When the Church Is the Church
INTRODUCTION: As the early church is being established, we have learned that the Spirit-filled church is unified, magnified, and multiplied. It is so obvious that Satan wants to divide the church, disgrace the church, dilute the church, and decrease the church; and he will do it, if the church will let him.
However, Acts 5:1-11 gives the discernment of the Apostle Peter, with the ability to ''test the spirit'' in the lives of Ananias and Sapphira. The first 11 verses of Acts 5 is a testimony for the need for ''purity of motives'' in the church. It then becomes apparent that when the church majors on purity, the Lord gives
it progress. The Lord who had battled the forces of evil and won was not about to give up the infant church to Satan's ploy of spiritual pretense.
The early church understood its purpose clearly. The believers never lost sight of the calling to be Christ's witnesses, as so clearly outlined in this passage. The zeal and effectiveness resulted in explosive growth. On the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church, ''3,000 souls were added.'' (2:41). In Acts 2:47, ''the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.'' By the conclusion of Peter's second sermon, the number of men had risen to 5,000. Finally, the church grew so fast you could not count them all. Now, in Acts 5:14, multitudes of men and women were being added to the church.
Note that it is worth mentioning that in Acts 2:47, ''the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.'' In Acts 5:14, ''believers were increasingly added to the Lord.'' Within the New Testament church, these terms were synonymous. To belong to the one meant automatic inclusion in the other. Unfortunately, today there appears to be a difference. People are often added to the church who have little, if any, love for Christ and occasionally others who prefer to love the Savior but refuse to be identified with ...
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