Pastors BLOG
June 22, 2017, 9:00 AM

The Adventure Begins 14: Lessons From the Early Church - Acts 2:42-47

Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

“Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.”

Joseph the son of Jacob could foretell the dreams of others and interpret them.

When Moses was sent to Egypt His message of freedom was accompanied by:

  • 10 plagues
  • His staff turning to a serpent
  • He could change his hand back and forth from being leprous. 
  • The Red Sea parting
  • The manna from heaven
  • The water from a rock
  • The fiery mountaintop
  • The cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.

Joshua while leading the people into the promised land:

  • Parted the Jordan river.
  • Saw the walls of Jericho fall from worship.
  • Stopped the sun from setting.

- Elijah the prophet of God:

  • Called fire from the sky
  • Caused the rain to stop and then start again
  • Caused oil to replenish itself
  • Raised the dead
  • Parted the Jordan River
  • Went to heaven in a fiery chariot.

His apprentice Elisha:

  • Also parted the Jordan River
  • Healed poisonous water
  • Cursed his name-callers with death by two bears
  • Multiplied oil
  • Even in his death he was able to bring a man back to       life – just from touching his bones.

David the little shepherd boy killed a Giant.

Daniel spent the night unharmed by in a den of hungry lions.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace.  Not even their clothes were singed and there in their midst stood a fourth person, the son of God.

All of these great representatives of God had the power of God on their side.  They saw and were able to perform miraculous and powerful things.  God was present in their work.  He moved on their behalf.  He validated their ministries.

Hebrews 2:2-4 (NRSV)
2 For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty,
3 how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him,
4 while God added his testimony by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed according to his will.

Jesus too was validated through His signs and wonders, but it did not stop with Him, as this passage affirms, He gave gifts of the Holy Spirit to be distributed throughout the body of Christ. 

James 5:17-18 (NIV)
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

There is a pattern here:

God’s messengers and His message is accompanied with Signs and Wonders.

We see here in Acts 2:43 that these signs and wonders accompanied the new church – they were evidence of Holy Spirit at work in their midst.

1 Corinthians 12:4-13 (NRSV)
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord;
6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.
7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

When Holy Spirit came, He gave gifts to the church.  He began to bring the miraculous through the individuals of the body for the body and for the salvation of the world.  Acts 2:43 tells us that this was happening.  It was the Spirit of God moving in and among the people.  In this passage it says that, “…many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.” 

The word here in the Greek “dia” that says “by” in our translation more accurately is translated “through” – These miracles and signs were done through the apostles by God the Holy Spirit.

So God gives us His Spirit and His Spirit does wonders and signs through us.

This has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him.  It is His power, His work and we are His vessels.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (NIV)
6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

There is nothing about us that makes us worthy, nothing that can validate us for this movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  You cannot attain this.  However Through humble submission, availability and obedience God can move through your life.

Galatians 3:2-5 (NIV)
2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?
3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
4 Have you suffered so much for nothing--if it really was for nothing?
5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

When we humble ourselves and make ourselves obedient to God, He can do miraculous things in and through us.  We cannot achieve this on our own and it offers no validation of our merit, but it gives credence to the author of the work, God. 

This passage in Acts 2 says that the people were in awe.  This word awe has the connotation of an almost fear.  The people being spoken of here most likely is referencing those outside of the church.

God was working through the church with miracles and signs so that He could draw people outside of the fold in.

Miracles and signs are never about the messenger.  They are never about creating goosebumps in the church.  They are about drawing men and women closer to Jesus.

Signs and wonders ought to accompany the Spirit-filled Church so that people might be saved.

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