The Apostle’s Fellowship

English: St John the Apostle's church, Sheepsc...
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I saw something new (well to me at least) in my study of Acts 2:41-47 this week. What I saw that was new to me was that the fellowship into which those saved on Pentecost “continued steadfastly in” was “the apostle’s fellowship.” (verse 42)

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship ….

I have always made a big deal out of the fact that the doctrine that was being taught was “the apostle’s” but had never considered that the fellowship they learned and lived in was also “the apostle’s.” With this idea floating around in my mind for a couple weeks now, I decided to try to find out what kind of fellowship could be considered “the apostle’s fellowship.”

I found what I think is a very good explanation in 1 John 1:1-7 where the Bible says, ” That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

In this passage you see three things that are true about the apostle’s fellowship:

  1. The apostle’s fellowship is grounded in the person of Jesus Christ – vs. 1-3.
  2. The apostle’s fellowship is designed to provide the believer with full joy – v. 4.
  3. The apostle’s fellowship allows the believer to truly understand the light that shines in the darkness and to be a witness of the light – vs. 5-7.

Back in Acts 2:42 this fellowship is found in the New Testament Church. So, are you continuing steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship? Do you gain the wisdom and full joy that are the basics of a life lived in Jesus Christ?

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The Apostle’s Doctrine

In our quest to get back to the basics, we need to consider the first idea mentioned in Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine …” However, before we get to this first “basic” we need to understand the meaning of the phrase: And they continued steadfastly …

This phrase means (1) to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing; (2) to continue all the time in a place;  (3) to persevere and not to faint. You see, the importance of this phrase cannot be overstated because it speaks to the level of consideration that the members of the first New Testament church gave to those thing taught them by the Apostles.

Doctrine is not just for theologians or for people seeking a place in the ministry, but rather it is for every believer to know, understand , and continue in all the time. While the world today argues that doctrine in unimportant as long as you “love Jesus,” quite the opposite was true in the era of the New Testament writers.

Paul tells Timothy to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

Again, this time in Romans 16, Paul warns, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (vs. 17-18)

Doctrine was then and is now a basic in the life of the believer. How can we be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks of the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15) if we don’t understand the doctrines of the faith? The new believers in Jerusalem did not know what they should about Jesus, his life and teachings, and how they should effect their daily living. It was necessary then, as it is now, for God’s people to understand God’s teachings.

How much do you concern yourself with doctrine? How can you help others to understand its meaning in everyday life?

 

Back to the Basics

Today is the first day of the new year. Happy new year to all!

As I think about what I believe will be the most exciting year here at Crossroads, I am drawn by the Spirit of God back to the basics. I believe that most of the time we live life looking for the “exceptional” or the “amazing.” However, in doing so, we loose site of the basics.

Over the first nine weeks of 2012, I am going to be exploring the things that God has shown me to be the basics of the New Testament Church. In this series, I am going to try to open our eyes to the critical nature of learning and adhering to these basics. Getting back to the basics makes sense in so many ways and my prayer is that God will show you the wonders in living in the basics while letting him use us in things that will prove to be both exceptional and amazing.

There are seven basics found in the Book of Acts and they are:

  1. The Apostle’s doctrine
  2. Fellowship
  3. Prayer
  4. Building a sense of family
  5. Life-changing power from the Lord
  6. Unity among the brethren
  7. Becoming a church of praise

Be prepared this year to learn, to grow, to serve, and to be blessed!

2012 – A New Year for Service

2012 is just two days away! I am so excited about the coming year that I can not hardly stand myself. I believe that God has a plan for us in the coming year that will fashion us into the kind of church that will serve people from the time we meet them, through the wonder of salvation, and into a life of discipleship in the Lord.

As I mentioned in our 2012 Vision service, there are three essentials necessary for us to prepare our hearts to be willing to be “fashioned” by God throughout this year of service:

  1. We must all take our place here at Crossroads as faithful stewards of God’s work we have been called to do. Paul speaks of his ministry and of the work in Corinth when he says, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)
  2. We must all choose to take on the responsibility for following God in the possession of the land. Each of us has his/her place in this one body in Christ and we must all work together to make this body the most effective it can be as we follow God’s leadership in the possession of our “promised land.” The Bible speaks of the days in which Jesus was gathering his disciples unto himself. In Matthew 4 it says, “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” (vs. 18-22) In this new year of service, Jesus needs to lead and we need to follow.
  3. We must live openly and vibrantly the lifestyle of a believer. My favorite verse concerning this thought is Matthew 5:13-16 where Jesus says, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Being a believer is awesome for me, living the lifestyle of a believer is necessary for those we serve to “see Christ in you.”

I am so excited about this new year of service and I can’t wait to see God’s working in us! But, in just the same way that everything that brings great victory can also bring defeat, we must “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” and if we choose to honor God with this new year, we will find ourselves right in the path of the Devil himself.

God bless you as you choose to serve God, his Church, and the lost world!

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Just before the New Year

Well, here we are only 12 days from the beginning of a new year. Many people spend a great deal of time in these last two weeks evaluating the past year and making plans for the new. I know that at Crossroads the new year is going to bring many exciting things and, to be honest, I wish it would get here already!

With the coming of the new year, we are going to see new ministry opportunities emerge, we are going to see growth in our school and the coming of new staff to take on the administration of our new college ministry. New opportunities to reach out to our own area and to work for the benefit of the Quad City community awaits. Bible School, Youth Camp, Cookouts, and great fellowship await.

I know that in these last 12 days we will celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as the coming of the new year, but I can’t help but let my mind drift into the blessings that lie ahead in the new year!

Have a great Christmas season, enjoy the ringing in of the new year, but don’t forget to begin praying now for the power and presence of God to bless our efforts in the new year as we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

When I Survey …

It is Christmas season 2011 and like in years past, I am excited about celebrating with family and friends the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, I

Jesus
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am also burdened of the Lord to take time to survey the landscape around me as we approach this holiday season.

Christmas is a wonderful time of fun, fellowship, and spiritual renewal. It is the time we as a people have set aside for recognizing the awe-inspiring birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Love personified! A Saviour born in the city of Bethlehem which is Christ the Lord. Amazing and without question the single most important event in human history.

Yet, when I survey the landscape, I find television interviews with scientists, looking for ways to discredit the Biblical account of creation, I find

school districts who battle to keep “Christ” out of any “holiday celebration,” and I hear interviewers ask children if they know the meaning of Christmas and hear the majority answer “no.”

Now, it would be easy to blame the secularists and bemoan the bias of the media, but, Child of God, who was given the command to “go into all the world and preach the gospel”? It wasn’t the secularist! It wasn’t the media! It was in truth the New Testament Church. Armed with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit of God, we who know personally of the saving power of Christ and understand collectively the wonder of his birth. We have been given the privilege and the honor to represent Christ in this world.

So, when I survey the landscape and see what appears to be a lack of understanding about the real meaning of this most incredible holiday, I have to look to myself first, then to God’s churches, and wonder, “Why are we loosing this battle?”

Folks, the Lord can be honored, the battle can be won, we just need to choose to live our lives openly and actively before the world in which we have been placed. We need to speak the truth in love and to live as the light of the world. God is still on the throne and can open any door. We must simply be willing vessels prepared for the Master’s use!

Have a great holiday season, but don’t get so caught up in the celebration that you forget to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords. After all He is the reason for the season!

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Not Your Ordinary Baptist Church

Hello, I am Dave Wellman, Pastor of Crossroads Independent Baptist Church. I would like to thank you for stopping by our site and taking the time to look around. What I hope that you will find here is that Crossroads is not your ordinary Baptist Church. We are unique in our membership, or skill-sets, our vision, and God’s call for us as a local New Testament church.

While you will find many similarities to other Baptist churches (just like most people have two arms, two legs, etc.), you will also find a place unique as one body in Christ and a people zealous of good works, the glory of God, and the service of mankind.

I pray for three things for you as you look around this site:

1. That you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour.
2. That you choose to live a life in Christ that honors the God who saved you and brings glory to him.
3. That you will come visit us and allow our zeal of life and the Lord to be a blessing to you as you will be a blessing to us!

Be sure to take a look around and come back often!

Pastor Wellman