The early church may have begun as closet Christians in the upper room but all that changed when the fire of God’s power fell on them!
When the fire of the Holy Spirit came and totally encased them (‘entented’ – to re-coin a word that hit the church scene a few years back), they were changed, charged and commissioned! And they went for it!
Following that amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, those first disciples of Christ immediately hit the streets praising God and letting all around visually see and hear that something incredible had happened to them.
A bit different from today when many Christians remain closet disciples, almost afraid to talk about Jesus Christ! We need to get with it!
With joy and thankfulness we celebrated the resurrection of our Saviour a few weeks ago. But Easter is passed; it’s time for the next step, time to, like those first disciples, move on!
What were the keys that undergirded the early church’s next step?
I once asked a question of a great man of God who, despite countless odds in troubled times, had hit the streets after his conversion, won hundreds to Jesus and eventually built a large city church.
‘What are some of the keys you discovered?’ I asked innocently. Abruptly he turned and looked at me almost with disdain. Then this remarkable pastor responded gruffly, ‘Keys, son? Keys? There are more doors in the ministry than keys.’
I would come to know exactly what he meant!
But in doing so I did discover three keys that helped the first church in ‘hitting the streets’ – ones that we must also employ to grow personally and likewise see our church grow corporately in a time of ongoing uncertainty with ‘wars and rumours of wars’ and strange occurrences such as spreading dangerous volcanic ash.
Really it was a time of embracing…
Firstly, they embraced the character of Christ that was theirs ‘in Christ’ as the insightful Paul put it (see Phi. 4:8-9… ‘think about such things’…and ‘put it into practice’).
Secondly, they embraced the command of Christ to share the gospel on every occasion locally and afar (see Mat. 28:18-20… the great commission).
Thirdly, they embraced the charisma of Christ to enable them to boldly share that gospel and move miraculously in the Spirit’s anointing and power (Read the whole Book of Acts, noting especially 10:38 and 1:8!).
And they went to it boldly!
They hit the streets in Acts 2, boldly explaining why they were so overwhelmingly joyous, boldly proclaiming the good news of a loving Saviour, boldly regaining lost souls into the kingdom of light and boldly demeaning Satan and his power.
Actually, Acts is the real never-ending story! Acts 2 was just the beginning, Acts 28 was not the end, and Acts 29 is still being written! That is… it’s supposed to be still being written about us and by us!
The opportunities are out there on countless occasions for someone’s life or/and circumstances to be influenced and affected by Christians moving in the Spirit – the supernatural – as did Jesus and the early church as they hit the streets in their next step.
Remember Paul’s warm welcome ‘connect’ activities from his own home towards everyone he met…the last words of Acts 28…‘Boldly and without hindrance preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ.’ And Paul was a guy who urged other Christians – us – to follow his examples (1 Cor. 4:16; 1 The. 3:7, 9).
Pentecost Sunday is coming soon…May 23
The funny thing is that while many non-Pentecostal churches every year faithfully recall that first Pentecost Sunday, so many actual Pentecostal churches don’t! Shame! No wonder the real fire is missing today.
Yes, thank God for the true meaning of Easter. But 2010’s celebration is over. It’s time to move on! Let’s be like that early church, be fired up in the supernatural of the Spirit and hit the streets!