“And They Devoted Themselves”

“Jews and Arabs gather together to pray in the name of Yeshua”

In the edition of Kehila News Israel dated 28.10.2017, a Messianic Jewish online publication, there was a headline that read  “Jews and Arabs gather together to pray in the name of Yeshua” The article went on to say “Hundreds of Jewish and Arab believers from the north of Israel gathered in a forest in the Galilee region on Shabbat to worship God together. There was singing in both Arabic and Hebrew, and messages from the Word of God about his power to save and transform – but much of the time was spent calling out to God for revival.”

A Refreshing Change

This is a refreshing change to see and one that the secular media never reports about. Truly when we see this we see the spiritual descendants of Abraham fully operative as together Arab and Jew worship side by side connected spiritually by faith in the Lord Jesus. We must always keep in mind that Abraham is the father of Jews and Arabs. Having said this in no way cancels out God’s promises to Abraham to give to his descendants and those of Isaac and Jacob the whole land of Israel to be for them as an “an everlasting possession.”(Genesis 17:8)

A Harbinger

This gathering of Jewish and Arab believers is a foretaste, a harbinger, a microcosm of what is to come right at the end of this age when the Lord Jesus pours out His Spirit upon a faithful believing remnant in Israel as He did on the Day of Pentecost. (Joel 2:28-32) The focus of this great revival in Israel will be the Lord Jesus the Messiah. The people will be gathered around Him, not an institution. As we read in Genesis; “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh (Messiah) comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:10)

A Gathering Together

In these last days God is gathering together those who love the Lord Jesus and love the Word of God. They are not being gathered into a denomination or into religious structures but into living fellowship where the Lord Jesus is at the centre of their worship and daily living. All over the word, especially in those countries where Christianity is outlawed the faithful Body of the Messiah is meeting together in caves, forests, high rise apartments, factories and wherever they can.

Spiritual Bankruptcy

What we see in the Acts of the apostles will happen again in the western democracies as it is already happening in places like North Korea, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Northern Nigeria and in other third world countries mainly in underdeveloped nations. Institutional Christianity for the most part in the western democracies is spiritually bankrupt today. Denominational structures are squeezing out the power of the Holy Spirit. Seeker friendly churches are compromising the truth of God’s Word and scratching what itching ears want to hear. Interfaith, ecumenism and postmodern thought is rampaging through many churches with its existential underpinnings that undermine the Word of God. Because of these trends many churches have become “white elephants” spiritually speaking. The Biblical, moral and ethical underpinnings are being removed. Replacement theology is on the rise and by enlarge Christendom has lost its way Biblically speaking.

“They Devoted Theselves”

In the book of acts we read how the believers conducted themselves daily and this is not only past history but future history as well, and so we read…

(Acts 2: 42-47) “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

What did they do after they had been filled with the Holy Spirit? (Acts 2:4)

1. They were devoted first and foremost to the Word of God as taught by the apostles.

Our apostolic doctrine and authority today is the Word of God, the Bible. This must be the measuring stick for everything that is said and done in the local assembly. All things must be tested by the Word of God. C.H. Spurgeon said; “How to you tell if a stick is bent even if it does not look like it to the naked eye? by holding it up to a perfectly straight stick.” He implied that the Word of God is that ‘stick’ by which all other ‘sticks’ are measured.

2. They were devoted to fellowship which included breaking of bread and prayer.

The breaking of bread was not a religious ceremony but a fellowship meal the believers had together over which they remembered what the Lord Jesus had done for them at the cross. It was the feast of Passover celebrated by the Lord Jesus with His disciples on the night He was betrayed. Corporate prayer was also a daily practice as there were many things to pray about. How many churches have this kind of daily fellowship and prayers today? Somehow we are all too busy. It is almost an ‘add on’ today in many fellowships.

3. The believers were in awe of what the Lord Jesus was doing among them by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There were many wonders and signs being done through the apostles. The first century church was a supernatural church. Signs, miracles and wonders always followed the preaching of apostolic doctrine. They were not substitutes for preaching the Word of God. On the Day of Pentecost the 120 believers filled with the Spirit spoke in languages, most of which were not known to those speaking them but understood by their hearers. However it was not this that brought about the salvation of 3,000 souls that day but the faithful preaching of God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. Many were “cut to the heart” and cried out “what should we do?” Peter never offered them Alpha and Purpose Driven classes or sent them to the local synagogue or tell them to try harder at being religious but clearly told the people to “repent and to save themselves from this crooked and perverse generation” What was ‘seeker friendly’ about that? Such was the power and liberty the blessed Holy Spirit had to save souls and sanctify saints. We are going to see this again but it will be in very tough and adverse times for the Body of the Messiah. Most of the ‘miracles, signs and wonders’ we see today in most western churches I am persuaded on the basis of scripture is not the real deal!

4. They were all together and had all things in common.

They knew that Jerusalem was to be ransacked in the future and the Temple destroyed as the Lord Jesus had predicted. They pooled their resources and focused on those in the fellowship who had genuine physical needs even to the point of selling their possessions. ‘Freeloaders’ did not even get a look in. Look what happened to Ananias and Saphira. These followers of the Way were not living for the things of this world neither were they looking to have it good in this world, unlike many today chasing after prosperity and Kingdom Dominion doctrines. In the future things are going to change for the Church in the western democracies and Acts will be repeated. When we are reading the book of Acts we are not only reading past history of the faithful Body of the Messiah but the future history of the faithful Body of the Messiah.

5. Every day they attended worship in the Temple and had fellowship meals in their homes with gladness and generosity of heart.

There is something special about sharing fellowship over a meal, a practice that to a great degree has diminished in many Assemblies today. In most churches a fellowship lunch happens every three months if that. Not so with these believers, it was a daily practice. They were family and moved in the Holy Spirit, a unique people called out from the world, aliens and strangers in the world in which they lived and often persecuted and maligned, especially by the religious establishment, yet despite all this no one could deny what the Lord Jesus was doing among them. Eventually they were expelled from the Temple precincts. In the future genuine believers and ministers will be ejected from their churches who no longer want to hear God’s uncompromised Word.

6. They were constantly praising God, being filled with righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.

 The believers were being constantly filled with the Spirit and speaking to themselves in Psalms, songs and spiritual hymns as the Body of the Messiah edified itself in love. Genuine spiritual gifts were common place in those days and they will be again in the future but it will not be primarily happening in traditional denominational churches by enlarge. Most of the denominations eventually will go to the Babylon of Interfaith, ecumenism, post modernism, Replacement theology and go in for all kinds of counterfeit signs, miracles and wonders. These counterfeit signs and wonders will pave the way for the man of sin to be worshipped in God’s Temple. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

7. They had favour with the common people as the LORD daily added to the fellowship those being saved.

Despite the resistance from the religious establishment and the so called ‘College of the Cardinals’ being the Pharisees at that time they had the favour of the common people. And the LORD added daily to their number those being saved. Souls that are being saved is not revival, but the results of revival. In the revivals under John Wesley the common people believed while the religious establishment on the whole rejected Wesley and his Methodist fellowships. Israel as a nation had the former rain of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost bringing about a great harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God. The latter rain of the Spirit is yet to come when once again the dry bones, with flesh and sinews joining them together being the nation of Israel will come to life spiritually again and rise up to be a mighty army for the LORD. (Ezekiel 37:1-10) In the last days just before the Lord Jesus comes back many people will be lost but many people will also be saved and so ultimately fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis; “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh (Messiah) comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:10)  After this happens then the end will come!

P.S. See our Study Series “The Normal Christian Church” Here is the link to the first study;  Link here