Summary: In this series, we’re talking about being a countercultural community. What does that look like? Last week, we saw that the early church was committed to one another, they had crazy courage and a deep rooted spirit of compassion. Today we find four more
Countercultural Community, Part 2
After the apostles received the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, it was all about the power of the resurrection and this mindset to go against the grain and do whatever it took to honor God and bless other people. They hadn’t been tainted by religion but were transformed by the power of the resurrection. Every day filled with the power of the resurrection they unashamably claimed their faith, shared the Gospel and lived for Jesus. Because of this, they realized their lives were no longer their own. They became unified in their faith and commitment to the mission of Jesus, and as a result, they had all things in common. Their countercultural lifestyle was contagious and everybody wanted to be a part of it. Every day they committed to live this lifestyle and connected to the heart of God and people flocked to this new radical movement because of their uncompromising faith and their untamed, undignified lifestyle. It not only dreaw others but created an atmosphere where God could move.
In this series, we’re talking about being a countercultural community. What does that look like? Last week, we saw that the early church was committed to one another, they had crazy courage and a deep rooted spirit of compassion.
Today we find four more characteristics. Fourth, they were devoted to God. Verse 46 says, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts….” They were fully devoted to God and read Scripture together. In that environment, there is a deep devotion to God and God’s word. When people come together around and in God’s Word, they are ripe for devotion and growth toward maturity in God. God does great things in intimate communities who are devoted to growing deeper in God’s Word. Small group Bible studies and Sunday school classes can degenerate into social clubs but they are meant to be places where people grow in devotion to God and His word. So for those of you who are in a Bible study or Sunday School class, let me ask you a question: what growth have you experienced this last year because of your Bible study or Sunday School class? How is your life and your discipleship different as a result. If you can’t immediately answer that question then maybe you need to revisit what your Bible study or Sunday School class is supposed to be about. You are to become fully devoted to the deeper things in God’s word. When that happens, miracles and life transformation occurs.
Fifth, they had a climate of expectation. Verses 43, “Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.” As the church began to live out the Gospel and see the work of God in their midst, there arose a sense of expectation. This was no more true than when they prayed. When they prayed, they prayed with a spirit of expectation. You can almost hear them pray, “God if you resurrected Jesus and created this community through the power of the resurrection, what else could you do through us?” They didn’t just ask God to act. They expected God to act. That’s called faith. It was an expectation that every time they came together not only would God be there but that they would see the power of the resurrection in action.
Because of their boldness and their belief in God, they released a spirit of expectancy and it literally set the atmosphere for God to appear and act in everything they did. Prayer sets the right climate for God to show up. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:22-25
When we come here, there should be a sense of expectancy. Even before we get here, we should have prayed for this service, prayed for the band, prayed for others who are here, prayed for our visitors and of course, prayed for the pastors but most of all, pray to God for him to show up. And if we do, then we will come with an attitude of expectancy. Every time we come here, we should do so with a high a level of expectancy. We believe that when we show up, God will show up and do great things in our midst and in our lives. Every time we come to this place, we should expect something great to happen.