Summary: When a church possesses all the characteristics of a Spirit-filled church, it will attract new people to God and to the church
January 11, 2004 Acts 2:42-47
“The Spirit-filled church”
Have you ever noticed how much time and energy we as a society spend on being attractive to one another? To get an idea, it only takes a quick trip into Wal-Mart. One very large section is labeled beauty aids. There’s lipstick, other types of makeup, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. Walk a few steps in the other direction, and you will come to the clothes section of the store. If clothes were simply about being modest and about protecting ourselves from the environment, we could all wear simple gray or white uniforms. But clothes come in all shapes, colors, sizes and designs. Why? To make us more attractive to one another. Attraction is when two objects are drawn together, and they resist being pulled apart - like magnets. Have you ever seen a guy and a girl at the mall or in a restaurant, and they’re sitting across from one another with their eyes glued on one another? It can be kind of sickening, but those two are attracted to one another. They have something that pulls them together and resists them being apart from one another.
Attraction not only works when you’re talking about the physical world. It works spiritually too. Something attracted you to Jesus. Something attracted you to this place. Do you want other people to be drawn to this place to join our group of believers? I know that you do.
In Acts 2:42-47, Luke tells us about the church at Jerusalem. (the order is not the same as the note sheet)
The church at Jerusalem attracted people
The church at Jerusalem was not a fluke – it is repeatable
The church at Jerusalem was a Spirit-filled church
It is because they were Spirit-filled that the Jerusalem church possessed certain characteristics which drew people to them. These same characteristics will draw people to our church. In this passage, there are 4 characteristics that must be true of New Life Baptist Fellowship in order for us to attract people to the Lord and to our church.
Let’s look at v. 42 to see what those practices are, and then we’ll look at v. 43-47 to see what each of those practices actually meant for that church on a day by day basis. [READ vs. 42]
1. We can attract people to New Life through the teaching of truth (v. 42, 43) – “apostles’ teaching”
One of the most popular shows of all time is “the X Files”. The subtitle or theme of the show is, “The truth is out there.” The basic plot is that the government is trying to hide the fact that planet earth has been visited by aliens. Two FBI agents work desperately in each episode to uncover the conspiracy which our gov’t has worked to build. Why is this show so popular? Part of it could be that it casts our gov’t as the enemy. Most people can identify with that idea. But I think that the most potent reason for its popularity is that people identify with the quest of the two FBI agents. They are always on the verge of discovering the truth, but just when they are about to grasp it, the truth is yanked away from them. I think a lot of people in our society feel like that. They are searching for the truth about the meaning of life, about how to be a good parent, about how to have peace, about how to find love. The problem is that they are searching in all the wrong places. We have the truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes unto the Father except by me.” (Jn. 14:6)
Part of the message of truth that we have to deliver to people is a message of God’s judgment. God’s judgment in itself is not an attractive truth. But it allows us to tell people that in spite of the way that God feels about their sin, He loves them so much that He sent His Son Jesus to pay a debt that they owed so that they could have eternal life. People in our society are used to the idea that they have to earn people’s acceptance and approval. You have to look right, play sports right, talk right, use money right, and drive the right car to make people accept you. But what about all those who don’t measure up? Who’s going to love and accept them? God says, “I will”. That’s a truth that people will be drawn to.
Luke also says that the apostles began to do signs and wonders. I found myself wondering why Luke would have included this. Then I remembered what Peter had said about Jesus back in vs. 22. It says there that God put His stamp of approval on Jesus and all that He did by doing signs and wonders through Him. The signs and wonders gave authority to Jesus’ words so that the people would listen to Him. I think that the same thing is going on here. The apostles didn’t do miracles to elevate themselves. God did miracles through them to show that they now carried His authority, and people had better listen to what they said.