Acts 2:42-47 The Effects of the Spirit on the Life of the Church

Meditation for Preparation

Let’s sum up some the elements of this early church life.

·  They focused a lot on the teaching of the apostles (which we have in the New Testament).
·  They experienced wonders and signs (which are still valid for the church today, I argued last spring, especially through the means of spiritual gifts).
·  They lived in a state of wonder and awe as they saw day in and day out the stark reality of God in healings and deliverances and changed lives of people being added to the church.
·  They shared their possessions as freely with the needy as though they didn’t even own them.
·  They spent time in big groups in the temple.
·  They ate together in their homes almost every day.
·  And when they met each other, they met God. They prayed and they praised.

What makes all this hang together? What’s the driving force that made those believers free from their possessions, and eager to meet needs, and full of gladness and generosity and praise and prayer when they ate together day after day?

I think the key is found in verse 43 in the phrase, “fear came upon every soul”—a joyful, trembling sense of awe that you don’t trifle with the God of the apostles. That is not our experience. Today for most people, including most professing Christians, God is an idea to talk about, or an inference from an argument, or a family tradition to be preserved. But for very few people is God a stark, fearsome, stunning, awesome, shocking present REALITY. He is tame. He is distant. He is silent. Where are the churches of whom Luke could say today, “Fear—awe, wonder, trembling—is upon every soul”?

The absence of this fear has a direct effect on the way we accumulate possessions for ourselves, the way we ignore the needy, the way we trivialize fellowship, and the way we play more than we pray.

This is another reason why my heart longs for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in an extraordinary way. If the awesome teaching of the apostles would stand forth the way it did in Peter’s preaching on Pentecost, and if the Lord confirmed his truth with wonders and signs, this holy, happy fear would come upon the church, and material possessions would become as nothing, except to serve others; people, not things, would become precious beyond words; and when we met each other, we would meet God. And prayer would be everywhere.

John Piper

Heart Preparation
Read Acts 2:42-47. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit caused this depth of community. Where does our church do a good job in these areas? Where do we have room for growth and what is necessary for that growth?

Posted on: June 6, 2013 - 9:05PM

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