Faithlife Sermons

Acts 2:42-47 Marks of a Spirit-Filled Community

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1,262 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Text

Acts 2:42–47 ESV
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Introduction

Our passage begins with the word “And...”
sandwiched between verse 41 and 47
Acts 2:41 ESV
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Acts 2:47 ESV
praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Jesus is building His Church (continuing Acts of Jesus)
Luke stops on occasion after big events to give a picture of the life of the NT Church (4, 6, 12, 13, 19)
Event: the coming of the Holy Spirit - Peter’s sermon - Peter’s invitation in verse 38
Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Passage really begins in verse 41
Acts 2:41 ESV
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Luke now pauses…
Gives us a glimpse into the life of those 3120 members of Jesus’ church
What the effects were of being added
We can say, we will see what a Spirit-filled community of believers looks like.
I believe Luke gives us 5 primary markers that identify a typical Spirit-filled community in verse 42 - and then verse 43-47 unpack what that looked like

1. New Devotions

They devoted themselves
… to the apostles’ teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers.
After receiving the Spirit - they received new life - also new desires, devotions
People like to talk about receiving forgiveness and new life - but not about devotions
The object of their devotions changed
We all have things that we devote ourselves to
We all have things that we devote ourselves to
many people come back from events with
The things we devote our time and energy to most, are the objects of our devotion - what our hearts most desire
First mark of a Spirit-filled believer is a change in our devotion.... from selfish desires, to selfless pursuits.... from devotion to self, to devotion to God and His bride
Greek: to persevere devotedly
In the aftermath of events (camps, conferences, crusades, revival meetings), many come home with lots of zeal - but it fades
This is not a temporary high
Luke is describing a devotion that perseveres
A mark of true conversion is a persevering devotion to God
It carries with it a sense of striving - even battling hardships, hurdles
fighting temptation and going against the tide of our flesh
Nobody said devotion to God is easy
You have to strive, fight, take up the armour, persevere, run the race with endurance
It takes discipline - making it part of our daily routine
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Cor
Philippians 1:6 ESV
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Now when Paul tells us to take up the armour of God, what does he refer to?
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Helmet of salvation
Belt of truth
breastplate of righteousness
sword of the Spirit
And how does the writer of Hebrews tell us we can successfully run the race with endurance to the finish line?
12:2 - looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith
If we look at the things here in that the church devoted themselves to, we will see this is exactly what they were trying to do
What specific things did they devote themselves to?

2. The Apostles’ Teaching

Greek: Didache - doctrine
They devoted themselves to studying the Scripture to understand God’s Word,
....and to the teaching ministry of the Apostles who were gifted and commissioned by Jesus Himself to teach them.
Remember Jesus chose and appointed the apostles
They lived with Jesus
They sat under his teaching
He taught them everything that the OT Scriptures taught concerning himself
He tasked them
Matthew 28:18 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Matthew 18:19–20 ESV
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 28:19–20 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:
Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
And after Jesus ascended, He gave them His Spirit, who He promised would lead them into all truth
And as a sign from God that authenticated their calling and teaching, and affirmed the gospel they taught, God did many signs and wonders through them - as we see
And as a sign from God that authenticated their calling and teaching, and affirmed the gospel they taught, God did many signs and wonders through them - as we see
Acts 2:43 ESV
And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
So the first thing they devoted themselves to was to the teaching ministry of the Apostles -
but more specifically, to understanding the apostles’ teaching and explanation of what the Scriptures teach
but more specifically, to understanding the apostles’ teaching and explanation of what the Scriptures teach
It was a devotion to the Word of God and to the study of doctrine
This is one of the primary markers of a Spirit-filled believer and a Spirit-filled community
People wrongly place too much emphasis on the signs and wonders
signs and wonders were not the the focus - they pointed to the focus
the signs and wonders authenticated the gospel that the apostles taught
the focus is the message
Some people say that the mark of a truly spiritual church is a focus and reliance on the Holy Spirit doing supernatural signs and wonders among the people
That isn’t what we are seeing
The Holy Spirit is not at odds with the Word
The Holy Spirit helps us understand God’s Word
We are not seeing that they devoted themselves to signs and wonders
We are not seeing that they devoted themselves to learning to speak in tongues - that isn’t even mentioned
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to doctrine.
We still have the apostles’ teaching today. They are the New Testamant gospels and letters, written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which explain and help us also to understand the Old Testament Scriptures, and together it is all God’s Word
If you want to be a Spirit-filled Christian, devote yourself to the Word
The mark of a Spirit-filled community of believers...
is not a devotion and pursuit of signs and wonders,
or entertainment,
or emotional highs and
spiritually charged atmospheres -
The mark of a Spirit-filled community is a devotion to the study of the Scripture and a pursuit of the knowledge of God and sound doctrine
That also means that it is the primary work and responsibility of the pastor and the elders to teach the Scriptures and sound doctrine
Together, we must have a devotion to Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
We don’t need new revelations
We don’t need new prophecies
We don’t need anybody to come and tell us “God told me....”
If you want to do that, you had better be able to give us the chapter and verse - and it better be in context
We are a Spirit-filled community - we are devoted to the study of God’s Word
Even the most energetic and zealous devotions can quickly go very wrong if not properly anchored in Gods Word
Any steam train carries a tremendous amount of energy and power - lets call it zeal - to propel itself forward
But place that steam train on a tarr road and let employ all that energy to launch itself forward, and before long it will lose control and end up in an epic wreck of self-destruction
But put set that train down on its proper tracks, and it will be anchored and move steadfastly to its destination
The problem with the modern way of evangelising people is that we are not anchoring people in Gods Word
We get them to make a profession of faith and then with all their new-found energy and zealousness to follow Jesus, we set them down on a tarr road,
expecting and pursuing emotional highs,
signs and wonders,
supernatural encounters, experiences,
lively worship music with emotional atmospheres,
Blessed lifestyles and health, wealth & prosperity
Before long they will be like the children Paul spoke about
Ephesians 4:14 ESV
so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
We have to be anchored in Gods Word, and we have to anchor each other in Gods Word
That is a mark of a Spirit-filled community of believers

3. The Fellowship

Don’t read it simply as fellowship
THE fellowship
not “The Fellowship of the Ring” - but a similar concept
Now we tend to think of fellowship as the odd braai / get together - fellowship in the hall - spending time together
Certainly included - but not the whole picture
Greek: Koinonia - active participation in the activities and privileges of a group or community
Now we tend to think of fellowship as the odd braai / get together - fellowship in the hall - spending time together
Certainly included - but not the whole picture
This is talking about so much more than being acquaintances through a mutual interest
The first Spirit-filled Christians were devoted to the well-being and welfare of the whole Christian community
The first Spirit-filled Christians were devoted to the well-being and welfare of the whole Christian community
They were devoted to The Fellowship - The Community - The Church
They took very seriously the teaching of unity in Christ
The beautiful truth that all are now one in Christ
Ephesians 4:4–6 ESV
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Eph 4:
Remember this is tied back to verses 38 and 41
When they responded to Peter’s call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, they received the promised Holy Spirit, and Jesus added them to the church
The inevitable effect of that was love for the Lord Jesus, love for the others who love Jesus, and unity with each other in Jesus Christ.
And one of the ways that their unity and love for one another was seen, was in their openhandedness with their possessions
Like all of us, before being saved they were devoted to their worldly possessions and selfish ambitions
But now the object of their devotions has changed
The result: they are no longer as attached to their possessions as they once were
Their attachment was no longer to the world and its corruptible possessions, but to Jesus
So much so that when any of their number were in need, because of love, they did not hesitate to even sell what they had so that they could share with one another
Something you would not have seen among these believers was one Christian swimming in the cash while another went days without food and shelter.
Luke says that they had “all things in common”, and even sold all their possessions and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need.
This is a miraculous change of heart that could only have been effected by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
Should this be the normal pattern for the Church in all times and for the Church today?
Is Luke showing us that we should live in a communistic or socialist society?
Is this example showing us that there should be no such thing as private property, and that we should all sell our possessions and give everything to CBC, and let the elders then dish out money to everyone as they have needs?
There are 3 things that I would like to point out before we take an extreme view on this style of living, and see something that isn’t in the text.
The selling of all their possessions was not a requirement or forced on them - it was completely voluntary
In chapter 5, when Ananias withholds some of the proceeds of the sale of his house, Peter says to him in verse 4: “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own?”
Evidently, some of the Christians in this group did not sell their homes
verse 46 says that day by day, they were breaking bread in their homes
Scripture is very clear that we are to act responsibly and provide for ourselves and our families - not to rely on the welfare of others
2 Thessalonians 3:10–12 ESV
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
2 Thess 3:10-
Scripture is clear -
Now before you breathe a sigh of relief - and if you did, shame on you...
in the very next verse Paul continues and says further...
2 Thessalonians 3:13 ESV
As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.
The point of Luke sharing this part of the church’s activities with us - and he shares it very intentionally and for good reason -
is to show us that the kind of unity that this first community of Spirit-filled believers enjoyed was displayed in their openhandedness with their possessions...
… and their generosity, their willingness and readiness to give sacrificially for the good of their brothers and sisters
their identity and joy was no longer attached to their possessions but to Christ
And therefore, they could even sell their houses in order to care for the poorest among them
This is challenging - I know
We live in a consumer-driven culture, where our identity is far too easily attached to the kind of house we live in, the car we drive, our status in society, our standard of living
We find it difficult in these days to sacrifice a luxury like DSTV so that we might give more generously to the work of the Church
Yes I know that stings but don’t look at me - its in the Word, I’m just telling you what it says.
If that hurts, let the Spirit do His work in your heart through what the Word says
If that hurts, let the Spirit do His work in your heart through what the Word says
A mark of a Spirit-filled community is a detachment from the world and worldly pursuits, and wealth and status
and instead an attachment to and identification with Jesus and the Fellowship of believers
It is seeking to live so closely in unity with each other in Christ, that we not only want to spend time together....
.... but we also want to share each other’s burdens and joys
1 Corinthians 12:26 ESV
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

4. The Breaking of Bread

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
I believe more is being referred to here than just the sharing of meals together, as evidently they did do very regularly together in their homes
There is something very special about sharing meals together
but I believe there is a reason that Luke specifically refers to this activity not as sharing meals, but as breaking bread
and the clear reference I think, is to the Lord’s Supper
and the breaking of the bread is a symbolic reference to the remembrance of Jesus body being broken for us on the cross
What Luke is showing us is that from the every beginning,
the Church has had these 2 ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Baptism has already been mentioned in verse 38 in Peter’s invitation, and we can presume that each member of this Christian community has by this stage been baptised in obedience to Jesus
Now the Church is being obedient to Jesus command to regularly break bread together and drink together in remembrance of His sacrifice for them
Luke 22:19–20 ESV
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
What I see here is a Church that is filled with the Holy Spirit
and the effects of being a Spirit-filled community of believers is
a devotion to God’s Word and studying it,
their unity in Christ being expressed in detachment from the world and their openhandedness with their possessions
their obedience to Jesus

5. The Prayers

One of the reasons that I believe Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper and told us to do it regularly, and to do so in remembrance of Him....
....is because we need constant reminder of the gospel.... AND of our reliance on Jesus for everything
And so another mark of the Spirit in a community of believers is their understanding of the gospel and their reliance on Jesus being expressed in a devotion to prayer
What does the Lord’s Supper remind us?
It is a reminder of the cross
Contrary to what is taught in some places, the cross does not demonstrate primarily how much worth we have, but how loving and just God is
The cross shows us that we were so radically depraved and wicked and lost, that the only way that we could be redeemed and saved was for God to have mercy on us and come to redeem us
The cross shows us that God’s love and grace is of such a great magnitude that He did not withhold his mercy from us, ....
.... and instead of giving us what we deserve, He gave His own Son what we deserve
But His love and grace is even so great that further to that, God also gave us what His perfect and Righteous Son deserves
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Cor 5:21
So the Lord’s Supper is a reminder of the cross, and the cross tells us that when we were utterly lost and without hope, unable to save ourselves...
Jesus came and rescued us
We could do nothing of our own accord to deserve His rescue, but relied on His grace and provision on the cross
But our reliance upon God did not stop at the moment of salvation and our conversion
We don’t get saved only to be left to our own devices and strength to run the rest of our race on our own
Our reliance on Jesus continues into eternity for all things - both spiritual and physical
And so the last mark that Luke mentions, of a Spirit-filled community, is a devotion to prayer -
Any believer who truly understands what Jesu
Your prayer life is a good indicator of your spiritual health
The extent of your reliance upon God in prayer is an indication of how much you understand and believe the gospel
Or...
how much you believe yourself to be the
It is expressed in gratitude and praise - as is seen in verse 47
And it is expressed in relying upon Him to provide all our needs and to work on our behalf

Conclusion

Because what do we see again here in verse 47?
Acts 2:47 ESV
praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
It is no coincidence that Luke sandwiches this passage between 2 statements, in verse 41 and 47, that great numbers were being added to the church....
- and that he adds in verse 47 that the one doing the adding is the Lord Jesus Himself
It is an expression of the reality that the ascended Jesus is continuing to work in the world through His Church
That the Church can only fulfill our calling to be His witnesses in the world when we are living in reliance on HIM
Having the desires of our hearts shifted to Jesus by the indwelling Holy Spirit
Being anchored in the truth of His Word
Devoted to one another in fellowship and unity
proclaiming the gospel to one another in observing the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper,
and relying on Him and pleading with Him in prayer
Not because these works that we need to perform like a magic formula
But because these things are Jesus’ work in us through the Holy Spirit
Our hope is in Jesus alone
If we would believe that, and live it out, without any other extravagance, or cleverness, or strategies, or systems, or entertainment or big budgets, or anything else man made...
If we would simply believe in Jesus alone and live even simple, ordinary lives in devotion to Jesus and complete reliance upon Him, we might see more of the amazing power of Jesus among us
Just look at this church that Luke describes....
They did nothing fancy
They had no budget
They didn’t have a Powerpoint presentation
They didn’t have a spectacular worship band
They were ordinary people, living simply in reliance and celebration of God… and yet Luke says that in spite of - or maybe because of - such simplicity...
in verse 47...
They had favour with all the people and the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
All hail and worship Jesus’ name, for there is no higher name, and there is no other name by which man can be saved.
Related Media
Related Sermons