Summary: The Holy Spirit does not work through a vacuum but through believers, the body of Christ. The first church set us a good example: Build on the foundation of God’s Word, build a strong fellowship, and make prayer a priority.
The Spirit works through the Body of Christ
This passage paints for us a very happy picture.
• Earlier on, Apostle Peter preached and "about 3000 were added to the church."
• It is the start of something new. Something the apostles have not done before.
• But it looks like a smooth start. They people were happy. They came to know Christ and lives were changed.
• Bible says they were together with "glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people."
It does not matter if the ministry was something new, something they have not done before.
What is important is whether the Spirit of the Lord is at work.
• "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." (v.47b).
• God was with them and working through them. It is clear that the success was not the result of some skills or marketing plan. It was not their programme that brought people to Jesus. There wasn’t any ‘programme’ actually, just the preaching of the Gospel.
• The growth came because the Holy Spirit was present and He was working through the disciples and the believers. He works through the church.
The circumstances around them have not changed. The authorities were still against the "people of the Way".
• They were still under persecution. We saw later one of them Stephen was stoned to death in public.
• Yet nothing can stop them. Or put it in another way, nothing can stop God. Nothing can stop what God wants done.
• I wonder, what does God wants done here? In KT? In Singapore? Frankly, nothing can stop Him. The big question is, "Can we trust Him and do it?"
There were some things they were devoted to. These are important.
• Acts 2:42 "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
If we want our lives to be filled with gladness and joy, always praising God like these people, then we need to be devoted to these things. The Spirit works through these. He does not work in a vacuum.
(1) Build on the Foundation of God’s Word (Apostles’Teaching)
Change takes place by the study of God’s Word. We build our lives on the foundation of God’s Word.
• Many are not strong today because they did not eat well. I mean they are not taking in the Word enough. And not digesting it well.
• We need to take in God’s Word constantly, as much as we can, as often as we can.
• Not necessarily the Bible all the time, but Christian books and writings, Christian thoughts. They remind us of what God is saying.
We are living in very challenging time today because we’re bombarded with tons of information and voices of all kinds – from the web, newsstands, TV, YouTube…
• God’s Word is competing with all these voices that come to us from all angles, every day, relentlessly.
• That’s why we need to retreat – I mean go for retreat and have our quieter times – where we can get away from all these noises and to hear only one voice – the voice of God.
• We need that to get our bearing right or at least re-align our bearing.
We need the living water and we need it constantly.
• If you’ve been to my house, you’d have seen a few potted plants.
• When you see the leaves turning brown, you know something is needed. Water. If fact, you are late. The plant has been in need of water for a while.
• How I wish I can just simply water it once, say in a week or better still, in a month. But you know that cannot work. The plant will wither in no time.
• You have to water it a little every day. It’s not easy, you know, to keep them green.
It’s not easy with your life too. To stay health and strong, you need to quench the thirst of your spiritual life with the Word of God, regularly and constantly.
• Just as there is no short-cut to having a healthy, green and growing plant. There is no short-cut to a healthy, vibrant life in Christ.
• Regular feeding ensures our strength remains and our growth will continue.
And then they (2) build A Strong Fellowship
Rick Warren: "Most people think that Christianity is a belief system. There are beliefs in Christianity, but it’s so much more. Christianity is a belong system."
The world has never been more connected.
• Companies are laying millions of miles of fibre optics and shooting satellites into space. Kids all around the world are texting each other on mobile phones.