Let me show you something. If I place this Styrofoam cup here on the floor and stand on it, it is going to break under my weight. Now, when I place 15 or 20 Styrofoam cups on the floor, place a board on top of the cups, and stand on the board, do we think they will hold my weight?
As Christians who pray to God, we know the importance of prayer. Yet, when we pray by ourselves we are not as strong as when we pray together. As an individual Christian, we do want and need to pray alone. However as a church, praying together is just as important. Praying together makes us much stronger as a church.
For it was Jesus who reminded the people that His Father`s house needs to be called a house of prayer. When we pray, as individuals, in our small groups, and as a congregation, we stay connected to God. There can be even more to happen through prayer. The apostles’ prayers that lead to Pentecost show a glimpse of what can happen.
A.) They were all together in one place (2:1)
1. It is good to be together
2. Are we gathered for one purpose?
3. Do we have separate agendas when we are at church?
4. Can we get to the point where we are all together?
5. There are times when I don’t know a song. So I won’t sing it. However, at Resurrection, there is pressure to stand up when there is singing going on. When the whole row of people stand up, I stand and end up singing the song! You are with the group, so you want to be part of the group. Each of us has decided to be here. We also to decide to be present here. Just over a week ago, Maria and I went on a date. We went to Macado’s. As a gentleman, I let Maria go in front of me. She chose to sit with her back to the windows. Well, that placed me in a seat that faced 3 televisions! I was on the date with Maria, but the televisions stole my attention! Thankfully the evening was saved by my holding Maria’s hand as we walked around downtown Galax! We want to be attentive to God and to each other. It is a privilege to pray to God. Any ulterior motive, any selfish desire takes a back burner when we are all together in one place. It is when our ulterior motives become known by the body of believers that we realize we are not all together in one place. It is not, “I am at church.” It becomes, “We are the living church.” For when we are all here, together, in one place we can be open to God’s Spirit.
B.) Holy fire! (2:2-4)
1. This fire from heaven, was holy fire
2. This fire did not come upon only one person, but rested on each of the 120 gathered in the upper room
3. The fire represented the Holy Spirit that filled each person
4. The Holy Spirit enabled each of the 120 to speak in other languages
5. What a fire it was! For after ten days of the apostles praying to God, God moved among them. Was God allowing the time the 120 were gathered together to be a time of breaking barriers down among the people? Is the 10 days prescriptive of how we can be together? As we read Acts 1 and 2, we realize the fact of being obedient to Jesus was important. How else do we wait for what is promised? We talk. We speak to one another and to God. These tongues of fire were not only God’s giving of power, but his recognition that the apostles listened to Jesus. The time of waiting had ended. Power had now been given to the apostles. What did the Holy Spirit give them power to do?
C.) They were given power to speak of God`s deeds of power (2:5-12)
1. Pentecost is a Jewish celebration at the end of the Feast of Weeks
2. It marked 50 days from the Passover
3. The Passover was the annual celebration of God delivering Israel from slavery in Egypt, making Israel God’s people
4. Pentecost represented a new crop was available for food, to help Israel live in the Promised Land
5. Now, for these apostles Pentecost represents a new crop was available for God’s people to live in a new time
6. Jews from the known world around the Mediterranean Sea were in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost
7. Many languages were spoken by these Jews
8. Now they are hearing God’s deeds of power from the Holy Spirit-filled apostles!
9. The residents and visitors to Jerusalem did not know what to make of this scene
10. God was doing wonders among the apostles. He had brought them together as they followed Jesus. God had raised this Jesus from the dead. And now the apostles were speaking about God’s activity. As we are gathered together, we also can speak about God’s deeds of power. When we go from this place, we can speak about God’s deeds of power. Would these deeds of power include God overcoming our running away from Jesus? Would these deeds of power include God bringing us from our devotion to sin to being devoted to Jesus? These deeds of power could be these truths, and more. Many will want to know the meaning of our speaking of God’s deeds of power. But not all will.
D.) For others sneer, and disrupt us. (2:13)
1. People will be confused by what is happening among us
2. People will brush aside the power God has given us
3. Ways people keep us from being together as the living church
a. Snow keeps us from church
b. Taking the kids to their sporting events kept us from church
c. The wife/husband had a head cold, so I couldn’t come to church
d. We had company and they were leaving this morning
4. They may even think we have been hitting the bottle too much!
5. An explanation will be needed – We go to church because when we are together we are the living church, showing our belief in Jesus Christ.
6. No matter what God’s power does through and in us, people will sneer at us. For people also sneered at the apostles. We cannot properly explain why people sneer at followers of Jesus. But that doesn’t stop us. Once we have power from on high, we explain what has happened to us. Next week we will see how Peter explains the events of Pentecost. But for now, we are focused on being all together in one place. Even if people do sneer at us.
This being all together in one place is important. For when we are waiting for the Holy Spirit to come to us, we wait together. The Holy Spirit won’t just fill one of us. For us to be a living church we pursue what God has for us, together.
For God to wonders among us, like at Pentecost, we can be together. Are we ready to be all together in one place? Are we ready for the Holy Spirit to fill us? Or are we cautious about the Holy Spirit because we don’t want be to sneer at us?
Let’s try being all together in one place. Let’s show up together at this church, praying so that God’s power can fill us. If we need to give and receive forgiveness so we can be all together, then let us give and receive forgiveness. If we need to remember what Jesus has done for us, then let us remember what Jesus has done for us. We have to show up to be part of the living church.