The First Church
You heard Jesus preach and teach, and what He shared was amazing. His teaching was as if He was present when the writings of the Law and the Prophets were recorded. Then, He comes to you and says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” You have no idea what that could mean, but something inside you compels you to leave the life you know and follow Jesus.
Fast forward. It has been about three years of following Jesus and you know so much more. You have come to truly believe He is the Messiah. He is an amazing man and deep down you know He is the Son of God. When He was crucified, you struggled mightily, wondering if you had wasted three years of your life and all of the hope you experienced was gone. Then He appears, proving He has been resurrected from the dead and is alive. You have phenomenal joy, but at the same time confusion and uncertainty. What does this mean?
He asks you to meet Him in Galilee. Here, in impressive authority, He commands you to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey His commands. He later shares that you will be His witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth. Then poof, He is gone again. The only specific next step He told you to take is to go into Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father. You really have no idea what will unfold. However, He told you to do it and so you know it is the right thing to do.
Fast forward again, day of Pentecost and you have been praying and asking the Lord to fulfill His promises. You anticipate the Lord doing something special, but you have no idea what that will be. Then, you hear a crazy sound, and something happens! All of a sudden, you are overwhelmed with God’s presence! You don’t know if what you are experiencing is real or a dream. You cannot explain what is happening, but all of a sudden, Jesus makes sense! You understand that He had to die and be resurrected for the sin of mankind so that He could justify the sinner in order to impart His Spirit into those who believe! You get the fact that He was not coming to restore Israel to her former glory, rather, He is building a spiritual kingdom that will usurp all other kingdoms, a kingdom that is for “… you, and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself” (Acts 2:39). You realize that repentance and belief is the doorway to life and receiving the Holy Spirit! You get it!
Then you look down from the room and notice a large crowd gathered. Your heart burns to tell them this good news. Your elation begins to turn into a burden that others need to know this. Then, all of a sudden Peter stands up and begins to preach. You stand amazed as you hear him articulate the same message that has become imprinted on your heart. You are in awe as God obviously speaks through Peter into the crowd and 3,000 profess belief and commitment to follow Jesus! Hallelujah! Your heart rejoices with what the Lord has done on that amazing, history changing day.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to be present during Pentecost? The Church, Christ’s instrument to fulfill His mission of making disciples among all nations, was birthed that day. The King and the Kingdom had come through Jesus Christ. Now, the work of His eternal plan would be imparted to His Church, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Church of a little over three thousand people, tasked with the responsibility of changing the world.
What would you do? What next steps need to be taken? What do you do with over three thousand people committing to follow Jesus, now staring at you wondering what’s next? The only thing you have are the Old Testament writings, the teachings of Jesus, a few key leaders, and the Holy Spirit!
What unfolded is the amazing story of the first church as recorded in the book of Acts. What you see is an entire community of people that began devoting themselves to the Apostle’s teaching, to living life together and loving one another, and to prayer. As the rest of the story unfolds, it is clear that a majority of the believers were committed to the mission of Jesus. Life change happened all across the known world, and the only way the Church would have continued to multiply was if the majority of the Church was involved in the mission of Jesus, sharing this Good News, obeying the commands of Jesus and making disciples.
How are you doing in your role in the mission of Jesus? Are you involved? Are you compelled to respond to Jesus like the believers at Pentecost? What is your next step? Take that next step with Jesus!