You should all be familiar with the scripture,
(Hebrew 13:8) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
You should know this one too,
(Malachi 3:6a) For I am the LORD, I change not;
We all know that things are different in the Church;
Different even from what it was only 20 years ago,
But what’s different?
Paul said in (1st Cor. 2:4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
Why don’t we see Holy Ghost Power?
Power like they saw in the first century church.
After Jesus’ ascension to heaven He promised that the disciples would receive power from on high.
Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
In essence He promised them a promotion (as it were)
• He promised that they would be lifted up from their present
position and condition.
• He promised that they would be elevated to a new level of
• He promised that they would receive power.
• He promised that they would do many mighty and wonderful works in His name.
In Mark 16:17-18 Jesus said;
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
In John 14:12 Jesus said;
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
The Lord promised a promotion to those who believe and would be obedient to what he had taught.
Let’s take a look at our subject text
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
This passage describes 7 important characteristics of the spirit-filled Church.
1.) Apostles’ Teaching (v. 42a) The early believers were discipled and nourished in the Word taught by the apostles,
These early believers in the New Testament were taught and nourished by the same men that walked and talked and learned directly from the master himself.
Some of these teachings later became our NT scriptures.
They were a WORD CENTERED CHURCH.
2.) Fellowship (v. 42b) the disciples not only developed a vertical relationship to God,
But also nourished others horizontally, a warm, honest, open, healing, redeeming fellowship based upon a common life together in Christ.
They were friends to the people in their fellowship, they helped one another, they fed one another spiritually, they spent time together, like a family.
They pursued the fellowship of Christ and the Holy Spirit between and among believers.
They were a FELLOWSHIPPING CHURCH
3.) Breaking of Bread (vv. 42c,46) This common expression in Acts and the early church seems to have a threefold dimension:
a. The initial beginning of a common meal
b. The moment of sharing an agape meal
c. And the Lord’s Supper itself
They shared meals together, they took communion together, and they partook bread together in love.
These folks did almost everything together, and should serve as a model for the church of today.
4.) Prayer (v. 42d; cf. 1:14; 4:23-31) In the early church, prayer was clearly a high priority and an integral part of their life together.
In Acts, where there is much prayer…..There is much activity of the Holy Spirit.
And where there is much activity of the Holy Spirit…. there is much prayer.
These were a praying people; they stayed in constant communication with the Lord.
In Phil. 4:6-7 they taught the church at Philippi Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The early church; Our spiritual forefathers’,------ spent time down on their knees,----- lifting up their brethren, ------praying for needs to be met,------- praying for boldness and power ------- and most of all for God’s kingdom to come.
They were a PRAYING CHURCH
5.) Miraculous Signs and Wonders (v. 43) Miracles were an important aspect of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit among believers
And they occurred most often in their mission to unbelievers.
The early church believed in ------- and demonstrated Gods power through the Holy Spirit.
They went about astonishing and convincing unbelievers that Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God and that He was indeed the one in whom they had been waiting for.
They were a MIRACLE WORKING CHURCH
6.) Sharing Community ( vv. 44-47a)
C.S.Lewis said “All human beings are made for life in community with God”
These people shared everything they had with one another.
They loved one another and wanted to be sure that nobody had to do without.
• They shared their money -----
• They shared their food ------
• They shared their time------
• They shared their feelings ------
• They shares encouragement-------
• They shared in the work of the ministry.
The early church in Jerusalem experienced community like few people have in the earth.
They were a SHARING CHURCH
7.) Making Disciples (v. 47b) The righteous influence and witness of these believers effectively permeated the city.
• These people shared their testimonies,
• They shared the good news of who Jesus Christ really was
• They taught people about REPENTENCE, AND REMISSION OF SINS,
• They taught people about the gift of the Holy Spirit
• They taught other to do the same
This is how the gospel was spread
And indeed It did spread --------- like WILDFIRE.
It was part of the natural overflow of their life together
And part of the outflow of Jesus’ ministry through them by the Spirit.
Consequently…… new converts were being added to the church daily
Now let’s look back at verse 42 one more time. It says;
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship”
The NIV says; “They devoted themselves…”
Another translation says; “They addicted themselves”
Has anyone here ever been addicted to something?
A person who is addicted to something (it doesn’t matter what it is) can’t get enough.
They live to supply their addiction.
They live with the thought of how they’re going to get more of whatever it is that their addicted to.
And they’re concerned about running low on their supply of whatever it is.
They are concerned about being away from that thing that they are addicted to for too long.
If we were addicted, and dedicated to the work of the Lord, we would be going about making disciples.
• We wouldn’t be able to get enough of God’s Word
• We wouldn’t be able to share the good news fast enough
• We would be looking for ways to achieve the fullness of God’s
• We would be looking for ways to hide God’s Word in our hearts.
• We would be sharing with others and teaching others about Jesus.
The early church was A DISCIPLE MAKING CHURCH.
How many of you know that Satan would like to see us Demoted in our position with the Lord.
How many of you know that the enemy is hard at work trying to dispel the work that God has done within the church and each of our individual lives?
How many of you know that Satan will use Gods very own Word in an attempt to confuse us and cause us to turn away from the doctrines taught by the apostles?
How many of you know that the devil will use well meaning people to divert your attention away from the truths found in the Word of God?
In trying to steer one of our own away from the truths found in Gods Word.
Someone said this past week that “all these things we’ve been talking about weren’t for the church of today.”
They cited a verse of scripture (out of context I might ad) from 1st Cor 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
They said that “All those things were for the early church but not for the church of today”
Now let us put that verse in context the way is supposed to be; let’s look at everything Paul said
Turn with me if you will to;
1st Cor 13:8-10
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, THEN that which is in part shall be done away.
Spiritual gifts such as tongues prophesy and knowledge will cease.
But not until the end of this age.
That time is described in verse 10 as “when that which is perfect is come” meaning at the end of history.
When the believers’ knowledge and character becomes perfect -------- in eternity after Christ second coming.
Until then, we need the Holy Spirit and His gifts in our churches.
There is no indication here, or anywhere else in the Scripture that the manifestation of the Spirit through His gifts would cease at the end of the first century era.
In fact -------- I find that just the opposite is true -------- let’s look back to Acts 2: 15-20
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
Peter was citing Old Testament scripture from the prophet of God named Joel in Joel 2:28-31
The prophet said in the LAST DAYS.
As far as I can see we are still in those last days, Joel said “until the great and noble day of the Lord Comes”
The last time I checked the Lord hasn’t come back yet.
So nobody’s going to convince me with one verse of scripture -------- taken out of context ------- that the gift we have from God wasn’t meant for us.
In fact I want to set this in concrete for you right now.
Let’s look at Romans 11:28-30
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Now this passage is talking about Israel and the Jews,
And we already know ------ that because of their unbelief ------we as Gentiles have been grafted in ------- with the knowledge that the Jews are still God’s chosen people.
This passage also shows us that because of their unbelief and rejection of Christ we have been given mercy.
But I want you to focus on verse 29.
“…the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
We know that REPENTENCE means a change of mind.
This verse tells me ------ that God doesn’t change His mind concerning the gifts that He has given to His people.
He doesn’t regret giving us these wonderful gifts.
He’s not remorseful that he has bestowed the gift of the Holy Spirit to us.
He intends for us to receive this wonderful gift and use it to help us live a victorious Christian life.
He intends for us to operate in the gifts of the spirit so that others might believe and come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
He intends for the five fold ministry to be in operation in the church throughout the end of this age of grace.
So Now I want to go back to my first two questions
Why don’t we see Holy Ghost Power?
Power like they saw in the first century church?
Why don’t we see a powerful anointing,-------- and mighty acts wrought by the hands of believers today?
God hasn’t changed
The Holy Spirit hasn’t changed
Do you want to know what’s different?
Do you want to know what has changed?
We know the World has changed……. but what else?
Followers of Christ
Here’s the Main point of my message …
We… the church….
I’m not just talking about just this particular body but the church as a whole.
The church of Jesus Christ….
The bride of Christ…
The church that by the grace of God is going to help usher in the new kingdom age.
We need to get back to some early church principles.
We need to get back to being DEVOTED…DEDICATED…ADICTED
We need to get back to
• being a WORD CENTERED CHURCH following the doctrines outlined by Christ and the apostles
• Fellowship, breaking of bread and PRAYER
Let me ask you something, when was the last time you FASTED AND PRAYED FOR SOMETHING REALLY MEANINGFUL FOR GOD’S KINGDOM?
We need to get back to
• Seeking the Holy Ghost for the gifts of the spirit
• We need to start praying that we would start seeing MIRACULOUS
SIGNS AND WONDERS
Things that would change the hearts and minds of believers and non-believers alike.
Things that people would flock to our churches to witness,
Things that God would be able to use to reach those who do not believe.
We need to get back to
• Being a sharing community
God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others
Share what you have to the glory of God!!!
And Last but certainly not least.
In fact this is probably the most important point I’ll make this today.
We need to get back to
• MAKING DISCIPLES
We need to share our testimony and allow our lives to be a witness to the goodness and the mercy of a Holy God.
We need to be winning souls for the Kingdom
We need to be kingdom builders.
The Lord saved us…. so that we might lead others to the wonderful knowledge of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
It’s not God’s will that any should be lost
And it shouldn’t be ours either.
Brothers and Sisters… Let me say this in closing…
We need to start praying like we’ve never prayed before…
We need to devote our lives to the work of the Lord like we’ve never been devoted before.
We should be addicted to the work of the kingdom and we should not be satisfied until that work is finished.
This end time church has a lot of work to do
We are going to need the power of the Holy Ghost in order to accomplish that work.
We face things that the apostles never even dreamed of facing Just like they faced things that we may never have to face.
But if they needed Holy Ghost power to start this work of God
We’re definitely going to need it to finish seeing it through.
I wonder if any of you would come and pray, and ask God to help us get back to basics, and embrace the doctrine of the apostles, the same way they did in the beginning.