Vital Signs Of A Healthy Church

I’ve always been engaged by the message of Acts Chapter 2.  Usually, this section of Scripture is noted or discussed due to the ‘rushing mighty wind’ of Pentecost and the baptism of the Holy Spirit upon those in the upper room.  But as I read through the chapter, the Lord confronted me with two questions.  The first question was, “What is the primary message of chapter 2?”  As previously mentioned, this chapter is primarily known for the miracles of the ‘rushing mighty wind’ and the ‘cloven tongues of fire.’  However, after carefully reviewing the text in search of the answer to this first question, I realized that these things are secondary to what He was showing me in the remaining verses.  As usual, there is so much more to the message than just the miracles and gifts.

The next question the Lord posed to me was this: “What is the church?”  Have you ever been afraid to answer because you just didn’t want to take the chance of being wrong, even though you were certain you knew the correct response?  Obviously, buildings do not make up the church, people do (1 Corinthians 3:16).  As I continued through the remainder of Acts 2, the Lord started to unveil the example of what the church should be.  Since the church is defined as people, not buildings, these things that identify the church as healthy are actually defining the things that make us (the people) healthy.

Each time I have developed a deep interest in studying Acts 2, God has used my pastor to confirm His Word and spur me on to greater, more extensive study.  Recently (June/July 2018), this was again the case as my senior pastor has been preaching and teaching on the topic of “Community,”  while using Acts Chapter 2 as his foundational scripture verses.

The following are ten (10) distinct points that revealed themselves to me as the Lord unveiled the portrait of God’s church from the book of Acts.  These points are supported with more verses from other books of the Bible.

A healthy church loves one another and is united!  Acts 2:1, 46

  • “What does the world outside of our four walls see when it comes to the church?”
  • Do they see a group of people who are willing to put their differences aside for the sake of the Body of Christ?  Or do they see no difference between us and their everyday life?
  • It is a hard, but very relevant question.
  • This type of church spend time practicing the verse found in 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 13.
  • We must set ourselves apart from the world and let our light so shine before men.
  • It is our unashamed love for God and serving others that will set us apart and draw others to the Lord.
  • Lev. 19:18; Acts 2:1, 46; Romans 15:5 – 6; Ephesians 4:1 – 5; Colossians 3:12 – 14

A healthy church prays and intercedes for others!  Acts 2:1 – 4, 42 

  • A healthy vine is always connected to the branch.  This is the lifeblood of the plane/tree.
  • Prayer is our lifeline with the Lord.  It is our means of communication both to and from God.
  • Our prayers are to be offered up not only for our own behalf, but even more so for others.
  • We are not only commanded to pray for ourselves and our family, but also for those in need, all of those in authority over us (spiritual leaders, governmental leaders of all levels, etc.), the unsaved, and other nations.
  • When we diligently seek God’s face, He is faithful to answer us.
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 – 15; Isaiah 56:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:1 – 4; Psalm 122:6; Acts 2:1 – 4, 42; James 5:13 – 16

A healthy church is Spirit – filled!  Acts 2:4

  • The power of God is activated within us through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 3:11 quotes John the Baptist as saying, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
  • The Strong’s Concordance gives the definition as “lightening, fire, fiery.”  With any of these three terms, there is an inference to power and intensity.
  • When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we should be experiencing the fire or intensity of God in all that we say, do and think.
  • It is another way we are ‘set apart’ (sanctified) from the world system.
  • Matthew 3:11; Matthew 21:21 – 22; Acts 1:8; Acts 10:17 – 18; 1 Corinthians 1:4 – 5

A healthy church wins souls!  Acts 2:41, 47

  • The reason we are here on this earth is to win the lost.
  • If we vigorously pursue the calling and destiny of God on our lives, we can’t help but touch others for the Lord.
  • 1 Corinthians 5:18 – 20 says that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation, the Word of reconciliation, and that we are ambassadors for Christ.
  • We must continually remind ourselves that our own salvation is not for us, but rather it is for others.
  • Matthew 10:8 reminds us that, “Freely we have received, freely give.”
  • Matthew 10:8; Matthew 28:18 – 20; mark 16:15 – 18; Acts 1:8; 2:41, 47; 1 Corinthians 5:18 – 20

A healthy church teaches God’s Word and is diligent to train up new believers!  Acts 2:42

  • It is important to know that teaching is not just the responsibility of the pastor or pastoral staff.
  • We are called to be students of the Word of God as well.
  • We must take an active role in teaching ourselves, as well as allowing servants of God to teach us.  The best thing we can do for others is to teach them the Scriptures.
  • If we truly believe the Bible, then we have a responsibility to train our children (be they natural or spiritual) in the ways of life through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • These Holy Scriptures are the basics for living an inspired, inerrant, and indisputable life.
  • 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17 clearly states, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for all good works.”
  • Psalm 119:1 – 2; Proverbs 22:6; Acts 2:42; Acts 17:11; 1 Timothy 6:1 – 8; 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17

A healthy church fears/reverences the Lord!  Acts 2:43

  • Probably one of the most interesting verses in the Scriptures says:  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  (Proverbs 9:10)
  • We are not to be afraid of God.
  • To fear the Lord actually means to reverence Him, to understand that He is holy and anything that comes before Him must also be holy.
  • In the book of Proverbs alone, there are no less than 18 verses (NKJV) that specifically refer to the ‘fear of the Lord,’ while the book of Psalms contains at least 49 references.  This does not take into account the many other verses that speak of trusting the Lord or drawing near to God.
  • When we understand that the Lord wants to have a personal and intimate relationship with each of us, it becomes so much easier to relate to God and spend time in His presence.
  • Psalm 24:14; 33:18; 115:13; Proverbs 9:10; 14:26 – 27; 19:23; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Acts 2:43; Ephesians 5:21; Philippians 2:12 – 13; 1 Peter 2:17; Hebrews 5:7

A healthy church experiences signs, wonders, and miracles!  Acts 2:43

  • The Lord has devoted the entire book of Acts to the ministry of the apostles, which were accompanied by signs, wonders, and miracles.
  • The four gospels chronicle the miracles of Jesus’ ministry while He was on the earth.
  • In fact, Jesus says, “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
  • Mark 16:17 – 18; Acts 2:43; 3:1 – 10; 5:15 – 16; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4 

A healthy church gives of its resources!  Acts 2:45

  • “Why does every man or woman of God have to talk about giving?  Isn’t it enough that I go to the services every time the doors are open?”
  • The simple answer is that all things belong to the Lord.
  • We are called to steward His things.
  • Jesus spoke to the rich young ruler and told him to give all of his possessions to the poor and follow Him.
  • Prosperity always comes with responsibility and accountability.  It is never given by the Lord for us to horde to ourselves, but to be forwarded on for the work of the kingdom of God.
  • Oh, by the way, you can NEVER out-give God!
  • Book of Job; Luke 6:38; Acts 2:45; 2 Corinthians 9:6 – 8 

A healthy church praises and worships the Lord!  Acts 2:47

  • Worship is a lifestyle that we walk daily that is pleasing and a sweet smelling sacrifice to the Lord.
  • Praise decentralizes ourselves and moves God into the place of exaltation.
  • Once our eyes have been placed fully upon Him, we are in a ready position to receive from Him.
  • We are called to minister to the Lord corporately and individually, not forsaking the assembling of the saints.
  • We are to worship and praise the Lord in ALL situations.
  • Remember, the Lord inhabits the praises of His people.
  • Judges 7:9 – 15; 2 Chronicles 20; Job 1:20 – 22; Book of Psalms; John 4:23 – 24; Acts 2:43, 47; 16:22 – 25

A healthy church has favor with God and also with man!  Acts 2:47

  • When we are faithful to live according to the Scriptures, those who are not ‘of the faith’ will see the “new song in my mouth, even praise to our God: many will see it, and shall trust in the Lord.”  (Psalm 40:3)
  • There is no better legacy to leave in the earth than to obtain this type of favor.
  • The only thing better is to hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
  • Luke 2:52; Acts 2:47; 7:9 – 10; Ephesians 6:6 (NIV)
*  Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version  (NKJV)