Summary: The NT Church was filled with the Holy Spirit and had evidence to prove it. Do we have eveidence of the Holy Spirit in our churches today?
Are We A Spirit Filled Church?
Text: Acts 2:1-4, 41, 46-47
Introduction: The Wesleyan Church is considered a holiness denomination. We are not alone; there are several other denominations that are also considered holiness denominations as well. As a holiness denomination there are certain aspects of the Christian theology that we focus upon specifically dealing with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are a church that believes the Holy Spirit fills God’s people and God’s church and enables them to live holy lives here on this less than holy planet. The History of our church clearly shows that our founders and our great leaders of the past considered the Wesleyan Church, and other Wesleyan denominations, to be a Holy Spirit filled church. Are we still a Holy Spirit filled church today?
This morning I want to look in the book of Acts at a church that truly was a Holy Spirit filled church. I want to look at the characteristics that marked the early church as a Spirit filled church. What evidence was there that the early church was indeed filled with the Holy Spirit and is there such evidence in our churches today?
When the church began on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out and filled the church, such as it was, of that day. In Acts 2:1-39 we find the story of the birthday of the church, and it is in this story that we also find the identifying marks of a spirit filled church. As I studied this passage I found 5 marks that identified the early church as a church that was filled with the Holy Spirit. The first church was a church of Power, a church of Purity, a church of Passion (evangelistic fervor), a church of the Persuaded, and a church of Peace. These five marks will be the evidence of the church, or the person that is filled with the Holy Spirit. Do we, as the Wesleyan Church, have these five evidences? Do we as a local church have these five evidences? Do we as individuals, called by God to be holy, have these evidences of the indwelling Holy Spirit? ’ First, a Spirit filled church has . . .
I. Power (Acts 2:2)
When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost there was a very tangible expression of that Spirit. There was the audible sign of a sound as a mighty rushing wind. The concept of a mighty rushing wind was a concept that represented power. With the Holy Spirit comes power.
A. Healing Power
1. Physical Healing. The New Testament church was a church that daily saw the power of the Holy Spirit heal people. Acts chapter 3 tells the story of Peter and John as they healed a lame man on their way into the temple. The healing power of the church was so strong that simply having the shadow of Peter fall across them healed people.
2. Emotional Healing. I know a family that was on the verge of destruction. A young couple with one small child was on the verge of divorce. He had and affair with a young lady at work. Since they were a part of our church his wife came to our house to ask for help for their marriage. Before I could get very involved his job required them to transfer to another town where I knew the pastor of a large church. I called him told him the situation and asked if he could help them save their marriage. He called upon them, brought them into counseling in his church, the people of his church took them in and in time their marriage was saved and they became active, influential members of the church. The power of the Holy Spirit in the church healed them.
3. Spiritual Healing. If a church is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit people in that church are being reconciled to God. Sinners are coming to know Christ on a regular basis and spiritual healing is a common event.
B. Transforming Power
When a church is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit it transforms the community around it. In 1989 the godless, communist government of Romania was toppled by a revolt of the citizens. If you watched the media you were told that pro-capitalist revolutionaries began the movement that crushed communism and brought freedom back to Eastern Europe. What your were not told was that the revolt that brought down communism started at a secret prayer meeting. A group of Christians had gathered at a home to pray which was illegal. When the secret police came to break up the prayer meeting the local citizens revolted to protect the Christians. From there it spread across the nation and Romania was freed. A Holy Spirit filled church has power to transform its community. Are our churches transforming their communities?