Today's Readings - 2 Chronicles 9-10, Acts 2:42–47, Psalm 78:1–4, Proverbs 16:2–4
As we read about the fire of God falling on the people of God on the day of Pentecost, we can get bogged down in sideline issues like the discussion of tongues and such things. But today's reading in Acts is a powerful one. Acts 2:42-47 describes the Early Church and what life was like in the church that was full of the Spirit of God.
This is not the time for a theological treatise, so please forgive me for simply stating my conclusions. We ought to, in our churches today if we are filled with the Spirit of God, see the kinds of things that are described in Acts 2:42-47. We might not see them to the same degree or with the same intensity that they saw them at the birth of the church - there always seems to be a unique outpouring of God's power at times like that - but we ought to see the things that are described here.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
What are some of the things that happened there?
1. They were devoted to God's word. They didn't have Bibles like we do. All they had was the teaching of the Apostles that was later written down into what we have in our Bibles now, but they were devoted and obedient to all that God spoke to them.
2. They were devoted to one another. The church was not a place they went on Sunday; it was their life. Fellowship was real and powerful. Look at some of the descriptions of the fellowship. They prayed together and worshiped together. They blessed each other with supernatural generosity. Their fellowship was daily.
3. The power of God was evident in them in such a way that there was awe not only in the church but also in the community.
4. As was mentioned above, they shared everything with one another. Holy Spirit-empowered generosity.
5. They lived lives of constant praise and thanksgiving, in spite of the suffering and hardship they lived through.
6. Salvation was a regular act of God among them. Daily the Lord added to their number!
No, your church doesn't stack up to this. It was the Jerusalem church just after Pentecost and none of us is likely to ever match up completely. But the gap shouldn't be nearly as big as it is today! We ought not to ignore God's word, treat fellowship as optional and a burden, find the power of God rare, find giving forced, live lives of complaining and find the salvation of the lost a rare occurrence.
If there is a huge gap between the Jerusalem church and my church, the problem isn't God. "He just doesn't do those things anymore." Nonsense. The problem isn't our programs or strategies. The problem is our lack of the one thing that caused them to be what they were.
They were what they were because they were full of the Spirit of God. If we would see more of what they saw we must be full of what filled them!
There can be no better prayer than...
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me.Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.
Think and Pray
How's your gap? We all have a gap between what we are and what we ought to be. But it ought not to be what it is. How's yours?
Does your life match up with the life of the Spirit-filled Christian of the early church?