The Right Stuff

Title: The Right Stuff

Bible Book: Acts 2

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Church; Christian Living; Evangelism; Church Growth


The Right Stuff

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, editor,

The story regarding the beginning of our American space program was entitled “The Right Stuff.” The import of that title was that the astronauts, equipment and engineers that launched the American space program were made of the right stuff and that led them to be incredibly successful. It is believed that those who began our adventure outside the earth's atmosphere had all the right qualities required to reach the stars. They built the rockets, orbited the earth, landed on the moon, and launched satellites that help us everyday with our phones, television reception, military readiness, GPS service, and thousands of other things about which we are not even aware. Some posit that it is possible that we no longer have the right stuff to continue our space program in this generation. It seems that America has backed off the pursuit of manned space travel. I read recently that a portion of the land used for shuttle launches is now up for lease to the public. Just because something was successful at one point in history does not mean that it will always be successful. The right stuff must be maintained in order for the right results to be gained!

The great question for us in this service of worship today centers around our having the right stuff to be the church we are supposed to be. There is no doubt that those who were around for the launch of the Church were made of the right stuff. Just a handful of people were used by God to reach thousands, and then hundreds of thousands and then millions, and even billions of people with the gospel of Christ. The rich and poor were linked together in equality of spirit and work. Racial divides were broken down through the work of Christ in the human heart. Facing the threat of death, people openly and willingly accepted Christ as Lord. The early church leaders and members had the right stuff!

Will the movement of God’s work go forward in this generation, or are we giving away territory in the work of God that was gained by those faithful Christians who came before us? Have we lost the right stuff to get the job done? Can we really say that we are as true, dedicated, sacrificial, evangelistic and bold as those in the early church?

Today we are going to go back at look at the birth of the Church. Let’s go back to the launch of the Church and discover what they had and what they did that caused the gospel to spread rapidly around the world. As we preview what happened there, we can better discern if we still have the right stuff to reach this world for Christ!


How did people come to be part of the early church? Was it culturally more acceptable to be a member of the church, or was there a stigma attached to it? Was it popular to be a Christian, or was it dangerous to be a Christian? Actually, when the church began in Jerusalem, it was extremely dangerous to be a participating Christian. Loss of employment, property, or even one’s life often occured in the lives of those who claimed Jesus as Savior. Yet, in an atmosphere of horrible consequences, hundreds and thousands of people accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Their faith was real and their courage was apparent.

A. The Foundation

The New Testament Church was birthed with the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Up until that time, believers (notably Old Testament believers) subscribed to the Law and repented through the sacrificial system at the Temple. All of the Old Testament sacrifical practices pointed forward to the coming Messiah. After all, no one kept every single facet of the Law and the sacrifice of animals was a mere precursor to the Redeemer whom God promised to send.

New Testament believers repented of sin by turning to Jesus. the promised Messiah, and accepted His sacrificial death for cleansing and His resurrection for justification before God. In the Old Testament, certain called leaders were given the Holy Spirit to accomplish a particular ministry or task for the God, but they were not indwelled with the Spirit. With the birth of the Church, the Holy Spirit came to live in every Christian. He came to be Christ’s presence in the believers and He (the Holy Spirit) empowered them to witness and work for Christ in this world. The Holy Spirit was given to enlighten us concerning the Bible and God’s will. He came to seal us so that we can never be lost once we are truly saved.

How did this new birth come about? It happened because it was God’s plan for people to be saved through His Son – Jesus Christ. Jesus is the foundation of the Church (the body of Christ made up of all believers).

The Church belongs to Jesus.

  • He builds it.
  • He owns it.
  • He is Lord over it.

A person places faith in Jesus and is placed in the body – the Church – of the Lord. We are fixed on the Rock of Ages, and this is a Rock that doesn’t roll!

The local or individual church is a part of the Church – the world-wide body of Christ. One must not confuse the local church with The Church. A person can be a member of a local church without being a member of the body of Christ. In other words, people can join a church without being saved. The local church does not have a magic wand or computer program to tell the pastor or leaders if a person is truly saved or actually unsaved when they ask for membership. If a person says he or she is saved, and gives a testimony to that fact, the local church will receive that person. However, only those who have truly believed upon Christ as Lord and Savior really belong to the Church (with a capital C). False disciples were around in biblical days and they are present today. However, ever true believer in Christ is a part of the body of Christ - the Church.

On the Day of Pentecost Peter preached a sermon (as recorded in Acts 2) and we are told that 3,000 people were saved. The Church was birthed that day and every one of those believers was fixed upon the foundation – Jesus Christ! Jesus was, is and ever will be the foundation of the Church.

B. The Faith

Conversion came about through faith in Jesus Christ - in a simple, sudden, sure experience that placed each one who believed in Jesus into the body of Christ. Each new believer became part of the first local church – in Jerusalem. To this day, a person that is saved is expected to join a local church and get involved in service, stewardship, worship and work in the name of and to the glory of God. All of this takes place because of the faith a person places in Christ. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world and without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith is essential to salvation and to faithfulness.

C. The Forgiveness

Every person who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior is forgiven of sin and provided with the righteousness of Christ. In essence, a Christian is a person who has repented of sin and accepted the fact that his or her life was in Christ on the cross. The true believer in Christ died with Christ at the cross. The old life is gone and a new life has begun. Just as a believer died with Christ at the cross, he or she also rose with Christ in His resurrection. His risen, glorious and victorious life is in every believer in the person of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is a miracle work performed by the Lord for you by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

D. The Fortitude

Now, let's think about these early Christians for a moment. They had to be deeply committed to become Christians. These early church leaders and members were bold. They counted it a privilege to suffer for Jesus and suffer most of them did! They did not fear the authorities who were out to persecute them, for they had courage through the presence of Christ within. In the face of many dangers, and they continued faithfully even as some among them were imprisoned or put to death.

For a local church to have the right stuff to do God’s work, it must be made up of born again, saved, Spirit-filled members. The right stuff involves knowing who we are, who we are serving and why we are following our Lord. Jesus saved us; we did not save ourselves. In true Christianity the ego is subjugated to His glory. We bow down, and cast our crowns, at the feet of Jesus! The right stuff involves having a tender heart but a bold spirit. Do we possess the right stuff? Do we have what those early Christians had in their lives and hearts? That is the question we are considering today.

Now, let's look at a second thought regarding that early church and the right stuff. Look at ...


An insurance man was trying his best to sell a gentleman an insurance policy. Noting that it was important to provide for his wife, the agent said, “Sir, how will your wife carry on after you are gone?” The customer, clearly misunderstanding the question, replied, “I don’t care how she carries own after I am gone as long as she carries on properly right now!”

Well, you can be sure that God wants His Church to carry on properly in every generation. What is to be the manner of our labor and love for Christ in this world?

A. A Scriptural Wisdom

Note that Peter preached the first sermon of the Church from the Bible. Then, we read in Acts 2 that the people were studying the Word of God right from the very beginning of their faith and right from the beginning of the Church. The continued to study the scripture they had at the time. Remember, the early Christians didn’t have a New Testament; however, they had the Apostles who had been with Jesus. They had the Old Testament and the firsthand word of those who experienced the teachings, miracles and work of Christ. It is apparent that they loved to study the Word of God so that they might better know the God of the Word.

A true experience of salvation in Christ will lead to a deep desire for God's Word. My father was saved during WWII, while he was serving as a drill sargent in the US Amry. He knew little about the Bible, but from the moment he was saved he developed a hunger to know what the Bible had to say to him. Not knowing anything about scripture, my dad sought the one person he had seen reading the Bible daily. He went to that man and said, "I accepted Jesus as my Savior and I don't know anything about the Bible, can you help me?" That soldier was thrilled and begain immediately to help my dad learn important elements from the scripture. Till my father died in 1999, he loved the Bible. He read it. Taught it. Studied it. Made notes about it. Listen to recordings of it. Sought to be present where it was preached and taught. That is what a Christain desires - he or she desires to know the Word because of a love for the Author!

A local church that takes away the continuous and faithful study of God’s Word will never have the right stuff for serving Him honorably. The Holy Spirit aides in us as we study and learn God’s Word and will for our lives. The local church finds its mission and message from the Bible.

You see, the early church was not just trying to add members; they were trying to make disciples. That is the mandate given to us by Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). We cannot make disciples unless we teach each Christian biblical wisdom from God's Word.

B. A Singleness of Heart

Also, notice that the Church at Jerusalem was filled with people who were unified in heart. They were in one accord. One wise guy said that all the new members of the Church at Jerusalem loved Honda cars. Why? They must have loved Honda cars because they were all in one Accord! Yes, I know! That is a corny joke. But, the Christians at Jerusalem were unified and that was part of the right stuff for doing God's will and carrying out His purpose.

Actually, the Greek word for “one accord” means “one passion.” You will never put two people together and get them to agree on everything. However, in God’s work all of the people are to be in agreement in their passion to love, obey, serve, give, worship and witness for Christ. Also, true believers we are to be in one accord and of one passion that is so deep it overcomes all other differences in opinion and personality.

A layman friend of mine noted that you can tie two cats together and throw them over a clothesline and they are united – but you can be sure they don’t have unity! Christians are to have a unity in our passion for Jesus. Without a singleness of heart, we cannot have the right stuff necessary to serve and honor our Lord.

C. A Stewardship in Practice

In the early church, as described in Acts 2, we discover that the members were givers! They believed in and practice stewardship that included tithes and offerings. Some of them gave everything they had into a common pool in order to carry on God’s work and take care of each other. Occasionally, you will read someone who claims that the New Testament Church was communist because they gave everything they had to a fund and allowed authorities to distribute to each as each had need. But, there is gigantic difference in communism and the early church. Communism is a form of government whereby the governing authorities TAKE everything from everyone by force. Note that the Christians gave as they were prompted by the Lord. The giving was voluntary, not mandatory!

Christians who have the right stuff to touch and change the world are those who give what they can, of what they have, where they are, in order to honor the Lord and spread the Word of God to win souls. A stingy people will never be a successful people in God’s work!

D. A Supplication with Commitment

The early church continued in prayer daily. Dear Christian friend, a church that does not pray will never produce results in God’s work. In prayer we connect with Lord, we learn His will, we are filled with His Spirit, we are comforted in our sorrows, we are empowered to face the enemy, we are enlightened to opportunities, and we are made able to succeed in His cause! Prayer meetings are missing in many of our churches. Prayer partners do not meet. Prayer is usually a perfunctory activity before a meal, or a quick request concerning some prayer need we have heard about. Where are the tears for the lost? Where is the burden for the struggling churches? Where is the groaning heart for the church that is being persecuted in other parts of the world? Where is the agony over our own sins? The early church had the right stuff because the early church was serious about prayer!

Now, consider one more area necessary for us to have the right stuff in the church today. Note ...


The local church at Jerusalem was reaching out to each other and to the world. They were following Jesus who did the same thing while He was on this earth.

A. Evangelism Birthed This Church

Peter’s sermon was an evangelistic sermon. People were so convicted that they begged to know how to be saved. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, and a church will never have the right stuff that doen’t seek to do the same. In fact, Jesus said, " the Father sent me so send I you." In fact, on that day in Jerusalem when Peter preached, people from many parts of the world were there. They were glorioulsy saved and became unified in Christ. Some of them stayed in Jerusalem and were part of the first Church, but others went back home and took the gospel with them. They were, in fact, the first missionaries for Christ in the world.

B. Evangelism Grew This Church

We note that someone was getting saved in this church EVERY DAY. The Lord was adding daily to this church those who were being saved. This means that the great majority of the members had an evangelist heart and they were willing to tell people about Jesus.

A church without an evangelistic plan and purpose cannot have the right stuff. Read Acts 1:8. These are the last words Jesus spoke to the believers just before He ascended back to heaven and the Church was born.

Many Christians today do not witness because they are not depending on the Holy Spirit. The power to witness is not in your education, your knowledge of theology, your overwhelming impressive personality, or anything else outside the power of the Holy Spirit. We can’t have the power of the Spirit of God without total submission to our Lord. Perhaps this is the reason so few people are being saved in our churches today.

C. Evangelism Exploded From This Church

Read the book of Acts and you will see the work that expanded out of Jerusalem to the rest of the world. An evangelistic church doesn’t just win people to Jesus in their local community but also shares the gospel around the world. Just how do they do that?

First, members do not always stay in the same place. They move from city to city because of work or family. Some move to foreign countries for a period of time due to their employment. Those Christians who come out of an evangelistic church, take that spirit of sharing Jesus with them wherever they go. One church can spread sparks of evangelistic revival across the world through their members.

Second, evangelistic churches are mission-minded churches. These churches support missionaries through various programs. Southern Baptists use the Cooperative Program to support thousands of missionaries all over the world. Also, in an evangelistic, mission-minded church, young people are more open to God’s call to serve the Lord in vocational ministry.

Third, evangelistic churches tend to have more young men called into pastoral ministry. Those who heed God’s call out of an evangelistic church are far more likely to be evangelistic in their own ministry.

Thus, a church that emphasizes and practices evangelism is not just winning people in the local community but will be reaching people all over the world. The early church spread the gospel like a wildfire across the ancient world - even to a world that was not at all open to their message..


Does our church have the right stuff? Can God use us the way He used the early church to spread the gospel of love and grace to those next door and those across the sea? It all begins with a devotion to the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ.

Someone here in this service has never trusted Jesus to redeem you, cleanse you and give you purpose. Turn from your sin and self and trust the Savior today. He is Lord. Accept Him as God’s free gift for your salvation.

Others here have known the Lord for a long time. Really, do you and I have the right stuff? That is the question we face today - that is the question for this invitation. Do you find witnessing to be intimidating? Are you carrying some dislike or disdain for a fellow Christian in your heart? Are we really filled with God’s Spirit? Can we say that God is empowering us to bring the lost to faith in Christ as we should and could? We need to fall on our knees this morning and ask God to renew in us the devotion and dedication to be a church with THE RIGHT STUFF!

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