Day 6 p. 55-64
When I read the book of Acts, I get excited. While all of scripture is a blessing from God, I am fascinated by the power that God displays as the early church begins. In these first chapters of Acts, a very clear pattern emerged that was a true blessing. The very first piece of the pattern is the assignment given to His disciples to be His witnesses to the world. This assignment is first entrusted to the disciples, but is meant for all who follow Him. Jesus, however, never gives a task without the help to accomplish it.
In very dramatic fashion on the day of Pentecost, the disciples receive the Holy Spirit with amazing results. This reminded me that the same power that was used then, and which the apostles used to begin the Church, is inside of all of us!
This pattern continues in the challenges the early church faced, both external and internal: there was the sting of betrayal from Judas and yet the need to replace him: opposition from the same Jewish leaders who persecuted and killed Jesus: internal struggles with serving widows who were in need, as well as falsehood in generosity. The response from the apostles and early church is the next leg of this pattern. In all of these hard situations, they prayed and used the power of the Holy Spirit to guide them.
To the multitudes Peter declared, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ.” To answer the request of the Sanhedrin to stop professing Christ, Peter and John responded, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard." Peter declared to Ananias and his wife that their dishonesty was against the Holy Spirit and they dropped dead. In addressing the needs of the widows, the very first examples of deacons were created.
The results from these responses all brought glory to God and increased the church. The challenges we face today are not unlike those of the early church. Let’s be reminded to use the power God has provided us, to give Him glory and advance His church.
About The Author
Brett Tooley, a native of Dallas, has come to love the beauty and pace of Longview, along with his family. A husband and father to four amazing boys, God called Brett to vocational ministry after he'd been in the financial services industry for over ten years. He is passionate about helping children and their families pursue Christ and His purposes for them. Brett and his family are so thankful God called them to East Texas and to Oakland Heights Baptist Church.