Summary: The Holy Spirit continues to work in every believer to produce lifelong evidence of His work in them.
(NOTE: This sermon series is based on the book Living in the Spirit by Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God).
Last week we talked about baptism in the Holy Spirit and the initial physical evidence of tongues. Next week we are going to look into some reasons why God chose tongues as the confirming sign of Spirit baptism.
This week, however, I want to look at what Luke tells us the early church was like as it was led by the Holy Spirit. What happened as Spirit empowered believers sought to fulfill the Great Commission and Commandment? What happened when they went out to preach and to love their neighbor? How did the early church make such an impact on the world around them?
As Pentecostal believers we believe and teach the initial physical evidence of Holy Spirit baptism is speaking in tongues. But speaking in tongues is only the INITIAL evidence. After we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit there must be some ENDURING evidence that the Holy Spirit is actively working in us.
What are some of the ENDURING evidences of the Holy Spirit’s work?
Let’s read Acts 2:42-47 together this morning (outloud):
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The 120 who had been waiting in an upper room were baptized in the Holy Spirit. They were speaking in tongues. But remember that people from all over the “known” world had gathered in Jerusalem for the feast.
There were people from Crete, Arabia, Libya, Rome and many more (cf. Acts 2:5-12) who heard people glorifying Christ in a language they could understand. But those who were doing the speaking were Galileans who had never learned the language they were speaking. Instead God was speaking through them by the Holy Spirit.
Needless to say all of those who heard this were “amazed.” They wanted to know what was happening. They wanted to understand what miraculous event was taking place at that very moment. Some actually made fun of the 120 saying they had were drunk.
Peter, who just a few days ago had denied He even knew Jesus but has now been baptized in the Holy Spirit, stands up and begins to preach. The people hear his message and his call for them to repent of sin (cf. Acts 2:14-41). And you know what is AWESOME – 3,000 of these people who heard Christ being glorified repented and were baptized that day. This small church of 120 grew to 3,120 in just one day!
Now this is where come to the text we read together. All of these new Christians were in Jerusalem. The crowd that would fit into an upper room yesterday cannot fit any longer. But they had a common salvation that held them together. So what did that early church do in order to keep people moving in the right direction. That is what Acts 2:42-47 tells us.
This is, for lack of a better word, a model of what it means to be a church. We are going to examine this morning. The church, in its very beginning gathered around 5 common characteristics (you can see them on the visual): Worshipped, Grew, Connected, Served, and Fellowshipped TOGETHER.
SHOW ACTS DIAGRAM ON SCREEN
Let’s take a few moments to look at Acts 2:42-47 and see how the characteristics if WORSHIP, SERVE, GROW, CONNECT, GO are demonstrated.
Notice the center circle of our diagram says, “WORSHIP.” It is not by accident that everything else centers on the call to worship. All that we do inside and outside the church stems from a heart that is immersed in and acting upon an active personal life of communion with our Triune God.
I do not necessarily mean an active “coming to church and worship” life. Coming to church , as we will see in our text, is important to a healthy Christian walk. However, worship is much more a lifestyle meant to affect all aspects of the life God wants us to live.
The first thing we have to do is define what we mean by WORSHIP. Here is how I would define WORSHIP.
Any act by a believer that brings glory to God, point’s people toward Christ or shows obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.