by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Let me ask you a question, “Could our world be waiting for people who are willing to turn God loose in their lives?” Someone said, and I don’t remember who, “That the world has never seen what one man can do who is completely committed to God.” I certainly don’t believe that man has ever lived. But it is something to strive for, isn’t it? Can you imagine how God might bless that person who was fully committed to Him; can you imagine the victorious Christian life they would live? Now, allow me to correct myself; there was a man who was completely committed to God. His name is Jesus Christ. What he did was to change the world and give men and women everywhere, hope!
We come now to our second point, “It was a mystical experience.”
Some things cannot be explained or understood. They can only be experienced. I don’t like to use myself as an example, but this may clarify what I mean. I am not a preacher, and I struggle speaking in front of people because I am very self-conscience. I practice my sermons before I give them to you and usually I forget things and lose my place and generally feel like I am going to fall on my face, and embarrass my Lord. Then on Sunday morning, when I stand here, I lose all my fears, and things come to my mind that I never thought of before. To me, this is a mystical experience that I can’t explain. And I can’t explain the feelings that pass through me when I am preaching God’s word. All that happens is from God; it’s the Holy Spirit doing work in me. It’s wonderful!
In verse 6 we read how those that were present understood the words of the disciples in their own languages. That’s a miracle, that can’t be explained scientifically, or by human reasoning. It happened to people who were being obedient to God. That’s when God moves in the lives of His people; obedient people enjoy the workings of God.
But, wherever God moves, some mystery is involved. In Job 5:9 we read, “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed.” Job certainly didn’t understand what was happening to him. He lost everything he had; he lost his possessions, his family, and his health. His friends said that he was receiving God’s judgment for some great sin, and then his wife suggested that he curse God and die. His misery was so great that he covered himself with ashes, sat down on a dunghill and cried out to God, “Why are you treating me like this?”
Our finite minds cannot fathom the infinite mind of God. In the end, God blessed Job more than He did in the beginning of his life, but Job endured all this without ever knowing the reason.
The Israelites did not understand the destruction of Jericho. Jericho was a wicked city, but there was one woman there who believed in God. Her name was Rahab, and she was a prostitute; but when God destroyed the city, He saved her and her family.
Obedient people have unforgettable experiences. The Israelites obediently marched around Jericho for six days, and then returned in silence to their camp. On the seventh day, after they walked around the city they blew their trumpets and shouted. They were obedient, and their reward was that the walls of the city fell down and they were able to walk in and defeat the people that lived there. They destroyed them all except for Rahab and her family.
Obedient people have unforgettable experiences.
Our third point is that “it was a melting moment.”
These obedient people were blended together in a very special way. They shared a mystical experience, which gave them greater faith in God, and a common connection. Obedient people are so focused on their relationship with God that they easily relate to others. They experience wonderful fellowship.
We learned that after this incident, “They spent their time learning the apostles’ teaching, sharing, breaking bread, and praying together. We read that “The apostles were doing many miracles and signs, and everyone felt great respect for God. All the believers were together and shared everything. They would sell their land and the things they owned and then divide the money and give it to anyone who needed it. The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts. They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers.” (Acts 2:41-47)
When Peter preached his first sermon, on the Day of Pentecost, he was so effective that three thousand souls were added to the Church on that day. Each one that was saved was nurtured in the faith as they learned the doctrine of the apostles. They fellowshipped with the other believers; each one partook of the Lord’s Table on an equal basis with their older brothers in Christ. They prayed and shared their burdens. And not only that; they shared their possessions. And at this time, as the Church was being born, sharing was absolutely necessary, because many who came to know the Lord were rejected by society and disinherited by their family.
The early church was noted for its harmony; they were persistent in praising God and fellowshipping with His people. Obedient people love one another.
The last thing to be said about this incident is that “A movement was born.”
These obedient people started a movement that has affected the entire world. Jesus only traveled outside Israel on one occasion. He spent most of His time in Judea and Galilee, but his disciples started a movement that has gone farther than any of them could have imagined. They took the gospel to every part of the world, and the gospel is still going out today.
It was the birthday of the Church. Paul said that “Christ died for the Church.” The first time the Church met there were only one hundred and twenty souls present, but they grew dramatically. Today, there are millions who are born-again believers and members of the Church of Jesus Christ. The movement was powerful, and in verses 43 and 46-47 we read that the world took notice of them.
God had waited for the proper time to send His Son. The Bible says that He sent His Son in the fullness of time. This new religion, at that time called The Way, spread like wildfire through the Roman Empire. As it spread, it was met with persecution, but that only served to scatter the people, and wherever they went, they took the gospel with them. The early Church was made up of obedient believers, and God’s blessings are in proportion to our obedience. Christianity grew faster in the beginning than at any other time in history.
They were obedient to God and they had special experiences that blessed them and increased their faith. The special experiences began with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, but the apostles had also been given the ability to heal the sick and to drive out demons. This was their credential and they did many miraculous things, and we are going to study them in the weeks ahead. We can learn from these men and women, who began the Church.
Today, we have seen that God blessed them because they were obedient and that they had special experiences that built their faith, and enabled them to be witnesses for Christ in the face of hardships and danger. As modern-day believers become obedient, we, too, will experience special times with God.
Jesus is still building His Church, and He uses men and women just like us to do it. Let’s pray that we will be obedient servants, and let’s ask for Him to bless us with experiences that will increase our faith, and strengthen our dedication.
Obedience does not always lead us down a comfortable path. That’s because we live in a fallen world that is dominated by Satan. There are obstacles that are put in the path of Christians that will test our faith, but we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit inside us, and He is the source of our strength. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome the world.
The secret to the successful Christian life is to be obedient to God. Obedient people have special experiences about which others only dream. God is looking for some people who will allow Him to have His way in their lives. He wants to be our Lord as well as our God. We know that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, but it is not until He is our Lord that we enjoy those special experiences. So make Him your Lord by being obedient to Him-Trust Him for all things, read His word and do what He tells you to do in His word, love Him and do your best not to sin. But when you sin, ask Him to forgive you, and believe that He will. Praise God!
Let’s pray and ask God to help us to be obedient to Him and to bless us with special experiences.
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