Summary: Second in a series of 5 sermons on the Core Characteristics of the Church. Acts 2:42-47 describes the nature of the Early Church and in this sermon we see how God filled their daily lives and how he desires to fill ours.
The Church as a Filled Community
(Second in the series: The Core Characteristics of the Church)
For our Lenten emphasis this year we are embarking on a journey that takes us inside the early community of believers, asking the question, “What made these people able to transform their communities for Christ? What were the essential things that defined their existence? If we were to emulate them, what should our lives look like?”
Last week we noticed, from Acts 2:42, that they were a devoted community—devoted to Jesus which was expressed in their commitment to God’s Truth, sharing ministry together, obeying the commands of Jesus, and to prayer.
Today we look at Acts 2:43 and realize that the early believers were a community very much aware of God’s presence with them and in them. They were filled.
We are not alone!
I was drawn to the John 14 passage because of Jesus’ wonderful promise that after he physically left this earth he promised to send another Counselor to be with his followers. This Counselor was none other than the Holy Spirit—God’s presence in Spirit form—and he would not only be with the believers, but would actually live in them.
Catch these verses again.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
We are not alone, if we open our lives up to God.
Maybe, even as a believer, maybe there are times you have felt alone, even abandoned.
But you are not. You are never alone. The key word is felt. Yes, sometimes we feel alone; but we never are.
That promise—to be filled from on high with a presence that would never leave nor forsake—that promise comes to fulfillment in the text before us.
Acts 2:43 is summarizing the events and results of what we call, Pentecost. On Pentecost, God took up residence in his people, he filled them, and they have never been alone since.
God wants to be an active part of our lives
This verse—Acts 2:43—suggests to me that God desires to be an active part of my life. He wants to fill my day with his presence! God was doing things in their midst. He was doing things daily.
Those who gathered around the message of the Gospel were in awe. Some translations use the word fear. But it is not fear in the sense of being scared to death; rather it is fear in the sense of awe and wonder.
The difference between fear as in being scared and fear as in being in awe can be defined by your own feelings. Think of how you felt sometime when you were scared—maybe you feared for your safety—and then contrast that to how you felt when you stood in awe before something magnificent—maybe on the edge of the Grand Canyon, or before the Niagara Falls.
Those two feelings are very different. It is more the ladder that captures the meaning of Acts 2:43.
God wants us to see him active in our lives
While in High School I got a job working at Bob Lutz Tire Company, at the service station managed by our own Bob Fassnacht. At this job I was introduced to the world of tires—kinds, qualities, sizes—you name it. I was taught how to mount tires, balance them and repair them.
Something unexpected happened to me in the process. All of a sudden I began to notice tires. Walking through a parking lot, I would notice what kind of tires the cars had on them, what condition they were in, what brand they were.
I never noticed tires before. What changed? What happened?
Was it that cars did not have tires before I started working at Bob Lutz? Was it that I never needed tires before this? Hardly. The fact is that nothing had changed in regard to the prevalence of tires in our world. I was the one who had changed. I had a new frame of reference.
I had never really cared about tires before working in that environment. However, having had an encounter with tires, so to speak, they became a large part of my life, and I now cared about them. As a result, I saw them.
What’s my point?
God is all around us. He is moving in our world every day. He is even active in our lives. This is true for all of us—but it is especially true of those who are cultivating a close walk with him.