Acts: God’s Blueprint for the Church

The Book of Acts is the heart of God for the church. It is a pattern of how the church should be. It is the grand witness of the Body of Christ moving out and in the power of the gift of holy spirit turning the world upside down. It should more appropriately be named not the Acts of the Apostles, but the Acts of the Holy Spirit. God wanted a record of how the gospel should be carried to the world by the Body of Believers. We see hearts aflame for God with a burning desire to carry the message of Jesus Christ to the world. The world was shaken by this group of disciples who were seemly insignificant in the world’s eyes as the history of the world was forever changed by these committed souls. For God’s church to do God’s will it must follow the example of the Book of Acts.

The book of Acts is the action book of the New Testament, and it constitutes therefore one of the most exciting books of the Bible. It is a record of power of God exercised in the midst of persecution; an account of life and health pouring from a living Christ into a sick society through the channel of obscure men and women, very much like you and me. We could never understand the New Testament if we did not have the book of Acts, for it fills the gap that would exist between the Gospels and the book of Romans, which follows.

The book of Acts shows an amazing revolution in society and the hearts of men and women. Before there can be a revolution in society for goodness and deliverance, there must first be a revolution in the church. There must be radical change within the Body of Christ today before we can bring radical change to the world. Are we willing to be a revolutionary for Jesus Christ, completely devoted to Him 100 percent no matter what the cost? The book of Acts shows us men and women that were true revolutionaries for Jesus Christ that even laid down their lives for the furtherance of the gospel. Are we there yet? How strong is our devotion to Jesus Christ? Does our allegiance have a limit or a price where we can be bought or enticed away from our Lord? The Book of Acts is the illustration of the confession of every Christian: Jesus is Lord.

The Church in the book of Acts was not a big building or a denomination. The word “church” in the Greek is ekklesia and means “called out for a specific purpose.” The church is the called out ones for Jesus Christ and are sent to proclaim the good news of His finished work in his death and resurrection; the revolutionary message that sets people free and rescues them from the kingdom of darkness.

The first 11 verses are the foundation for the book of Acts. These verses contain some amazing truths for the Christian and for the church.

Acts 1:1: In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 

The gospels did not end the teaching and ministry of Jesus Christ. The book of Acts is a continuation of Jesus Christ in the world. Acts is not the acts of Christians, but the continuing acts of Jesus. It is an account of what Jesus continues to do and to teach. In the Gospels He did it in His physical body of flesh. In the book of Acts He is doing it through the bodies of men and women who are indwelt by His life,  men and women, possessed by Jesus Christ, owned by Him and thus manifesting His life That is the secret of authentic Christianity. Anytime you find a Christianity that is not doing that, it is false Christianity. No matter how much it may adapt the garb and language of Christianity, if it is not the activity human beings possessed and indwelt by the life of Jesus Christ it is not authentic Christianity! That is the true power of the Church, as we shall see in this book. The book of Acts therefore is an unfinished book. It has never been ended, but is still being written. The book abruptly closes with an account of Paul in the city of Rome, living in his own hired house. It just ends there as though you might turn over the next page and begin the next adventure. Is God’s Spirit writing the next chapter of the book of Acts in and through my life?

 Jesus is still active and alive on Planet Earth today, and He still has a body. In the Gospels, it was His material, physical body. In the Book of Acts, it is His new body, which is the church. We need to stop doing things for Jesus. We need to start letting Him do something through us. You see, there is only one Person who has ever lived the Christian life. What’s His name? Jesus. No one else has ever lived the Christian life, only Jesus. And if the Christian life is lived where you hang your hat, where you go to work, where you go to school, it will not be you living it; it will be Jesus living it in you.”

Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

God wants to write a twenty-ninth chapter of the Book of Acts, and He wants to write it through” YOU!…Living the Christian life is a miracle. Our life is to be a supernatural life. Now, I want you to remember this: that the Christian life is not your responsibility. It is your response to His ability. Major Ian Thomas said about this, “I can’t—He never said I could; He can—He always said He would.” And so, that’s the first thing we need to do. We need to recognize His presence in us and let His life become our life. He is our life! (Colossians 3:4)

Ian Thomas in The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me:

The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you -your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything – then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it! … True Godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only explanation for you, is Jesus Christ.

The Apostles memorialized their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ with a Covenant of Salt

Acts 1:2-4: Until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 

Staying with them: verb root means salt: “While partaking together of salt”

Salt covenant is one of the oldest covenants in the Bible. There was a salt covenant with meals in the Bible in which a person would bind himself to another in utmost loyalty and truthfulness as salt was a symbol of enduring friendship, honesty, and close alliance. It is still common today for people from the Eastern culture to say, “There is salt between us.” An agreement that involves salt symbolizes one that is meant to be perpetual, incorruptible and indissoluble. An agreement that is to endure regardless of circumstances. It is a symbol of an unbreakable alliance and friendship that is to be preserved. It is a bond of commitment where our words cement the relationship.                  

Revelation 3:20: Jesus wants to bind His heart together with yours heart in the closest intimacy of a friend, brother, companion, and provider. He pledges to enter a covenant of utmost loyalty with your heart where there will be an enduring bond of affection, honesty, and unbroken alliance. He wants your heart to be forever knit and linked with His, united and moving forward as one.                                                                                                    

Another great truth is that the birth of the holy spirit within us as God’s gift is the foundation of everything in the Book of Acts. We cannot move as a church, as a body with God in action in us.

Acts 1:5-11: For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 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.

Baptized: the main meaning of baptizo  is to be totally identified with something, in this case, the Holy Spirit. The passive voice “be baptized with” indicates that God did the baptizing and that the disciples were to be merely the recipients. This makes sense for the Spirit is God’s gift and our part is simply to receive the gift by grace through faith in Christ. It is a gift and is the source of the power and the witness of the gospel.

I Corinthians 12:13: For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Acts 2:38,39: And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.

The gift of holy spirit is one of the greatest gifts that God has ever given, and we will show from Scripture that each and every Christian has this precious gift sealed within himself. We will also show that because of the indwelling of holy spirit, each and every Christian can manifest the power of God. 

God, by way of the Lord Jesus, gave the gift of holy spirit to equip and enable each Christian to bless the Body of Christ and mankind in general. This gift gives each Christian real spiritual power that he can use day by day. As Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit [holy spirit] comes on you…” (Acts 1:8a). The power that each Christian has is very real, and very helpful. Scripture declares that the power of holy spirit is “for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7b). It is good for the individual, good for the Body of Christ, and even good for all mankind, because all those in your world are blessed when you walk in God’s power.

God’s Word states a person is filled with holy spirit at the moment he is born again. It is empowering for each Christian to know he can manifest the power of the spirit, and the experience of walking daily with the Lord in one’s own calling makes life meaningful and exciting.

I Corinthians 2:12: Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 

Romans 8:15-17: For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Ephesians 1;13,14: In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:30: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

2 Corinthians 1:21, 22  And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

The spirit of God is sealed within us at the time of the new birth. It cannot leak out; it cannot disappear; it cannot fade away. We are born of God’s spirit from above and the spirit of God becomes an essential part of our being and identity as a Christian. It is the guarantee, the divine deposit, the pledge of our salvation and our future inheritance in His kingdom.

Most Christians have allowed the spirit of God to be dormant in their life; there hearing is dull; their heart is hardened and the power of God has fizzled out in unbelief. It is imperative as Christians that we learn to walk by the spirit and not the lusts of the flesh. Acts is a record of believers that the spirit of God was alive, it taught them; it enlightened them; it inspired them to action and it empowered their words, conduct and life.

Acts 1:8: 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.”

The book of Acts is the power of the Holy Spirit in action. It is the only way to be Christ’s witnesses. You receive spiritual power in such a degree that it is mind-boggling when you are born again. You are filled with all the fullness of God and the exceeding greatness of this power explodes into our lives and the world when we believe. Receive is the Greek word “lambano” and means to “receive into manifestation.” Power is the Greek word “dunamis” and means “inherent power; power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature; to be able; inherent ability, not physical ability, but power to accomplish a task.” In Acts 1:8, dunamis is associated with the coming of the gift of holy spirit in a person, giving that person the supernatural power capable of accomplishing the task Jesus assigns. So clearly, in the context of the book of Acts, “Divine dunamis” is the power which is necessary for disciples to be witnesses of the Good News. There can be no witness without the power, the dunamis of the gift of holy spirit living within. Today in the church there are countless attempts to witness with no demonstration of the power received at the new birth.

I Corinthians 2:4,5 (ESV): And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power (dunamis), 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power (dunamis) of God.

Thessalonians 1:5 for our Gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power (dunamis) and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

Now what kind of power? The gift of holy spirit is the power. This is a most wonderful thing! It is resurrection power. It is the power of a risen Lord, resurrection power, a different kind of power. This power is irresistible. There is no way to oppose it, no way to overthrow it, no way to stop it. Every obstacle thrown in its path is but turned into an opportunity to advance. It is a glorious kind of power. It does not need any props, does not require outside help, and does not borrow anything from the world. It does not even need a cup of coffee to get started in the morning! And it works best in a cemetery. It operates most visibly where everything is dull and lifeless, and nothing is happening. Anyone who is operating on holy spirit resurrection power can come in and change the whole scene. Resurrection power changes lives from within and not from without. It does not start on the outside, with the environment, or the circumstances, or the external situation; it starts within, and works out, to change the environment ultimately. And it does not separate or divide; it harmonizes, it heals, it draws together and breaks down “middle walls of partition”(Ephesians 2:14 KJV) that have been standing sometimes for centuries. It batters them down and brings people together, in harmony. It is a totally different kind of power. That is what you receive when you receive the gift of holy spirit.

Major Ian Thomas in The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me states:

God so engineered you and me that His presence is indispensable to our humanity, teaching our minds, controlling our emotions, directing our wills, and governing our behavior. Your new birth put God into action in you…What kind of Christian do you want to be? To choose to be a carnal Christian is spiritual oblivion. But if you decide genuinely that Christ be everything and have everything in your life…then He is ready to lead you into discoveries that can completely revolutionize your whole humanity for time and eternity…Consent, therefore, to die to all that you are which does not derive from all that Christ is and thank Him for His willingness to make it real…The resurrected Christ now lives, to continue His Life in you…You must die to your own natural ability to deal with the flesh, for you cannot crucify yourself. That is God’s business…You realize that it was never God’s purpose to improve the flesh, to educate it or tame it, let alone Christianize it. It has always been God’s purpose that the flesh-condemned, sentenced, an crucified with Jesus Christ-might be left buried in the tomb and replaced by the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The risen Christ must exercise control in your mind, in your emotions and in your will, expressing Himself through your personality.  

The first 11 verses of the Book of Acts ends with the promise of Christ’s return. This hope is a critical component of the gospel and a vital part of each Christian’s life.

Acts 1:9-11: And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

This same Jesus will come again and no earthly decree, no political game, no religious philosophy can stop it from occurring. This was the anchor of their soul and the motivation to work heartily for the Lord and not for people.

I Corinthians 15:57, 58: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

2 Corinthians 4:17,18: For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

The Book of Acts sets forth right after about 3000 souls were added to the church, what the Body of Christ needs to do for the Lord to add to the church daily

Acts 2:42-47: 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.

Devoted themselves: Continually devoted themselves to four specific things or course of conduct (Apostles teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers): The imperfect tense here means this was ongoing, occurring over and over, again and again. Devoted means to be earnest towards, to persevere. It describes a steadfast single-minded fidelity to a certain course of action. It means to persist obstinately in a task, to keep on with devotion, to continue to do something with intense effort, to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing, to continue all the time in a place, to persevere and not to faint, to be constantly diligent, to attend assiduously all the exercises, to adhere closely to, to attend continually! What a picture of the early church! What would happen to the church in America if the genuine believers “were continually devoting themselves” to the teaching of the Word of Truth? This was the foundation element of devotion is to the teaching of truth revealed in the Bible.

Doing God’s work God’s way requires an unwavering commitment to the primacy of biblical preaching and teaching….The early church experienced spiritual vitality, not because of gimmicky techniques, but because it focused on the priority of biblical teaching. Along….The Holy Spirit worked powerfully in this first church by leading the apostles to be prolific in their teaching ministry. Sound doctrine enriched every aspect of this church’s life. Everything flowed from the pure fountain of biblical truth….The apostles’ ministry of preaching and teaching is mentioned more often than any other activity in which they were engaged (Acts 2:423:11–264:1–28–1219–2031335:20–2129–32426:2471113–147:1–53). So overwhelming is this evidence that it can be argued that Acts is primarily a record of apostolic preaching and teaching….No matter where they were, these apostles were preaching. Whether in Solomon’s Portico (Acts 3:11–265:2042), in public gatherings (Acts 4:233), before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:8–125:28–32), or from house to house (Acts 5:42), they boldly taught in the name of Christ. Even in the face of life-threatening dangers, the apostles refused to be silenced, declaring, “We cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). When the demands of ministry grew complex, they would not be diverted from their central task of teaching. They said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the Word of God” (Acts 6:2). Most notably, when the successful expansion of their ministry was described, it was measured in terms of the spreading of “the word of God” (Acts 6:7). Similarly, when those under their teaching—men such as Stephen and Philip—were thrust into ministry, they in turn taught the “word” with extraordinary effectiveness (Acts 7:2–508:5253540). In fact the first disciples filled all Jerusalem with their teaching (Acts 5:28). Unmistakably the apostles’ teaching was most important in the early church…..Biblical preaching must always occupy the leading place of influence in the life of the church. At the core of any healthy congregation is a vibrant exposition of God’s Word. 

I Timothy 2:3,4: This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

Fellowship koinonia from koinos = that which is in common, belonging to several) describes the experience of having something in common and/or of sharing things in common with others. It describes a close association involving mutual interests and sharing or to have communion (“intimate fellowship”) It denotes the active, joint participation, cooperation and/or sharing in a common interest or activity. A relation between individuals which involves a common interest and a mutual, active participation in that interest and in each other.

Tertullian recounts that when the Roman government became suspicious of the early church, they sent spies into their services. The spies came back and said that the Christians were a peculiar type of folk – they did not have idols, instead they worshiped One by the name of Jesus, who was absent. Then they added, “How those Christians love each other; how they have fellowship (koinonia) one with the other.” That should be the mark of the Christian through all ages.

Acts 4:32a: Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul,

Is this a description of the Body of Christ, the church today? Do our hundreds of denominations bear this out? Division, controversy, disagreement and discontent seem to be the norm. Love has waxed cold among Christians. When you do not devote yourself to the Word of God, you become spiritually anemic and like dominos the other three corners of devotion begin to fail. How important is fellowship with each other today or is it more important to live a separate lives? Is fellowship just an hour on Sunday? Or is it deeper than that? This should be our goal as a church is to become of one heart and one soul.

Breaking of Bread: Communion and fellowship of eating together.

They were continually devoting themselves…to prayer – The Greek word here always refers to prayers to God. What has happened to the old fashioned “prayer meetings?” I think they have gone out of fashion!

Persevering prayer is still the charge to a church rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, (Romans 12:12); Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;(Col. 4:2+) As Phillips phrases it the infant church “was a company marked by the throne. The name of Jesus opened up prayer opportunities never before known, for now we have instant access to the throne of grace (Heb 4:16+). Every aspect of individual life and corporate life can now be related to the throne and to that great High Priest who sits at God’s right hand.”

Prayer (proseuche from pros = toward or immediately before + euchomai = to pray or vow) is the more general word for prayer. The prefix pros would convey the sense of being immediately before God and hence the ideas of adoration, devotion, and worship. The basic idea is to bring something, and in prayer this pertains to bringing up prayer requests.

Verse 47 is a summary and the first great statement: They were praising God and have grace with one another. That is how the Lord grew the church. He is responsible to add to the church not us.

The structure of the Book of Acts is in 8 great sections with each section ending in a great summary and concluding statement. In the original Bible there were no chapters, and even though the book of Acts has 28 chapters, God has divided the book into eight sections with each section emphasized by a concluding, summary verse. Each one of these concluding summaries builds upon each other and is a statement of the spiritual condition of the church at that time in the book of Acts. Each summary statement is an example of the figure of speech, symperasma, which is a conclusion by means of a brief summary, and is the Holy Spirit’s God breathed emphatic conclusion at the end of each section. These are building blocks for the church to measure its current growth and rise and expansion with the Book of Acts. The eight sections in the book of Acts are Acts 1:1:-2:47; Acts 2:1-6:7; Acts 6:8- 9:31; Acts 9:32-11:5; Acts 11:6-12:24; Acts 12:25-16:5; Acts 16:6-19:20 and Acts 19:21-28:31.

We do not have time to delve into detail on each of these great summary statements but let’s look at the conclusion of the 7th section which tells us the peak of the influence of the church in the world.

Acts 19:8-20: And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all[d] of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.  Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

The 7th great summary statement is Acts 19:20 (KJV): So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

Grew: means to cause to grow or cause to become greater in extent, size, state, or quality.  We see the Word of God in two other great statements Acts 6:7 (the word of God continued to increase); 12:24 ( But the word of God increased and multiplied)  We see the progression until the Word prevailed.. Preach the Word in season and out (2 Ti 4:2) if you want to see your congregation grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). There are no shortcuts. God offers us no “Plan B!”

Mightily– power exerted with an impact. It means strength or might, especially manifested power, exerting itself until it prevails or secures submission (gains mastery, dominates).The Word of God was growing with might! With power! The power of God was being energized through the Word of the living God and it was having a crushing impact on sin, Satan and the world. Power was being exerted with the impact of the captives being set free, the chains of bondage being broken, the oppression of the enemy being lifted and the domain of the kingdom of darkness being obliterated. When the Church reflects the culture, watch out! The methods, practices and principles of the Church are to be devoted to God’s instruction and direction. But too often what seems to work so well in the world is simply adopted by the Church in the name of the Kingdom, and no one dares raise an objection. After all, it’s so successful! The church here was breaking the power of witchcraft that had held people in bondage.

Prevail: is embodied strength that “gets into the fray” (action), i.e. strength that engages the resistance. 

The Word of the Lord was proving itself superior, gaining mastery as Paul and his disciples proclaimed it throughout Asia.  The imperfect tense describes this as it’s effect again and again. Such is the power of the Word of God! Don’t ever underestimate the power of the Word. Someone may pretend that the Word you spoke to them had no effect (e.g., if they reject the Gospel), but rest assured, it did effect them one way or another (same sun that softens the wax, hardens the clay) 

It’s a blessed time in a soul, it’s a blessed time in a family, it’s a blessed time in a congregation, it’s a blessed time in a country when the word of God grows mightily and prevails . “Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?” What have I to do with black arts, or dealing with a lie? Those who first trusted in Christ were willing to forsake all and follow him. The grace of the gospel produces a new taste — it alters everything about us — our friends, our pursuits, our books, etc. — Richard Cecil

Eric Ludy-When the gospel it truly received it costs you everything, your life, your old ways, your old mannerisms, your old self. This is a cost that comes in knowing God and the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot hold on to a scrap of the old you. The problem is us. We have a born disposition that is in rebellion against the most High God. I want my life on my terms. I want the benefit of Jesus Christ and have Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father on my terms. I want a little of the peace, a little of the joy, a little of the power and of course then get out of hell free card. But that is about all I want now because I want to be a Christian on MY terms. You can have all that Jesus Christ is but there is a little caveat: He gets all that you are. Oh the glow, the soul satisfaction, the radiance that comes from giving our all, our entire lives, EVERYTHING to Him. Few want to live Christianity like this. Can you look God square in face and say you made me, you fashioned me for a purpose and a destiny, you gave your Son to set me free, and I now give you my life and will do what you require me to do. I don’t want my way. I want your way.

I Samuel 17:28: 48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Hastened: To move with liquid ferocity like a lion toward its prey. He sprints into the jaws of danger for He knows His God does the impossible.

We take no junk from the enemy. We don’t listen to his voice mocking us. He is defeated. He is powerless to stop us. We need to get the spiritual growl for glory; the heavenly audacity; the firebrand in our soul; and a volcanic eruption in my heart for the living God. We must rise up and be a man; rise up and be a woman! We need to develop that fight, that vigor, that holy zeal in our soul. Grit your teeth and tell the Devil “Not on my watch!” O God make this man; make this woman live like that man, David. God honors the patriot. God honors the good soldier and warrior. Do you understand the nuclear power created in you at the new birth? Do you know what resides in you when the Bible says “It is Christ in You the Hope of Glory?” We are to make war against darkness. We are to break down every stronghold in our life; we demolish them for the glory of God. We subjugate every thought that enters human mind to the obedience of Christ. Are you ready and built for battle with our enemy or are you the great pushover? The Church of Jesus Christ is to bring violence against the kingdom of darkness. Grit your teeth and believe the word of God and don’t back down. If God promised, He will come thru. We do not let go of our God. We are not the cowards of this generation anymore. Let hell tremble because the church is being awakened. We follow in the train of the conqueror. Know your position church of Jesus Christ! This is not playacting! This is life! We do not back down; we don’t quit walking. We continually say in confidence-“Watch what my God will do!” My God wins.

We are princes and princesses representing a kingdom. We walk in this world as citizens of another realm demonstrating in this realm the behavior of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ. We are not of this world and we do not behave like it! This is what it means to be holy. We must have a practical holiness in our lives. God commands us in I Peter to be holy as God is holy. Maybe this is not our favorite verse to decoupage and hang above our sink, but it is a command of the Lord. Everyone should see Jesus in us. God is shaping us into a greater picture of Himself. How exciting is this! That our life becomes a representation of God’s glory.

Never forget we live in hostile territory. We are an enemy of the state when we sided with Jesus Christ. We cannot pander the world for approval and pander God for approval at the same time. No One can serve two masters! You have to choose your side! Is it God or the world? It is our belly or God? We have to choose which way we are going to live and whose approval we are going to seek. Are we a servant of Jesus Christ or a servant of this world? You can’t have it both ways. There is nothing more detestable to any kingdom than someone who attempts to serve both sides. Who are you going to be? A servant of God or a servant of the enemy? Do we look at the pantry of God for our appetite or is our belly raiding every other pantry of the flesh. Is it all about satisfying our needs, our wants, our appetites and our pleasures? If so, this is not how Christianity is supposed to operate.

Ravenhill: God’s goal is not to raise a generation of sandbox Christians. It’s fine for children to play and putter around in the sand, but grown-ups who insist upon remaining at that level of maturity will never enjoy the satisfaction of being used of God. Their lives will be wasted on foolish, fruitless pleasures rather than fulfilling God’s purpose in their generation.

Let God began Acts 29 with you!

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