HANDOUT FOR SERMON: DESCRIBE THE CULTURE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH.
July 3rd, 2022, Manchester, TN 9:30 a.m.
INTRODUCTION: If I were to choose one word to describe the culture of the 1st century Church it would
be the word: “encouragement or encouragers.” How would you describe the culture of most local
churches of Christ today? How does the community in the area where the Church exists describe the
Christians or members? In thinking about churches, how do most people determine whether a church is
alive with a living alive culture or a church that is dead?
Define the word “culture:” The customs, ways, achievements of a particular social group, persons, or
particular nation. Synonyms: way of life, lifestyle, customs, traditions, habits, ways, values. Culture is
manifested by how it makes others feel or what they can observe. Is such a lesson Biblical? Go no
further then Acts chapter 2 and you will find the answer. The first Church of Christ had a “culture” by
which they were known and the community was aware of it and the Church had a positive, good
reputation in the community because of their “culture!”
1.SIX QUALITIES THAT THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH WAS KNOWN FOR! In our lesson today we
will look closely at one member of the Church in Jerusalem where these 6 qualities were exemplified.
The goal with our lesson is to help US TODAY understand these items and what we must be focusing on
as this is the teaching of Christ the founder and builder of the Church we claim to be. In our lesson we
will focus on a Christian named Barnabas, who is also called by the Holy Spirit “the son of
encouragement” (consolation). Why is Barnabas mentioned, to much and yet he was not among the
special 12 disciples selected?
Barnabas was a charitable man. Acts 4:32-37 We learn in Acts 2 & 4 how a Church develops and
practices being charitable and generous. It was simple, people who were believers had not
hesitation selling, giving and sharing. The Church in Jerusalem had the reputation of being a
charitable Church because of people such as Barnabas, but he was NOT the only one. There
were many that did such! So what about you and me? What are we doing that is charitable and
in a manner that will affect and influence the community that we live in? The first century
Church was known for being “charitable”, are we?
Barnabas showed mercy in so many ways throughout his life and God has recorded several of
those events for us to learn from. Read: Acts 9:26-28. Paul known as a murder and a persecutor
of the Church. Paul was called by Christ, but others wouldn’t trust or believe Paul! NO one stood
up for Paul except Barnabas! Do you realize what this means!?! What it meant to Barnabas as
well as to Paul? Barnabas stood up for his brother and believed in his brother when others only
thought evil of Paul. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) Is this how others perceive us? So many churches
are known for being “judgey”, gossipy, negative, suspicious, critical, reluctant, standoffish, etc.
Yet Barnabas had faith in Paul and in Paul’s faith when all others rejected him! Barnabas had
MERCY on Paul when all others didn’t. Try to imagine what would have happened if Barnabas
acted like all the other Christians??? The apostle Paul who truly changed the world through his
work for the Lord. We need people of mercy in the Church today!
Read: 2 Timothy 2:2 & Acts 11:19-23
For a Church to be healthy they need teachers, lots of teachers (not preachers!) But in
today’s church culture we hire a man to “feed everybody, to evangelize, to motivate
everybody and make a church grow!” Yet the Bible model is elders apt to teach, older
men and woman are teaching the younger! We claim to follow the Bible pattern, but
are we? The first century church assembles daily (Acts 2) not just once or twice! They
were constantly teaching, talking, sharing, praying, etc. Christ and His Church was first in
their lives! Barnabas was a good man, and he was a teacher! Acts 6 Barnabas spent 2
months teaching and encouraging others. If you are truly converted to Christ, then your
faith can not stay silent. If you are led by the Spirit and walking in the Spirit, the 9
qualities that are then created in you give YOU the FOUNDATION TO TEACH OTHERS the
TRUTH! Galatians 5:22-23. Barnabas was not a super special guy; he was not one of the
12. He just understood that he was called, and he had to teach others. Let us become a
• WORSHIPFUL. Acts 14:8-17 Paul and Barnabas in Lystra teaching. The people thought they
were gods. Barnabas & Paul used this opportunity to teach that God is the only one we are to
worship and honor. They turned the peoples focus away from themselves and got them to focus
on God and the importance to praise God. The first century Church was always worshipful in
attitude! We the Manchester Church, must be this was as well, it is all about God, not US!
Everything good going on here is because of God, not because of you nor me! A worshipful
attitude will always give glory to God every day. Proverbs 3:5-6
• SUPPORTIVE. Acts 15:36-41 Do you remember John Mark, a cousin of Barnabas. John Mark left
early on the first missionary journey; Paul was upset about this! (Acts 13 a church assembled in
John Mark’s mother’s home). What would have happened to John Mark if it were not for
Barnabas? Barnabas once again shows mercy and is supportive of John Mark, just as he was for
Paul! Strange that Paul wasn’t like that!! Barnabas was consistent, he treated people the same
way no matter who! Barnabas also behaved in a manner that would encourage one for good. So
many churches are destroyed because members are not supportive nor encouragers. Everyone
has their problems and mistake which can strongly affect their relationship so how do we
respond and react. My prayer is that the Manchester Church will always be full of encouragers!
• FOCUSED. Read: Galatians 2:11-14 Barnabas was a man on a mission. What would life be
without Jesus!? Jesus gives us purpose and direction. The event is at the time of the First
missionary journey around the time of the John Mark issue. Due to the weakness of Peter even
Barnabas was carried away in hypocrisy. Fear is a terrible emotion and inhibiting for God’s
people. No one likes rejection. We often fear rejection and under pressure we learn even the
good guys SIN! That can be you and me as well. Yet Barnabas made correction and got back to
what he was called to do: seek and save all that are lost!
CONCLUSION: WHAT IS THE CULTURE OF THE MANCHESTER CHURCH? A serious issue that determines if
we are the Church that Jesus built! Apply the goodness of Barnaba (who followed Christ) to yourself and
be a great encourager