On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. – Acts 2:1-6
This text in Acts was the very beginning of something supernatural; God’s design for the church took on its fullness that day in Jerusalem. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter and the others preached the gospel in the native languages of everyone present. It happened on the steps of the temple, then moved throughout all of Israel, Judea, and to the ends of the earth. The mission was on and the church was on the move!
They saw the genesis of a message they had only heard about before. The resurrection of Jesus had brought about the hope of eternal life and the power of the Holy Spirit. This was huge!
Studying Acts 2:42-47, we get a good look into what was taking place inside the walls of these churches, which were meeting in homes and the portico outside the temple. Specifically, in verse 42, four things are mentioned.
There was teaching. The Word had become flesh and by way of Christ’s resurrection, the teaching now lived inside of them and continues to live inside of us to this day.
The word became “living and active.” The Spirit uses the word to speak to us collectively as a church and personally. The word spoken publicly brings accountability, exhortation, and guidance. The word is not condemning, but freeing. This was new to the first believers and is still today to those who hear and believe for the first time.
There was fellowship. There was an incredible move of sharing within the church, one that is visible within the body still today. It was about giving as well as receiving. They were generous and used what they had to meet the needs of others in the church.
There was a new type of fellowship not just with one another, but also with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I love how C.S Lewis put it, “The whole dance, or drama, or pattern of this three-Personal life is to be played out in each one of us: or (putting it the other way round) each one of us has got to enter that pattern, take his place in that dance.” This dance with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is intimate and deeply attractive to those outside the church when experienced.
There was the breaking of bread and prayer. The very reason they came together was to celebrate through the breaking of bread and prayer. We continue to participate in the symbolic act of communion as we pause each week to remember what Christ willingly went through for the forgiveness of our sins and the freedom we now live in.
In Ephesians 3:20 Paul writes, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” As a church, we run toward this, praying for and with each other. There is nothing that compares to the power of a church praying over people. I know for myself when being prayed for, there is strength and peace that the Lord provides. The church is called to be a praying church.
The message presented at Pentecost had an incredible ripple effect, spreading rapidly throughout the known world, even in the face of persecution. We read all throughout the Book of Acts thousand among thousands of people accepting the message of Christ and being baptized. These were not just words that sounded good, it was and is life-changing truth, it is God’s plan!
Our church must walk out this design daily. The church is the hope of the world! How are you playing your part?