42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
6 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
Who are we? We are an autonomous church.
We are part of a denomination, but we are autonomous.
- We affirm the Baptist Faith and Message.
- We willingly give too many Southern Baptist mission causes.
- We have no outside influence or direction that governs us.
- We allow the Word of God to be our guide.
My understanding of an autonomous church:
A self-governed church that depends on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to direct and lead them as they seek to function as a New Testament church, so that they can change their city and world with the power of the Gospel as each one of them believes in and lives out the Great Commission.
What does this look like? It looks like the church of Acts. Here is a picture of a healthy church (compared to just a growing church)
Acts 2:42-47, 6:1-7, 11:19-26
Their Location (Our Location)
They loved their city, their region, their state.
They knew their responsibility to reach their responsibility.
Their Leadership (Our Leadership)
- Jesus is our HEAD/SOURCE (Col. 1:18).
- Congregation/Membership/ THE BODY – supported
- Pastor/Elder/Staff – led
- Deacon – served
- Ministry – driven
Their Loyalty (Our Loyalty)
- To Christ
- To His Church
- Why are so uncommitted to His church. Lack of loyalty
- We are Busy
- We are Distracted
- We are Complacent
- We are Apathetic
- To One another
- To THE Mission
- Make Disciples is our mission