Summary: The transformation of these 3120 new believers by the Holy Spirit was incredible. These experienced some radical repriortization of their lives; even their finances! And God used them powerfully.
Passage: Acts 2:42-47
Intro: Growing up in the church as I have, I have seen many churches and heard of many others.
1. among most Christian churches, I found the same basic program going on.
2. opportunities to be instructed, Sunday School, worship services, kids clubs, VBS, Bible Studies, etc.
3. opportunities to get together, often around learning but not always.
-softball, picnics, retreats, camps
4. opportunities to eat either in a large group or a small one, or communion
5. and prayer opportunities, again sometimes in league with learning, other times by itself.
6. look at the bulletin today, you will see these four opportunities.
7. so that is what makes a church successful then, right? If it offers the programs, what else is there?
8. certainly the same Holy Spirit indwells us today.
8. the church in Acts was unusual, powerful, evangelistically effective. Why?
9. in obedience to the Holy Spirit, they…
I. Reprioritized Their Time
1. 3000 people joined the original 120 believers.
2. it is the most common name for the individual members of the church in Acts
3. they responded to Peter’s 3 minute sermon, repented and publicly confessed their faith in Christ through baptism.
4. now what?
5. v42 has a very powerful word, also v46
6. word means “adhere to, persist in, busy oneself with, be busily engaged in, be devoted to.”
Il) Longnecker in commentary (The Expositors Bible Commentary) defines it this way: “a steadfast and single-minded fidelity to a certain course of action.”
Il) several years ago, a few of us (at my suggestion) bought a 21 foot sailboat. I was rarely so single-minded as I readied it for action, fixed things and bought things. Jan was amazed at aher normally laid-back husband.
7. that’s the word that describes these people of the early church.
8. whenever the church met, they were there! And the church met every day!
9. I don’t see anyone with a whip in this passage!
10. doesn’t mean they quit their jobs, but “getting together with the believers” became an extremely high priority in their lives.
11. show me your calendar and I will show you your priorities.
Il) Satan makes this a favorite target. I introduced a new fish into my saltwater tank this week, and the more aggressive opponents are especially focused on keeping him from eating.
12. notice that there is a decided absence of entertainment in this listing of what the church did.
13. I’m afraid in the American church today, entertainment value is cherished above the simple truth.
Il) “In America God favors all of those who possess both a talent and a format to amuse, whether they be preachers, athletes, entrepreneurs, politicians, teachers or journalists.” Neil Postman, “Amusing Ourselves to Death”
Il) I once heard a serious Christian remark about a really fine preacher I know, “He’s like a stand up comedian”
15. the church is effective when it’s people make time for the really important work of celebrating our faith together.
II. Reprioritized Their Wealth
1. I looked at several sermons about this passage, and this part was given very little play.
2. we are uncomfortable because it sounds so radical, communal, communist!
3. but it’s a lot more simple than that.
4. these people, from every socio-economic strata, became a family.
5. they learned together, they ate together, they worshiped God together, they called each other “brother and sister”
6. they all had the same Father, and they all had experienced the same life-changing indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
7. and because they were family, they shared.
8. v44 powerful, radical. They “had everything in common”
9. there was no “mine” or “yours”, but only “ours”
Il) MacKinney family reunions were great! Lived together, sang together, played together. All those people packed in one car! And the food!! WE were all one big family for a week!
10. no one in this early church considered holding on to property in the face of a need in the family, (at least not until chapter 5)
11. because the body of Christ was a priority, there was no part of their life that was immune to that priority.
12. I’ve watched so many plans hatched over the years to separate believers from their money.
Il) “give to get” appeals to the flesh
13. here is God’s plan. You are part of a family, so act like it.
14. the family has needs. Spiritual needs, physical needs, social needs.
Il) many here are “breadwinners”. We sacrifice time, energy, in order to provide for our family. And we don’t see it as unusual or radical. It is what we are called to do.
15. we give so that children can learn about Jesus, so the lost can be found, so the Hewa people and the people of Africa and Mexico and Russia can learn about Jesus, to support the Gospel proclamtion