This week, Pastor Chris continued in our series through Acts, teaching us how to be empowered by the Holy Spirit for mission. There are some keys from the early Church that the Lord wants us to know for the here and now. We live in an hour between Jesus’ resurrection and His return, and we’re here on mission to be His witnesses. If we want to be a truly Biblical church in our city, we need to grasp the importance of gathering together, praying together, and seeking unity with the Bride of Christ.
Acts 1:9–11 (ESV)
9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
1 Thessalonians 5:2 (ESV)
2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Exodus 14:14 (ESV)
14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still.”
Acts 1:12–14 (ESV)
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
The Early Church Pattern
- Gather Together – The enemy will seek to isolate the saints from gathering and worshiping together. When we fail to gather with other believers, we miss out on important opportunities to be sharpened. Spurring one another on in the faith is a natural biproduct of choosing to meet and have fellowship.
1 Corinthians 15:5–6 (ESV)
…he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
Hebrews 10:24–25 (The Message)
24 Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, 25 not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
2. Pray Together – Prayer moves God’s heart and changes us from the inside out. When we pray, our hearts can be orchestrated into agreement and alignment with the Lord’s. Prayer can release what God has intended to do.
- Prayer gets us on the same wavelength.
- Prayer unites us as one.
- Prayer gets us all plugged into God’s power and God’s way of thinking.
“Prayer is the fuel that provides the spiritual spark for our lives.” Tony Evans
3. Have One Accord, One Heart, One Mind – We come into a place of unity when we recognize that we are here for God’s kingdom and not our own. We can only find unity with the saints when we gather and pray together.
John 17:20–23 (ESV)
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Gathering + Prayer = Unity.
Acts 1:15–20 (ESV)
15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “ ‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “ ‘Let another take his office.’
Acts 1:21–26 (ESV)
21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
- Have you ever tried to live out your faith in isolation? What was the result?
- Pastor Chris said that the enemy will seek to isolate the saints from one another. How can we guard ourselves from falling into this trap?
- What is the benefit of praying for what you need in a corporate setting?
- Are you struggling in your prayer life? Start with thanksgiving. Spend 10 minutes this week in a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord.
- Who are you disunified with currently? Choose to pray for them and (if possible) pray with them this week.
- When you open the Word this week, ask the Holy Spirit to activate the Word and reveal what it is you need to glean from it.