We pause our new sermon series for a special service, as Nathan Gordon shares the vision for SBC in 2023. Service led by Beverley Sills.
Key chapter for the Vision – Acts 2.
(Focus for today’s sermon) – Acts 2:36-47
Today is an exciting day as we envision the direction and plans God has prepared for His local church here in Sittingbourne. Firstly it’s important to note that God is a God of vision. From the beginning of creation to His redemptive plan of salvation and to the future vision of Christ’s return, the Bible is full of vision and direction from the divine.
2 Peter 3:9 – He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
It’s important to remember
- God has a plan for the world
- God has a plan for His Church
- God has a plan for you
Challenge – As humans, we have our own thoughts and plans that can sometimes differ from the plans God has for us. It’s important to approach any church vision or vision for our lives with much prayer and Bible study to ensure we are not going in our own direction
Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and obedience to God’s word we can discern the plans God has in store for His world, His Church and for each and every one of us.
The Mission of the church (Matthew 28:19-20) & Acts 2:1-41
SBC Misson statement = Declaring Christ to people, Discipling people to Christ
- The church offers the message of salvation and hope
- SBC’s mission statement is borne out of the great commission
- After receiving the Holy Spirit, the Jews from every nation and in Jerusalem heard the believers in Jesus speak in tongues they were amazed but some mocked them.
- Peter preaches a Christ-centred message which brought conviction to the hearts of those who heard the message.
Characteristics of the early church – Acts 2:42-47
- They devoted themselves – to the apostle’s teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. (Resulting in spiritual and relational growth)
- Anointed Leadership – The believer’s recognised the apostles were called by God and anointed to lead. “Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.” -v43 (Growth through anointed leadership)
- A united Church – “All the believers we’re together and had everything in common” – v44
- Devoted to meeting together – “every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts -v46
- Growth Spiritually, Relationally & Numerically – “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” – v47
The methods of the church
Projected vision of SBC is simplified into a Growth acronym.
G – God First = Fully surrendered disciples of Jesus (A devoted allegiance to the teachings of one chosen as Master (Jesus)
R – Renewal in relationships = restoration, forgiveness & new relationships formed. Resulting in congregational unity and mentorship opportunities between generations.
O – Outward Focused = The lost, CTIS, Sittingbourne, Nation & The World.
W – Worship Diversity = All worship must be centred in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24), we recognise our congregation is culturally and denominationally diverse. (We will be unpacking worship in more detail with a series entitled Let’s talk about worship.)
T – Testimonies Shared = reigniting testimony sharing, and encouraging people to share their stories.
H – House Groups = revived & re-imagined
* Please see the screen for more methods we are seeking to implement.
Challenge – it’s important not to allow the non-fundamentals to disturb the unity that we share as Christians. There’s so much that we do agree on in the fundamentals section that is of greater importance for God’s church. Remember methods change but the message remains the same!
Questions for further study and consideration
- Discuss the list of fundamentals shared during the sermon. Are there other core tenants of the Christian faith that should be included in the list of fundamentals?
- Discuss the importance and challenges of surrendering all to follow Jesus. See Luke 9:59-62
- Looking at the characteristics of the early church in Acts 2:42-47, is it possible for churches today to embrace the same traits in today’s society?
- Discuss the topic of diversity in worship. We talked about the vision of allowing people to express worship to God from their hearts. Whether it’s quiet and contemplative or with shouts of Joy and the clapping of hands. Does the Bible teach the raising of hands, clapping and raised voices in praise to God? (Consider the following bible passages) John 4:21-24, Romans 12:1-2, Isaiah 29:13, Psalm 100:1-5, Psalm 47:1, Habakkuk 2:20, 1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 134:2, Isaiah 55:12
- How can we become a more outward-focused church?
- How can you get involved to help serve the vision God has prepared for His church?