Good afternoon everyone. We just wrapped up our series on Acts 2, and the 6 essential components of the Church. I wanted to write up a summery of the sermon series for the sake of posterity. If any of these raises questions, or you missed one of the sermons, feel free to comment here for further clarification, or give me a call and we can go grab coffee!
First, we see the obedience of the Apostles to Christ leading to the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles follow Christ's command to wait in the city for the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4). That obedience led to the baptism of the Spirit, and to God's name and the Gospel being proclaimed to people from the ends of the earth! (Acts 2:5). The end result? 3000 people were baptized and the early church was formed when the Holy Spirit added to the remains of Apostles and Disciples left after Christ's death and resurrection, breathing the life of Christ into them!
In Acts 2:42-47, the first Church engages in 6 practices:
1. Discipleship: They devote themselves to the teaching of the Apostles. Of course, the Apostles taught what had been revealed to them in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. Many things that they learned from Christ, they only understood in retrospect as the Holy Spirit revealed to them the truth that they had previously not quite grasped! As we seek to be taught, whether is is through sermons, books, podcasts, or even in the studying of scripture, we have to have the wisdom of the Holy Spirit speaking to us, revealing the truth of the mighty Triune God!
2. Fellowship: The early church forged friendships, shared meals together, and shared their very lives with one another. Fellowship surrounded their prayer, the teaching, their worship, and even their mission and evangelism! So it should be with us as well. We learn, worship, pray, and reach others best in fellowship. Certainly there are moments when we engage in these things alone, but only as means to reengage others with more energy, strength, and wisdom.
3. Prayer: We pray to communicate with God. We pray to the Father, in the Name of the Son, and through the power of the Holy Spirit. We receive, we ask, we praise, we worship, and we listen in prayer. In short, prayer is our lifeline, it is the source of our communion with the Holy Trinity. Prayer can be spontaneous, it can be wrote. Prayer can be in our silence and in our shouts. Prayer can be thankful, and it can even be angry (read some of the Psalms)! Prayer is how we God communicates to us, and how we speak to him. And if we aren't praying, we aren't hearing the one Voice we need to hear!
4. Worship: Our whole lives can be worship. Our jobs, our play, our family life, our private life. Each action, when done though the righteousness of Christ in us and the power of the Holy Spirit can be an act of worship. More specifically in this case, we are speaking of corporate worship...worshiping our Lord together. Worship, like prayer, transforms us, and molds us into the image of Jesus. When we worship, we empty ourselves and are filled with the power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
5. Evangelism: Worship, Prayer, Discipleship, and Fellowship are ways in which we are filled with God. That infilling is not meant to be contained, and the sweetness of God's love is not meant solely for our consumption. Rather, we are meant to overflow with God. We are filled up, so that we can spill out! This "spilling out" results in God, using his body and Bride the Church, to minister to the world. We minister in our word and in our actions, sharing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christto all that we encounter!
6. Mission: Mission is an extension of evangelism. Here I am using mission in the sense of evangelism that is marked by service and care for the poor, marginalized, and the oppressed. This is the embodiment of Mathew 25: feed the hungry, care for the sick, visit the sick and imprisoned, care for the widow and the orphans. Again, Mission and Evangelism are outpouring of the work of God in our lives, the infilling of the Holy Spirit that we receive when we pray, worship, fellowship and are discipled effectively.
If any of the components are missing, we are failing in our role as the church and missing out on the blessing of living into the fullness of God's calling!