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Devotional - week of November 18, 2007


NO STRATEGIES OR EXHORTATIONS NECESSARY

 

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.  Acts 2:42

 

Acts 2:42 is a partial description of the church following Pentecost. Verses 43-47 add that the church continued in a state of unity, generosity, influence, witnessing, fellowship, joy, praise and effective evangelism. She is the model church for all ages and cultures.

 

Notice that there is no mention of strategy, organization or exhortation. What makes this early church, then, a model for all ages and all cultures? There can be only one answer.

 

On the day of Pentecost, the 120 people in the upper room were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). They began to witness to the masses that were attracted to the place of the upper room by the sound of a rushing mighty wind. Acts 2:38 records Peter telling those to whom the 120 were witnessing that if they would repent, they would receive the Holy Spirit.

 

About 3000 repented that day. The Holy Spirit came to live in each of them. There were now about 3120 people in the fellowship of the church and in whom the Holy Spirit lived. Since the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has entered the lives of all who repent and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. He comes in to stay.

 

Scripture and experience show that God gives a sovereign period of grace for days, weeks or months to new believers in which they are filled with the Holy Spirit. During those first days following Pentecost the 3120 plus all their new converts were filled with the Spirit. That is what made the early church the model for all churches in all ages and all cultures.

 

Our emphasis on strategy, organization and exhortation for bringing in the Kingdom needs to be replaced with attention to being continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Since we are commanded in Ephesians 5:18 to be continually filled with the Spirit, it is a possibility for every believer and every church.

 

Let any strategy, organization or exhortation we need be under the direction and power of the Holy Spirit.

 

As we continue to live out our spiritual crucifixion, burial and resurrection, we will continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit.