ENGLISH VERSION - Bulletin Nº 53 September 19, 2021
REVIVAL TODAY - PART 01
by Rev. Renato Souza Prates
WHAT IS REVIVAL?
According to John Piper:
The idea of revival stems from the reality that, on the one hand, God is the ultimate giver of all spiritual life and, on the other hand, humans, even those who are born again and part of God's covenant family, from time to time they drift into a kind of lifelessness, lethargy, apostasy, indifference and weakness. And when you put these two together, God as the giver of life and man always drifting towards lifelessness, what you have is an outpouring of the life-giving Spirit of God on his people. This is revival!
The community life of the church in Jerusalem, after the descent of the Holy Spirit is configured in days of spiritual revival, on a people who already served the Lord, the 120 believers, leading 3,000 people who received the Word to the same revival.
AS A RESULT OF THAT REVIVAL, THE CHURCH PERSEVERED IN THE DOCTRINE OF THE APOSTLES. (v.42a)
The word persevere in the original means “to be fully occupied or devoted” (προσκαρτερέω proskartereō).
This means that those early believers had doctrine as their main focus, from the Greek διδαχή (didachē), which means “teaching”. Apostolic teaching was their main occupation. But what did this teaching mean? We can see from Peter's preaching in Acts and throughout the New Testament that this teaching was the teaching of Christ Jesus. See what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:23: "For I received from the Lord what I also gave you: that the Lord Jesus took bread in the night that he was betrayed." So, we can say that the Apostles replicated the teaching of Christ.
A CHURCH ENLIVERED BY THE SPIRIT WILL PERSEVERE IN THE DOCTRINE OF THE APOSTLES OR OF CHRIST JESUS
One of the big problems our churches face is the lack of perseverance in biblical doctrine. There are believers who participate in Bible studies in their churches, hear a message like this, but tomorrow they will hear completely strange and divergent doctrines, as if they have itchy ears. (2 Timothy 4.3).
These are believers who will never mature in the faith and will always be carried away by the winds of doctrine and the cunning of men. (Ephesians 4.14-15)
Another problem are believers who are not dedicated to the study of doctrine, neither privately nor publicly in church activities. They engage in social media, whatsapp, sports, leisure and entertainment, but they don't study the Scriptures. These are the same ones who will later question the doctrine of the church, without any basis.
A third problem is excuses for not studying doctrine. Energized believer must spend time in in-depth study of God's Word. Pastor, but I have a problem: I can't read. First, try to learn – There are many free projects and courses for this! Second, if you still can't read, there's even a bible in audio and video. There are no excuses!
One of the first signs that we are experiencing a real revival in this church is its serious involvement in the study of doctrine. Until you engage in serious study of the Scriptures, you will not experience true revival!
THE CHURCH PERSERVED (WAS OCCUPIED) IN COMMUNION (v.42b)
A second aspect in which the early church persevered or occupied itself was fellowship. The word communion is a translation of the Greek expression “koinonia” which can mean a “partnership” of the saints in various aspects with the desire to help each other, as recorded in verses 44 and 45.
The fellowship brought by genuine revival moved the hearts of those believers to give freely, even selling their property to help those in need! Extraordinary!
Acts 4.34 says that it got to the point that there were no needy people in that church, because they were attended by all the members.
In the Jerusalem church people contributed voluntarily, not obligatorily. Even in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, the problem was not the contribution but the lie, according to Acts 5.
We must remember that overnight, the church went from 120 believers to 3,000. Most of these were far from home and didn't want to go back. They needed housing and sustenance. That's why there was this social mobilization.
The expression “koinonia” or “communion” can also mean sharing in the duties and ordinances of the Christian life, as well as the sufferings of this life. Those believers took responsibility for carrying one another's burdens.
The Jerusalem church's practice of giving is not a model to be systematically followed by the church. It represents a historic financial bailout, which can also come to any church in a time of need. The biblical model of giving is called tithes and offerings. But there are times when we are asked to contribute more to the church, because of an emergency need. These are called elevated offers!
A LIVELY CHURCH WILL PERSEVERE IN COMMUNION
Fellowship is one of the main signs that a church is being revived by the Spirit of God. Just remember the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Whereas the works of the flesh are: Prostitution, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, discord, dissension, faction, envy, drunkenness, gluttony and the like.
Therefore, the more carnal the believer's life, the more he will manifest the works of the flesh. The more spiritual, the more we will see the fruit of the Spirit in your life!
The Jerusalem church was so filled with the glory of God that there was no room for the flesh to overwhelm the fruit of the Spirit.
In this sense, if we are indeed revived, we need to occupy ourselves with the fellowship that freely contributes, not only with tithes and offerings, which are our responsibility, but also with our work in the Lord's work!
A revived church will freely contribute to the Work of the Lord!
Rest assured that to build the temple we need to build for the Lord, we will need many heave offerings along the way!
Communion also means unity. We live in a time in Brazil where the communion of the church is threatened by political fragmentation, which even divides the church into 3 parties: Those who are in favor of the government, those who are against the government and those who are neither.
The last time the Presbyterian church allowed political discussions, it split during the Military Regime, causing church institutions to close and interdict the work of the UMP (Union of Presbyterian Youth) for more than 20 years, from the 1960s to the 1980s.
The political discussion is again dividing churches and families. We must remember that the church is not the place for this discussion. The church is not partisan or ideological. The fundamental teaching of the church is the Scriptures, and that we do not give up. The Scriptures will guide us who to vote for! So my stance is not to discuss politics in the church, but to preach the Scriptures!
I once taught a study on political ethics in Scripture at a Sunday School on election day. After finishing the program, a sister came to me and asked: Pastor, who should I vote for? My answer was: My sister, you have already heard everything you need to hear this morning to vote consciously. We don't need to discuss politics, we need to study the Scriptures.
THE CHURCH PERSERVED (WAS OCCUPIED) IN BREAKING THE BREAD (V.1c)
Most commentators will agree that the expression “breaking bread” here does not refer only to Holy Communion or Eucharist, but also to community meals called “Agape”. As they also gathered from house to house, in addition to going to the Temple, according to verse 46, these believers had the custom of sharing their meals daily.
The Jews were in the habit of hosting visitors during Pentecost, free of charge. However, these believers went beyond feasting in their generosity, hosting thousands of people in Jerusalem for a period far longer than Pentecost.
A LIVELY CHURCH WILL BE PLEASURE TO BREAK THE BREAD
Whether celebrating the Lord's Supper or from house to house, the church experiencing the revival will always be together.
Believers who despise the breaking of bread become spiritually weak, sick and sleepy, according to 1 Corinthians 11:30.
Nor should we despise Christian hospitality, either by practicing it with our brothers or by going to their homes whenever invited.
THE CHURCH PERSEVERED (BUSYED) IN PRAYERS (V.42d)
Another striking aspect of that Jerusalem community was its attachment to prayer. It was a church that was constantly occupied in this aspect.
Acts 4:31 reveals that while that church prayed in gratitude to God for freeing Peter and John from an unjust prison, the place where they were gathered shook and everyone was filled with the Spirit!
A CHURCH ENLIVERED WILL BE A CHURCH OF PRAYER
Surely you've heard the jargon: Lots of prayer, lots of power! Little prayer, little power! No prayers, no power! Yes, this is true! If the Lord's church wants to experience more of its power, it needs to pray more! This is why there are so many weakened and carnal believers in the church - Lack of prayer!
Here's a sincere assessment: How is your prayer life going? Do you set aside time each day to talk with God alone? Do you have family worship with your family? Do you attend your cell's prayer meetings? From your church? If you don't participate in most of these activities, you certainly haven't experienced the power of God in your life!
George Müller (Kroppenstedt, 27 September 1805 - Bristol, 10 March 1898) was an English evangelist and missionary, noted for his faith in God's providence and for his work with helpless children through building.
orphanages, where they received clothes, food and a good education.
Once, when he was in the United States, he was traveling to Quebec, but it seemed that the trip would be delayed because of a fog. The captain of the boat has been in charge for 24 hours. George Muller came to him and said:
"Captain, I came to tell you that I need to be in Quebec by Saturday afternoon."
"It's impossible," replied the Captain.
‘Very well, if your ship cannot take me, God will find another way.
It's been 57 years since I've broken a commitment, Muller said.
Let's go down to the map booth. Let's pray.'
The captain looked at this man of God and thought: what lunatic asylum had he escaped from? He had never heard anything like it.
Mr. Muller', said the Captain, 'do you Lord know the density of this fog?'
"No," he replied, "my eyes are not fixed on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life."
Muller knelt down and said one of the simplest prayers the Captain had ever seen, and when he was done, the Captain was going to pray; but Muller put a hand on his shoulder and told him not to.
"First of all you don't believe He will answer, and secondly, I believe God has already answered, and there's no longer any need for you to pray."
The Captain looked at him, and Muller said:
"Captain, it's been 57 years since I've known my God and there's never been a day that I didn't have an audience with Him. Stand up, captain, and open the door and you'll see the fog is gone."
The Captain got up and saw that the fog was gone.
On Saturday afternoon, George Muller was in Quebec for his appointment.
If we really want to see the glory of God manifest in our lives, we need to pray brothers!
Today we learn that genuine revival has 4 fundamental marks:
1) PERSEVERANCE IN THE DOCTRINE OF THE APOSTLES
2) PERSEVERANCE IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNION
3) PERSEVERANCE IN THE BREAKFAST – IN THE HOLY SUPPER AND IN HOMES
4) PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYERS
From this Sunday on, you will enjoy a Revelation Series with Dr. Joel Beeke. It is amazing studies from which we can learn more about this instigating book.
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