Sunday, December 11, 2011

From Acts to Revelation - Part 7: Fellowship and Worship

From Acts to Revelation
Part 7 – Fellowship and Worship
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

What we have learned so far is; the Lord preparing the Disciples, the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower the Apostles and start the church; Peter's first sermon to all the God-fearing Jews of the world who came to Jerusalem for the holy-day; how Peter's message reached thousands, and they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord, and were baptized.

Today we are going to look at the doctrine the church followed, their fellowship, the works of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles and Disciples, and how the church members took care of one another.

Acts 2:42-47
 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

1.      They continued in the Apostles doctrine
1.      vs38Repent be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ, and because of the remission of sins, you will receive the Holy Spirit.

2.      This is the doctrine of the church that must be preached.

2.      and fellowship and in breaking of bread
1.      Meaning eating together, as well as the Lord's Supper, which was far less liturgical than today.

2.      They spent time together, ate meals together, fellow-shipped.

3.      Not at special events, holidays or meetings, but all the time, in daily life. They were a community of believers who looked out for one another, and took care of one another.

1.      Fear came upon every soul
1.      This speaks of the moving and operation f the Holy Spirit.

2.      Seeing the things that the Spirit was doing, all had a sense of wonder and fear.

2.      Many wonders and signs were done by the Apostles
1.      NOTE: Done by the apostles. It does not say Disciples...

2.      These signs and wonders were to establish the fact that these men represented God, and their teaching and instruction was to be considered doctrine, and the basis and foundation of the church.

3.       Why can’t all believers do signs and wonders today just like the apostles did in the early church?
1.      First of all we are NOT to listen to those who promote their opinion that we can do anything the apostles or Jesus did. And neither should we listen to those who claim that miracles no longer take place. What we need to hear is the word of God, the apostles teaching on this and what took place in the early church history. One of the reasons to study the Book of Acts!

2.      Any Scripture we may find has to agree with the actual events otherwise it must mean something other than what you may think it means. (Collapsing contexts) We are to believe it as it is written to be in the truth. What the apostles did is seen in the book of Acts as recorded history and doctrine. What the apostles taught the church is in the epistles.

3.      Believers are not given the supernatural ability like the apostles to do miracles at the drop of a hat. Otherwise they would not have had to call Peter to raise Tabitha - they would have done it themselves.
1.      Acts 9:36-10:1At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.”

4.      Acts 8:5-7Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.”
1.      He was able to deliver people from demons and heal the sick. What we notice is that there were just a few not the many, not the majority of believers.

5.      Acts 2:43 “…and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles

6.      Acts 5:12And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch.

7.      Acts 14:3therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”
1.      If all the church could do miracles like the apostles and this was normal, then this would be meaningless for Paul say in 2 Corinthians 12:13Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.”

2.      Throughout the book of Acts (actually called the Acts of the Apostles) we see the apostles doing the signs and wonders.

8.      I believe in God’s power and we can pray and He can still do mighty things, heal and do miracles. He can do beyond all that we ask (Ephesians 3:20) but to promise an absolute recovery by supernatural healing, or resurrection of dead people is not faith but presumption, God does not have to obey what you ask or command, instead we are to obey him.

1.      All who believed were together and had all things common and sold their possessions and goods and parted them to all men as every man had need.
1.      Because of the persecution of the early church, and the hate for them, many lost their jobs when they converted to Christianity.

2.      So all who believed shared all they had.

3.      Those with great possessions sold them, and shared the money with those who had nothing.

2.      Seeing this in scripture, we must understand.
1.      This does not mean you must sell everything, and have nothing to follow Christ...unless you are like the rich man who allowed his possessions to be his lord.

2.      But what it means is, if you see a fellow Christian in need, you do what ever it takes to see that they have their needs fulfilled, even if it means selling your possessions. God blessed you to be a blessing. You have, so you can give.

1.      They continued daily with one accord in the temple
1.      The temple had been turned into a Church, which is just another reason for the religious authorities and Jews alike to hate the Christians.

2.      and breaking bread from house to house
1.      Meaning, they took turns feeding each other, from house to house, caring for each others needs.

3.      ate their meal with gladness and singleness of heart
1.      They had a joy that persecution could not hinder.

4.      Praising God and having favor with all people
1.      Jerusalem as a whole was impressed with what they saw in these followers of Christ, although the religious leaders continued to persecute them.

5.      and the Lord added to the church daily-such as should be saved.
1.      Many came to the Lord, were “saved” and counted among believers, regardless of where they lived, or worshiped.

What we learned from Acts today is;

1.      The early church continued in the doctrines of the Apostles
1.      Repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
2.      Because of the remission of sins you will receive the Holy Spirit

2.      The early church continued in fellowship
1.      eating together, spending time together in worship and every day life

3.      The Holy Spirit was at work, showing signs and wonders
1.      both through the Apostles, those appointed and through the Disciples prayers

4.      The early church also showed unity among believers taking care of each other, no matter the cost

And when these things were done...Acts 2:47 tells us, that the Lord added to their number.