Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sermon: Alpha's Method is the Church

Summary of a sermon preached in Darkhan's Good News Church on 12 Nov 2017.

Sermon Theme: Alpha evangelism is not just come and hear, but also come and see and  experience the Gospel of the Kingdom incarnated in the Church.

Text: Acts 2:42-47
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (NKJV)

Introduction

NT church was characterized by four major activities: 
(1) "apostles' doctrine"- Word  
(2) "fellowship" - Love
(3) "breaking of bread" - Worship
(4) "prayers" - Ministry 

While there was no overt "evangelism" program, yet we read that "the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (v.47).

Jesus' only "program" for evangelism is the church as his "witnesses"; in other words, it is the faith community functioning as "witnesses" that attracted unbelievers to Christ. It is God's people, not programs, processes or products that is ultimately the NT message, medium & method for evangelism.
  • Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.“
Note the emphasis on "you", the Spirit-empowered community, as the "witnesses" to Christ. Christ must be seen, heard and experienced in the faith community, not in the processes or products.

NT church is the Gospel message, medium & method

NT evangelism is inviting pre-believers to come and see, hear and experience the Gospel incarnated in the church's communal life. 

Alpha success is not a result of its superior programs, products or processes: these are just means to the greater end--namely, show-casing the church as the kingdom community. Alpha simply facilitates unbelievers to come and see, come and hear and come experience the Word incarnated in the church through the indwelling Spirit.
  • Ephesians 3:10-11 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,  according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (NKJV).
In the Acts 2 church, this incarnated Word of Christ was heard through the teaching and seen in the signs and wonders performed by the apostles. The Gospel was also experienced in their shared communal life.

The NT church has no evangelistic method: they don't need one because they are the method: they expressed their self-identity as "witnesses" of Christ through their lifestyle. Evangelism is not just something they do--it begins with who they are. NT church didn’t need a program to proclaim the Gospel because they are the Gospel

Conclusion

Alpha processes and products are just means to make it easy for the church to invite prebelievers to come and see, come and hear and come and experience the presence and power of the Kingdom incarnated in the Spirit-filled church.

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