Summary: Have you felt beaten down, trod upon, worn-out, and just plain tired? Are you just surviving, and not really thriving the way God intended? We all have felt this way at some point, but thankfully there is hope. In the 2nd chapter of Acts we are given 5 ke
Miracle Grow Christian Restoration Formula
Acts 2:36-47 (ESV)
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter answered them, “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying, “save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized and there were added that day about 3000 souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing to all as any had need. And day by day attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
The word of God for the People of God. Thanks be to God.
Luke portrays quite a remarkable portrait of the early church after Pentecost. This was as close to a perfect Christian community of utopia as you could get. This would be the ideal place to spend your life, raise your family, worship God, and be thankful for your blessings. This would be the greatest place ever to live in peace and harmony with other believers. Why would anyone ever want to leave? The answer to that is the same as why am I here today, and why are you here today. The answer is God.
Remember Jesus’ last words to His disciples. Turn back a page to Acts chapter 1 verse 8:
“And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The Christian movement was flourishing in Jerusalem, new Christians were being added to the church daily. Imagine that happening to us today; imagine new Christians joining our church every day. Imagine the excitement, imagine the comraderity, imagine how easy it would be to get everyone in the church involved, serving on committees, I mean you would have more volunteers to do God’s work than you could think of work to be done. What better place to be, right? Wrong.
God said, OK, now you’ve got this started. You’re doing well, now preserve the key elements of my church, and move on to all Judea and Samaria. That was about 35 miles from Jerusalem to Sebaste (Samaria), which was the center between Judea and Galilee. Now that 35 miles was a little harder to travel 2000 years than it would be today, but the mission was already set. The marching orders had already been given: finish your work here, then move on, don’t get comfortable, I’ve got more work for you to do. After Samaria there is about another 250-mile north journey to get to Antioch, which is where the term “Christian” was actually used for the first time to describe this group of believers. And though it would have been a rough journey to get even as far north as Antioch, Antioch was by no means “the ends of the earth”.
So what exactly was it that caused the early church to be so alive with enthusiasm and grow so vigorously and to respond so vitally to the words of Christ to spread His gospel to the ends of the earth? The main component is of course, the presence of the Holy Spirit, as we are reminded that Jesus said that where 2 or more are gathered there He is also. But the Spirit expected some work to be done by human hands also to get this new church going.
In the 2nd chapter of the Book of Acts, Luke gives us an explicit account of 5 key areas that are needed for any church to thrive. Now notice that I did not say, “survive”, I said “thrive”. There is a big difference here that must be understood before we even look at what these key areas are.
The definition of the word survive is “to continue to exist”.
The definition of the word thrive is to “to prosper; to do well”.