Beyond Acts 2:42
I have been preaching in the book of Acts now for several months and we are 13 sermons into the book. The past four weeks we have focused on four passions of a church devoted to Christ: the apostles' teaching (the Word of God), fellowship (caring community), the breaking of bread (remembering Jesus' death), and the prayers (together and often).
Now as we move on into chapter 3, it is not as if we leave behind what has gone before. Everything we saw in the first two chapters of Acts sets the stage for what happens next. In fact, the healing in chapter 3 and the subsequent preaching, upheaval, persecution, and growth that is brought upon the Church as a result are the outworking of Christ's work in and through His witnesses for His purposes. In fact, it is very accurate to say that what we read in chapters three and four of Acts are prime examples of the Church being devoted to Christ and their active engagement in the four passions that flow from their devotion.
In the first 10 verses of chapter 3 we see a healing take place, the first healing mentioned in the book of Acts. And the cause or purpose of the healing may be quite different than you might expect. With the American fixation on health and wholeness and seeking healing from God, it might be easy to think that this should be the normative experience for every Christian. This is where we need to remember that the book of Acts is primarily descriptive not prescriptive. It explains what happened in the early Church, not what should happen in every church. Nonetheless, there are multitudes of lessons that we can learn as we approach this text.
For now, I want you to remember that as we go beyond Acts 2:42, we do so with the full weight of everything that went before. This is a foundational letter that shows us what God did early on in the transitional history of the Church, in and through His people for His glory. And it is important for us to remember that Christ's work continues today. God is transforming lives by the Gospel of Chris.