ENGLISH VERSION - Bulletin Nº 54 September 26, 2021

ACTS 2.43-47
​MARKS OF A GENUINE REVIVAL - PART 02

by Rev. Renato Souza Prates

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INTRODUCTION:

            In the previous reflection we verified the first signs of revival that the early church showed, according to the record of Acts 2.42 – Perseverance in the Doctrine of the Apostles, in Communion, in the Breaking of the Bread and in the Prayers.

            Today we will continue our reflection, examining verses 43 to 47 of the same text.

 

THE FEAR OF GOD OF THOSE BELIEVERS (v.43)

            Another sign of revival in that church is recorded in the first part of verse 43 – The fear. Although the Greek expression for fear is "Phobos", which originated the word "phobia" or fear, and although, at some points in Scripture we realize that God's people did indeed fear the presence or wrath of God, as when in the episode of Exodus 20:18-21, when God manifested himself through thunder, and lightning, and the blast of a trumpet, and the smoking mountain, revealing the 10 Commandments, and the people feared and trembled before the Lord, imploring Moses to only he talked to God. Or when Isaiah sees the vision of the Lord's throne in Isaiah 6 and declares: Woe is me, for I will perish! there is a consensus among scholars that the best translation for “phobos” in Acts would be to revere God.

THE TRULY ENLIVERED CHURCH WILL REVERENCE THE LORD

            One of the qualities I most appreciate in a Christian is his reverence. I don't know about you, but I've been taught some important practices since I was a child regarding reverence for the Lord and his house. For example:

            They taught me to prepare myself well, with the best clothing possible, to worship the Lord. The idea is that God deserves the best of me, even my clothes are a form of worship to Him. Where does this idea come from? It comes from the Scriptures. Just a quick read through the Word of God and you will see that God is extremely demanding with what we wear, especially His priests.

            They taught me to arrive early and to behave in the service, avoiding talking, eating, going out unnecessarily and even not sleeping during the sermons, since we didn't have children's services at that time and the sermons lasted up to two hours!

            I was taught to respect the authorities of worship, such as deacons and elders. If I needed to go to the bathroom, I would have to ask the deacons' permission for this. If they didn't let me, I would have to make do by the end of the service. If I was talking during the service, every now and then I would feel a cold hand twisting my ear - It was a deacon's hand getting my attention!

            I had my pastors in high esteem! I was taught to respect them as Angels of the Church and not as human beings! That's why I never argued, raised my voice, or bullied any of my pastors, even when I disagreed with them. The result is that I also gained everyone's respect!

            Outside the temple, I learned that I should have a balanced attitude towards society, so as not to scandalize the name of Christ and at the same time gain people's trust.

            With this I am not saying that I was “holy”. I also had my moments of fickleness, but I can say that I learned to fear the Lord in all my ways!

            Proverbs 1:7 states: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and teaching."

            Sadly, many believers seem to have not learned to fear the Lord like the church in Acts 2. What are the problems caused?

• Banalization of the sacred – They end up thinking that the House of God is like their house and the things of God are their things. The service is any social gathering and the church leadership doesn't need to be so respected, after all, they are also sinners.

• It is not necessary to have such ethical demands in life, since we are all sinners and there is no one perfect. The consequence is the bad witness we bear as Christians to society.

            These believers forget that revering the Lord is more than a ritual, a prayer or a personal contribution. Revering God means honoring him in everything we do!

 

MANY PRODIGIES AND SIGNS PERFORMED BY THE APOSTLES (v.43b)

            Another fundamental mark of the revival experienced by the Early Church were the many wonders and signs performed by the Apostles, such as extraordinary cures, to the point of taking the sick through the streets and placing them on beds and stretchers, so that, when Peter passed by, at least his shadow was cast on some of them (Acts 5:15)

            Verse 16 of the same text will inform us that tormented by evil spirits were brought from neighboring towns and all were healed.

A LIVELY CHURCH WILL BE MARKED BY MANY WONDS AND SIGNS

            Here's why we don't see many signs and wonders in churches today. We may even see some signs, like a healing there, a miracle there, but where are the many signs and wonders of the church?

            I am absolutely sure that when our church experiences true revival all these wonders and signs will appear. I can say this, too m from my own experience, because I have witnessed several miracles that marked a time of revival. I will only name 3 today.

            During a period of intense revival that we lived with the youth of the Presbyterian Church of Casimiro de Abreu, from 1999 to 2001, we saw extraordinary miracles occur. One concerns a married young woman who could not have children. Her reproductive system did not develop and she was sterile. During a prayer at a brother's house, we prayed for that young woman and the Lord assured us that she was receiving healing at that time. A little later, that young woman became pregnant and gave birth to twins. The blessing came double!

            Another case occurred with a man who had been run over. His arm atrophied and he couldn't fully open it or even lift it. During a prayer, God commanded us to pray for the healing of that arm. Instantly that man can move and lift his normally shriveled arm, to the glory of God!

            The third example from the same period concerns a man who lived enslaved by alcohol and drugs during years of its history. While we were praying for him, an evil spirit took hold of him making him grunt like a wild animal. After we rebuked that spirit, the man didn't remember anything, but he was clean. The result? He became a deacon of the Presbyterian Church.

            Why do we witness these miracles? Simply because we lived in revival days. The biblical text is clear, as a sign of that revival, many signs and wonders were performed through the Apostles. If we want to experience signs and wonders in our church, we must pray to God for revival!

AS A SIGN OF REVIVAL THE CHURCH LIVED IN COMMUNION (vv.44-46)

            In the last text we already discussed this sign, which is the “koinonia” communion. We would just like to recall that this communion was manifested in two fundamental aspects in these verses: In gathering and in sharing, as the church was always gathered, both in homes and in the temple of Jerusalem, in the Portico of Solomon and this church shared its goods with the most needy, so there was none among them. (Acts 4.34)

A LIVELY CHURCH WILL LIVE IN COMMUNION

            This is a true fact in the life of a reviving church: the deep fellowship of the saints, who will always be together, come what may. Believers who will even share their personal goods, if need be, for the building of the church of the Lord Jesus!

AS A SIGN OF REVIVAL THE CHURCH PRAISES THE LORD (V.47th)

            The word "praise" literally means "thanksgiving." The early church was grateful to the Lord for all that it lived. Praising God is one of the most striking signs of a revival in the church.

            Consider the example of Paul and Silas in prison at Philippi, recorded in Acts 16:25. The text says that around midnight, they prayed and sang praises to God. The result was a great earthquake that freed them from that prison. Remember that the text says that they were flogged with many lashes and shamed in a public square.

            So...

A LIVELY CHURCH WILL GREATLY PRAISE GOD IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

            When the church is full of God and less of carnalities, it will be able to praise God even in adversity.

            She will praise in joy or sorrow, poverty or wealth, peace or war! She'll do it naturally, because she's full of God!

            She will praise God as one who celebrates a party – with great joy and willingness!

THE CHURCH WON THE SIMPATHY OR FAVOR OF THE PEOPLE (v.47b)

            Even though that church was later persecuted, both by unconverted Jews and by the Roman Empire, we realized that this church also had the sympathy of all the people, from the Greek “Karis”, which also means “favor”. In other words, the church had the favor of the people, at this historic moment, of “all the people”. Throughout its history, the church has always had the support of the people, even though it is a minority in relation to its opponents on several occasions, this support has always been fundamental for the advancement of the church.

            In practice, this support has always come in the form of defending the church in times of persecution and even in the form of contributions in times of need. Make no mistake, the church has never done the Lord's work relying only on the strength of its members!

            In fact...

THE ALIVEED CHURCH WILL WIN THE FAVOR OR SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE

            This favor from outside the church will come naturally and sent by God. These hearts are touched by God, through the witness of the church.

            The most amazing financial contributions I have ever witnessed came from people who were not church members but visitors.

            I once attended a church that was going through a difficult financial time. During the service we received a visitor who we do not know who he was until today. The fact is that this visitor left a generous offer in that and day, who helped meet our needs and never returned to church.

            Another case was a visitor who decided to contribute liberally for several months to a church we pastored. Those contributions were indispensable for that church to be able to overcome the 2015 crisis, which took place in Macaé and in Brazil.

            The reviving church must have the support and collaboration of the people! That's how we also intend to build the house of the Lord here in this place!

BECAUSE OF THE REVIVAL, THE CHURCH OF JERUSALEM WAS GROWING DAY AFTER DAY (v.47c)

            One of the signs of that church's revival was its numerical growth. It went from 120 to 3,000 people and continued to grow frighteningly. For example, Acts 4:4 says that the number of believers in those days rose to nearly five thousand people.

            Numerical growth is a visible sign of revival in a church and I particularly see it as a gift from God to his faithful church!

            Therefore, I believe that...

A LIVELY CHURCH WILL GROW NUMERICALLY

            Just as any living being is born, grows and reproduces, so too with the church enlivened by the Spirit of God! It is born small, grows gradually and reproduces by planting new churches.

            The problem is that during her journey she may suffer from internal problems that will harm her development, making her sick, such as scandals, divisions, disputes and confusion. In this case, it may regress instead of growing!

            Then comes the need for a revival, also called revitalization, which takes place through a slower process than planting a new church. Some experts even predict about 10 years for the revitalization to take place with visible signs. But it depends from church to church. Some will take less and others even more! It depends on the depth of the issues and the willingness of the leadership and the church to address these issues!

            Anyway, during revitalization or revival, the church will grow, because it was born for it and it cannot go against its nature!

CONCLUSION

            Today we learn that there are other fundamental marks of genuine revival, which are:

1) The fear or reference to God and his property

2) Signs and Prodigies

3) The communion of saints in the gathering and sharing of our goods

4) Praise God in all situations

5) The sympathy and favor of the people

6) Numerical growth

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.

Prayer Requests

Pandemic over

For the arrival of Rev. Renato and Juliana.

For the Council

By the Diaconal Board.

By Church Ministries.

For the sick.

For the unemployed.

For the Missions.

For the city of Macaé.

For the State of Rio.

For Brazil

For those far from the Gospel.

For the new believers.

For the lost.

Prayer Meeting

Every Friday, 6:00 am

Person in charge:

Presb. Anderson

Claudia

Lucilia

September

24/09 Claudia Gomes Pregione

26/09 Josemar Tadeu Fuligne Ferreira

27/09 Breno Ferreira Clen Pregione

October

02/10 Pedro Louzada Poltronieri

02/10 Zenaide Gomes Pregioni

13/10 Isabella Maciel de Souza Lucas

16/10 Renato Souza Prates

20/10 Marcos Aurelio Rodrigues dos Santos

22/10 Ana Lucia da Cruz Santos

30/10 Luísa Barbosa Alves Feijó

During the pandemic period, the pastor of the church has been available for counselling and meetings in general, by phone and internet.

If you have a specific need, seek the pastor of the church to be properly attended to. You can do this in person or over the phone: (22) 98124-4283.

For now, home visits and face-to-face counselling are suspended, due to the pandemic.

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