayers. And then Colossians tells us that when we are to gather, we are to sing as well with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
And we do all of this to cultivate a sense of God's presence, an awareness of God's presence. That's the greatest thing we can give you. This is what we try to instill in you on Sunday mornings, just a longing and a hunger for the presence of God. Because when you get a presence of God, you realize that's exactly what you needed. That's all you need. In the sermon, The Christian Pilgrim by Jonathan Edwards, one of the most powerful sermons ever written.
He says, "God is the highest good of the reasonable creature; and the enjoyment of him is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops; but God is the ocean." This is what our souls long for.
As a deer pants for water so my soul, God my soul longs for you. This is why they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, the prayers, the public worship gathering, because they realized there's not many of us. We live in a spiritually arid climate. A spiritual desert, so to speak. At that time there were only a few thousand Christians in all of the world. And they realize we need to stay together and be rooted in God's word.
If you're new to Boston, welcome. We're so glad you're here. I hope you're enjoying yourself. The fall is really amazing. But one word about the spiritual climate here. If you come from a place where there's more Christians, and just a history of more churches, and more of the Kingdom of God, if you come from a place like down south, like Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, I don't want to pick on any states. I love them all. I'd live in any one of those states if I could. But God sent me here to be a missionary. So I live here on purpose.
One of the things you realize here is it's a desert. It's a desert. And if you do not commit to ground yourself in the Word of God, in Christian community, in worship of God growing in worship of God, six weeks will go by and you will not realize how you became a pagan. You just won't. You'll have no, like, "What? I live just like everybody else. I think about the same things. I'm driven by the same thing." Why? Because you got pulled out of a cultivated garden of Christian community and the Word of God and saturated. And you're brought up here where people hate you for being a Christian. People up here hate Christianity in general. They hate the fact that it even exists.
So what do you do in a place like this? Well, you grow stronger. That's what you do, by shooting your roots deeper into the Word of God. Psalm 1:1-6, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He's like a tree planted by the streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. And all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sins in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish."
The only way the tree thrives in a desert, in arid culture is if there's a constant supply of water. And meditating on God's Word, that's what satiates the heart with living water of God. And the opposite in, Verse 4, the chaff, it has no substance. There's no roots. They built their lives on sand. God is the life source, and meditating on God and his Word, this is what feeds us. And as we do that, it reminds us what we're created for. God, the glorious God of the universe, created us. God, what was the purpose? He created us to glorify him, to worship him. He designed us to worship him. And when we worship him we realize, "Oh, this is what I was created for. This satisfies the heart." And if you do not worship God, if you don't grow in worshiping God, you will worship something. You can't not worship.
What does the word worship mean? You find something worthy of who you are, worthy of your soul, worthy of your attention, worthy of your resources. And this is what Satan, he wants to pull you away from worshiping God to worshiping creation. If you don't worship the creator, you will worship creation. Either you'll worship people, maybe yourself or other people. You'll worship bodies. You'll worship money, sex. You worship career. You can't not worship.
This was the greatest temptation in the beginning, when Jesus fasted 40 days and then Satan comes to hims, to tempt him. What did Satan tempt him with? Matthew 4:10, "And Jesus said to him, "Be gone Satan, for it's written, you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve."" The gall on Satan coming to God, Jesus Christ, and saying, "Worship me. You exist for me." That was the temptation. And Jesus says, be gone from me, Satan. Well this is what Satan wants for us. He doesn't want you worshiping God. He wants you worshiping anything other than God. He wants you worshiping him. He wants you worshiping yourself. He wants you worshiping A. And Jesus says, "No, this is temptation." So they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching.
And Verse 43 says, "And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles." Awe came upon every soul. I like the emphasis on soul here. 3000 souls were added to the church. The emphasis on the immaterial part of you, the eternal part of you. There's a part of you that will exist forever. That's your soul. These souls were saved. These souls were saved from the domain of darkness, transferred in to domain of light. And awe came upon every soul. There's a reverence, there's a fear. Why? Because they realized that they are worshiping a Holy God.
And I love the connection between their happiness, glad and generous hearts, and awe they feel in the presence of a Holy God. Because the path to true happiness. And I'm not talking about happiness like when you have a donut and then you're happy. I'm talking about true, it's like a fusion of happiness, and peace, and joy, satisfaction. What that is, that gladness, that's you're connected with God. You're in the presence of God. You're abiding in Jesus Christ. Their souls are connected to God. And this is what holiness is. And this is why we want holiness for you. Holiness is the pathway to the presence of God. The holier you are, the more of the presence of God you experience. The more of the presence of God that you experience, the more gladness, satisfaction, whatever you want to call it.
And there is a mixture of awe, where it's like I fear this Holy God. I fear him. What does it mean that God the Father, would put his son to death, bore his wrath into the soul of his son on the cross. Why would he do that? Oh, because he's holy. And the only way to reconcile us to a Holy God is this is the way. And he was willing to do it because that's how loving he is. He's holy. He's loving. There has to be awe in the soul for that. And this is why we want holiness for you. This is why we don't want you to sin. Sin dehumanizes. Sin violates your nature. Sin lessens who God has created you to be. And it leads to depression. Living a life of habitual sin leads you away from God. And when you're away from God, that's when you lose access to the source of satisfaction.
So worship God, for in terms of rhythms, we challenge you to attend every single worship service. Every Sunday attend a worship service here at Mosaic and make that a commitment. Devote yourself to it. Next time you see a three day weekend and you're like, "I could go travel but I devoted myself to the apostles' teachings." And then we'll see you here. There is a devotion. I am committed to, I'm devoting to worship.
Second, devote yourself to community. You see this in Acts 2:42, "they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship". Again, it's not something that happens naturally. You got to make a commitment. It does take discipline. In Verse 46, "day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts." They had to work at this, it took energy to make this a rhythm of their lives.
And through the gospel, God has made us into a community of faith as well. We're brothers and sisters in the Lord. We're spiritual family and God is Father. So we are to know each other and be in community. How do we practice community at Mosaic? We do it through community groups. We have over 20 community groups all around the city, and beyond the city. And we meet in homes. The discussion is all sermon based. So if this is your very first Sunday and you show up to community group this week, you'll know exactly what everyone's talking about. I'm giving you all the cheat codes right here. And then you show up and you're like, "Yeah, I am very well versed in the worship, community, and service. Let's talk." And then you get to know people, you get to know their needs. You pray for one another. You're known and you know others.
And then we take community even deeper at Mosaic with membership. We take membership seriously because scripture teaches us to know who's part of the church and who's not part of the church. In Hebrews, it says that the elders of the church will give an account to God for the souls that God has entrusted to them. So if I'm going to give an account to God for someone's soul, I need to know are they a member of the church or not? And membership, it's a mutual commitment. When the church commits to take responsibility for the person, a person commits to take responsibility for the church. And membership isn't a status symbol or social club. It's a covenant where we covenant together to further the mission, the vision, and the life of the church as we hold each other accountable. And the first step to becoming a member is taking a membership class.
True fellowship, it takes work. Acts 2:44-45 says, "All who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need." So fellowship impacted their finances, their bank account, so to speak. I always got to pause here because this is not communism. A lot of communist point to this text, like "Jesus said we should be communist." No he did not. He did not say that. No one's forced to sell anything here. They are motivated by the grace in the heart, generosity of the heart, when they see brothers and sisters, their spiritual family just increased. They thought they had the just immediate family to take care of. And then they realized, oh my, there's thousands of brothers and sisters. So all of a sudden there's liquidity issues. So they're selling stuff because they realized that people had needs.
And this is one of the beauties of being in community. You meet people who have needs. And you're like, "Oh, I thought I was having a hard time. Well this person is really struggling so I'm going to take the focus off self," help this person, and the blessings are mutual. If you look at historians who study the early church and what they focused on, this is what they focused on. They focused on caring for one another. If you look at St. Aristides, who delivers the apology around the year 125, when Hadrian visited Athens, he writes the following.
"But the Christians, O King, while they went about and made search, have found the truth... And when they see a stranger, they take him in their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they did not call him brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God. And whenever one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them according to his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees to his burial. And if they hear that one of their numbers is imprisoned or afflicted on an account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to his necessity, and if it's possible to redeem him, they set him free. And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply the needy their lack of food."
Incredible, incredible. A hundred years from when the church started and already you get these accounts of transformation. 3000 people, 3000 people gathered. And how do you disciple them? How do you teach them? Well, you teach them from the holy scriptures. 1 John 3:4, "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death." This is an expectation that when you become a Christian, that you want to spend time with believers, intentional time with believers. To gather together and to not forget. In the Hebrews 10:24-25, "let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
Not neglecting to meet together. Quick reminder, if you are a member of the church, one of the things that you covenanted to, committed to is regular attendance of community groups. That's just a casual reminder. And if you have not been attending, this is a wonderful time to restart your commitment. We have at the welcome table, a iPad, you can get all the groups, you can sign up. I already, I started getting emails already of people signing up. So praise God. We'd love to join you, have you join us for that.
Verse 42, Chapter 2 in Acts, "they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers." And then verse 46, again, you see, "breaking of bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts," It's unclear if this term refers to just eating together or if it's a celebration of the Lord's supper, but Christians should do both together. So today is communion Sunday we take communion together as a church every first Sunday of the month. And then in community groups, sometimes we should eat. I don't know, not every group has food all the time, but there is something powerful in connecting about eating together. It's part of Christian hospitality. It's part of how Jesus did his ministry. One commentator, talking about Jesus is in the gospel of Luke, he says Jesus is either going to, coming from, or at a meal. Jesus would eat with people. He would eat with sinners. He would eat with righteous people. He would just eat with people because it is a way of connecting, and is a way of showing hospitality.
And we shouldn't forget, as Christians, to show hospitality to one another and show hospitality to others. 1 Peter 4:9, "show hospitality to one another without grumbling." Peter, I wonder why you said that, the grumbling part. Why? Because hospitality's hard. You got to prepare your home. You got to clean up after. You got to entertain while people are here, et cetera, et cetera. And then if, many of us don't live as nicely as we'd hope to live and we'd wish our spaces were a little bigger. But whenever we get into this question of square footage, and Boston apartments, et cetera, I always want to point out the fact that, hey, if we went to these homes in Jerusalem, in the first century, they were one room. The house was one room. There was no running water, no electricity, no nothing. So if you have a bathroom, if you have lights, it doesn't even matter if your place is like 200 square feet, practice hospitality without grumbling. So if you're not in a community group, devote yourself to community.
And then finally devote yourself to service. To put up these worship service takes a lot of work. This church is run by volunteers. So we encourage you, along with devoting yourself to worship services and community groups, to join a service team. Why? Because this is the pattern of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus said I came not to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many. And then he says, "Look, I call you to serve." He says, "I don't call you servants, I call you friends, but my friends do what I say." Because if you want to be a friend of God, you got to do what God says. That's how the relationship works. And what does it mean to love God? It means to serve him.
John 15:12-13, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone laid down his life for his friends." So we do call you to serve partially because if you're a Christian, you're part of the body of Christ and every part of the body has to play its role. We're looking for volunteers for basically all the aspects of church operations, Mini Mosaic, greeting, hospitality, welcome table. All of the jobs are, I sent a newsletter and then also you can find out more at the welcome table.
And as they focused on serving, as they focused on worshiping and community, something happened. They began to grow. And Verse 47 says, "They were praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." They didn't focus on having people get saved. They focused on worshiping God, enjoying community and fellowship with one another, serving one another. And as they did these things, the Lord adds people onto them.
Why? How did this happen? Did they do evangelism? Yeah, of course they did evangelism. They had the great commission and you see them going out during the rest of the week. They're going out, and they're preaching the gospel, sharing the gospel. That's how people got see, but that's not what they focused on. And our evangelism, as a church, it gets more powerful when we focus on what God tells us to focus on. Jesus is the one that saves people. God is the one that draws people to salvation. Acts 2:39, "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."
God is the one that calls people to himself and he does it when we proclaim the gospel. The reason why we focus on these three things, worship, community and service, is because that's what the early church focused on. It worked. And then practically speaking, it does leave margin in your life to actually think about unbelievers, and about how we can welcome unbelievers into our life and share the gospel with them. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he or waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." My favorite thing is seeing all of this actually happen. And a lot of it, if you come to one service, you don't see all the inner workings. I had a gal approach me after this first service, and said, "I don't know what's happening. I feel like God's calling me to himself." And this is a person that grew up around here.
This is Boston Boston. And she's like, "What is happening?" I was like, "I think you might be elect." This is my new way of sharing the gospel by the way. I'm trying it out. When I share the God, I asked people, "Do you think you're part of the elect?" "What does that mean?" "Well that means you repent of your sin and trust in Jesus Christ." "Oh, I'm not sure about that." "Well we should talk about that." So God's doing it. This is incredible. I was at a wedding yesterday where we see this happening. Where a gentleman meets a gal, and the gal at Mosaic gets saved, grows, and now there's a family. We see this over and over and over. There's nothing that brings more joy to my heart than all of this. So we focus on what God told us to focus on, and then we watch God do the work and get all the glory.
If you come from another part of the country where churches are wealthier, and they have more infrastructure, and they can hire more people, they can do a lot more stuff than just worship, community, and service. It's easy to come to a place like Boston and be like, "Okay, where's all the stuff? Where's the group for people who are exactly like me, in the exact life stage? Where's the group for 25 year olds, 25 and a half year old? I want all of my needs..." And we're like, "Why? There's like three Christians in Boston. What are you talking about?" No, we're lucky to have a church. We have people show, be like, "Okay, where's your college ministry?" I'm like, "Here it is. This is our church." And if I were to go somewhere else, to a big megachurch, I would do the same thing as we do here because that's what they did in the very beginning and that clearly worked.
A lot of churches, they're built like a cruise ship. And by cruise ship I mean like the place you go where it's, for vacation cruise ship, and Mosaic isn't built like a cruise ship, it's built like a battleship. And the church is many things. It's a family, it's a bride, but it's also an army. And once you live in Boston for a while, you realize spiritual warfare is real. And I need not people who want to be entertained around me. I want people who are willing to go to war with me. And if we were attempting to lead a cruise ship, we would navigate toward safe waters. We would worry about keeping people busy and entertained, not productive. We would put all our efforts into making sure those on the ship were comfortable and all their preferences were considered. If you were choosing a cruise ship, you would choose it based on the ports it was visiting, the quality of the room, the activities that were offered after dinner, et cetera, et cetera.
I've never been on a cruise ship. I think I should go, one of these days, just for illustration purposes. Just to tell you, you know what, we're not like that all inclusive buffet. That's not us. No, we're a battleship. Our ship has a purpose, has meaning, there's a mission. Everybody has a job. We want all hands on deck. And whatever the job is, it seems meaningless at the time, but all together it has incredible meaning. If you are choosing a battleship, you got to choose a battleship based not on your preferences, but based on the flag that it flies. And at this church, there's only one flag that we fly and that's the flag of Jesus Christ. Well like, why? Well Jesus, what, then why is it a battleship? Well, when you fly the flag of Jesus Christ as the only flag in Boston, yeah, you're going to realize there is spiritual war. When you say that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, the only way to God, the only way to have your sins forgiven. That there's no other way. Well all of a sudden that's controversial.
Or that Jesus is Lord over everything, over sexuality, over gender, over family, over marriage. He is Lord over money. He's Lord over your, He's Lord over everything. Then you realize, yeah, I should probably be on a battleship in Boston instead of a cruise ship. So we're welcoming you into that battle. We're welcoming you into the church and we'd love to have you join us.
In conclusion, in the beginning, God created everything, and we rebelled, and we broke the heart of the creator. And we were left famished in our sin, famished at the soul level because we cut ourselves off from the source of life. Then Jesus Christ comes and he is life. In him was the life. And He says He is life because He is the bread of life. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, becomes the bread of life.
He's born in Bethlehem, the house of bread, and he comes and he tells the disciples, and he tells everyone who was listening, "If you don't eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no part of me." What is he talking about? Well, Jesus is the bread of life and his blood is what saves us. So he's saying in the same way that when you take communion, you take the bread that's broken, that's to remind you the body of Christ is broken for us. You take the cup, which is to symbolize the blood of Jesus Christ. You eat, and you drink, and what you're doing is you're internalizing, it's becoming part of you. The bread and the cup, the body and the blood's becoming part of you. And this is to remind us that this is how we get saved. When you hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, and you realize that God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever should believe in him should not perish but have eternal life.
When you realize that He who knew no sin became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. When you realize that it just takes faith to clinging onto Christ. It takes humility, a repent of sin, and you internalize what Christ did. Well, that's what saves you. When we recognize that his precious blood, poured out on the cross, has atoned for our sins, then we are eating his flesh and drinking his blood. This is exactly what happens when you take the bread, when you take the cup, and you realize Jesus is part of me. He's in me and I am in him. If you're not yet a Christian, you're not sure you're a Christian, I appeal to your soul right now, not your mind. I'm appealing to your soul. Let your soul cry out to God.
You soul knows what to do. Just let your soul cry out. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a great sinner. Cry out, receive the grace, receive the mercy, and welcome to the family. This time we turn to holy... Oh, and if you pray to receive Christ today, if you become a Christian today, recommit your life, Pastor Andy will be up here right after the service. He'd love to pray with you.
For whom is holy communion? It's for anyone who needs grace. For anyone who's received grace. It's for Christians. So if you are not sure if you're a Christian, we ask that you refrain. Or if you are a Christian living in unrepentant sin, known and stubbornly unrepentant, we ask that you refrain. This isn't going to help you. This is only going to cause harm. Instead take the time to repent and if you do truly repent, you're welcome to partake.
1 Corinthians 11:23-32, and as I read the text, if you haven't received a wafer and a cup and you'd like to partake, raise your hand as I read the text. One of the ushers will give you one.
"For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and he said, "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant of my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
Whoever therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and the blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned with the world."
Would you please pray with me over holy communion.
Holy Spirit in the same way that you poured out your power on the early church, we cry out for the same. Lord, we know we're not worthy of your presence, we're not worthy to experience your power. We're not worthy to be used by you. Only Jesus is. And Jesus, we thank you for your sacrifice on the cross. Right now, Lord, we're doing this in remembrance of you. Your body was broken as you hung on that tree. On that cross, your blood was poured out for us. Jesus, you gave everything because you loved us to the end. And then on the cross, Lord, in your last gasp you said, "It is finished. The work is accomplished." We thank you for that. Holy Spirit, apply the gospel afresh anew in our hearts right now. We repent of all our sin of rebellion, of breaking commandments, pretending commandments don't exist, of worshiping anything other than you, worshiping creature rather than creator. We repent of all that Lord and we receive your grace and mercy and we thank you for it. And continue to us this powerfully. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
There's two layers to take off. Take the first one off, take the wafer. And the second one off and cup is open.
On the night that Jesus Christ was betrayed, he took the bread, and after breaking he said, "This is my body broken for you, take, eat, and do this in remembrance of me." He then proceeded to take the cup and he said, "This cup is the cup of the new covenant, my blood, which is poured out for the sins of many. Take, drink, and do this in remembrance of me."
Lord, we're reminded of your invitation, Isaiah 55, where you tell us, "Come everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good and delight yourselves in rich food, incline your ear, and come to me here that your soul may live."
Lord, we thank you for speaking these words to us. We thank you for creating us with eternal souls. We thank you for saving our eternal souls. We thank you for satisfying our souls, nourishing our souls. And we pray that you continue to sanctify our souls by the washing of water with the word. Not for our glory, Lord, but only for yours. And we do ask that you use us, Lord. Use us individually and use us as a church. Keep us faithful and make us fruitful and do it all for your glory and our joy. We pray all this in Jesus name. Amen.