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Scripture Reading: Acts 3:1-8
"Do You Guys Have...?"
1. Received a call Tuesday asking, "Do you guys have gas vouchers?"
2. Denominational world views the work of the church to be a social center, focused on the material welfare of citizens regardless of their faith.
3. A very different picture of the work of the local church emerges from the pages of the NT.
4. The local church has a God-given work - We cannot change it.
a. Illustrate: American Cancer Society - "The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service." (cancer.org)
b. Why can't ACS be "dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease"? (National Kidney Foundation!)
c. Similarly, good works exist that the local church cannot do without violating its charter (by-laws, etc.), Col. 3:17.
I. THE INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN AND THE CHURCH ARE NOT THE SAME, 1 Tim. 5:16; Acts 4:35; 5:1-4; Matt. 18:15-17.
II. "Do you guys pay utility bills?" (motel rooms, travel, fuel, food...)
1) Social relief for the community at large (general benevolence).
2) Commonly viewed as the work of churches - by what authority?
3) Benevolence from local church's treasury is limited to Christians, 1 Tim. 5:16; cf. Acts 4:34-35.
A. Local Churches Care for their Own Needy Ones, Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-37; 6:1-6.
B. Local Churches Send Relief to other Churches, Acts 11:27-30; Rom. 15:26-27; 1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:1, 12.
C. New Testament pattern: Church Action always Relieved Christians: No general benevolence fund for churches in the NT.
-Twisting Scriptures to justify error: Gal. 6:10 and Jas. 1:27.
III. "Do you guys have an outreach program?" (support foreign missions, a sponsoring church...)
A. Churches Preach the Gospel, 1 Thess. 1:8.
B. Every Christian Teaching Someone, Acts 8:4; 2 Tim. 2:2; Heb. 5:12.
C. By Sending Preachers to Preach the Gospel, Acts 11:22-23; 13:3.
D. By Sending Support to Preachers, Phil. 1:5; 4:15 (2 Cor. 11:8).
IV. "Do you guys have a youth group?" (recreation activities for children and adults, a youth minister, seniors activities, fellowship hall, life center, etc.)
A. The Work of Spiritual Edification of the Saints, Acts 20:28-32.
B. Spiritual Edification (building of faith) Comes by Teaching the Word of God, Acts 13:1-2; Eph. 4:11-15.
1. Social activities strengthen social bonds, but it is not called "fellowship" or "edification" discussed in the NT.
2. Work of the local church is not eating together, 1 Cor. 11:22, 34. Rebuked for introducing this very thing.
C. Spiritual Edification Happens by Worshiping Together, Acts 2:42, 46; 1 Cor. 11:20; 14:26; Heb. 10:24-25.
D. Spiritual Edification Happens by Using/Living what is Taught in God's Word, 1 Pet. 2:2; Jas. 1:25.
1. Many come to the local church asking for what it does not have to give. What we have, we will give, cf. Acts 3:1-6.
2. We have the gospel to preach, the body to build up and relief for needy saints.
3. To do more, as a local church, is presumptuous and unapproved by Christ, our head.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: May 22, 2015