The Church is Born – Day 5

Acts 2:5-13

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Yesterday we looked at the restoration of power in the world as God’s promised gift of the Holy Spirit came roaring into the upper room where they’d gathered. But there’s something else equally interesting that happened both in my house when the power was restored from the storm-blackout, and also as a result of the arrival of the power from on high in Jerusalem: unity.

What is interesting about the restoration of power in our modern world is that for at least one moment all of the devices, appliances, machines, bulbs, and screens are brought into an incredible unity. All of this equipment generally works independent of everything else. The lamps are not synchronized with the televisions, and the coffee maker is in no discernable way looking to work in connection with the HVAC unit.

But when the power goes out and is then restored, something remarkable happens: every device that is in need of power is suddenly brought into the spirit of togetherness as they all restart at the same time. The clocks start blinking together, the refrigerator compressor kicks on at the same moment that the lamps on the end tables flicker back to life!

This is not just the restoration of former unity, it is something altogether unique, the new birth of something previously unseen.

The togetherness in the upper room (Acts 2:1) that created the possibility of the restored current didn’t remain in the upper room, but unexpectedly spilled out into the streets of Jerusalem. In Acts 2:6, as the disciples are stumbling out of the room they’d been praying and waiting in, miraculously everything they were saying was understood by everyone who had gathered in Jerusalem for the feast – but they didn’t just understand it, they understood it in the language and dialect of the nation they’d come from!

For a moment the power was turned on for everyone, not just the disciples!

Just like the clocks and lamps in my house, the people in the streets were all of the sudden in unity with each other because of what God had done for a few in the upper room.

As plainly as I can put it I believe this is a significant part of what the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for: to bring unity to the church in a way that gives the rest of the world an unmistakable taste of authentic belonging and gospel community.

When small groups of people are walking in unity, it gives cities and cultures the opportunity to realize what they’ve been missing. And I believe this scales up and down:

  • If you want your family to walk in harmony and unity, model that in your marriage.
  • If you want to see your community/neighborhood stop bickering, start gathering with other believers near you and begin to pray and do life with them as loving servants.
  • If you want to see your church overcome division and powerlessness, start doing family devotions and praying together in the evenings in your home.

Just like all of my appliances were brought to unity when the power was restored – forcing me to go around resetting every clock – when the power of God in our lives is restored and we share that current with those around us, we will begin to see unity and community in our families, our neighborhoods, our cities and even our nations!

If you’ve been trying to argue people into getting along, please stop.

The way true gospel unity is created is when we are all connected to the same power source and the Spirit of God re-aligns our lives to walk in harmony together.

The way true gospel unity is created is when we are all connected to the same power source and the Spirit of God re-aligns our lives to walk in harmony together.

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