And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Acts 2:42
This week your Kingdom Bloggers are going to share an essential truth - one foundational to their walk.
Living for Jesus is not easy, it’s essential. We must do everything possible to make sure that we are focused on Him, the work He is doing in us, and the work that he has for us to do. People often ask me about the testimonies that I give, and how to connect with God like that. On more then one occasion, folks have said to me, "If I could hear God like you do, it would be easier to walk in faith." Or "You have a of of faith, I wish I had faith like that."
First, let me say that I am not special. I am simply an individual; a resident of the Kingdom of God, with a few spiritual gifts, some experience, and not much fear of "winging it." I honestly had not really looked back to see how I got where I was, and I definitely had not thought about where I was going. One day, however; I was reading one of my favorite chapters in the Bible: Acts chapter 2.
If we look closely at chapter 2 as a model for entering into the process of sanctification, we find seven foundational steps for living the spirit-filled life. If we reject anyone of these, we will not be able to live in power and purity, nor sense the assurance of salvation, and perform whatever ministry He has called us to. I try very hard to keep things simple, and you probably should too.
-1 Salvation through faith in Jesus – Acts 2:41(a) “Then those who gladly received his word.”
Getting to this step can be quite a long process, but Romans 10:9-10 is the bar that we must meet.
-2 Water Baptism - Acts 2:41(b) “were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
Although I do not believe that water baptism is a requirement for salvation, I believe that it is an important step for living the life of a Christian. In it, we identify with the death and resurrection of Christ, and we are obedient to one of His commands.
-3 Baptism of the Holy Spirit – Acts 2:33 (b) “Received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Step three is important to understanding the fullness of the godhead in us. The Holy Spirit is our comforter and our teacher; convicting us of sin and empowering us to do what the Father is doing. The Holy Spirit is a witness to the resurrection of Jesus. I suppose there is some controversy to this step. Some folks say it happens at the memoent of salvation, I don't believe that. HERE is why. The church, historically, has laid hands on the faithful for the baptism to take place for 2000.Some call it confirmation.If one "receives the Holy Spirit, their faith is "confirmed." Read Acts 10 for a full biblical description of the experience. Without the Holy Spirit, our Christian walk is mostly a lot of lip service to our beliefs.
-4 Study - Acts 2:42 (a) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine
Without putting on the mind of Christ, and having a sword that separates the soul from the spirit, we are bound to make mistakes and fall into sin. We’ll have little wisdom in times of trouble, and we may even lead others astray.
-5 Fellowship - Acts 2:42 (b) and fellowship,
We can’t be apart from the body of Christ endlessly. Even Paul while in prison “kept the faith.” Sure there are some that are isolated, but the norm is to be part of a body and bear one another’s burdens, and to show kindness and love to the brethren.
-6 Communion - Acts 2:42 (c) in the breaking of bread,
Remembering Jesus is the bases of communion. Breaking bread can take many different forms, but it is the heartfelt remembrance of the work done on the cross that is central to this sacrament.
-7 Prayer - Acts 2:42 (d) and in prayers.
Prayer comes in many different forms. There is praise, intercession, supplication, soaking, seeking, harp and bowl, directive and prophetic prayer. It is more than talking to God; it is deep calling deep; a place to hear His voice for your life, for others and the church. The “gimme” prayers are for babies. Jesus needs to be in communication with us in such a way, that we are asking for the things that He has planned for us. We can’t waste time asking for things that we don’t need, are not good for us, and do not increase His purpose in our lives and ministry.
I know it seems sort of basic, but if we are missing any one of these steps, we are bound to run a muck somewhere. This is the foundation of the Christian life and if we are honest with ourselves, especially if we do not feel connected to God, then we may, in fact, just be religious. If we have done all of the above in a natural, and non-intellectual way, then all that is left is is to earnestly desire the gifts of God (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and get out there and live it.