We hear a lot about Spirit-filled churches– – and we should. You might ask whether a church can really be a church without being Spirit-filled.
I want to give you a biblical definition and characterization of a Spirit-filled church. Actually, there would be several biblical definitions and examples of what a Spirit-filled church really is.
Let me give you the most obvious example. It was the original Spirit-filled church, which was, of course, the original church.
I often hear people talking about the first church. Interestingly, they usually are referring to a denomination. The first church was the New Testament church found in The Acts of the Apostles.
Luke, the presumed author of Acts, gave a number of summaries of this church in Jerusalem on which God bestowed His Spirit. The gift that He gave was the gift of the Spirit Himself.
As you read Luke’s summaries of what happened in the church, there are three prominent characterizations of this church.
First, this was a church of unity. The summaries (Acts 2:41-47, 4:31-35, 5:12–16) all describe the church as being one. This wise and harmonious group of people joined together for the purpose of glorifying and serving the God who gave His Son for the church.
A church filled with the Spirit of God will be a unified church. It can’t help but be unified because the Spirit-filled church will be obedient to the leading of the Spirit.
Second, the Spirit filled church has the favor of those within and without. In Acts 5, Luke spoke prominently about how the church had favor with all the people. While the Jewish leadership refused to acknowledge Christ, the common people held the church in high regard.
Third, multiplication characterizes a Spirit-filled church. All the summaries show how this church with unity and favor grew and multiplied. On the day of Pentecost 3000 were added to the church. At a later time 5000 were baptized. This occurred after Peter and John had healed the man who had never walked. This resulted in their being placed in prison. This sign and wonder spoke vividly to the people of Jerusalem who put their faith in Christ.
What would happen today if we sought to obey the gentle leading of the Spirit of God? How different would our churches work and act? What would the church’s unity and harmony be like? And, what would be the opinion of the world and the size of the harvest?
You and I are only one person and we can’t do everything, but we can be obedient to God and follow the command to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
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