Damariscotta Baptist Church
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

02/07/16 Sermon - Resurrection Remix

“Resurrection Remix”

Acts 2:42-47

Last week we read that after Peter’s sermon, following the coming of the Holy Spirit, over 3,000 people turned, repented and joined the apostles in their worship of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

 

This is historically known as the first Christian Church.

It is important to note that 41 verses have been devoted to Peter’s detail record of the events surrounding the gift of the Holy Spirit and

only 6 verses of the life of the first Christian church.

 

So as we take a look at what the first Christian church looked like, let us keep in mind the law of percentages. Greater space is given to Peter’s to the coming of the Holy Spirit, than describes how the first church established its manner of existence.

Today’s passage states the first converts placed themselves under the authoritative teaching of the Lord by the apostles.

They fellowshipped together, or we could say they were a community of friends who shared meals, and the breaking of bread, which was another way of saying the “Lord’s Supper” where the bread was broken and blessed, and referred to Christ’s body.

They also devoted themselves to prayer. We also know from reading further in Acts, that the members of the early church attended public worship in the temple and joined prayer meetings during their house meetings.

Today’s passage continues to tell us that those who were a part of all of this were filled with awe. You’ll remember Peter earlier quoted Joel’s prophecy, which spoke of a dawning of the kingdom of God, which would be proclaimed by miraculous signs. Jesus performed such signs and now that the apostles had been empowered by the Holy Spirit so they too would continue the fulfillment of coming of the Kingdom of God, which every Jew was eagerly awaiting.

All of this energy brought all of the believers together and created a dynamic unity of Spirit, so that they “had everything in common”, and viewed their possessions as the property of all. These possessions would have been their assets, not their homes or businesses. Anything of surplus was seen as something that should benefit everyone, so was held in common. We will soon see in chapter 5 that this communal life-style fades over time and for some holds dire consequences.

Finally we are reminded that the believers gathered regularly in the temple for public worship. They regularly met in Solomon’s colonnade on the east side of the outer court. They met for their meals in households and maintained a sense of rejoicing and sincere hearts.

Many have read this passage and have begun to wonder how nice it would be to live like the first Christian church. Not having to worry about anything physically or financially because everyone was taking care of everyone else.

An, “All for one, and one for all,” kind of existence.

Before we begin to think this should be the standard, I would like to propose that “An is in not an ought”.

In other words, a “description is not a prescription”.

This is a narrative, something done by a particular group of people at a particular point in time. This does not mean that everyone should proceed to copy what was done until eternity.

Although this may not be a prescription, I will suggest we consider the passage and see if it may give us insight into how life in the early church, following the outpouring of the Holy Spirit could serve as a model for a “Spirit-filled” church today.

I have six principles demonstrated by the first Christian community that I would encourage us to consider and compare with our own Christian community.

First, the church was built on the foundation of repentance of sins and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the payment for their sins. And in doing so, they received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Second, the church was built up through the teaching of the apostles, from the Bible, at that time the explanations and teaching of the Torah, or Old Testament was central to the life of the church.

Third, Fellowship was emphasized. There was a fellowship meal, which probably included the Lord’s Supper, and was an extension of their Eastern culture, where eating together was a reflection of community.

Fourth, the church was a caring community. Although for the first church there was a communal structure, suffice it to say practical care toward each other was the purpose.

Fifth, The church was a joyous community, and respected by the wider community. This was definitely attractive to those outside the church as many were added to the church, daily.

And sixth, the church was a praying community. We read that they devoted themselves to prayer and sought the will of God and then relied on what they understood.

After considering the changes for those Jews in the first century upon their encounter with Jesus and then of the Holy Spirit it seems to me a “Resurrection Remix” had occurred.

“Remix” is a musical term which defined by Merriam-Webster means:

a new or different version of a recorded song that is made by changing or adding to the original recording of the song.

In other words, to take something old and make it something new, creating a new song, for a new day.

We have just read how the first converts to the Christian faith, upon receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, took their old faith

and mixed with the resurrection,

made something new.

They were singing the old faith with a new tune. In our passage today, not only individuals, like the apostles, and each individual who repented and accepted Jesus as their Messiah remixed their lives, entire communities were remixed.

Things were changing, the Holy Spirit was causing amazing things to occur and everyone who experienced them was in awe. The message was the same, God was Redeemer. The God who redeemed the disciples, was the same redeemer Abraham, for Joseph, for David, for Ruth and Naomi. But for those living post resurrection, there was a different tune, a different dance, a different way of expressing who God was in their lives.

Has there been a remix today, in this generation?

I suggest this is so.

The form of worship today, looks and sounds different from twenty years ago,

it has been remixed.

Yet it still contains the same key elements of not only twenty years ago, but of 2000 years ago. The elements have merely been recombined, to form a new mix of the old.

The six characteristics of the first church remain with us today,

-       Repentance of sins and acceptance of Jesus – remains

-       Expository preaching – remains

-       Fellowship meals – remain

-       Practical care for each other, - remains.

-       Being friendly, happy and welcoming to all, - remains.

-       Prayer - remains.

The resurrection remixed the early church, and as our society changes, the expression of worship remixes, but the center remains unchanged.

Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Amen.

 

Prayer - Deacon’s Offering – Lord’s Supper