ACTS 2:42-47 ESV
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
This is what Christian community should look like, yes? People filled with the Spirit, working together, giving to one another, providing for those in need, worshiping privately and corporately. This is the picture we all long for in the many of churches around the world.
But there are many expressions of what the Church should look like according to all of our denominations and non-denominations. And the problem that keeps creeping up within congregations is the idea that today’s text is to give us a model or a formula for what we should or shouldn’t be doing. But that’s not right.
What this text gives us is a revelation. It reveals to us that what we need in each of our churches, in each of our families, and in each of our individual hearts is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! We’re not to be about the business of what we should be doing, but only about the business of what God is doing. We’re not looking for the right way to do church. We’re looking to be given over to, guided by, and grounded in the Holy Spirit of God.
We do a terrible job sometimes talking about the Holy Spirit in the church. We think that the Holy Spirit is some sort of confidence or gasoline in our faith-tank. But that’s not right. The Holy Spirit is God Himself! God is giving us Himself, to come and live within, to mend broken hearts, to restore troubled minds, to raise up our dead parts. God desires that we should live WITH His presence and IN His power at all times.
Living with the presence of God means that we have what we need at all times and in all places. It means that when you are down, scared, worried, or lost, you are not alone and you are not ill-equipped. You have God with you. And tapping into that boundless well of resources depends upon whether or not you are willing to engage in real worship. Will you pray, will you read His word, will you include Him in all the areas of depression, fear, anxiety, and confusion?
Oh, to worship God is to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 ESV). To worship God is to hate “what is evil,” and “hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9 ESV). To receive and use the presence of God is to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2 ESV). And we do these things, why? Because “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 ESV). And God is seeking to be present with you, so that His power can be unleashed on the world.
Living in the power of God is to claim His presence and His promises in your daily life. To reach out in faith and participate in that presence is to let God use the broken vessel that you are for His holy and redeeming work. For, God “is the one who gives power and strength to His people.” (Psalm 68:35 ESV). And we are called by God to do His powerful work in the world; we are sent as His messengers, just as the apostles, having the same Spirit. It was Peter who said, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38 ESV). And so God is with us, wanting to use YOU to be a display of His power in the world.
God’s powerful redeeming work is the only power that can turn people from their sins, free them from shame and guilt, and renew their minds for godly work. Living with God’s power means that as you light up with His presence, others see you as a light house high above the raging sea of life. The presence of God fills you, his vessel, and His power shines forth, cutting through the fog of sin and death and lighting up the way for safe passage into the harbor of God’s love.
This is what a resurrection life looks like: a life that is filled with His Spirit and moved by His power. And the early apostles, disciples, and converts were only the beginning what God desires to do. It is our job to receive His invitation to be whole, to beg Him for His presence, and then to have God unleash His transforming power through our willingness to be used by Him.
Will you receive the Spirit of God? Will some of you today receive His Spirit for your salvation? Will some of you today receive His Spirit for your healing? Will some of you receive His Spirit for your equipping, for ministry in the world? There are many of you who need to come talk. Some of us need to take a walk together. Will you come? Will you walk with His presence? Will you walk in His power?