The Church on the Rising Tide
December 5, 2004
INTRODUCTION: In the early part of Acts 4, we considered the gift of courage that the Holy Spirit gave the disciples for their witness. Now we turn our attention to the blessing He helped them be to each other. The courage the disciples displayed beyond the fellowship was dependent on the quality of life they experienced in that fellowship.
George MacDonald wrote, "Half of the misery in the world comes from trying to look, instead of trying to be, what one is not." These early followers of Christ really desired to "be." It is from this passage that the richness of the fellowship and sharing experienced in the early church is revealed.
Luke seems to write in bold letters about what makes for a great church. Commitment is spelled L-O-Y-A-L-T-Y.
In Acts 5:11, Luke uses the word "church" for the first time. The New Testament word is ekklesia; an assembly called together, or "out of" – "to call." We are "called out" and "called together." The idea developed of their being called out by the Lord, called into oneness in Him, and called into the world to serve. Paul's favorite phrase for church was the "Body of Christ." Paul explains the interdependence of the members of a body as an example of how Christians are to be mutually dependent on each other. And Luke, his faithful
friend and companion, describes the birth and growth of the church as Christ's Body. We are called to be Christ's people, called to communion with Him and each other, and together as the church to be the divine agent for the continuing ministry of His Spirit today.
The expression "Body Life," used often today, expresses the quality of the ingredients of how Christ lives and ministers through parts of the Body equipped with the gifts of His Spirit.
In Acts 4:32-37 we see "The Church on the Rising Tide" in its finest hour.
I. A SNAPSHOT OF ITS EXPERIENCE. 32-33
The same ...
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