Sermons

Summary: The Disciples were together and everyone was filled with awe.

Introduction

As we begin a new year of ministry together we also begin a new message series called “filled with awe.” This series is based on the early church we read about in the Book of Acts. This community of believers experienced something absolutely new to humanity – the dwelling of God with people! Acts 2:43 says, “Everyone was filled with awe…”

Why was everyone filled with awe?

Back when I was a kid there began the use of the word “awesome” as slang. Everything was “awesome!” “Dude, can I snag a couple of chips? Awesome!” Recently I heard the word used that way… maybe it never went out of circulation, I don’t know. But think about it – what is truly awesome? Awesome things are those that take your breath away. They inspire awe.

• Have you seen the Grand Tetons? The Pacific Ocean?

• Have you held a newborn baby?

These are awesome! A coke and a bag of chips are not awesome.

It is interesting to me how words change. Did you know that the word awful and awesome have the same meaning. Inspiring awe… filled with awe. “Awful” in the sense of afraid or terrified took place because of the intensity of the moment. Isaiah 6 is the biblical example here. Isaiah was so in awe of God that he said, “Woe is me!” It’s not until down in the list – the 3rd definition of “awful” do you get the idea of “extremely disagreable or objectionable.”

What if I added to the Pacific Ocean, the Grand Tetons and a newborn baby the local church. Does the local church seem awesome to you? Is it awful (depends which definition!)?

I was born and the next Sunday I was in church. I have quite a bit of local church experience to draw from. It was two weeks before my 8th birthday that I was baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of my sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. I remember that day – and many since then, and my friends the local church can be awful and it can be full of awe. It can be horrible… and it can be awesome!

Q. How long have you been in the church? Has it been awful or full of awe?

The church was born on the Day of Pentecost, recorded for us by Luke in Acts 2. The Acts 2 church was awesome. Everyone was filled with awe! There are reasons for this that we want to discover in this series. There are principles clearly given to us that, if we learn and live out, will make our experience as the church an awesome thing. It’s my conviction that God still wants to awe us with Himself.

And this is the variable! The church is awesome when God’s Spirit is prominent and leading the hearts and minds of His people. The church is awful (extremely shocking, saddening or unpleasant) when God’s Spirit is not listened to and followed. It is possible to “grieve the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 4:30). People frustrate what God wants all the time – including in the church.

God Himself is awesome. As we experience Him in our lives we are filled with awe and amazement. When you think of awesome, think of God first! Is it really awesome? Consider these Scriptures:

Genesis 28:16-17

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

Exodus 15:11

“Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?

Who is like you— majestic in holiness,

awesome in glory, working wonders?

Psalm 99:1-3

The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble;

he sits enthroned between the cherubim,

let the earth shake. Great is the Lord in Zion;

he is exalted over all the nations.

Let them praise your great and awesome name—he is holy.

Nehemiah 4:14

“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

The church of Jesus Christ was not created by men, but by God. There is a touch of the divine in the church. We are a gathering of people who believe in God and trust Jesus for salvation. We have been adopted into the family of God. The church is His doing, His creation, His masterpiece; His Kingdom – we are citizens in it.

Since the church is not of human origin, but a divine organization that is made up of humans, there is part of our experience that is a touch of the divine. God is “awesome in this place!” We sense His Presence as we sing His praises. As we live for Him and serve in His Name, we sense His pleasure and the blessing of God rests on us. There is something absolutely supernatural about our fellowship.

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