Summary: It's one thing to get on an emotion "high" after revival, but what are we supposed to do after we sleep it off?
a. We had a wonderful revival last week – Bro. Joe Wright delivered to us the message God gave Him specifically for this congregation, for this community, and for this time
b. But, as after almost any revival, God’s people tend to lose the “spark” revival brought--because, despite our fresh zeal, we lose the focus and single-mindedness we had when a revival preacher was holding our hand
c. So tonight I’d like to look at the events in the early church after the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and see what cues we can take from that event and apply to our own current context
d. Background (summary of Acts 3:1-4:22)
1) Bro. Joe left off in his Sunday morning account at the end of Acts 2–
a) the establishing of the church in sound doctrine,
b) their attitudes and actions of this church toward their community (and the attractiveness–or at least the novelty–this spirit-outbreak caused),
c) and their selfless embracing of each other
2) In the beginning of Acts 3, Paul and John meet a lame beggar whom they heal
3) This event causes quite the commotion, and Peter takes the opportunity to remind the onlookers that this was done through the power of Jesus’ name
4) In Acts 4, Peter and John are arrested and imprisoned overnight by the priests, captain of the temple, and Sadducees to (unsuccessfully) prevent any of this “resurrection talk” from getting out into the public chatter
5) They make their case before the Sanhedrin (“rulers, elders, and scribes”), Annas the ex-high priest, and Caiaphas the new high priest, explaining how they weren’t the first people being harassed by this bunch for doing something good
6) The Sanhedrin decide to let the two men go (so as not to fan the flame), but in the face of the obvious, and in desperation to save face, they tell them to shut up about Jesus––which, of course, Peter and John utterly refuse to do
7) Peter and John come back to the new church and tell them everything that happened
8) The church leaders pray not for safety, but for boldness, power to heal, and other signs and wonders (to materially manifest the power of the Holy Spirit)
9) ...who shook the place where they they were meeting as a “seal of approval,” emboldening the early church to continue in their current plan of attack
2. Scripture: Acts 4:32-37?
32Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3. What Shall We Do With Revival?
a. We SHALL Manifest Commonality (v. 32) – “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.”
1) In the previous passage, a prayer lifted to God acknowledged His ownership (by virtue of being Creator) of “the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them”
2) This was already mentioned back in 2:44-47: they treated “their own” property as if it belonged to the whole church, and items flowed liberally among them
3) Assets were liquidated to facilitate redistribution––this is the only instance in human history that this economic practice works. Communism assumes the same thing, but fails for missing the key component: The Holy Spirit
4) James is pretty explicit when he describes this as one of the key manifestations of a regenerate life
James 2:14-17: ?14“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
a) It is a hard theology, but saving faith is, by definition, a living faith––that’s how the early church understood it