Parkerville Baptist Church
Acts 2:42-47 Where Are You Planted?
This Sunday, Ray Hockley will be continuing our new sermon series on the book of Acts, with an insight into the life of the early church. He will speak about how this Spirit-filled church, born on the day of Pentecost, offers us a blueprint for experiencing church life today. The passage in Acts 2:42-47 depicts a Learning Church, a Loving Church, a Worshiping Church, a Sacrificial Church and a Growing Church. This is a timely message for us at Parky as we think about how we can also grow into a strong and healthy church community.
Locations & Times
  • Parkerville Baptist Church
    910 Seaborne St, Parkerville WA 6081, Australia
    Sunday 9:00 AM
About Parkerville Baptist Church
Why we exist …
Love God, love others, make disciples … that’s the commission Jesus left his followers.
At Parky, it’s our mission to do this by sharing our lives and creating pathways that inspire people to wholeheartedly follow Jesus.

Visit to learn more about our church.
Do we have any avid gardeners here? I really appreciate a well-manicured garden where all the plants look healthy and well tended. I get very envious when I visit my sister’s house every Christmas as we sit out among her plants. It’s pretty much the opposite to my garden where I forget to prune, the retic always seems to be broken, many of the plants are withering and some are just plain dead.

The church is very much like gardens; some are vibrant, healthy and lush, while others are withering and dying. The early believers we read about in the book of Acts discovered that to have a healthy church, like a healthy garden, takes commitment and devotion. As believers, we need to devote ourselves to things that help us grow. A strong and healthy plant can withstand the elements of harsh wind and scorching sun, and most importantly it will produce fruit. We also need to consider where we are planted.
I spent my early working life working in the Pilbara and one day I was out of town, on the side of a road, at a dry riverbed and I believe that God was using this as a teaching moment. It was to do with a small sapling that was growing on its own in the middle of this dry bed. Now if you’ve lived or travelled through the NW during the rainy season you will know how torrential the rains are, and the amount of water that can fall in a single day. I thought to myself "this plant wouldn’t stand a chance with such rains." But then the Lord spoke to me and said "what if the plant was surrounded by other plants and they intertwined their roots and the foliage of those plants protected the young saplings from the harsh elements?" Then the Lord said to me "this is my desire for the church. That each believer would be so intertwined and supportive of the other believers that they could be a strong and united force."
The Acts' Church Was A Learning Church.

We are told that they studied the apostles’ teachings. So even though as we read in John 16 that the Holy Spirit is the Teacher "and will guide us into all truth”, he still uses apostles and teachers to teach the Word. Yes, we can be taught directly through the Holy Spirit, like my experience at the dry river bed in the Pilbara, but the Lord still uses human teachers to encourage us, and that’s why we come every week to hear the Word through God’s servants.
As a young Christian I believed that God was calling me to study at the Baptist Theological College. It was a challenge for me as someone who is dyslexic and had a hard time with all the reading and writing that I was expected to do. I was about 3 months into my course and was failing most of my assignments when I decided that I should pull out. I thought I must have heard God wrong, otherwise I would be passing. I went and got the papers from the office that I needed to fill in to withdraw but decided that I would hand them in the next day. That night I went to my friend Jim’s house for a Bible Study. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, but I didn’t let on to anyone what I was thinking. During the Bible Study, a friend of Jimmy’s, who was a taxi driver, came to the door and asked if he could join us. Jim welcomed him in and he sat on the opposite side of the room from where I was sitting. At the end of the study everyone got up and went into the back room for supper except for Jim’s taxi driver friend. He waited until everyone left and came over to me. He introduced himself and said, "I know this might sound a bit strange, but I believe that the Lord has a word for you." I looked at him with hesitation and some scepticism and said “what might that be?” He said “ keep learning by His Spirit because He is preparing you to preach the Word”. I said to him “do you know me?” He said “I don’t know you from a bar of soap." I told him that I was a Bible College student who was studying to be a Pastor and had decided that day to quit. I knew that this word was for me and that God was wanting me to stay on at College to study the Word of God both through the Bible College lecturers and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I went home that night and tore up the withdrawal papers and continued with my studies. Over the next few years my grades went up and I managed to finish my degree and work as a Pastor for the following 6 years before moving into Christian education.
The Christian walk is not anti-intellectual, we don’t leave our brains at the altar when we are saved. We are encouraged to study the Scriptures and meditate on the Truth, both for our personal growth, but also for our capacity to share this truth with others. We read in Psalm 1 that he who meditates on the Word day and night is like a tree planted by streams of water whose leaves do not wither and yield their fruit in season.
The Acts' Church Was A Loving Church.

It says that they had fellowship with one another. The Greek word is koinonia, which reflects a deep devotion towards one another. Our connection to one another is vital to the heath of our Christian walk.

Can you name 3 fellow believers who know everything about you and still love you despite your faults; friends who pray for you and who ask you the hard questions to keep you to account; and those who encourage you with Scriptures? Do you have even one? If we want to go deeper in our walk with the Lord, we need to go deeper with each other.
I have come across many believers, particularly in the past few years, who have convinced themselves that they don’t need fellowship and can go solo. Since Covid there has been a massive reduction in church attendance across the board and many are doing virtual church rather than real church. You might disagree with me, but when I read the Scriptures, I can only see a church which is like the model we are reading about today, where the people regularly met together and had fellowship with one another. We are given the images of the Church being the Body of Christ and a Bride who is being prepared for Christ’s return. I can not see any other model when I read the Scriptures. Now it’s important to clarify that going to church doesn’t earn our salvation, we are saved by Grace not by works, but if we want to grow and be all that God is calling us to be, then we need to obey the Lord’s call for us to be committed to a church.
The Acts' church was a loving church and their fellowship reflected the love expressed in the Holy Trinity between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirt. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are always deferring to one another and honouring one another in the Godhead. It is the true picture of love because God is love and we are called to imitate it.
The Acts passage says that the believers met in the temple and in their homes, so their gatherings were both formal and informal.

Can I encourage you, if you are not already attending a home group or connect group , to speak with one of the Pastors or Deanne? My wife Melissa, and I, meet with a few other church members about once a month, and it is really encouraging to share our lives and support one another as well as coming around the Word to hear what the Lord would want to say to us.

Parky is also starting a monthly Sunday afternoon service that you might consider attending. It will commence in a few weeks’ time on May 21st at 4.30pm.

Or perhaps you could consider opening your home for Sunday lunches and inviting people over for lunch after church? When I lived in Merredin we had open house every Sunday lunch. It was a ‘bring and share’, so it was not a burden for anyone and we had some great times of fellowship together.

The point is that we need to stop making excuses and start fellowshipping.
The Acts' Church Was A Worshipping Church.
The gatherings of early believers ensured that Jesus was not only remembered through the breaking of bread, but also through prayer. As we read in Col 1:18 Christ is the head of the body, his church, so as we know the head makes the decisions for the body, so through prayer we look to Him for our guidance.

I am excited for the month of June when we as a church will devote ourselves to praying both corporately and individually for guidance as we seek God’s will for our future direction.

Prayer is so important for us as believers, and it is the engine room for change.
Here we see the importance of praying together. When we pray together, we stay together. It brings us all down to a level playing field where we are humbled before almighty God, who reminds us that He loves us and has forgiven us through the death of Christ and resurrection and that He will equip us with His power to do His work.

Also when we break the bread together it is another act of worship because it reminds us that the work has been finished on the cross, that Jesus' body was broken and His blood was shed for our sins so that we can have an eternal relationship with our living Saviour who rose and ascended to Heaven.

It is not surprising that these believers were praising God with glad and sincere hearts. There was such an air of enthusiasm and excitement about what God was doing in their midst that they were prepared to sacrifice everything to demonstrate their commitment to the cause.
The Acts' Church Was Sacrificial In Their Giving.
Now it is important to read the whole passage because it says that they continued to meet in each other’s homes, which suggests that they didn’t all go out and sell their homes. It appears that those who had excess properties sold them to make sure that everyone was provided for.
The principle of the passage is that the believers were sacrificial in their love for one another by putting each other first. Jesus demonstrated this when He washed His disciples' feet.
Melissa and I had several experiences in our early married life when fellow believers would care for us with meals, homes, holidays and even free babysitting. And through these acts of kindness God showed his love and provision for us. We now have that same calling to “pay it forward” to others who are in need.

We do need discernment when it comes to the use of our finances. In Galatians 6 we are called “to carry our own burdens” yet a few verses earlier it says that we are called to “carry each other’s burdens”.

We don’t want to be enabling someone when God wants them to stand on their own two feet, but we are also called to be generous. I always think that if we are unsure, we should err on the side of being generous. It’s better to be too generous than too stingy. We have a generous God, who lavishes his love on us, and as we “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness all things will be added to us”.
Finally, The Early Church Was A Growing Church.
The early church grew both spiritually and numerically. Both are important and God’s desire is for us to do the same. 2nd Peter 3 says that the Lord hasn’t returned yet because He is wanting more to come to know Him.
We are called to have the same heart for people and eagerly desire that they would not perish but come to know Christ and be added to His church.
The church wasn’t just a holy huddle, who sat around and enjoyed the new-found intimacy they had with each other. They were Missional.

I saw a cartoon many years ago which had a church which looked like a castle surrounded by a moat and it had the drawbridge lowered with a sign saying “evangelism week, all are welcome”. Sadly, this is true of many churches. They don’t leave the safety of their four walls and hope that the people will cross the moat to join them. But we know that we are called to go out and to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. The early church did this and as the passage says, they found favour with all people.
We are called to go out and to be different, to shine like stars in a crooked and perverse generation. I believe that as we go out and demonstrate integrity in our schools, our workplaces and in our homes, we will have opportunities to share about Jesus and the Lord will add to numbers those who are being saved. People will see something different in us and they will want what we have. Then we will see the church grow. If they come here to Parky great, if they go somewhere else, also great. It’s not about our church, it’s about His Kingdom and his great vineyard, which is His church.
To finish with I want to refer to a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with Anthony, our new interim Pastor. He asked me how I was going spiritually and told him that to be honest I was feeling a bit flat. But I thought straight away that this is not the fault of the church or anyone else. If I want the plant to flourish I need to consider where it is planted and what I am doing to feed that plant. The early believers were planted with each other in fertile soil. They were being fed by the apostles' teaching and they made sure that everyone was provided for. The early church was not spiritually flat, it says that they were full of joy and praised God with glad and sincere hearts.

Where are you at today? Are you struggling? Perhaps consider where you are planted and what you are feeding yourself. Perhaps it’s time to consider following the example of the early church who regularly met together for fellowship, prayer and the breaking of bread.


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