WHO WILL CARRY THE TORCH?
By Pastor Marlon Almonte
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
And they devoted themselves to the apostles ‘ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Today its an honor for me to close the preaching series on the book of ACTS, the book that gives us a clue of what it would be like to be a community who embrace the Gospel, a community who carried the Gospel and delivered to people from every walk of life. The core of the story was pointed on the last statements of the Lord (Acts 1:8) before he was ascended to heaven and how this people response to this statement? The story ends how the Gospel reached the center of civilization during that time. But another interesting to see in the book of Acts ending is, it doesn’t have any ending of the proclamation of the Gospel. I think the idea was the proclamation of the Gospel should not stop until the return of our Lord Jesus.
Now those people who have witness to Jesus have died and many generations followed their steps until the Gospel reached us and we became part of the community who believed in Jesus Christ.
The challenge for us now to see is not only we embrace the gospel, but are we the kind of church who will continue the cause that was started in Jerusalem? Or are we the kind of church who carries the torch that brings light to this world?
What kind of church will be effective in proclaiming the Gospel? To answer this question we need to go back again to the book of ACTS and see what characteristic they have in order to be effective in spreading the Good News.
1.THEY ARE COMMITTED CHURCH. V.42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles ‘ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers
o They commit themselves to attach to the doctrine. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles ‘ teaching”
o They commit themselves to attach to one another. “And the fellowship.”
o They commit themselves to attach to the cross. “To the breaking of bread.”
o They commit themselves to attach to God. “And the prayers.”
2. THEY ARE CONVINCING CHURCH. V43 “ And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
o They provide a reason to prove their claim.
o The demonstration of supernatural abilities authenticated the veracity of their story.
3. THEY ARE CHARITABLE CHURCH. V43 “ And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
o They did not perform miracles to entertain people or just for a show.
o They perform to reach the needs of the people.
o Their performance was an act out of compassion to the needy.
4. THEY ARE COMMUNAL CHURCH. V. 44 “All the believers were together and had everything in common.”
o They work together without conflict regardless of their status or background.
o They walk without different agenda or interest but one purpose and direction. They practice equality in both privileges and responsibility.
5. THEY ARE CHEERFUL GIVER CHURCH. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
o There was no hesitation on their contribution.
o There was no room for the tight fisted in the congregation.
o Their contribution goes beyond to the extremes.
o When Paul writes, “God loves the cheerful giver” (2 Corinthian 9:7b) the original Greek word he used was HILARON for cheerful, which translates into English as hilarious. It is a word that goes way beyond cheerful, as if we can’t control some inner outpouring of emotion.
6. THEY ARE CONTENTED SPIRIT CHURCH. V46 “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.”
o They’ve learned to satisfy on whatever they have.
o They live in simplified life.
o The secret of their contentment was heavenly perspective.
Paul writes, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12,13).
“The more you crave for material things, the more your life become complicated.”
7. THEY ARE CHURCH WHO GIVES ALL CREDIT TO GOD. V.47“praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”