Summary: God wants us to live an empowered life in unity with other believers.
In This Thing Together
Intro: Isn’t it nice to know that you are not alone? I’m sure there have been times when you’ve felt alone, but if you have a relationship with Jesus, you are never alone. He promised never to leave us or forsake us. His plan for the church is that no believer should have to be lonely or walk through trials alone. No lone rangers & no lonely strangers in the body of Christ. God has also given us all the power that we need to obey Him and fulfill His call on our lives. The central idea today is this:
Prop: God wants us to live an empowered life in unity with other believers.
Interrogative: What does this look like, and how can we do it?
TS: We will be making several observations from Acts 2 to help us see what God wants to do in and among us today.
I. The Power of Unity
(Unity Is Essential to the Body of Christ. It reflects the true nature of the body of Christ. Anything less than Christian unity in the church is a false representation of who Christ and His people are.)
“They were all together in one place” (2:1). How many of you know that it is possible to be together without really being together? It is one thing for a family to gather together around a table, but it is another thing for them to get along in harmony and to show love and respect for one another. It is one thing for a church to gather for a service, but it is another for everyone to be on board, fulfilling the mission of God for the church. When a church is able to come together as one, laying aside individualism and personal agendas, watch out! God will use that church to shake the world around them.
-Well, these early believers were gathered together geographically, as well as spiritually. They were all concerned about obeying the words of Jesus who had told them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father. Looking back to Acts 1:14, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer.” They were united by the love of Christ, and by His command & promise (wait & you will receive).
-What might have happened if the disciples had still been arguing about who was the greatest among them, like they had sometime within the previous 3 years? What if they had split up into various little groups instead of uniting together? Well, we don’t really know what might have happened, but I believe that it was central to God’s plan that they were together in unity. Jesus had prayed for them in John 17, “Father, make them one, even as You and I are one.” God answered that prayer and the believers lived that out in their lives.
-Now, unity does not mean that we all have to think alike, nor does it mean that there can never be disagreement or discussion about decisions to be made. Unity does mean, however, that we are on the same team, serving the same God, and working together as a team to spread the gospel to our community. When disagreements come up as to how we should best do that, we should be able to sit down together and work out a solution. God gives great ideas to lots of different people, and as ideas and resources are shared, we can be more effective as God’s people. We really are in this thing together. We all need God’s help, and we all need one another.
-TS: Well, the early church had it going on in the way of unity, but that was only one part of the equation. Something more was needed, and it came on the Day of Pentecost. Let’s talk about the infilling of the Holy Spirit, or the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
II. The Infilling of the Spirit
(Unity Accompanied by Power Results in Effective Ministry)
-Unity alone will not help us reach this world. We may all get along, but we can never reach the people of our community without the power of God. I have heard of churches joining together with other churches in the name of reaching their community together. This sounds like a great idea, and I believe it can be, but unfortunately, the focus is usually on them, not on the Lord, or the power He wants to give them to be effective witnesses. It may begin with good intentions, but can easily become all about church people, and not about the Lord or about the lost. Now I am not saying it has to be one or the other. I do believe that we can have unity and the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, unity could be identified as part of the fruit of the Spirit. It is not listed as such in Gal. 5:22-23, but love, joy, and peace are there. Patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control. These are the ingredients of unity. So, let’s pursue unity and believe God for the gift of the Holy Spirit. We must have the power of the Holy Spirit in order to be the witnesses God has called us to be!