In today’s reading we see some notable things regarding believers in the first months after the crucifixion. One of the most notable is the unity and harmony projected in their dealings with each other and decisions made regarding the church. “One accord” becomes a dominant description of the leadership of the New Testament church. Whenever they gathered in Jerusalem, they were said to be in unity and harmony with each other and with God. Perhaps that is why they turned the world upside down! Their unity and harmony had to encompass not only spiritual issues, but practical as well for they shared their lives and their possessions. They had to work together to survive in their world!
We also see another notable fact: they prayed together often. This is telling regarding their relationship with each other and also their total reliance on God. I’ve seen many a “Christian” home go on the rocks because they neglected this discipline.
They had a God-given purpose for being: to evangelize the world. They had a promise given to them; the Holy Spirit enabling them to fulfill their God-given purpose. Prayer was the catalyst to bring the promise and to achieve the purpose, and perhaps this is true of many churches also.
They needed the power of the Holy Spirit to serve effectively; after all, they were to be sent forth to heal the sick, raise the dead, deliver the oppressed and take the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. The first anointing of the Holy Spirit would be to “go”. They had to leave the place they were at home in, their comfort zone. They had to go and find the lost, hurting, lonely, oppressed. Then they had to use the authority the Holy Spirit would give them to achieve the impossible, spread the gospel and build the church both locally and worldwide. Of course, persecution would help them achieve their goals, being a catalyst for movement and change when its easier to just sit down and relax.
The borders of the expansion of this kingdom that God wanted built were laid out clearly: Jerusalem (local), Judea (national), Samaria (cross-cultural) and “to the ends of the earth” (international). There can be no doubt what God’s purpose was; a world-wide body of believers united by faith and dedicated to one purpose — being ready for the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.
I am once again reminded of the message of verse 11 — the angel’s promise that Jesus would come again! This promise should have a profound effect on how we behave toward our world. Jesus has given each of us an assignment and “blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.” (Matthew 24:46)
We get caught up in living life, building families, working at jobs, making a living, building houses, planning for retirement; forgetting the overriding fact above everything else — this is all going to end. Jesus has promised in John 14:1-3 that He would return and the angels reaffirmed that promise in today’s text….. Are you preparing, ready, waiting for that promise to materialize? The early church lived dangerously because of their belief in that promise, expecting it to happen in their lifetime. How do we as believers in 2012 compare?