Summary: When the church looks like what Jesus created the church to look like the church will accomplish what Jesus designed the church to accomplish.
The Church is Born… The last verse of the passage that we studied together last week described the birth of the Church—ACTS 2:41. The Holy Spirit had helped the preacher preach and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed with power. The Holy Spirit had helped the hearers hear when He cut them to the heart so that they could hear what was being proclaimed with a heart that was positioned for repentance and faith. The result of the working of the Holy Spirit was the birth of the Church when 3000 were saved.
The Holy Spirit Forms A Family… We are intentional around here to use words that are reflective of what we believe and that is why we use the words “Faith Family” to refer to who we are as a group of people. The Bible clearly reveals that those who are called out by the Holy Spirit from darkness to light, from sin to righteousness, from the state of being lost to the state of being are formed into a family/community of faith by the same Spirit. The Holy Spirit begins the work of salvation and continues His work in us as He forms us into a family/community by uniting us to Jesus and to one another. When that first Gospel message was preached by Peter and 3000 people responded in repentance and faith they did not just immediately go their separate ways as if the Holy Spirit’s work was complete. Not at all! These new believers in Jesus Christ were led by the Holy Spirit to hang around and we immediately begin to see what a genuine faith family/ekklesia/church looks like. There are four things that will be highlighted by our text this morning that serves as the foundation upon with the Church is to be founded upon.
The Holy Spirit Reigns… The Holy Spirit was reigning, and with his rule vast responsibilities descended upon the apostles. They would have to look to the Spirit for guidance. Fortunately, thanks to the Lord, things fell naturally into place. The reign of the Spirit in the lives of the people and the apostles led to some practices that brought growth to all and made the apostles’ task possible. Four things happened (or better, happen) in the church where the Spirit reigned. They were then, and still remain, keys to spiritual growth and maturity.
The Apostle’s TEACHING. The Holy Spirit created a desire in the hearts of these brand new Christians for the Apostle’s teaching.
• What would be considered the Apostle’s teaching? When we read these words we can consider them to be a little vague and not give much thought to them and in so doing fail to understand what is being said to us. The Apostle’s teaching would have been the teaching of the Old Testament, especially in showing how it was all about Jesus (He taught them how it was all about Him!), and Jesus’ life, ministry, miracles, teachings, death, burial and resurrection. In a sense, the Apostles would have been teaching the Old Testament and the Gospels.
• A Hunger for the Word of God. The Holy Spirit produced in these young Christians a hunger for that which was necessary for them to grow in their newfound relationship with Christ. They craved to consume that which would feed their very souls! What we find here in this passage is that one who has experienced the grace of Jesus in salvation will develop a continual desire for His Word. What about you?
The backbone of a healthy Christian life is teaching. Peter says, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). Teaching was the milk of the early church under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The example of an energetic nursing baby is a fitting example for us to pursue, even if we have already moved on to steak. Young believers must make sure they are feeding on the teaching of God’s Word. There is much confusion today about the essential matters of our faith. In a non-reading, experience-oriented culture, solid Bible teaching is sometimes hard to find. Believers should beware of churches or Christian fellowships where the people do not carry their Bibles. Read your Bible. Mark it up. Each of us must make sure that sometime, somewhere in our week we are being taught.
MORE THAN STUDY IS NEEDED. When the Spirit reigns in the hearts of those who have been saved a hunger for His Word will naturally arise within them. God’s people continually devote themselves to the study of his Word. That is the first characteristic, but more than study is needed. I describe our church as a Bible-believing church. The question that remains, then, is “Are we a Bible-living church?” Good question!