Summary: God’s desire is that His church would walk in the Spirit, living the Spirit-filled life, and bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
THE STORY OF JESUS AND HIS CHURCH: NEW BEGINNINGS
INTRO TO THE BOOK OF ACTS: The Book of Acts is the Story of the Church
• QUESTION: What is the church? (Discuss)
INTRO TO THE HOLY SPIRIT:
• One day, Jesus made the most shocking statement to His disciples:
• “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away…” (John 16:7a).
• Why would He say that? He healed broken hearts, forgave sinners, transformed lives!
• “…for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7b, NKJV). That Helper is the Holy Spirit.
• “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7, NKJV). Earthen vessels = jars of clay!
• “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).
• Notice Jesus said you would receive power, not become weird. Too much weirdness!
• What kind of power? Power to be different. To be more loving, joyful, peaceful. To resist temptation and say no to sin and addictions. To pray and see miracles happen in others.
• To learn more about the church and the Holy Spirit, we’re going to turn to Acts:
THE BIG IDEA: God’s desire is that His church would walk in the Spirit, living the Spirit-filled life, and bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
INTRO TO THE BOOK OF ACTS:
“1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:1-5, NKJV).
• Acts is the 5th book of the New Testament, and was written by the doctor Luke.
• It is both a HISTORY (of what happened in the first century) and a BLUEPRINT (for what God wants to see happen in the church today).
• CHALLENGE: Read through the Book of Acts over the next couple of months!
GOD’S BLUEPRINT FOR THE CHURCH: Luke’s description of the church:
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:41-47, NKJV).
GOD’S BLUEPRINT FOR THE CHURCH:
1. Teaching (apostle’s doctrine – reading and studying the Bible together)
2. Fellowship (breaking of bread – sharing meals and lives together – home groups!)
3. Prayer (praying together and believing God for supernatural miracles)
4. Sense of Awe (people respected the church because of God’s favour on it)
5. Signs and Wonders (sign = points to Jesus, wonder = causes people to wonder)
6. Sharing & generosity (had all things common and divided as anyone had need)
7. Unity (one accord – they walked in love, acceptance and forgiveness)
8. Gladness (joy – a supernatural fruit of the Spirit filled life!)
9. Simplicity of Heart (our lives are too busy and complicated!)
10. Praising God (people of praise and worship – glorified God with their lives)
11. Favour with the People (they were a supernatural force for God)
12. Daily Salvations (lots of people were getting saved every day)
• How does our church compare to that picture? We’re not there yet!
1. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT:
“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.” (Gal. 5:22-23, NLT).