Empowered By The Spirit – The Acts Church

Empowered By The Spirit – The Acts Church


 The early church was a group of believers empowered by the Holy Spirit that spread the Good News. If we want to be an Acts church, we too, must be endowed with power. The only power that can transform us or our world comes from the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:17-18  NKJV

“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit”  


          The first believers waited in the upper room until they receive the promised gift from the Father. Only after they received the gift, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, did they go out into their world with the gospel. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they began to fulfill the great commission.

They very first believers (each one) had experienced a life changing encounter with Jesus. They did not leave their encounter with Jesus the same way, they were changed. Too many times today people will come to the altar and experience an encounter with “man” then leave the altar unchanged.

Throughout the church today the question is often asked, “Why don’t we see the church of Acts today?” The answer is simple, we haven’t tarried in the upper room for the endowment of power. The same gift is offered to believers today, however fewer and fewer believers are asking for and receiving that gift, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Also, today the church is full of people that have had an encounter with man (good song, good sermon, good program, etc…), not God. Man can not change man. Only God can change and transform man. People can not be a witness for Christ if they have never really experienced an encounter with Him. In a court of law, a person can not give hear say – everything that a person bears witness of must have been personally seen or experienced by the person giving the testimony. We can not testify to what we have not personally seen or experienced.

Acts 2:40-47  NKJV

“And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”                       

          After Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit he was filled (endowed) with power. He boldly told the people that they needed to be saved from sin. He said to them, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” In order for a person to be saved (become a believer) they must first come to a realization that they personally have sinned against God. They must then be sorry and ask for forgiveness, and turn away from their sins. They can not try to hold on to God and the world at the same time. Peter told the people that the world was perverse.

After the people received salvation they were baptized. They then followed the first believers in the Apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayer.

I. Apostles’ Doctrine

New believers must be trained. There must be a uniformity of core beliefs. It is essential that new believers know what we (the church) believe and why we (the church) believe it. There is a great need for discipleship training in the church today.

A disciple is a believer in the thought and teaching of any leader; follower. How can a person be a disciple of Christ when they don’t even know what they believe about Him, or they don’t follow His ways?

Acts 2:42  NKJV

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.”                     

          The Holy Spirit helps a believer to understand things. He will guide us in all truth. Through the Holy Spirit in us we have the ability to understand God’s Word, His will (His desires) and His thoughts. Many times it is hard to understand the Word of God without the help of the Holy Spirit (our Helper). God reveals the truths in His Word to us through the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:6-16  NKJV

“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom of God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written:

‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard

Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him’

But God has revealed them to us through the Holy Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”  

          The early believers continued steadfastly in the doctrine of the apostles. There was a uniformity in the early church concerning what they believed about Jesus Christ. The early church did not have a Bible so they relied on the word of the apostles (apostles’ doctrine). The people were not double-minded about what they believed, nor did they have a double standard. They did not change their mind about what they believed because of persecution, or because God’s way seemed too hard. The early church did not allow the world to set their standards or their beliefs. They had the mind of Christ. They relied solely on the apostle’s doctrine. There was unity in the early church because all of them continued steadfastly in the words given to them from God through the apostles by the power of the Holy Spirit. They continued to learn God’s ways and to do what He instructed them to do.

We too must have the mind of Christ. The Word of God must dwell in us and be made alive by the Holy Spirit

Colossians 3:16 NKJV

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  

          Today, we too, must be not only be saved, but we must be a disciple of Christ. We must know His ways and we must follow His ways. We must know what the Word of God says and then we must act upon what we know. We must not just be a hearer of the Word.

Romans 2:12-13  NKJV

“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified….”  

James 1:21-27  NKJV  

“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”   

          Each believer must have a teachable spirit and receive the Word of God with meekness (without resistance). As we hear and obey God’s Word (remain steadfast in the Word of God) it will keep us from falling into sinful behavior, which will lead to spiritual death. We must apply the Word of God to our daily lives. We are only deceiving ourselves if we hear the Word but do not obey it.

God has given His Holy Spirit to us to help us obey Him. The Holy Spirit gives us power to live for and to obey God and His Word. When we reject the Holy Spirit’s instructions (His leading in our lives) we are actually rejecting God.

II. Fellowship

The first church was a community of people that shared the same interest (they wanted to follow Jesus) and goals. They favored and supported of each other.

Acts 2:42  NKJV

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.”  

         They continued steadfastly in fellowship, in the sharing in the lives of other believers. As they shared in each other’s lives the older believers were able to mentor the younger believers. They older believers were able to give godly advise because of their relationship with the new believers. The wisdom that they (older believers) had obtained was not only for them, it was shared with others.

New believers must be allowed and encouraged to share in the lives of other believers. They must be able (feel free) to ask for advice or counsel from other believers. Believers must fellowship with each other. We can draw strength and encouragement from others. Friendship (fellowship) in the body of Christ is something to be valued.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12  NKJV

“Two are better then one,

Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.

But woe to him who is alone when he falls,

For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”  

          Fellowship within the body of Christ is essential for the growth of the church. There are great benefits from friendship and companionship. When we share in in each other’s lives it will help bring relief and encouragement for problems and it will help us not to feel a sense of isolation or loneliness. Friends can give assistance, comfort, strength and defense. We must fellowship together in the Spirit with other believers.

Philippians 2:1-4  NKJV

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”   

III. Breaking of Bread

Communion is one of the two ordinances that Christ gave to the church. It is a very intimate time between a person and God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It is a time to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice and all that it provides for you, His death and His resurrection.

Communion is also a time to think about Jesus’ return for His bride, the church. As the bride of Christ it is our responsibility to perfect ourselves for our groom, Jesus. We must undergo a process of sanctification. We must set ourselves apart for Jesus. We are to wait and make ourselves ready for His return. While waiting for Jesus’ return we should be in the process of being cleansed by the washing of the Word. We should conform more and more to what the Word of God teaches. Our desire should be to please Jesus, our groom. Communion is a time when believers recommit themselves to prepare to be the bride of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:28  NKJV

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup.”  

          When we are unwilling to judge ourselves (self-examination) God will chasten us. Chasten means to punish to improve, discipline, purify or refine. God chastens those that will not judge themselves because He loves them and does not want them to be cast away from His presence. True self-examination will lead to true humility.

 1 Corinthians 11:31-32  NKJV

“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judges, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”  

          Communion is a time when a believer is to examine their life. Only those who have properly prepared themselves will be the bride of Christ. Sin keeps a person from being properly prepared!

When we do not receive communion for the right reasons (a time of reflection, anticipation, examination and commitment) we are taking it in an unworthy manner.

Acts 2:42  NKJV

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.”    

          New believers must be trained in the importance of the communion. Communion is vitally important to a church. Jesus gave every part of Himself for and to the Church. He gave His Church something that would provide strength for their journey and for healing along the way, and that something is communion. Whatever name you choose to call it communion (the grain and the drink offering / the Lord’s Supper / the love feast / the first works / the breaking of bread) is a wonderful reminder of everything that Jesus provided for us.

1 Corinthians 11:23-24  NKJV

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ ”  

           There is a vast supply of power and revelation in communion, both privately and corporately.  Corporate communion brings an anointing upon the church, fresh moves of the Holy Spirit, and a harvest of souls.

Joel 1:8-12  NKJV

“Lament like a virgin girded with sack cloth

For the husband of her youth. The grain offering and the drink offering

Have been cut off from the house of the Lord; The priests mourn, who minister to the Lord.

The field is wasted,

The land mourns; For the grain is ruined,

The new wine is dried up,

The oil fails. Be ashamed, you farmers,

Wail, you vinedressers,

For the wheat and the barley; Because the harvest of the field has perished.

The vine has dried up,

And the fig tree has withered; The pomegranate tree,

The palm tree also,

And the apple tree – All the trees of the field are withered; Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men.”  

          When communion is cut off from the people the people and the church are barren spiritually. When communion is cut off from the church the manifest presence of God, the glory of the Lord, and the anointing is cut off. The church must discern the body and blood of Jesus Christ. If they don’t they will be barren, their fields will lie in waste, their land will mourn, their corn will be wasted, and the new wine will be dried up. In other no words there will be no harvest of souls, there will be no fresh moves of the Holy Spirit and no anointing upon our church or our lives.

Revelation 2:2-5  NKJV

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place – unless you repent.”  

IV. Prayer

The early believers were trained in the discipline of prayer. The early church viewed corporate prayers as an essential part of the spiritual growth of the church.

Acts 2:42  NKJV

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.”  

          Prayer is the act of speaking to God (not about Him, but to Him) in worship, entering into spiritual communication with God, the act of offering worship (ascribing worth to) to God, and making earnest requests (petitions) to God. Prayer is very important to the spiritual well-being of a person and a church. It was the desire of Jesus that His house (both the individual Christian and the church) be a house of prayer

Isaiah 56:7  NKJV

“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,

And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices

Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”  

Luke 19:45-46  NKJV

“Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them, ‘It is written, My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of thieves.’ ” 

          Prayer is not, and should not be made into, a dry or boring ritual. It is a wonderful time of intimate communication between you and God Almighty, the very Creator of the universe. We cannot separate prayer and worship. They go hand in hand. When we pray we are speaking to God personally. We are spiritually communicating with Him. When we worship God we are ascribing worth to Him. We are speaking directly to Him, not about Him, through our words (sometimes spoken and sometimes sung). We must keep in mind that there is a difference between praise and worship. When we praise a person we tell others about how wonderful they are (brag about them to someone), but when we worship a person we personally tell the person (face to face) how wonderful they are.

Since the people in the early church were baptized in the Holy Spirit they often prayed in the Spirit. When we pray in the Spirit we yield (completely surrender) our tongues, minds, and hearts to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to pray through us. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what we should pray, and as we yield control to Him, He is able to pray the “perfect” prayer. The Holy Spirit inspires us to pray both in tongues (in the Spirit) and in our own understanding.


The early believers received the baptism of the Holy Spirit which gave them power to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ. Empowered by the Holy Spirit they preached repentance and lived a repented lifestyle. Through them the Holy Spirit worked to save thousands and thousands of people. The people were baptized and trained.  These new converts (believers) were trained in four areas: in the Apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayer. The people apparently grew in their respect and reverence for God (fear of the Lord), because the Bible tells us, “Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”

The fear of the Lord describes an obedient response of wonder and awe before God.

Acts 3:1-5  NKJV

“Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, ‘Look on us.’ So he gave  them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.”   

          Today there are many crippled, lame, blind, hurt and dying people laying at the gates of the church (and some even come into the church). Do we have the power to say “Look on us”? Does the world expect or want to receive anything from us (the church)? Does the crippled, lame, blind, hurt and dying think that we (God through us) can change (help change) their circumstance? Do they want even what we have?


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