Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 8 February 19:
Acts 2:37-47 – “’Brothers, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit….’ So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls…. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Acts 2 demonstrates the Great Commandment of love and the Great Commission in execution and should serve as the model today. Acts 2 also shows us the indicators of a true church – love, presences of the Holy Spirit, faithful preaching of the word, leadership, administration of the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), membership, witnessing, evangelism, ministry, worship, discipleship, individual/corporate prayer, and regular growth.
The power of the Holy Spirit was evident in this church, which was full of believers who proclaimed the Gospel to sinners. As with John the Baptist and Jesus, these believers first proclaimed the need for repentance, a word rarely heard today. Those who accepted the Lord were immediately baptized and then entered into true community with other believers, devoting themselves wholeheartedly to instruction, fellowship, and prayer (true discipleship), not every Sunday but every day! They cheerfully took care of the tangible needs of everyone in the church, even selling their possessions to do it, and they gave immediately – “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27) What was the consequence? “The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” And those added represented many cultures – “devout men from every nation under heaven…. the multitude came together,” a Holy Spirit reversal of the Tower of Babel curse and a representation of God’s Kingdom restoration yet to be fulfilled in completeness (Acts 2:5–6; Genesis 11:1-9) —
Revelation 7:9-12 — After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Does your church experience match the Acts 2 experience? If not, why not? Some might say that Acts 2 describes a “special” move of the Holy Spirit reserved for the inauguration of the church. However, I see nothing to indicate that God intended to limit His Spirit after these days – “The Lord is… not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8, 9) But the Bible does say that we can “quench” the Spirit, “grieve” the Spirit, and get out of step with the Spirit. Perhaps, we are limiting the Spirit. Let’s pray for revival in the church.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 Feb 19: Pray for revival within the church.