Summary: Purpose, unity, direction, impact
A UNITY THAT GUIDES OUR STEPS
Acts 2:42-47 (p 772) February 27, 2011
When I was 6 years old my family took a trip out West…we traveled in a dodge Van that converted into a little camper…5 of us crammed into this little space…but it was one of my favorite childhood memories. We stopped at the corn palace, tons of little places on route 66, we visited the Rose Bowl…but the two places that stand out in my memory are Disneyland and the Grand Cany9on…Disneyland is a natural thing for a 6 year old to remember but the Grand Canyon was indescribable…Dad got us all up at sunrise the morning after we arrived …I remember watching as the dark purple sky turned into a glorious golden canvas…and stretched out for as for as you could see was the canyon….It was enormous….I'm sure I didn't know the word back then…but the word I would use now to describe the experience is "Awesome"
Even at 6 I understood this was something huge and beautiful….something so big it just didn't fit into my little mind…that's what "being in Awe" of something is all about. Your mouth drops open…there are no words to describe it…you just stand there admiring something way beyond your understanding.
It was just such a feeling which was going through the early church in Jerusalem…they were witnessing something so big, so majestic, so far beyond words…that the only word that Luke could use to describe it was "Awe" It bound this early group of believers together with a spiritual glue that could not be broken.
As you remember the day of Pentecost found all the disciples in one place and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter, the denier was now Peter the proclaimer…he preaches the "good news", that Jesus is the messiah. He bloody proclaims "This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge and you…with the help of wicked men put him to death of nailing him to a cross…but God raised him from the dead….(Acts 2:23,24)
At the end of Peters message he says "Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36)
And when the people heard this message it broke their hearts. They cried out what shall we do? An Peter told them to "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for rhe forgiveness of their sins…and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
3,000 plus came forward to do just that. It was the birthday of the Church…and only one word can describe what was happening…."Awesome"
Here's what our test says followed. Read text Acts 2:12 -47 (P772)
As the early believers began their journey into the unknown with Jesus two qualities confirmed the church: Devotion and Unselfishness.
I DEVOTED TO THE CORE FOUR
"They devoted themselves…" this was a conscious choice of priorities.
These early followers of Christ had to make a decision for themselves, about what would keep them on the right path…what will help them be a the people Jesus wanted them to be and the church Jesus wants them to be…and 4 things immediately became the glue:
1) The Apostle's teaching, Fellowship, the Breaking of bread, and Prayer.
These believers didn't stop being husbands or wives, moms or Dads, business owners or workers. Each of them still had the normal everyday priorities of life…but now Jesus, changed everything…their belief in him was now reeking havoc with their former priorities.
[I took 13 students and 4 adults on a mission trip to Haiti when I ministered in West Virginia. One of those adults was Ann Mills… "Miss Ann" She was a V.P. at Beckley Savings and loan… she was the individual who approved all the loan applications which in Haiti Miss Ann took care of all the babies…she held them, loved the, fed them…some of the situations were heart breaking. When we got back to the States she had a hard time dealing with her emotions…when a guy came in to borrow 20,000bucks for a new bass boat…the faces of those babies came back…she had a hard time not saying "How can you spend 20,000grand on a boat when there are children dying…children I've held and loved…Haiti reeked havoc on Miss Ann's priorities.]
In this early church . "everyone is filled with "Awe"… being filled with "Awe" is one of the greatest definitions of true worship. God was working through the Apostles…with wonders and miraculous signs.
I'm a guy who believes in the miraculous and mysteries of God like my 6th grade Sunday school teacher's son and future daughter in-law showing up…and making decisions for Christ on the day I talk about people who have influenced us.