Today’s Reading: Acts 2:42-3:11
Before the believers were filled with the Spirit, it is important to note what they were doing. Acts 1:14 tells us that the believers “all met together and were constantly united in prayer.” They had a decision to make (replacing Judas with either Joseph or Matthias) and they prayed for direction from God. They were united by spending time together and they were united in prayer and “everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit” (2:4).
That explains what they were doing before they received the Holy Spirit. So what did they do afterward – now that they were filled with the Spirit?
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to the fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. All the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity – all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47
They still found unity, not only in time spent together and prayer but also in their generosity toward others. The result of this unity: each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Do we experience that kind of unity today? It is probably rare. We give of our time and join hands in prayer, but there is concern on how generous we can be without leaving ourselves in need or without the security of our possessions or income.
I saw this post on Facebook and I asked myself if I would have done the same.
Candace: Took a woman to lunch today who was begging for money on the street….my heart broke as I listened to her story of abuse as a child…and the many not so good adventures of life on the street, as well as the death of her husband…and yet she had a beauty and simplicity and genuineness about her that was refreshing…I actually thoroughly enjoyed our time together and getting to know the heart behind the tin can….Thank You Holy Spirit for prompting me to stop and take the time to look into her eyes and be a part of what You are doing in her life to bring restoration and healing and love.
Acts 3 tells us that Peter and John were approached for money by a lame man who was being carried to the Temple Gate to beg. As the man looked up at them eagerly, with expectation of receiving money from them, Peter responded, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you…” Of course he didn’t have any money, he had already sold all his possessions and given everything he had to the group of believers. So he was left with nothing to give, right? Wrong.
It was when Peter and John had let go of everything this world has to offer that they were able to extend to someone else everything that God has to offer. “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple ahead of them.
All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John. – Acts 3:6-11
When we let go of everything of this world and stop trying to protect ourselves or provide for ourselves, God steps in and we begin to see HIM at work. Self-preservation will get us just that – self-preservation. But letting go of this world and hanging tight to God, praying for wisdom and direction and then following His lead, will give us a life where we are daily astounded by God’s power.
That’s the kind of life I want – a life where I am daily astounded by God’s power, a life where I daily give God all that I have. Lord, open my eyes so that I can see the evidence of your work all around me. Lord, do your work through me so that you will be glorified today. Lord, help me to trust in you for protection and provision, instead of trusting in any earthly wealth I can obtain. This morning I let go and then I hang on tight to you. Empty me of all that is ME and fill me with your Spirit. Amen.
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles – all who have been called by the Lord our God.” – Acts 2:38-39