BEREAN’S BIG TEN
The Tenfold Purpose of Berean
A. If you watch college football, you are familiar with THE BIG TEN. The Big Ten Conference is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the US. Established in 1895, ten of the nation’s public universities got together to form standards for intercollegiate athletics. It proclaims to hold itself to high standards in not only athletics, but in academics as well.
B. A TOP TEN list is a list of the ten highest-ranking items of a given category. We use this for everything from books, to movies, to snacks, to types of dogs. The Top Ten List was a regular segment of the The Late Show with David Letterman.
C. I want to share with you what I am calling OUR TOP TEN or THE BIG TEN.
D. Why does Berean exist? What is our mandate from heaven?
WHY A BEREAN?
Acts 17:10-12 (NLT) “That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.”
Example: We base our ministry on this particular passage. This verse was quickened to me in tenth grade as we were studying the book of Acts in Bible class at a local Christian school. It came alive to me. It is my foundational passage.
A. Ours is a heavenly vision. It came from the Lord Himself.
B. Our church is named Berean for a reason. The above passage says the church in the city of Berea “searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” They received the Word as the truth and searched the Scriptures DAILY. Once the Bereans verified that Paul’s teaching was based on the Scriptures, they gladly accepted the message and allowed it to transform their lives. C. Every Christian should be a Berean! We live by the Scriptures. We put the Word of God first place in our lives and we make it our final authority.
D. Our Berean Mission Statement is summed up in three words: UP, IN & OUT.
Passionately reaching UP to God, daily reaching IN to renew,
effectively reaching OUT to transform.
OUR TENFOLD PURPOSE
Vs. 1-41 The result of this outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the sermon that followed was that three thousand souls were saved. This was the POWER side.
Vs. 42-47 These new believers went from new converts to true disciples by connecting with the local church and one another. This was the PROCESS side.
A. This chapter begins with the POWER of God being displayed and ends with the PROCESSES that believers walked out to be effective in their Christian lives. We need both to remain strong in the things of God.
B. I want us to look at the tenfold purpose of Berean. The Lord gave this to me while we were in Annapolis, MD. I was reading Acts 2:37-47 and these ten purposes jumped out at me. They are as true today as they were then.
Acts 2:47b “...And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
C. To have the promise of vs. 47b, we must fulfill verses 38-47a. Our responsibility is to do the ten things outlined here. The Lord will then add to the church on a regular basis. But the Lord can’t do His part until we do our part.
D. To be fulfilled in a local body, you must agree with the vision and purpose of that particular local church. What is the purpose of Berean?
(1) To win the lost/unsaved.
A. We are called to make disciples, not just converts.
B. The first step in making disciples is to get people born again.
Vs. 38-41 “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; ...and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ ...Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
C. In verse 38, we see the three New Testament baptisms:
1. Being baptized into Christ.
2. Being water baptized.
3. Being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
D. We teach all three baptisms and believe that all three are necessary for a victorious Christian life.
(2) To be missions-minded.
A. We are to reach people for Jesus both here and abroad.
B. Missions is the heart of God. David Livingstone said, “God had an only Son and He made Him a missionary.”
Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
(3) To preach the Word of God.
A. As a pastor/teacher my primary call is to minister God’s Word.
Vs. 42a “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine...”
B. Smith Wigglesworth wrote the following in the back of his Bible. (Bill Johnson actually owns this Bible and shared Smith’s quote and the picture on Facebook.)
“Never compare this book with other books. Comparisons are dangerous. Never think or say that this book CONTAINS the
Word of God. It IS the Word of God. It is supernatural in origin,
eternal in duration, inexpressible in value, infinite in scope,
regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest,
personal in application, inspired in totality. Read it through. Write it
down. Pray it in. Work it out. And pass it on. It IS the Word of God.”
C. We are to minister to people of ALL ages—from the cradle to the grave. Children and young people are an important part of our vision.
(4) To provide Christian fellowship.
A. We are not simply a teaching center. Fellowship is needed to become a well balanced Christian. There is a reason our official name is Berean Fellowship Church. We take this seriously. We are a family church and part of family is connecting with others.
Vs. 42b “...and fellowship, in the breaking of bread...”
B. Remember that it’s the banana that gets away from the bunch that gets peeled.
(5) To be a house of prayer.
A. Prayer is a major part of our church’s success.
Vs. 42c “...and in prayers.”
Matthew 21:13 “My house shall be called a house of prayer...”
Example: Many years ago, Kenneth Copeland asked the Lord, “Why can’t I fail?” The Lord said, “Because your mother is always in My face.”
(6) To create an atmosphere for healings and miracles to occur.
A. You can preach the gospel without fully preaching it. When we fully preach the gospel, it comes forth in both WORD and DEED. We are fully preaching the gospel when it comes forth with signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:18-20). We are called to do the works of Jesus in the earth!
Vs. 43 “Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”
B. We cannot compromise God’s full gospel message. He is still the Savior, the Healer, the Baptizer, the Deliverer, etc. Years ago the Lord told me, “I want yours [Berean] to be a church which will not limit Me.”
Psalm 78:41 “Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.”
(7) To work together with the rest of the body of Christ.
A. Never fail to recognize the entire body of Christ. We are not the church. We are only part of the church. No one church or camp/tribe has everything we need. We need the whole body.
Vs. 44a “Now all who believed were together.”
B. One minister said, “It takes a city-wide church to win a city-wide war.” For this reason, we must work together to reach this region for Christ.
C. No one church can get the job done but together we can make a lasting impact in Pittsburgh.
(8) To minister to the poor and needy.
A. The New Testament command is that we should “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10). This doesn’t mean that we say, “Remember Mary. She sure was poor.” This means that we do something to minister to them. The NLT says to “keep on helping the poor.” We are called to be others-minded!
B. We help those who are poor financially and those who are poor in spirit.
C. The below verse is not socialism in action. It is voluntary Christian generosity.
Vs. 44b, 45 “...and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”
(9) To be a place of Biblical praise and worship.
A. We are to be a church where Jesus is worshiped the Bible way. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Vs. 46, 47a “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. ...”
B. In sports, when a team is struggling they don’t work on trick plays or fancy moves. They work on the fundamentals—they get back to the basics.
C. When we are struggling spiritually, it is usually the basic disciplines of the Christian life that we have gotten away from.
• “...take up [your] cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).
• “So the churches...increased in number daily” (Acts 16:5).
• “...they...searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11).
• “I die [to myself and the flesh] daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31).
• “...but exhort one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13).
D. The world comes at us DAILY. The flesh rises up DAILY. The devil tempts us DAILY. So we need to combat these things DAILY with the Word, prayer, fellowship, walking in love, serving others, etc.
E. Above we see our part. The next verse shows us life’s part. But in response we then see God’s part.
• “...the daily...[pressure] of my care and anxiety for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28 Amp).
• “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits...” (Psalm 68:19).
F. We give people freedom to sing, clap, dance, shout, lift their hands, etc. in God’s presence. We are a presence-based church. We long for God’s presence.
(10) To be a place of restoration.
A. This whole chapter, Acts 2, is about God restoring His people to Himself and to each other (Joel 2:25-27). As we properly do our part, the Lord will do His part.
Vs. 47b “...And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
B. Thirty-five years later THE BIG TEN is still as important as ever. These truths are timeless and work anywhere and at all times.
C. Often, churches get away from their original vision. They allow the world’s perspective to influence the church. They depart from the truths of Scripture and embrace another gospel. Methods change but the message of the gospel doesn’t!
Acts 2:41, 42 “Then those who gladly received [Peter’s] word were baptized; and that day three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (God’s Word) and fellowship, in the breaking of bread (communion), and in prayers.”
Vs. 42 (NIV) “They devoted themselves to [four key things]...”
D. I can give you the tools to succeed but you must use them for yourself. I can’t want you to grow spiritually more than you want to. YOU MUST DEVOTE YOURSELF TO THE LORD!
Example: I used to pick up one of Lauren Gosnell’s friends for church every week. But she would only come if I called her and made all the arrangements. I knew I could not do that every week for the rest of my life. She needed to devote herself.
E. People sometimes say, “I am just not in the mood to make that change right now.” Pearl Buck said, “I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.”
F. Will Durant—in summarizing Aristotle—said, “We are what we repeatedly do.”
G. As a church and a people, may we never depart from THE BIG TEN. MFM