Jesus told his disciples, following his resurrection and before his ascension into heaven, to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come. There was a good reason for that. It was the Holy Spirit that empowered them to do the work they had been called to do. Once the Day of Pentecost was past, and the Spirit had come, the church made remarkable strides forward. It was unified in mind and purpose, it witnessed healings and other miraculous signs and wonders, it began to gather together daily for worship, it brought people together in family relationships, and it gave meaning and purpose to the lives of those who were coming to know the Lord as their savior on a daily basis.
On several different occasions, the book of Acts records the fact that the church was held in high regard, respected, and that people would even lay their sick out in the street in the hope that Peter would pass by and his shadow would fall on them and heal them. At least twice, the writer of Acts mentions that the church was respected and had the favor of all the people.
If we conducted an opinion poll today on what people think of the church, I think we might get some very different responses.
And yet, this is our calling. That’s what we should be doing, and that is how we should be seen by people. So how do we get to the place where we need to be?
The Bible tells us that it was the Spirit that filled the believers and brought unity of purpose.
Acts 4:31b and 32a says, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind.” Wow. Can you imagine what your church would be like if everyone was one in heart and mind, and spoke the word of God boldly? What a difference it would make if the reputation that the church had in the community was one of being unified in Christ and committed to carrying out its purpose in the world by worshipping, discipling new believers, creating Christian communities of ministry, winning more disciples and loving each other in spiritual fellowship.
According to the Bible, it was persecution from outside the church, and not dissention in the body, that was the tactic the enemy had to use in his futile attempt to defeat the work of the Lord among his people. Even under persecution, plugged into the power source, the church continued to advance and claim new territory. As long as they stayed tuned in to and focused on the Spirit, they continued to have what Paul eventually called the “Mind of Christ.”
That’s where I want to see my church go today.