What is Calvary Chapel about?
Calvary Chapel has been formed as a fellowship of believers in the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We are not a denominational church, nor are we opposed to denominations as such, only their over-emphasis of the doctrinal differences that have led to the division of the unity of believers in Jesus Christ.
We believe that the only true basis of Christian fellowship is His Agape love, which is greater than any differences we possess and without which we have no right to claim ourselves Christians.
What is Calvary Chapel's Vision?
The Prepared L.I.F.E. - Living life to the fullest for the glory of God!
"The Prepared L.I.F.E."
It is our desire to prepare every life to fulfill God's purpose for their lives. The Prepared L.I.F.E. is a Biblical summarization of what we believe God desires us to be and do.
Prepared… for the soon return of Jesus Christ. Matthew 24:42-46
Therefore, we emphasize Prayer; our relationship to Christ through prayer. Luke 18:1
Loving…God with all our heart, mind, and strength; and loving one another. Luke 10:27
Therefore, we emphasize God's Love. John 17:23
Intelligent… about who God is and how much He loves us. John 17:3,26
Therefore, we emphasize God's Word; a thorough learning of the Bible. Acts 20:27; Acts 2:42
Fruitful… in knowing Jesus. John 15:5
Therefore, we emphasize God's Son; Jesus, full of Grace and Truth. John 1:14
Equipped… to serve in word and deed. Ephesians 4:12; Matt. 28:18-20
Therefore, we emphasize God's Spirit; the empowering with the Holy Spirit. Eph. 5:18; Acts 1:8
Cavalry Chapel exists:
To Love God whole-heartedly - Luke 10:27
To Teach God's Word thoroughly - Acts 20:27
To Worship God truly - John 4:23-24
To Grow into Christ-likeness completely - Ephesians 4:13
To Evangelize the World urgently - 1 Corinthians 9:16
To Glorify God consistently - Ephesians 3:20-21
Calvary Chapel is simply built on trusting the Lord to do for us and through us all that He wants to do.
“Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it;” Psalm 127:1 NKJV
Building the church is what Jesus will do by His sovereign grace and love:
Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18-19).
The Church that Jesus builds is not a building of wood and stone, but rather a building of people that congregate together to form a picture or image of Jesus Christ that glorifies God. The Church that Jesus builds is not an organization that you can join like a club, rather it is a divinely led organism that functions as Jesus did on the earth 2000 years ago. The Church is to replicate Him and His ministry. The Church that Jesus builds belongs to no one but Jesus alone – it is His Church.
The 8 Characteristics of the Early Church Acts 2:38-47
What is God’s plan for the church? As we think about what God desires His church to be and do, we can see from the first church a pattern that was set in order for us to follow. There is a great need for churches today to conform into the original intention God planned for His church. It is important for pastors and church leaders to discover consistencies that are found within the scripture by which they can not only measure their fellowships by but also follow after. We don’t believe that every church should be "cloned" after another; rather each church that names the name of Jesus Christ should be conforming itself to the original design that God first established by using relevant styles that will take on its own personality. The original intention God instituted should be reproduced and followed. We must be careful not to follow after man-made programs or worldly wisdom in order to effectively reach our communities. If we align ourselves to what God wants the church to be and what He wants the church to do, then we believe that God will do for the church all that He wants to do.
This original design and pattern that God established is found in the pages of the Bible, namely the book of Acts.
Below are eight activities or characteristics that the early church was concerned with. What is most interesting about the church in the book of Acts is what they didn’t do. They were not about many of the superfluous activities that many churches engage themselves with today. It was a pure church and it was simple. Although styles of churches will vary greatly within the body of Christ as a whole, we believe that those churches that align themselves with the following activities and characteristics will be the ones that are spiritually the healthiest and the strongest, and the ones we recommend attending.
We invite you to take an inventory of the church you attend and see how it is measuring up with what the early church was.
Acts 2:38-39 "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.'"
1. The Early Church was a Spirit Filled Church:
At the end of Peter’s message to the crowd, he concludes with the "promise of the Holy Spirit." Jesus told the disciples to wait in the city of Jerusalem for the "Promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4-5). In the early Church the ministry of the Holy Spirit was what made it so profoundly effective. And it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that is so lacking in today’s churches. There is either an over emphasis of the ministry of the Holy Spirit resulting in chaos and unscriptural practices, OR there is a de-emphasis resulting in a lifeless and dead church with people just going through the motions but no love or zeal for God.
IF the Holy Spirit were to depart from our churches – how much activity would still be going on? The church should be a Spirit driven church, not a man driven church or a church that is necessarily driven by its goals and vision.
All Word and no Spirit and you will dry up; all Spirit and no Word and you will blow up; but when you have the Word and the Spirit together you will GROW up.
“The soldier had better go to battle without sword or rifle,
the artilleryman had better wheel up his gun without powder or shot,
than that we should attempt to win a soul until first of
all the Holy Spirit has given us power.” Charles Spurgeon
Acts 2:40-41 “And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation.' Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
2. The Early Church was an Evangelizing Church:
The early church could not help but share the gospel with unbelievers. The truth of Jesus' resurrection consumed them. No persecution, no threats, no mocking could stop them from opening their lips to speak of their risen Lord. A growing church will be an evangelizing church. The early church shared their faith everywhere and with everybody.
Paul the Apostle told the young pastor Timothy, "do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5).
If a church doesn’t evangelize, they will soon fossilize.
“The fact is, brethren, we must have conversion work here.
We cannot go on as some churches do without converts.
We cannot, we will not, we must not, we dare not.
Souls must be converted here, and if there be not many born to Christ,
may the Lord grant to me that I may sleep in the tomb and be heard of no more.
Better indeed for us to die than to live, if souls be not saved.” Charles Spurgeon
Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine…”
3. The Early Church was a Teaching Church:
The early church was a teaching church. Teaching was not just an afterthought; it was an integral part of their meetings. The key words are "continued steadfastly." They were daily in the Word; they were regularly studying the scriptures. The greatest need in the body of Christ today is good, solid, book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, Genesis to Revelation Bible teaching. Paul told the Ephesian elders that he had not "shunned to declare to them the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).
At Calvary Chapel we study all the way through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We are committed to learning and becoming more intelligent about who God is and how much He loves us. God hasn’t left us to guess what life is all about and wonder if He loves us or not. He has given us His unchangeable written Word to discover the glories of knowing Him.
Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in fellowship…”
4. The Early Church was a Loving church:
The word fellowship in the Greek is "koinonia." It means oneness, partnering, and communion. "Koinonia" is people sharing with each other the things of the Kingdom and the things of God. Unfortunately, the richness of "koinonia" has been reduced to a lightweight frivolity in so many churches today, where a time of fellowship is usually synonymous with nothing more than a time of cookies and punch.
Fellowship meant that the believers were intricately connected with each other. Their lives were interwoven with each other in love. There wasn’t a fear of being rejected or of being judged. They accepted each other because they all had the same thing in common – they had really messed up lives that Jesus was beginning to put back together again. Jesus died for them and so they knew that Jesus loved their friends. And if Jesus loved their friends then they were good enough for them to love, too.
Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in fellowship…”
5. The Early Church was a Devoted Church:
The first church was a devoted one. They were devoted to the Lord Jesus. They honored Jesus above all else. Unfortunately, many churches honor their programs or their pastor above the Lord Jesus. Jesus was the central figure of their church life. It was all about Him – as it should be. They were devoted to Jesus Christ. As a result, they partook of the communion table regularly and steadfastly. By the communion we mean "The Lord’s Table." Paul the Apostle warned the Corinthian believers to not take the communion lightly because that was the reason some of them were sick and dying, 1 Corinthians 11:27-34. Partaking of the communion was not only done corporately, but also privately. We must remember it came from the Jewish Passover, which was done in the homes with the family.
When we partake of the communion as an act of devotion to our Lord, we will benefit greatly from it; not only spiritually, but emotionally, and physically too. If we neglect the "Lords Table," I believe we jeopardize not only our spiritual life, but our physical, marital, and emotional life as well.
Acts 2:41 “And they continued steadfastly in prayers…”
6. The Early Church was a Praying church:
Jesus said that His Father's house shall be called a house of prayer (Mark 11:17). It’s amazing how little praying some churches do. It’s no wonder we lack power to move people's hearts to the Lord when we pray so little. Yet the early church was a praying church, so much so that it said that they "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). The church marches on its knees. They were committed to both pray corporately as well as privately. There is something uniquely special about praying together as a group of believers in Jesus. Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matt 18:20). There is the special presence of Jesus that is experienced when we come together for corporate prayer; it is a blessing that once tasted nothing else will satisfy.
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men," (1 Timothy 2:1).
Paul the Apostle told young Pastor Timothy, Prayer was the first priority of the church.
“The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings.
So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge of the amount of
divine working among a people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if he be not there, one of the first tokens of his absence will be slothfulness in prayer.” Charles Spurgeon
Acts 2:44-46 “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”
7. The Early Church was a Giving Church:
Unfortunately, though the believers sold their assets, which later led to their economic collapse, we see the power of giving too.
In the early church there was selflessness. They had been touched and moved by the Lord, they had just been given eternal life and they wanted to share with those in need. In their thankfulness for what God had done for them they were eager to give. We see the other churches giving to the Jerusalem church, "For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem" (Romans 15:26-27). A spiritually healthy church will be filled with people who understand the biblical principals of giving of their time, talent and treasure to the Lord for His use.
The early believers were conscious of eternity daily and that this life was to prepare them for heaven. Wisely, they gave of their money now as an investment in heaven later. They had their priorities right and gave. When a church congregation neglects to give of their tithe back to the Lord, then the Kingdom of God suffers and salvation will arise from another quarter. God doesn’t ask His people to give because He needs to raise funds, instead He commands His people to give because He wants to raise children.
When we give, we become most like God, for God so loved the world that He gave His Son…
Acts 2:47 “…and they continued daily with one accord in the temple praising God…”
8. The Early Church was a Worshipping Church:
The early church understood what worship really means. It was not just a time of singing songs before a Bible study. But there was an active effort to engage in honoring God with the mind, emotions and will. The truest form of worship will be that of responding to what God has already done in one's life; a response of thankfulness, gratitude, honor and love. The word worship means "to draw near to kiss." When we experience the love of God in Jesus, what else can one do but truly worship Him.
At Calvary Chapel we put a great emphasis on music so that we might worship God in Spirit and in Truth. We emphasize worship in all our services and allow a significant part of our services to worshipping the Lord. The very reason for our existence is to worship God, and when we begin to fulfill the purpose of our existence we experience a joy and satisfaction and love that this world knows nothing of. Truly worshipping the one and only true and living God was what King David’s greatest joy was:
“In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps 16:11).
The results of these 8 characteristics is found in the very last phrase of verse 47:
“And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47).
Church growth is the Lord’s job and He can do it a lot better than we can. Our job isn’t to grow the church but to be the church He intended in the first place. Our job is to align ourselves in harmony with His will for us; then by His grace He will do what He then desires to do. We simply need to keep things simple and trust the Lord to build His church in His timing. We are only humble servants with the glorious privilege to follow His leading by His grace.
We invite you to join us as we seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Prepared L.I.F.E.