Summary: In these verses, there are at least three indicators of how believers prepared for and displayed openness to the Holy Spirit acting powerfully through their lives and through the church.
Preparing for Spiritual Breakthrough
It is the model church. Members of the church are involved in daily sharing their faith, so that friends, family and associates were making regular decisions for Christ. On two occasions the church has had a crowd of thousands making a first time commitment to follow Christ. There is fellowship, masks are coming off with no more relational pretending, and in that environment of honesty and vulnerability deep community is being born as members encourage and support one another. We hear about their breaking of bread and prayer, the vital worship. The wealthier members own responsibility and care for the poor, people sharing their property and possessions, a spirit of unity and love, eating in one another’s home. Members are spontaneously finding ways that they can pour ministry into the lives of other members of the church, and people that they rub shoulders with on a daily basis.
Would you like to be involved in a church like that? Doesn’t your heart cry out to have God move within this church in the same sort of way as He has the church I just spoke about? Who wouldn’t desire a taste of that kind of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and outreach?
And what about you personally? Do you have a desire for God to do something remarkable in your life? Would it bring a spine tingling thrill to your life to see God work through you like he works through members of the church earlier? However, maybe you sit there wondering why God hasn’t worked that miracle yet. Why hasn’t he moved in your life in the same kind of dynamic ways?
We read about that church in Acts 2, and we stand in awe at what was going on in that early church. We read of the breathtakingly beautiful dynamics going on in the early church. Have you ever wondered what it was that ignited the first century church in Jerusalem? What was it that transformed a semi-defeated Bible study group meeting in an upper room in Jerusalem into this highly energized, Holy Spirit empowered, life-giving local church?
When you read the book of Acts, and you see what God did through that first church, you will stand in awe at what God did through a local fellowship. That local fellowship became the launching pad for the spread of the church around the world.
If you are like me when you read Acts, and you look at a churches vital signs, signs like those mentioned, you find yourself saying, "God, I want more of that kind of spiritual activity in my church. I would give anything to witness the explosive power of the Holy Spirit in my congregation. I’d give anything for my church to become an Acts 2 church."
To which God responds, "I would too."
But then when you ask the follow-up question: "How can we get started? How can the revolution get going?" I think the answer from heaven will be "Start where the Acts 2 church started."
I know that the Holy Spirit is instrumental in Christians experiencing spiritual breakthrough. After all, the filling of the disciples with the Holy Spirit are the pivotal verses in Acts 2. But what makes some Christians more prone to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, resulting in these times of supercharged spiritual growth? I think we get a clue from the church in Acts, before it became an Acts 2 church.
Take out your Bibles, and we are going to look at a few verses at the end of Acts 1, verses that lay the groundwork for the Holy Spirit’s remarkable activity in Acts 2. In these verses, there are at least three indicators of how believers prepared for and displayed openness to the Holy Spirit acting powerfully through their lives and through the church.
Here is what we are going to do: I am briefly going to share with you the three indicators from Acts 1. After I have spoken about each one, I would like you to take a moment and, using the scale in your bulletin, rate yourself on that indicator. Then, as we close, there will be a time offered for everyone to make a decisive commitment toward growing in one of those indicators in 2002.
1. Participation in Group Life
The first indicator is located in that simple phrase in verse 14, "they all met together". Now to most of us that phrase doesn’t really say much. We hurry on through. But to do that we would miss a tremendous insight into what makes a believer prone to the work of the Holy Spirit.
You know how most of your translation have "met together" that sounds like the people came on Sunday morning, spent their time in worship together, and went their own ways to their own homes, locked behind their own doors, living their own lives until next Sunday.