#carmelprays – Closing Thoughts on Acts
This series of devotionals on Acts have come to a close. In the new week beginning next Monday, we shall explore a different way of approaching these devotionals. We will take a brief 1-week journey into Psalms so that you may have an opportunity to ask God to speak to you through the words of Scripture.
For today, let us pause, pray a prayer of blessing for those who have contributed and reviewed the Key Lessons in Acts.
Acts describes how the Holy Spirit acted through disciples of Jesus in the early church despite great challenges from religious Jews who were opposed to Jesus and the Roman authorities. The expansion of the Church took place despite persecution and was nothing short of astounding. What are the 4 key characteristics of a Spirit-filled church?
- The Message of the Cross and The Resurrected Christ was clear
When we evaluate our lives and our church, what are the basic criteria? If our children or the next generation in church were to be asked to write a summary of our lives, would they find it easy or would they find our lives confusing? The title of the essay could be “What were they busy with?”. What do you think the essay would be like?
- The Fruit of the Spirit in the character of the Disciples was evident
The way the disciples responded during questioning under persecution exhibited self-control. The radical love which was shown by the selling of their own possessions for the sake of another provided powerful witness to the world of the Early Church. The world was forced to admit that this was either the real deal or mass madness.
- The Fruit of Ministry was definite as the Lord added to their numbers
It is often said in church meetings that we cannot measure ministry by the number of people who actually respond to the Gospel. This is indeed true. After all, in the Book of Acts and in the Gospels, rejection was not uncommon. However, far too often the church has used this as an excuse just to be plain lazy. It is true that we cannot use the number of positive responses as a measure. However, it must also be clearly said that in the Book of Acts, the number of people who heard the clearly articulated message of the Resurrected Christ is a very good measure of the faithfulness of the Church. Looking at how many have heard clearly about Jesus from our lives and our church is a very fair question that we can use to evaluate ourselves.
- Courage and Sacrifice are close companions for those who love and follow Jesus
One of the key reasons why the Singaporean church is weak is because courage and sacrifice are rarely the hallmarks. In fact, if we are to ask non-Christians in Singapore what they think about the Church, “well-heeled”, “professional”, “out of touch”, “old fashioned”, “bigots” are probably words that would come more naturally to the mouths of non-Christians. While not every description is accurate or fair, one must wonder why sacrificial and courageous living is not more commonly uttered. In a “kiasu and kiasi” Singaporean world where people are afraid to lose out, courage would surely stand out. In fact, non-Christians will probably find people who join the Opposition political parties more courageous than Christians.
We could go on an unnecessary guilt trip. The reality of believing in Jesus is that guilt need not define us. Instead, we need to go to the root cause. Where the Spirit’s work in our church is no longer there or clearly evident, sacrifice and courage will always be absent. Let’s ask the Lord to flood our lives with His Spirit once again. We are a committed church in many ways but we are not a surrendered church. It is time to arise from our apathy. Let’s not languish in the sofa of mere commitment which artificially soothes our conscience without fanning to flames the seed of Faith God has planted in us when we first knew Him. Instead let us allow Him to ignite our hearts once again.
Pray in Response
Pray using the four points above.
Write down the convictions that God is placing on your heart.
Pray for the Church
Response Song: Spirit Touch Your Church
By Ps Ng Liang Wei
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If you’ve journeyed with us through the Devotionals on the Book of Acts and/or the Circuit Breaker Prayer Guide, please take a moment to let us know how you have been blessed in your walk with God so that we can share in your joy! We also appreciate any feedback you may have for the team 🙂 Thank you!
Whether you’ve arrived here in August, September or October, we’d still love to hear from you – it’s not too late!