Dear RCF Sisters and Brothers,
For the apostles, the first several weeks after Pentecost were dizzying and exciting. They had been told by Jesus to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to be sent to them, yet they never foresaw how dramatically and publicly the Spirit would arrive. They did not perceive that thousands would listen and respond favorably to the Holy Spirit speaking through them. Nor did they know how quickly thousands of people would be moved to believe in Jesus that very same day and that they would be thrust into leadership of a new community of His followers. They had not been aware that God would be doing through them the exact kind of miraculous healings that Jesus had done. Neither did they envision that by God’s power their previous fears would be abated when they would come face to face with their nation’s leaders who had only two or three months earlier orchestrated the execution of Jesus.
Within weeks this new community of those who had publicly professed to Jesus as Messiah was over 5,000 men and their families. None of the apostles had ever been in leadership of such an explosive or expansive movement. The practical needs of the people who were now believing in Jesus were being met spontaneously by others within the new community. But how long could that last? Formal opposition by the Jewish leadership was restrained, at least temporarily, by the size and enthusiasm of the people who had publicly aligned with the apostles and their teaching that Jesus had resurrected from the dead and was undisputedly both God and Messiah.
No one knew how long this season would last or what tomorrow would bring. What would God do next? Where was all this going? Would the leaders of Israel sit back indefinitely and let this movement advance right in their capitol city and Temple? Jesus had given them no script or timeline, yet He had given them an ample measure of the Holy Spirit as they led this new community. What could possibly go wrong? A lot! Soon they would learn that God was about to lift up His standard of holiness for those who followed His Son as well as them, the apostles His Son had chosen, to lead this new community.
Join us this Sunday morning as we continue in the theme To the Remotest Part of the Earth, and our Discussion Bible Study in the History of the Early Church. Please prepare by reading the entirety of Acts 5. This week’s title is “God Elevates His Purity and His Principals”.
Attached is an outline of the text we will be focusing upon this Sunday morning. Please print it ahead of time, as it will help you take part in the discussion.
Here is the Table Discussion Question for Sunday:
With the explosive growth of the new community of believers in Jesus in the weeks after Pentecost, what were some of the dangers which could have destroyed its existence or shipwrecked its progress? What could possibly go wrong?
In this series we have already discussed the following texts and topics:
The New Era Begins: Acts 1:12-2:21
Who is to Blame for Good Friday?: Acts 2:22-23
The New Community Begins: Acts 2:24-47
The First Official Pushback Is Pushed Back: Acts 3
The First Official Pushback Is Pushed back – Part 2: Acts 4
We hope that you will join us online this Sunday morning!
We love you all!
Jim and Jenny