Okay, I’m not really into spiritual recipes. You know, take so much of this, add so much of that, sprinkle with a pinch of this other thing, let bake for so long, and, voila, you’ll have a winning outcome every time. Don’t really think that’s the way it works. Not that quantifiable or that predictable. But, not gonna lie, a couple of verses in Acts 4 this morning are screaming to me of a combination of ingredients that, when they come together, I’m thinkin’ God’s gonna bless.
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
(Acts 4:32-33 ESV)
Great Community + Great Power + Great Message = Great Grace. Sounds like a great recipe.
The full number of those who believed were one. Not just some of them, all of them. And not just in alignment on an accepted statement of faith, but knit together in heart and soul as to the implications of such a faith. Brothers and sisters in the truest sense. I got your back, you got mine. The family looking after the family. A great community, obeying the Lord’s great command, and providing a great witness to the reality of the gospel.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
~ Jesus ~
(John 13:34-35 ESV)
What’s more, the Lord had promised that, when He left, He would send Another, just like Him, to empower them–the Spirit of truth (Jn. 14:6). One who would teach all things to them (Jn. 14:26). One who would bear witness of Christ’s redemptive work through them (Jn. 15:26). A community eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3) is gonna know something of the reality of the power of the Spirit. A great power upon a great community.
And that great community, with such great power, stewards no greater message than the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Behold the grave clothes lying flat! Talk to the 500+ who encountered the risen Christ. Want proof that the work on the cross was sufficient? that it really was finished? Hear God’s, “Amen!” to Calvary as it echoes through the walls of an empty tomb.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”
(Luke 24:5b-6 ESV)
Great community. The evidence of the life-changing dynamic of the gospel. Great power. The Spirit sourcing the life-invading power of the gospel. Great message. The resurrection an unshakeable foundation for the life-giving reality of the gospel.
. . . and great grace was upon them all.
The favor of God. And favor with the people.
God’s blessing the gospel where the gospel is lived out and proclaimed. People drawn by the Spirit to the gospel where gospel implications are evident and authentic.
And we, as the church, get to participate. By His enabling, we get to live in great community. Through His presence, we get to be conduits for great power. According to His word, we get to be ambassadors of reconciliation sharing a great message. And in all this, experiencing His great grace.
Not really into spiritual recipes. But thinking this is something worth chewing on.
Because of His great grace. Only for His great glory.