A Church Alive.
There is no doubting the fact how the early church rocked the world turning it upside down or as others have stated before me right-side-up with the truth of Jesus Christ. In this article I want to exlore one of the critical keys for the success of the early church. The Holy Spirit.
The Work of the Spirit in the Book of Acts.
The early church was a spirit-filled people and this is precisley where it’s power lay. In the first 13 versus of the book of Acts there are more than 40 refrences to the Holy Spirit this alone should create in us enough interest to desire more of what we can personally and corporately experience.
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…” Acts 1:8
The Holy Spirit was the source of all guidance.
From the moment the Holy Spirit became the dominant reality in the life of the early church the Spirit was indeed the source of guidance. Gone were the casting of lots. And now a new way of living, being led by the Spirit.
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Here are but a few examples of what I mean:
It is the Spirit who moves Phillip to make contact with the Ethiopian Eunch ( Acts 8:29 )
It is the Spirit who prepares Peter for the coming emissaries of Cornelius ( Acts 10:19 )
It is the Spirit who orders Peter to go with the emissaries ( Acts 11:12 )
It is the Spirit who enables Agabus to foretell the coming famine ( Acts 11:28 )
It is the Spirit who orders the setting apart of Paul and Barnabas to taking the gospel to the gentiles. ( Acts 13:2-4 )
It is the Spirit who guides the decisions of the Council of Jerusalem ( Acts 15:28 )
It is the Spirit who guides Paul, past Asia, Mysia and Bithynia, down to Troas, then to Europe ( Acts 16:6 )
It is the Spirit who tells Paul what awaits him in Jerusalem ( Acts 20:23 )
Once the Spirit of God came upon as promised by God no great decision was ever taken, no important step was ever embarked upon, by the early church without the guidance of the Spirit.
A “Church Alive” must certianly be a Spirit-Guided community.
All the leaders were men of the Spirit.
The seven are men of the Spirit ( Acts 6:3 )
Stephen and Barnabas are full of the Spirit ( Acts 7:55 ; 11:24 )
Paul tells the elders at Ephesus that is was the Spirit who made them overseers of over the Church of God ( Acts 20:28 )
A “Church Alive” is made up of people living in the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit was the source of daily courage and power.
As promised, power was diffently received when the Spirit fell upon the Church.
Peter’s courage and eloquence before the Sanhedrin are the result of the activing of the Spirit ( Acts 4:31 )
In Cyprus Paul’s conquest of Elymas is the work of the Spirit ( Acts 13:9 )
The Christian courage to meet the dangerous situation. The Christian power to cope with life more than adequately. The Christian eloquence when eloquence is needed. The Christian joy independent of circumstances are all ascribed to the work of the Spirit.
A “Church Alive” is a courageous community of people for God.
Who wouldn’t want more of the Spirit?
Now you may be asking, don’t I have all of the Spirit? Let me ask you. Is your life being lived out like the lives we read above? Let me share with you a very suggestive verse, you’ll find in Acts 5:32
“…Speaking of the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32
Within this verse lies a great truth which is; the person that is truly seeking and honestly trying to do the will of God will experience more and more of the wonder of The Spirit. It’s really logical if you think about it. If you and I are going to ignore being obedient to God’s Word and will, we’re not going to be experiecing what the person who is seeking to obey God’s will and Word will.
A “Church Alive” are peple seeking to do the will of God.
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