Summary: The revival of Acts 2 was brought about because the church was devoted to Discipleship, Fellowship, Worship and Prayer
37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" 38Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39"For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.¡¨ 40And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" 41So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles, teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44And all those who had believed „Twere together and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:37-47)
Well, it’s here. A new year has begun. 2002 is in the history books. 2003 lies out before us with 360 blank pages waiting to be written. Are you ready? Have you made your resolutions? Have you set your goals? Are you anticipating each new day, waiting to see what God has in store?
As I shared with you last week, I believe that this year is going to be special. I know, we say that every year. But, I believe it to be true. I believe that God has some wonderful things that He wants to do in our midst and I am praying that this year we will begin to see them happen.
One of the most exciting verses that I can find anywhere in the Bible is the final passage of Acts, chapter 2. Listen to these words. As you hear them, meditate upon them, let them sink in; "And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved."
Is that, or is that not one of the most extraordinary verses you’ve ever read? Every single day, the church was being added to. Every single day, the church was growing. New disciples were being added. People were coming to Jesus Christ in amazing numbers. Revival was running rampant. Lives were being changed. Families were being changed. Neighborhoods were being changed. The whole city was being changed. The power of the Holy Spirit had fallen upon them and they would never be the same.
What we read here is exactly what I believe God wants to do in our lives, in our homes, in our neighborhood and in our community. He wants to bring the same kind of revival to the world today that He brought 2000 years ago.
The question for us this morning, actually for this year, is how did it happen? Did the church do anything special that facilitated the great revival of the first century? And, if it did, can it be repeated today?
The answer to both of those questions is a resounding "YES!"
Take a look at verse 42. This is one of those watershed verses. If you are in the habit of marking your Bible, you may want to take your pen, pencil or marker - whatever you use - and highlight this verse. Listen to what this verse says. It tells us that, "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles¡¦ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
This morning, let’s take some time to focus on this verse, to meditate upon it, roll it over in our minds and try to understand how it was that God was able to work through the early church and bring such a tremendous revival. As we do, I believe we will discover what it will take from us to have the same thing happen right here in Southwest Nebraska.
Listen again to the words: "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
Luke begins by telling us that the church was ¡§continually devoting themselves . . ." This tells us that the Jerusalem church was a focused church. It was a church that knew what it was supposed to be doing - and it was resolved to be doing it. Luke uses the word devotion; it carries with it the idea of "single-mindedness," "commitment," and "full dedication." Luke makes it sound as if there was nothing else that was important to these men and women. However, we are talking about men and women who had families to raise, jobs to attend to, everyday concerns just like you and me. And yet, God tells us that they were devoted to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."