The Acts of the Holy Spirit; Acts 2:42-47

The Acts of the Holy Spirit; Acts 2:42-47
Preached @ Harambee Church (Renton Gathering of Soma Communities) by Pastor Michael Gunn on February 14th, 2010

“This was not a break away movement from Judaism, but the true Israel, where the Spirit was powerfully at work fulfilling God’s end time promises”
David G. Peterson (Commentator)

“We are constantly disconnected from the affections of the heart that come from knowing what God has done in you, and then seeing what God is doing through you! “
From the Sermon

Intro
We just finished Peter’s stirring sermon clearly outlining the prophetic fulfillment of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, and how that was a predetermined act of God to display His glory, and save a people unto Himself for His purposes. It also displayed the incredible power and glory of the Holy Spirit, who is not only responsible for raising Jesus from the dead, but is equally responsible for transforming and regenerating the hearts of millions who have called Him Lord and Savior. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, there is no church expansion.

Now Luke shifts his thoughts from the sermon to the early community forming. Summary passages like this remind us that the growth and development of His kingdom begins with the preaching of the gospel and the Power of the Holy Spirit, and secondly, He is building a kingdom of unified believers, not individual “Spiritual Beings.” This power is being released to build these communities that honor Him, not for personal gain.

There are a couple of important things that we need to know here.
First, we are called to community, because God is a community. We reflect Him the best when we are unified and loving one another. Community is not the end game, Jesus and His mission is. Sometime I think we are aiming at being in fellowship because of our needs, versus being in fellowship (“Koinonia”) for His purposes.

Secondly, this community is shaped by gospel and mission (See Philippians 1:5), and the people walking in step with the Spirit of God. In chapter one, we see the community waiting, listening before doing.

Our goal isn’t to form community, but to form communities shaped by the gospel, mission and the direction of the Holy Spirit!

From the Head…
So often Christian people argue over things like, “We are too concerned with teaching, which stunts the Spirit,” or “You’re too emotional and feeling oriented in your faith,” and “We need to do more works for the Lord.” I think it’s confusion over something that is way more holistic than that. Our passage reminds us today of the fact that the gospel encompasses the cognitive, volitional and affective nature of the human heart. It’s not an either or, it’s both/and. It is our engagement with the word and prayer that releases our godly affections that move us toward kingdom living values.

Early communities of God met regularly to:

Engage their Mind (Acts 2:42)
“They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers.”

Teaching was a common staple of the early church; both Jewish and gentile (Acts 3:11-26; 5:21; 11:25-26; 18:11; 19:9-10; 20:7-12, 20, 21, 28-32; 28:30-31). It is imperative for growth and for a proper understanding of the God we love. The word used for “Teaching” here is the Greek word Didache, which is the body of teaching that the early church saw was necessary for the establishing of the church in the faith. The teaching was practical and a key part in the ongoing mission of the church. The teaching expressed here was most likely done in the synagogues (See v. 46), but it probably was done in some form in the houses too. Too often it is believed that the teaching was done in houses, but early church gatherings were done is the synagogues and they use the Jewish style of teaching/preaching we see throughout the NT (See Luke 4:16-21; Acts 13:5, 13-52; 14:1; 17:1, etc.). This doesn’t negate teaching in smaller settings, but it doesn’t mandate this either as prescriptive.

Fellowship was equally important and I believe a result of understanding the gospel. The word used here is the Greek word koinonia, which comes from the word Koina meaning “Common.” The context bears out its meaning, which has the idea that all of the believers stuff was open for others to have/use. Because they understood the gospel well enough to realize that it was God/Jesus who saved them, and they didn’t need something else for their joy and peace, they were able to part with the things that God had blessed them with for the sake of the community and the mission, because they knew it blessed and glorified God, which became their aim. Fellowship isn’t hanging out with friends, it’s people on a “Common” mission, and they are willing to sacrifice for that mission. This is true biblical fellowship.

Breaking of Bread is a reference to the common meals shared amongst the early believers on a regular basis. Some see here a reference for the Lord’s table, but the context seems to indicate that this was nothing more than the simple sharing of meals together.

The Prayers mentioned here are most likely specific prayers done in a Jewish fashion of timed prayers (See 3:1), as well as the giving of thanks for God’s provision and meals (v. 46) that made them continually aware of what God had done, and what He was continuing to do through and in them. Note that these prayers are more corporate and liturgical, and have an element of waiting on God to see what He says.

Express Their Affections (Acts 2:43)
There is no wonder that awe and majesty filled their souls. This wasn’t a hyped up emotional roller coaster, that was drummed up by human means so that people could “Feel” the presence of the Lord. The presence of the Lord was real, and was felt as a natural result of what He was doing through the Spirit in the lives of the believer. We are looking for wonder and awe in all of the wrong places; through techniques, retreats, and manipulated experiences in our worship, but we are constantly disconnected from the affections of the heart that come from knowing what God has done in you, and then seeing what God is doing through you! We ought to be emotive, and will be when we have our minds full of His word, we have interfaced with Him in prayer (Corporately and privately), and have spent time with one another in hearing from God and one another, and then seeing God work His plan and not the plan of the church or the individual. Our affections are moved by our minds that are on fire, knowing what God has done for us, and how our identity is truly in Him, and not a program, or some other thing.

Enable Their Will (Acts 2:44-47)
Lastly, we see that a refreshed mind, whose heart is aflame with the love of God and the love of others is now ready for mission. Until we can say God is the gospel and the joy of my life, we can’t proclaim with gladness and passion! The lifestyle we see in these verses is a direct result of the gospel in their hearts, and transforming their hearts to care and ultimately share with those around them with “Glad and generous hearts” made possible by the gospel re-shaping their hearts! They accepted and were content with what they had, because they knew they had it all in Christ. They could sacrifice, because anything the world can offer pales in comparison to what Christ offers; the forgiveness of sins, the restored relationship with or creator, and the hope of eternal life with Him forever!

…to the Heart
It is too easy to fantasize and romanticize the early church. I believe much of the emerging church has done that. They so badly want to “get back” to an era that seemed so simple and easy, but Luke didn’t record this so we could covet, he expressed the reality of a community smitten with the gospel, and passionate about the mission the gospel gives us. They loved God and were so grateful that they were willing to suffer great persecution as a result. We want the crown and the glory, without the suffering and the pain, which they rejoiced in for the sake of Jesus!

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