Summary: From the early Christians, we see what it means to be transformed by the cross of Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit. These Christians adopted a life style of spiritual discipline and generosity and are examples to us today.
Acts 2:42-47 “A Church in Training”
The United States is a nation that is out of shape.
• 58 Million Overweight; 40 Million Obese; 3 Million morbidly Obese
• Eight out of 10 over 25’s Overweight
• 78% of American’s not meeting basic activity level recommendations
• 25% completely Sedentary
Being out of shape not only affects our lives as individuals, but also the quality of life as a nation. The impact on health care costs, alone, is staggering.
The nation isn’t the only entity that is out of shape. The Christian Church is, also. This is not to say that we are all overweight and we need to form a Christian Weight Watchers. Rather, it is to say that we as a church are spiritually out of shape and we are unable to carry out the mission to which Jesus has called his disciples and us.
We are a people who have been touched by the grace of God, and overwhelmed by God’s love.
As people who are loved by God, God has called us to a challenging mission. God has called us to be his witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.
We are a people who have been commissioned by God to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them all that God has taught us, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are also called to be God’s witnesses to the people around us—our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. In reality, our lives are often the only Bible the some of them will ever read.
In order to carry out this mission, we much not only be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is also necessary for us to adopt a lifestyle that enables us to be spiritually fit for our mission.
The early Christians were transformed by the cross of Jesus Christ and by being filled with the Holy Spirit. They were a different people and as such they adopted a different lifestyle.
Part of their lifestyle was the inclusion of the spiritual disciplines of study, fellowship, worship and prayer. These disciplines were practiced daily and enabled them to become strong, faithful, obedient servants of Jesus Christ.
The early Christians also adopted generosity as part of their new lifestyle. They shared there possessions, and no one was in need. In their mind, they were no longer confined to this world. A whole new world—God’s Kingdom was opened up to them.
In American culture, faith is considered a private matter. Many of us were brought up with the idea that you lived out your faith, but you never spoke about it with others. Another part of the American religious scene stressed the need to each and every one of us to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and to have a personal relationship with him.
While a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is important, the early Christians balanced it with a relationship with the community. The early Christians were always a part of a community. In fact, all of the spiritual disciplines that are mentioned in the book of Acts are community activities.
Involvement in these community spiritual disciplines not only built up the community and enabled it to be faithful to it’ mission, it also nurtured the faith of the individual Christians. Study can have greater depth when accomplish by groups. Prayer with others is a powerful experience.
Through the early church, people were reached and lives were changed. Also, the church grew.
This was not simply the result of good worship music, tasty food, or five color postcards.
The Holy Spirit was moving through spiritually fit people who had been transformed by God’s love and grace and were willing to live by faith.