'The Life of the Early Church - Part 1 by Glenn Meldrum



father we come before you now on the precious name of Jesus and we ask that you would speak Holy Spirit we invite you to come and do the work you were sent to this planet to do it's a convictive sin and of righteousness and of judgment we invite you to come Holy Spirit to come as a holy fire to burn the garbage out of our lives and to bring conversion to those who are not truly saved and to bring a sanctifying work to those who are and so we invite your presence here and the wonderful name of Jesus what we are looking at for the next four messages is we're going to look at the life of the early church and this is actually going to be the foundation of it I have to lay the foundation before we can go any further because the reality is is you cannot Shepherd goats or wolves or cats you understand the only ones who can be discipled are sheep and until you become a sheep you can't be discipled because you are not part of the flock of God you don't belong to him and so we have to begin at square one we have to begin at the importance of the book of Acts and what that's all about and I think we missed that because we have a terrible terrible problem in the church in America is that we do not know what biblical Christianity is we have allowed so much baggage in so many things we built on top of it and all the doctrines we try to to make and protect ourselves from the reality of God we have all this stuff that's there that keeps us from that place of fellowship but we have doctrine we have church we have beautiful churches and but they're empty of the Holy Ghost they're empty of the reality of a God that wants to be near and present but we've got the infrastructure we've got the the machinery to make all this go but none of the oil of the Holy Ghost to make it work and so we've missed it all and so we need to look at the book of Acts and actually what we're going to do is we're going to look at one small little section that is a snapshot of the life of the early church and what I mean by the early church is when you get into theology they try and get a little more specific and you can have what is called the primitive Church which would be that first generation of believers and then the early church is really going to be the first three centuries of the church until Emperor Constantine came to power but just for ease I'm going to refer to the early church as at first generation in these messages and that's what I want to focus on those first believers and so turn with me to Acts chapter two we're gonna look at verses 41 through 47 I'm reading out of the 1984 NIV they devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching into the fellowship and to the breaking of bread and to prayer everyone was filled with awe and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles all the believers were together and had everything in common selling their possessions and goods they gave to anyone as he had need everyday they continued to meet together in the temple courts they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people and the Lord added daily to their number those who were being saved like I said this is a snapshot of the early church the life of the early church and what made the early church the early church is the life that they lived and we are not going to see the power of the early church until we're willing to live what they were willing to live until we're willing to walk is what they walk and if I could say it like this if there was ever a time in the history of the church the purest form of Christianity would have been in that first generation those who saw Jesus heard his words walked with him talked with him knew the miracles and the signs and the wonders and the events that took place of his death of resurrection of his ascension those who saw that who knew that and were so close to the initial teaching and the definition that was behind those teachings those were the ones if I could say it like that were the purest in Christianity what happened it didn't take long what happened is man got involved in it and when man gets involved in it he corrupts whatever he touches it's just the reality you can have a wonderful move of God a genuine revival taking place and once man gets into it that's the end of it it ruins it with the 1904 Welsh revival they had a little say his first God moved then the devil moved and then God moved more powerfully and then man moved in God left that's what happens man gets in it and so it makes a mess of everything and so it didn't take long until that corruption started happening and then you had the people called Judaizers that were trying to make people that were going to be Christian that they first had to become Jewish and then through Judaism to become Christian so they wanted to lay upon them all the legalistic requirements of the Mosaic law and then you had Gnosticism trying to creep into the church and get its way into it and Paul deals with it in some various places in his epistles because Gnosticism was this idea of a secret mystery knowledge and only those who had that secret mystery knowledge was right with God or could get right with him and all the corruption that gets in there by time you get to Revelation chapter 2 and 3 you have you have this corruption that gets into many of the churches from sexual immorality to all kinds of other perversions and distortions and false doctrines and it didn't take long so if we want to see the purity of the church we need to look right there at the beginning because what the church was in the beginning is what God wants a church to be today but we are so divided in dominant denominations and that breaks within denominations so that they're divided into other denominations and all the splits and all the chaos and all the madness because man gets into the midst of it all and messes it all up and instead of going back to the book and say what is this faith to look like we continue to do what we have done we've done year after year century after century the same type of thing with different names and different things of added to it but it's still the same old dead religion that happened as we got away from the life of the early church so you look at that pure form of Christianity and you see life you see purity use ease you see zeal and passion you see Holy Spirit power with signs and wonders and that's where God wants the church to be today now you can go and say I don't believe that the Holy Spirit is there for us anymore today and if not if you believe that and there's no hope of salvation for you because you can't get saved without the Holy Spirit I'll guarantee you he has to come to you and convict you of sin righteousness and judgment if you think the days of the Apostles was the only days that the Spirit of God was there to do those things and you have misread the word you have become enslaved in doctrine because that's what doctrine has taught you not the Word of God there's not one single verse anywhere in the Bible that tells us that the Pentecost stopped with the days of the Apostles not one verse not one single verse in yet churches built whole doctrines and out of it they have conventions and conferences against the Holy Spirit yet they have no verse not one single verse in which to base that upon and so you look at the baggage that gets upon the church and and heaps and heaps and heaps upon it that that binds it and keeps it from moving when God wants to bring Liberty to us we are in desperate need of New Testament Christianity not the status quo aw Tozer said if we have a revival of the type of Christianity we have today it will take us a century to recover from it that's what's going on a revival of the flesh revival of dead Christianity of dead religion we have it all over the seeker-sensitive movement and then you can even go even more apostate into the emergent church explosive movements humongous churches and all the ARS valleys of dead bones because we have gotten away from what the early church is all about and what they look like an how they lived so we need to learn what is normal Christianity not normal by the church's standard normal by God's standard that's why the book was given to us that's why the book of Acts was given to us so we could look at it and see what life is really all about we will never be in ancient Rome again those exact historical events will never take place again and so we look at it not in the aspect of saying God reproduce that culture again it's not that we are to cry out God reproduce that life again that life spans all cultures and all nations and all eras it is not subject to the opinions of man or anything else when we were when we are willing to go back to the book and say God that's what we must have then we'll begin to see that kind of life come into us and work through us and so we're going to in this study look at what made the early church grow and why the power of God was there and until we're willing to go back to that we will not see that made manifest in us but we have to begin square one we have to begin here at the very very basic and I hope I can press this home because it's been talked about a whole lot already this morning and so God is wanting to say something very very clearly we have to begin at conversion we have to begin at the place of what does it mean to become a true follower of Jesus this is serious because you know we've reduced reduced Christianity to anybody here want to be a Christian just raise your hand I mean can you can you give me even one example of that in Scripture one example of that you wonder why we do that I want you here I must say you are no white preachers do that because we've watered down the gospel and in watering down the gospel we want to take the offense of the of the cross away from it to make it as easy for people to enter in but the problem is they don't enter in because if we don't do it his way as we will see in the book of Acts here then they don't do it all so you could have all kinds of churches filled with people that raise their hands and have never yet really abandoned themselves to God so they have their sex addictions and their drug addictions and as marijuana is legalized across this nation they'll be smoking dope before they go to church or smoking dope in church I mean if we don't understand how far the church has fallen and how we'll continue to plummet until there are those that are really willing to come to the place what true conversion is you see you cannot find in the book of Acts conversion that is not radical you cannot find it it is radical it is absolutely radical it is revolutionary it transforms the person that's why all the people they can raise their hands and stay the same live the same kind of life have the same condition of their marriage and all the same things going on but they raise their hand they pray that magical prayer but they deceive themselves because when conversion enters the soul of an individual it is revolutionary then if it's not revolutionary than you have not been born again Jesus used the illustration of being born again because it is so graphic you have a child in darkness and the womb if that child stays in that womb it kills both mother and child that child to have life must break through that womb into a brand-new life in light it is radical it's not this little anybody slow coming to it is this revolution coming out of darkness into life a transformation of everything that that child would know and it's the same for us tells us in the 41st verse of Acts chapter two those who accepted his message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day so Peter preached through the power of the Holy Spirit God never ever ever designed the Holies preaching to be void of the Spirit of God it was always designed to be the word and the spirit working together never separate because when you separate in some way or another it's going to be perverted and so it has to be together and so Peter preached on the anointing of the Holy Spirit and 3,000 were added not 3,000 hand raisings all right not 3,000 people just saying well I'd like to join the club but the reason why it said that they were baptized was because the cost because they would be persecuted now they were making a public proclamation that I am now forsaking my old life of sin my old way of living and I'm going to follow Jesus the people that were there were going for Pentecost going to that festival they were religious people going the pagan ones the ones that were still in their sin and the madness of this world they stayed home and continued partying these were the religious people that were going and they're the ones confronted because they were lost in their religion they were dead in trespasses and sin because he had no concept of what it meant to truly know God and so they had radical I want you to hear what I'm gonna say here they had radical encounters with God and you know radical encounters with God does it produces radical converts and radical converts make radical disciples I was a young man I was strung out on drugs in a park where I used to party and deal drugs this God broke into my world and I was instantly delivered from drugs and alcohol and smoking I was transformed in a moment that was radical it was revolutionary and it makes radical disciples and you know what I do all the time today I go and say God where are those kind of conversions why did it happen back then in the 70s and that hippie move in Jesus Movement why'd it happen back then and why aren't we seeing it today why because we have forsaken the book of Acts we've forsaken the truth that is there of what conversion really is and so they were baptized too costly act in that culture they would be persecuted they would be many of them kicked out of their synagogues I don't have time to get into that but we don't understand how serious it is because now there's at that time the synagogue was central to a community because you could only walk so far as a Jew on the Sabbath you had to be able to walk from your home to the synagogue and back again without breaking the law and so they lived all around the synagogue everything revolved around that it wasn't a Sunday or Saturday morning type of event their entire life revolved around it and so we failed to understand the costs of that to say okay I'm gonna be a follower of Jesus says you cannot come to the synagogue any more now you are excommunicated from the community there you are blackballed everything about you now is going to be just it's gonna be terrible for your family and everything the cost of it was tremendous this was not some flippant little hand raising and saying okay I'm gonna be a follower of Jesus but you still live your own life everything was revolutionized and it was tells us that it was on that day it happened you see the Bible teaches instantaneous conversion and that's an important thing because that's under attack the emergent church some of the major voices within the emergent church church which is an apostate religion it's apostate it's not even if it is seeker-sensitive on steroids and they have come out they have come out and say the worst thing that has ever happened to Christianity is those preachers who preach instantaneous conversion why do they preach that because they've never been saved so unsaved people not wanting to have the conviction of the Holy Spirit they say that's not how it happens but you cannot show me that in Scripture because the scripture speaks of the instantaneous nature of conversion I was once in darkness Salomon light this radical transformation and if you've not had that radical transformation no matter what you say to yourself you are not a saved man we know what it says by Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount that many will say to me Lord Lord but they didn't know him depart from me religious words all the religious actions but no relationship they had the doctrine down pat but no relationship they were not truly born again they didn't break out of the darkness of this world into the wonder of life in Christ and so they stayed in their religion thinking they were okay and end up on their way to hell 3,000 were saved that day and you know this is so phenomenal 120 people in in Acts chapter 1 it tells us that 120 people is what made up the church even though Paul tells us that over 500 people saw Jesus ascend into heaven so what happened to those other 350 I'm not really sure they were friends or whatever they had made their mind up but they were there they saw the reality of Christ resurrected okay the resurrected Christ then they saw him ascend in heaven then they heard those two angels saw those two angels who heard the Angels they wouldn't testify that the same Jesus you see going up like this is gonna come back like that they saw it but yet out of that they were still only 120 imagine 120 disciples trying to deal with 3,000 newborn babes in Christ you want to talk about a mess it would be tough stuff but guess what God was there to help but here's the thing that I've come to learn is is genuine revival because that's what's taking place here genuine revival general revival only does certain things and it cannot and will not do other things one of the things that it does is it saves it brings people to to the place to see the reality of their sin and the conviction the Holy Spirit there to bring them to repentance but revival does not disciple that is the church's direct purposeful act to get involved in the lives of these newborn babes and teach them what it means to walk with Jesus how to die to self how to live in the resurrection life of Christ and so Peter on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 verses 22 through 24 so Peters preaching here and he says men of israel listen to this jesus of nazareth was a man accredited by god to you by miracles wonders and signs which God did among you through him as you yourselves know this man was handed over to you by God set purpose and foreknowledge and you with the help of wicked men referring to the Gentiles woman's put him to death by nailing him to the cross but God raised him from the dead freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him do you hear what's being said there very important it wasn't saying how many of you want a better life how many of you want happiness and joy Jesus wants to give you happiness and joy want to raise your hand let me see that hand oh I see that hand I see that hand you know what he did you are guilty of crucifying Christ you are responsible in his death that was the love of God do you understand that was the love of God it's not the love of God when preachers preach some watered-down wishy-washy type of message that leaves people in their sins and they can walk out of a church thinking they're okay because they prayed a little prayer but there was no revolution in their life it was the love of God that brought to them the reality of their sins to a man that was being willing to be bold enough under the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the truth of who this God was and so what happened you had the results of what that kind of preaching really does and verses 37 and 39 says when the people heard this they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles brothers what shall we do Peter replied raise your hands no he didn't repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit the promise is for you oh we got this problem here now this problem is for you and your children and for all who are far off for all whom the Lord our God will call just what he didn't say that the power of the Holy Spirit would stop with the Apostles right there he says for every generation and so if you continue to hold to that you are basically just saying okay I don't believe that verse I believe it stopped even though I don't have a verse to support my belief you see Peter was loving the people enough to tell them exactly what they needed to do loving them enough to say you need to repent and you need to bring forth fruit as what John the Baptist said in keeping with repentance what was the initial fruit baptism water baptism it doesn't save okay water baptism does not save it's a testimony to a world of what salvation has happened what it's done inside of you that I was once lost now I'm found and is this testimony what God is and that's the whole purpose of it that we come out and we are willing to be bold enough to say this is what has happened to me and this is what God can do through you the purpose of water baptism is a testify of Christ and to take the person out of this mediocre type of religion into the place of saying it must be what defines the entirety of your life Jesus will not be part of your life he will either be the definer of your life or you will define your life and not have Jesus it's that black and white now we don't like that do we in our culture we don't want that you don't just tell me sweet nothings so I can feel good about myself and go home and go to hell cuz that's what it does you understand the truth sets people free but the truth confronts the truth deals with the reality of what we are on the inside so we can have a revolution on the inside to change who we are so that everybody sees it on the outside then you come to Acts chapter three and verses 13 through 15 Peter is preaching once again and this happens after the lame man was healed now in that story of the lame man being healed I think there's just a tremendous account that's there so here you have this man that is lame and he's in the gate beautiful begging for money and the Apostles come by and it says that they that he looked at him they looked so he looked at Peter and John didn't know where they were looked at them hoping to get some money from them and guess what they didn't have any I mean I you know I don't want to get off on it but I thoroughly and completely despise the prosperity gospel because it's another gospel than the gospel of Jesus Christ Peter says seven gold we don't have we don't have a Learjet we don't have a mansion with forth millions of dollars we don't have all these exotic cars we don't have any of it we don't even have any change in our pocket to give you but what I really have I'll give you and what did he have he had the real thing he had the goods he had the power of God operating in his life that's what God wants he wants that reality in us it's not about how much money we have or what we make it's about the reality of this God being so real and alive in us that it begins to affect everyone in our life and even to the point that you could have such miracles like that take place because God is still doing those kind of miracles and you can say he doesn't but you cannot deny the reality of the fact of it I have been divinely healed I have seen people and person after person after person divinely healed so you can say all you want divine healing doesn't exist but you're like an ostrich sticking your head in the ground the reality is God is still alive and still doing what God does and that's what he said he do through the church and so what did he do okay let's listen to his message here he goes and preaches with people now they gather around because of this great healing he said the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob the god of Our Fathers has glorified his servant Jesus you handed him over to be killed and you disowned him before Pilate though he had decided to let him go you disowned the holy and righteous one and asked that a murderer be released to you you killed the author of life but God raised him from the dead we are witnesses of this you see we'll never see how great a gift salvation is until we see how absolutely utterly evil our sin is you don't have a little problem you have a nightmare do you understand you don't have a little sin issue in your life you have this horrendous evil inside of you you have this thing that is so utterly hostile to God that it will damn you to hell forever you don't have a little problem you have this issue that is so horrendous that you will become the plaything of devils and de sade themself for all eternity if you don't deal with the the reality of your sin and if you don't come to the place and say god I'm such a filthy sinner save me rescue me and then by faith believe and grab hold of the promise of God and the revolution that comes through that you see it has to come that way that's the only way it comes and what was the response and tells us in verses 19 and 20 he said repent then and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out that times of refreshing may come from the Lord and that he may send the Christ who has been appointed for you even Jesus so what is they what happens this this thing inside them what must I do to be saved what must I do to be saved what is it I see em in sins what how do I find a way of escape how do I get out of this dilemma and you know what God will always show us the way of escape and it's always gonna be the same identical thing it's gonna be Jesus I always gonna be him there's no one else that can save you there's no one else that can rescue you your good works your doctrine all the other stuff that's there none of its gonna save you there's only one Savior and then you go to Acts chapter 4 and verse 12 Peters now standing before the Sanhedrin this is their first real bout of persecution I'm not sure what timeframe here whether it's months or maybe here or two or whatever's the time frame it's not that exact but it's not that long after the events of Jesus ascending in the heaven and so here he is being persecuted by the very same people that had Jesus executed you understand the same identical people the same men and they could have if they wanted to if they would have been allowed to I believe God held them back because of the need of these two men in the early church but these men could have had Peter and John executed what is it what does he do I mean it's just great I mean trying to imagine this before the people that that that cried efg is crucified he stands before them and he says salvation is found in no one else for there's no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved I guarantee you high priest and all the other priests of the Sanhedrin and all the other Pharisees that were there their mouths were gaping open in utter astonishment and here's a man that they said we perceive you've been with Jesus why because the mark of Christ's character was upon them you understand the Holy Spirit was operating through them like it was operating through Jesus they saw I mean I we have so many churches out there can you tell really the difference between them in a in a Mormon temple between Kingdom Hall can you tell any difference oh sure their songs might be a little bit different but can you tell anything different I don't want to say the church but it's one it's a church that every year puts on this big spectacular Christmas pageant now they have live animals and camels and lions in it and everything else I mean it costs him I found out it costs them over forty thousand dollars to put on this this production then I was invited to go because I happen to be in the area and I didn't want to go but I felt obligated to go so I went Jesse and I went and guess what they brought a Mormon couple when it was all done when all the great great show was done you know what the Mormon man said I asked them what do you think of it he says nice show if I was that pastor that Church out about on my face agonizing and in in repentance thank God that I have a nice show this wasn't a nice show this was a Holy Ghost encounter bringing to them the reality of their sin and their desperate need of a savior but what do we do we put on nice shows and leave the world just a little as what it was thinking that they're okay and then you have Steven here's Steven he was not an apostle but signs and wonders were taking place to him people were being healed he had the testimony that he was a man that was full of faith full of the Holy Ghost full of wisdom full of power and full of grace he was a man that the power was working through because a man that lived a life that God couldn't trust such power with here he is two chapters in the book of Acts is on this man of course it was because partially because he was the first martyr of the church but also because Paul in chapter 8 verse 1 Paul was watching and I guarantee you what took place there was part of what helped Paul come to come to salvation and so here you have Stephen now preaching and here's the wonderful lovely beautiful message he's preaching you stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears you are just like your fathers you always resist the Holy Spirit was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute they even killed killed those who predicted the coming of the righteous one and now you have betrayed and murdered him you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it but they didn't like that message did they mm-hmm this is when they heard this they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him and they drug him outside Jerusalem and stoned him to death you see the message is gonna come and we're gonna have to make that decision are we gonna bow are we gonna throw ourselves at his feet are we gonna cry for mercy plead with him for the forgiveness that he wants to give but he wants us to come to the place that we really want it he doesn't want lip service and he knows the difference he knows the difference he knows when we're lying when we're trying to manipulate because that's what happens I mean you get your sin and the deeper you're getting your sin the more your manipulator you have manipulated your families you've manipulated your wife for children you've tried to lie your way out of the sin that you practice then you can't pull that on God you can't pull it you may even pull it over on your counselor but you can't do that over God he knows the hearts of men he knows where we really are and when you go to Paul I'm not gonna take the time to do that but when you go to Paul Paul preached the cross as well when he preached to those who were Gentiles non-jews he came at it from this approach but he still breached the cross still brought in the same identical place still revealed to them the reality of their sin and need of a savior now the next thing I want to point out I'm not gonna dwell on this I'm gonna take a few minutes on it but it's important it's part of the story we can't get away from it and this may go against some of your doctrine now I'm sorry but not sorry you see Pentecost was normal for the early church it was normal you know we've done today we've made it abnormal we've made it rare or we've done something else we've made it weird it's neither we see what it's meant to be we see the purpose of this that is to bring the reality who this God is to us and I you know you can be one that is against experience I'll tell you what I love to experience God I love to experience him I love his joy his presence his conviction I love it when he convicts me and I'm on my face weeping before him I love it I love it when I'm absolutely overwhelmed and I have been in the Friends of God in some ways that add that I have been overwhelmed almost terrified to look up because you know this only God has become so near and God is omnipotent so his nearness is not the aspect of him being near as if he was far away there's no place you can go from God and be closer to him than what you are right now the differences it's the reality that he begins to manifest his presence we begin to see it perceive it comprehend his presence and that is a greater gift than you can understand we're not to live by experience but I'll tell you what it is wonderful to experience the faith it's wonderful John the Baptist prophesied about it you know John the Baptist was the last Old Testament prophet use of the Old Testament he died before Christ was crucified so his last prophet of the Old Testament and he tells us in Matthew chapter 3 verse 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance but he that cometh after me is mightier than I whose shoes I am not worthy to bear he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire the prophecy I mean there was many of them but here it is being prepared this G's gonna come and he's going to do something he's gonna do something in the church that has never been done in history before it will be unique why because we cannot do the work God wants us to do without the work of the Holy Spirit and you know what we have become very very very skilled at doing church without God why do you think with the lato sins Jesus stands at the door and knock because he's no longer welcomed in he could kick the door down he could like what he did to the Apostles in one of the in the encounters when he showed himself after his resurrection just awesome BAM there he is and then he's gone you know I mean he could have done that instead he's saying I'm waiting for you to want me enough that you'll open the door I'm waiting for you to want my presence aren't you yet weary of dead religion of going through the motions you can go to day to church and a year from now it'll be the same thing 20 years so now it would be the same thing because it never changes it's dead year after year after year after year after year instead of understanding that God wants to bring life nearness and when he brings that nearness of himself to us it does things to people it changes them it transforms them all four Gospels speak of what John the Baptist prophesied Jesus preached about the work of the Holy Spirit and he spoke much on it but I'm just gonna share one verse this is before his resurrection before his death and resurrection in John chapter 7 verses 37 to 39 on the last and greatest day of the feast Jesus stood and said in a loud voice if anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink whoever believes in me as a spirit has said streams of living water will flow from within him by this he meant the Spirit whom those who believed in him were later to receive up to that time the spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified and so just a little thing humph intervention is just briefly Jesus gives us something that's very important you want the fullness of the Holy Spirit in your life you want the baptism the Holy Spirit here's what it is to receive it you must first and until you are thirsty after God and thirsty after his presence and Thursday after the Spirit of God you will ever see it come that thirst is extremely important you must thirst but you do thirst but you have thirsted for that which was of the flesh you have hungered for that which was other world and not thirsted and hungered for that which was of God and then they must drink freely or they must come to him which is believed they must put their faith this is a promises for me the promise of salvation the promise of the Holy Spirit is for me and then they must drink freely they must by faith receive it's wonderful what he gave us right there in those few verses of the reality of what the God wants to do in our lives but Jesus preached it also after his resurrection Luke chapter 24 verses 46 through 49 he told them that this is what was written the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem you are witnesses of these things I am going to send you what my father has promised but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high what's the reason that he wanted the Holy Spirit so tangible in the church so that they could be an effective witness so they could be an effective witness with power with signs and wonders with the reality of a God that is near so that when we tell others about Jesus that there's real conviction there that there is a force a power that is greater than our own words and even the use of Scripture that there's the Spirit of God that's speaking and convicting and dealing with that heart and bringing that one to the place of decision and so it's a tremendous thing of what God wants to do I could go through many more verses I'm not gonna take the time but the early church preached the spirit of baptism you can see that in Acts chapter 8 and it was given to whosoever believes and that's in Acts chapter 10 acts as a testimony of the power of the Holy Spirit the church I know we call it the Acts of the Apostles but personally I think a better name would be the acts of the Holy Spirit because that's what it is it's all about the Holy Spirit in the early church empowering the Apostles and laypeople Philip wasn't an apostle he was a layman then he used tremendous revival in Samaria you see god uses average individuals that will finally come to place and say god i want your conversion i want true salvation i want the power of the holy spirit operating in my life i want to live the victorious Christian life and God is looking and waiting for men that will finally come to that place he doesn't need your gifts and abilities your experience your knowledge he does not need your doctrine or your denominations he's looking for the surrender of the man or the woman that he can grab hold of and do a spiritual revolution inside that's what he wants you see the early church didn't have organized religion they didn't have church or denominational infrastructures they didn't have formal clergy to understand they didn't have priests they didn't have Bible schools they had the Holy Spirit they had the power of God now I'm not saying that we don't need some of those things I think we do good with most of it all being gone and our Bible schools to be more of what Jesus did discipleship schools teach them how to walk with Jesus rather than just stuffing this information in that when you look at the early church they did not have all the doctrine you didn't you couldn't go to their church website and see their tenants of faith I'm not saying that's wrong I put on my own website two tenants of fake us today now the churches try to get so generic they don't want anybody know what they believe but the reality is they they they confirmed their doctrine whenever heresy rose up they believed the truth they believed it but they didn't have to articulate it until eventually some heresy rise up and they says ok we need to settle this so we can make a uniform across the church so that we don't have problems so that they can they can overcome these heresies and you see that again and again throughout scripture through the early zoo not Scripture but throughout the early church and so God wants the church that is alive a living army that he can send into a dying world why did they why did they devote themselves why this is serious why did they devote themselves we have to understand they devoted themselves it begins with what I've already dealt with that they were radically saved and spirit-filled arthur wallace a man who wrote on revival ESA's how can we recover apostolic power while neglecting apostolic practice how can we expect the power to flow if we do not prepare the channels you see God doesn't use dirty vessels he doesn't use dirty vessels he cleans him up and that's the wonder of grace that he takes takes us who are just filthy individuals all this garbage on the inside and his blood is so potent that it can take a life filled with such evil and cleanse it and make it so clean and holy that God will make it a temple where he will dwell you see that's the revolutionary nature of biblical salvation and that's what needs to be restored to the present day Church in America because we have forsaken it with a watered-down gospel many of you came to pure life and you thought when you came here you were Christian but we're told throughout throughout scripture but so powerfully through the Apostle John is verse official that those who practice sin do not know God yet you believe the lie that you were a Christian you just had a little problem yes you did like I said in the opening you had a problem you were rushing to hell and you're still rushing to hell unless you have truly been born again here and some of you the obstacle to being truly born again is your belief that has been twisted and demented in what it means to be born again you need deliverance from some of the doctrine that has gotten so much a hold of your head that you can't even see Jesus I know this doctrine it's there you tried lahtie or so about all this stuff and you failed to see that you're missing it all there's nice look upon him seek him fix your eyes on him because he's a remedy he's the only one that could solve the problem in your life and the problem in your life is you I mean that sort of comes down to be and until you will let him break in and bring that spiritual revolution you're just gonna have the same old thing so what if you never go back to your sexual sins and you still end up in hell so what you see that's not what this ministry is about it's not about the aspect of really you getting free of sexual sins it's about you being saved and discipled and coming into a true knowledge of Christ and those who are truly born again will not practice those sins you know what happens when they go back up when you guys go back out and you go back to your sins you know the reality is you weren't really saved you never really gave your life to Christ you could talk to talk you go through the motions but you went back out there and in first time you're back out there you're back in your sexual sins that is a beacon of I this this loudspeaker that's declaring you do not know me I'm not gonna say there isn't gonna be stumbles but there's a whole different thing from a stumble because a righteous man when he stumbles he gets back up but a fool falls into mischief he continues to stay right there and when we fall in love with Jesus you know what happens we don't want that filth anymore you know I'm talking about when you're done with that act the filthiness upon you and when you love Jesus and you love the cleanness the purity you know what I'm talking about those of you have been saved the cleanness of him Chaconne I don't want to be the file with that filth man that filters so ugly this so II I don't want that filth upon me I want to walk clean before my Savior and so they devoted themselves because they were radically saved in spirit filled they devoted themselves this is serious okay they devoted themselves because they knew who Jesus was and the events that proved it we can have a head knowledge about Jesus and never know Jesus John said in the opening of his epistle chapter 1 verse 1 that which was from the beginning which we have heard which we have seen with our eyes which we have looked at in our hands have touched this we proclaim concerning the word of life now John of course is speaking about something that was very personal with those first disciples and the Apostles okay that they literally did touch the Word of Life they literally sat down and ate with them and talked with them they had a privilege with that but yet we are to have just as great a privilege because now that work is taking place through the Holy Spirit we should be able to speak as real as what John did that I can tell you about a Jesus that is real and made himself real I can speak of you of a God that has made himself known to me that I have touched and has touched me I should be able to speak of a God that is present not of what happened so many years ago but a God in the now a God that is active in my life presently because he's near and he's holy and because we're wanting to be holy he draws near to those who are striving to draw near to Him you see this is a living relationship dead religion has nothing of that a living relationship has that which is encounters with God knowing the Scout we can speak of a God that is in the now that we know and so we are to be eyewitnesses we are to go to a world out there that's rushing to hell and be able to speak of a Jesus that is so present so present to us that we should be able to go to them and walk up there to save do you know Jesus I just met with him today and it was awesome you understand what I'm saying that's what it really should be that we smell to speak of a god that is so present because that life is so real it is so active it's not dead religion that's what the world has out there in all the world religions one of the things that makes biblical Christianity so unique from everything else is that we can have a real relationship with the Living God it's not make-believe the third thing why they devoted themselves as they believed Jesus teaching and followed his example you see they were so convinced of who geez was so convinced of who he was that they were willing to believe Christ teaching and follow it no matter what the cost was now do you understand what I just said there why is it that we really don't follow Jesus why is it we really don't obey Him because we don't believe who he really is until we believe who he really is we will not be willing to lay our lives down for him as we are commanded will not love him above everything and everyone and including self until we come the place to really believe who this Jesus is grab hold of it not just head knowledge because you can stuff all kinds of doctrine up here and it never get to your heart it has to become something that is a living relation where we get to know and the more you know the Scott the easier it is to serve Him I'm not gonna say you're not gonna have trials and temptations and struggles but you will know this God and you will know that though all hell is fighting against you that it's worth the fight because this God has made himself known to you they believe Jesus teaching and they followed it they lived it out when he says stop doing that they said yes sir you understand what I'm saying it was loving obedience but they couldn't get to love him until they got to know him they had to first get to know him before they could really love him and obey Him every expression of our disobedience is an expression of lack of love you and the practice of sin that you lived in yet called yourself a Christian it was a screaming testimony that you did not know God and the deeper that love is the more you want to be near him and the more you want to be near him the more you want the sin out of your life and it keeps getting greater and greater that passion grows more and more and more because we want that nearness because we're more convinced of who he is and we ever were before and we want that nearness and so we want obedience to define us more and more and more the final thing is that final point I've just been making you say they were devoted to Jesus and that's what those verses that I opened with those verses were that be looking at throughout the next three messages that they devoted themselves we're gonna look at what devotion is what devotion is according to Jesus what it is according to the Word of God not according to culture not according to church culture not according to tradition or anything else according to the Word of God what does devotion mean from a god point of view and if we really come to a god point of view we will understand the absolute importance of loving him supremely of loving him to the such an extent that we love with all of our heart mind soul and strength and if we love Tim like that we would love him with everything that's within us and there would be no room for sin or compromise of the world or the love of self there'd be no room because he would be filling it all and no place for the other we don't get to that place overnight I wish we did because you know God in His infinite kindness knows that we could not handle the total complete undoing of ourselves and so he takes us bit by bit died to this son died of that son died of this and each death has a new resurrection that that life becomes more full and rich in our life as we learn that as we embrace this wonderful message of repentance and the gift of the crucified Life because with it is resurrection life jesus said if you love me you will obey what I command and so every expression of rebellion every expression of this independence this resistance to God is an expression of self-love is the idol self rising up in you and until you're willing to nail that ugly Idol to cross until you're willing to crucify him you will not know the resurrection life of Christ I want to close with a little story there's tons of stories out there that are just like this and a host of ways comes from a man his name is John Patton and John Patton was a frontier or pioneer missionary what that means is is this would have been in the 1800s when they were going to places where people had never been before to bring the gospel and so here's these two men he spoke of these two missionaries and their names were Williams and Harris and they were going to the island of Anna two of the ear among the vanity islands of Ihram unga and it was the 13th of november 1839 the sailing ship takes one of their boats lifeboats and lowers it down these two men put everything in that boat because they're going to that Island and that's where they're going to live and that's where they're going to die they are not planning on ever leaving that Island they are giving themselves away so that others might know Jesus and there they are tsar starting to roll away and as a rollin way there's a sailing ship taking off leaving them behind there was no going back you understand there was no going back there was nothing of that in their plans and as we're rolling ashore they see the air among guns right out there and and they're waiting for them on the beach and they these two men are so ecstatic I mean they're just filled with joy they're waiting for us we can share the gospel with them and has they come ashore and they the boat comes up and they start dragging the boat up when they turned around to go and greet the people the people fell upon them and beat them to death and cut them to pieces and cook them and ate them how much you want to follow Jesus you see we go to and say well god I don't I don't I don't wanna do this and I don't want to do that and and you know I'll follow you with if I can do it this way but not that way how much you're willing to follow Jesus we might look at that today and say what a waste of life but you know what God said this is what the author and they're putting he said in this wave Ana too was baptized with the blood of martyrs thus announcing to the whole world that Christ had claimed these islands as his own and those men and women on that island were one to Christ but it began with two men that would lay their lives down I'm not saying this to be mean but you won't even lay aside your sin how you gonna die for Christ father we come before you now in the precious name of Jesus you know each of us and Holy Spirit I ask that you would search hearts that you'd search hearts this morning leave none of us untouched Lord God leave none of us in the place without making a choice a decision to either go deeper new to come to salvation or to turn from you but lord I ask most of all that you would save those who are unsaved that you dear God would bring salvation to the most stubborn and proud Nord that today would be their day of deliverance that they would become so weary of their sin that they would want to run home to you and they begin to taste and see that you are good the religion the dead worthless damnable religion falling off them before the cross like pilgrims sin fell off before the cross Lord that you might bring the revolution to some men and that you might continue and others that have already begun journey and the precious name of Jesus millions upon millions of Christian men are being enslaved by sexual lust but in 1986 God raised up Pure Life Ministries to offer a way of escape to those taken captive by pornography and sexual addiction everything this ministry teaches preaches rites and councils it's built upon the unwavering truth of the word of God this is why we exist to lead people into the truth that will set them free