My pastor recently did a staff devotion in prep for teaching on Acts 2-4 and the early church. I was challenged to say the least and thought I would just echo some of the things he said and bullet point them. I am stealing, but giving him credit because Jesus will be back before Rick Nuzum has a blog.
It all starts in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit comes moves and Peter stands up and explains it and shares the gospel.
Acts 2:41 – Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
The next verses are the famous ones that people always use to talk about small groups and what the church should look like day to day…
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Other great things were happening too.
Peter and John were boldly proclaiming the gospel and people were astonished with the way they talked. They could tell they were talking about something bigger than themselves and their own strength, they could tell they had been with Jesus.
Verse 31 – After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
The believers being the church wasn’t just a one time occurrence in the previous mentioned verses, it gets says again..
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Here are the questions that Rick asked that started to mess with me and have had my mind swirling about “church”.
- Was this an anomaly? Was it a one-time occurrence that God made happen to jump start the spread of the gospel?
- Could God do this sort of thing today?
- Do I believe, act, and lead as if I believe God could do this sort of thing today?
- It is plain to see the Spirit was moving through people, in people, and in their town. Is it possible that the Spirit was moving because people acted boldly in faith with an expectation that God would surround their very literal obedience?
- Is it possible that the Spirit moves in relation to the level of sacrifice, commitment, and faith that a church shows?
Two weeks later and I am still chewing on this. Some simple questions and I am sure the application doesn’t take much reading between the lines for any believer in their context. Happy thinking…