Summary: The birth of the Church commences the Growth of the Church by the Spirit and the Word.
Steadfast in Prayers: The First Church of Jerusalem (2)
Acts 2:42: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
As the God’s Heavenly Holy Spirit is sent down upon those gathered at Pentecost in Jerusalem, 3,000 are born into the Church as they receive the Word which is preached. Last week we saw that the Church is comprised of 1. Those who are REDEEMED are gathered together and do NOT reject, but receive the Word gladly. 2. The Church is STEADFAST in character. (proskartereô-wait on constantly) Jesus’ example of the vine and branches exemplified that True branches abide. 3. The Church teaches and studies God’s Word- Doctrine. (didachç) The Church thrives on the teachings of the life and death of Jesus and upon the teaching of the Apostles, which includes the Old and New Testament: God’s Word alone is our textbook.
4. The Church grows in Christ-like Fellowship (koinônia-partake or participate in something together). The Church is relational. God is relational and as the Only God, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have existed in eternal fellowship. God reveals His gracious love to us through Christ and we share and partner with each other IN CHRIST, in His Sacrifice, at the Lord’s Table, at each other’s tables. We share in service and worship to Him; we share together in Loving one another as God in Christ has loved us. WE share in the exercise of each other’s spiritual gifts and each other’s burdens and triumphs. We share in forgiving one another as Christ has forgiven us. We help wherever help is needed and however we can help and we share In His Spirit: 1 Corinthians 6:17 says: “Whoever is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”
Christians copy Christ, not perfectly, but steadfastly AND… Today we are looking at the last part of verse 42: The Church ALSO prays… and prays… and prays.
Here are the F.A.C.T.S. of prayer: We come in prayer to God the Father in Faith- faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, through the Holy Spirit and we proclaim our Adoration to the Triune God-thank you for opening the door of Heaven to us. We offer Confession because we are STILL sinners, but saved by grace, not perfect in every way, but being perfected. “Here is where I am still lacking, LORD”. Thanks be to God. Thanks be to Him in Prayer, in Worship, in Life, in relationship for all things that are from Your Holy “hand”. And then we offer our Supplications: I know that your will is perfect in supplying what I need.
During the week I studied around 2 dozen prayers in the Bible. You realize that most of the Psalms were written as prayers/songs which were sung by the Israelites. In many churches today, the practice of singing Psalms has all but disappeared. In our worship today, the prayers that we are bringing to God are quoted from His Word. The early church continued steadfastly in prayer together, individually and corporately.
1. Prayer is a Marvelous Privilege to Worship the Almighty God: We can worship Him anytime in prayer in Spirit and in the Truth of the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible, in Christ and in our Hearts and lives. We aren’t impressing God in prayer but telling Him how much we have been impressed with Him. -We can give God worship- declare HIS WORTH-ship in Prayer. It would not surprise me if the early church was declaring PRAISE and worship in their prayers for THE MARVELOUS WORKS OF OUR God. (Acts 2:11) Salvation from our God elicits praise to God. Bless the Lord Oh my soul, and ALL that is within me, bless His Holy Name. He has forgiven and healed me of my sins.
2. Prayer Petitions God’s Kingdom Purposes and Perfect Will (and you can find that in Jesus’ Pattern of prayer.) Jesus practiced reliance, wisdom, and power through prayer. Jesus was steadfast in prayer, thankful in prayer, in all things. He was diligent in His dependence upon the Father. He gave us the model for prayer in the Lord’s Prayer. He said in Mark 11:24: “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.” There is no limit on believers’ prayers when they are according to God’s will and purpose. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.”
God’s will is being unfolded throughout redemptive history by means of the prayers of God’s people. God’s saving purpose is coming to pass through the faith of those who hear the gospel and repent. James 5:16: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”