The Early Church was birthed in power and in the supernatural in 33 AD. The Day of Pentecost had finally arrived. One hundred and twenty faithful believers tarried in The Upper Room until the Holy Ghost fell upon every one of them. God fulfilled His promise and the church was formed.
The lives of those in The Upper Room were drastically changed on the Day of Pentecost. The old had passed away; the new had come. Every single person in The Upper Room was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. There were no bystanders. All were filled. Everyone was a participator, not a spectator. I believe the Lord is bringing forth this same message to the church today. He wants every one of us to be participators in all that He is doing. He's not looking for benchwarmers or pew sitters. He's looking for people that He can fill with His Spirit and send forth with His power.
The Early Church was what many might call an "unusual church". Their lives were quite different than ours. They lived simple lives and enjoyed fellowshipping with one another on a regular basis. They gathered together daily to have communion, fellowship, and teaching from the word. They did unusual things. They spoke in tongues, healed the sick, cast out devils, and performed signs and wonders on a consistent basis. They weren't concerned about what people thought about them, because they were marching to the beat of a different drum. They had their eyes fixed upon Jesus, and were determined in their hearts to serve Him. They preached with holy boldness, authority, and power. They were a living demonstration and testimony to all that were around them. They saw manifestations of God's supernatural power at work in their lives, and in the lives of those they came in contact with. The Holy Spirit had brought impartation to them on the Day of Pentecost, and now, their lives would never be the same.
Was the Early Church an "unusual" church? The Early Church is an example of what "true" Christianity should be. The operations and functions that were taking place in The Early Church were normal everyday occurrences of God moving in their midst. What happened to the church? Why are we not walking in the power of the Spirit as the believers in the book of Acts did? Why did things change? Why the decline?
The gifts of the Spirit began to diminish around 150 AD. The true spiritual church started to decline and the structural church became visible.
The church went through terrible times of persecution and suffering, but God brought increase, even in the midst of adverse circumstances. Thousands of Christians were martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ. They were not afraid of death. They counted death as gain or promotion.
WHAT DID THE PENTECOSTAL EXPERIENCE DO FOR THE EARLY CHURCH?
1. It gave them holy boldness.
Everyone in the Upper Room, on the Day of Pentecost, received power from on high. Their lives were changed. One of those who was drastically changed was Peter. Peter was the one who denied Christ three times? Peter was the man who said; "I don't know this Jesus that you're talking about." Before Pentecost, he was ashamed to be associated with Jesus. After the day of Pentecost, he was one of the most powerful preachers' known in that day. The Holy Ghost empowered him for ministry in a way that he had never experienced before.
On the Day of Pentecost, Peter preached a powerful sermon and 3,000 souls were added to the church. He ministered with holy boldness, and was not afraid of those who spoke against him. He wasn't ashamed to raise his voice and declare the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. He was steadfast, immovable, and ready to die, if need be, for his faith in God.
Acts 2:38-39 - Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."
The gift of the Holy Spirit is not only for the adults, but it's for the children. Children will play a vital role in the coming move of God. Allow your children to pray with you, worship with you and minister with you. The Lord has great plans for the children in our generation.
There are many denominations and churches that do not believe in speaking in tongues. This ignorance and misconception of God's word in the church today, grieves my heart. As Christians, we should desire everything that God has for us. We must not pick and choose when it comes to the things of God. Desire all the gifts, not just one or two. Why settle for less, when God wants to give you His best? Why stop short, when God has so much more for your life? Lay aside your carnal reasoning, and allow the Lord to do a good work within you.
2. It caused the church to hunger and thirst for more of God.
Acts 2:42 - And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts 2:46-47 - So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
The Early Church met together on a daily basis. Once a week didn't satisfy the hunger that God had placed within them. They gathered together daily, fellowshipping and praising God for His goodness to them.
The Scripture also says, "..and simplicity of heart." We don't necessarily need some in depth theological teaching seminar every time we come together. The Early Church did things in a simple manner. Their goal was to reach the "common" people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They weren't concerned about how they sounded or what they looked like. They hadn't taken language courses to understand how to grammatically put together sentence structure. They had one thing on their minds, and that was to preach Jesus to the world. They kept their message of the cross simple, so that all present would be able to understand. This is a good lesson for us to learn. I've been overseas many times, and have learned, through experience, that many people have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many don't even know what the word salvation means. They are completely ignorant of the word of God, because they have never been exposed to it. We must not go to them preaching some deep theological message that they will not understand. We must meet them where they are, and give them the basics of the gospel message.
Jesus himself gave the gospel in simple terminology, so that all could understand and lay hold of it. Of course, there were times, when he would speak in parables, and the religious people were not able to comprehend a word that He was saying. These people did not want to hear the gospel. They ridiculed Jesus and tried to destroy the work that He was doing. Thank God, it did not affect the will of God for His life. He persevered and won the victory!
3. The Early Church experienced the fear of the Lord.
Acts 2:43 - Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
The fear of the Lord was upon every one who was present as Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost. They had respect for the Holy Spirit, because they saw His power manifested in their midst.
Where is the reverential fear of the Lord in our churches today?
I've ministered in several churches where there has been absolutely no respect for the presence of the Lord. I believe it grieves God's heart to see His people so disrespectful to His holy presence. We are supposed to honor the Lord in everything that we do and speak. We shouldn't be chit chatting with one another during church service. We should respect the messengers that God has sent to us, and we should respect the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst. We shouldn't disrupt the work of Holy Spirit in those who are being ministered to at the altars. We must become more sensitive to the work of Holy Spirit, and allow Him to have His way in us and through us.
The fear of the Lord will be restored to the church. God is going to do some things in our midst that will cause us to tremble in His awesome presence. I'm sure that you all remember the story about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts Chapter 5. When the Lord struck them dead, it brought the "fear of God" upon all those who saw it happen (Acts 5:11). We must remember that He is the Mighty God.
4. Signs and wonders were an every day occurrence in the Early Church.
Get ready! Miracles should be the norm for the church of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever seen the Lord perform a miracle for someone, and they respond with, "I can't believe it!" They prayed for it. It happened, and now, they can't believe it! What's wrong with this picture? Where's our faith? We pray, but we do not really believe what we pray. When God answers our prayers, we don't know how to act.
Acts 12:5-19 - I'm not going to write all these verses out, but I encourage you to read them. Peter had been put in prison and the believers were praying for his deliverance. The angel of the Lord came to the prison house and broke the chains that had Peter bound. The angel then proceeded to escort Peter out of the prison yard into complete freedom and liberty. Peter then made his way to Mary's house and announced his freedom to the believers that were gathered there to pray. When Peter knocked on the door, a girl named Rhoda started toward the door, and when she heard Peter's voice, she rushed back to tell those praying that Peter was at the door. In verse 15, the believers said to her, "You are beside yourself!" They didn't believe that Peter was standing at the door! They had just spent several hours praying for God to deliver him, and God answered their prayer. Now, none of them, except Rhoda, believed that Peter had been delivered. They continued to pray! God help us to believe! Acts 5:12 - And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch. Miracles, signs and wonders were an every day occurrence in The Early Church. God is going to do it again in our day. We've seen some degree of miracles, but I believe that God has saved the best for last. We are about to see some awesome things transpire right before our very eyes. When miracles start taking place, will you be speaking doubt and unbelief, or will you be praising God for His miracle working power in the lives of those whom He will touch?
I'm ready for God to move in my life, in my church, in my city, and in my country. How about you? Are you ready?
Nothing is impossible with our God. He's a great big wonderful God. There's nothing that He can't do. It's time to believe for bigger and greater things. It's time to expand our horizons with His horizons. We must lay down our puny little mindsets and allow the Lord to give us His mindset.
Are you ready to go to The Upper Room and allow the Holy Spirit to birth something brand new in you? If so, go for it! Don't be surprised at what might happen around you. Believe and He will do it.