Good Behavior in the Assembly
We left off last week with the account of Peter and John healing a man that had been lame since his birth. On that day, there were mixed emotions in the crowd. Some people were absolutely amazed and awestruck, while others were looking for a way to silence Peter and John. The Book of Acts is not just a book of miracles, salvation, and missionary journeys. It is a book in which we attempt to model our modern day churches after. There are discussion and discourses in this book which are a large part of why we do what we do in 2007. I have been consumed with the idea of, “Church as it once was” and “Going forward in the old paths.” There has to be a source of what was was or what an old path might be. I do not claim to do everything the way things were done in the Book of Acts, but many of you know that my desire is to see this church be as Biblical as it can possibly be. There are a lot of notions as to what a church ought to do, or should be, or how it is operated. God bless you for your opinion, but let’s start with the Word of God and see how far it takes us, before we get crazy with implementing modern-day philosophy into the mix. I want to take some time this morning and relate some behavior in the Book of Acts that directly relates to this church. Put this thought in you mind this morning as we look at the passage. What would you do under oppressive persecution? How might you respond? After the man was healed and about 5,000 were saved, Peter and John were taken to task by civil and Jewish officials. The people decided to hold the Apostles overnight (arrested) until they could be questioned in the morning. The council determined that the miracle could not be denied, but they did not want anymore preaching about Jesus of Nazareth. They didn’t want the story to spread. John and Peter said, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” The young church was already seeing public attacks upon their beliefs and their preaching, but I see the response as being “Good Behavior in the Assembly.”
1. They worshipped together. Peter and John got back to their own company. They wanted to be with other believers, and now there were a lot more to fellowship with. There is so much truth in Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. There is something special about being together with people of like faith and similar goals. I have tried to imagine the scene as Peter and John return, but I fall short. We preached, got arrested, and threatened. The whole town is upset over what we are doing. Modern day reaction? Pack up or water down. Not these folks—they lifted up their voices in one accord and began to give God the glory. They were uniting in corporate worship. They recognized who God was. The maker of heaven, earth, and the sea; and all that is in them. Do you believe that God is the Creator of all things? That’s what kind of people we are. There is no room for skepticism in that area.
The fulfillment of prophetic Scripture excited them. They had an answer as to why they were seeing this great opposition, and God’s Word was a good rallying point. Verse 27 lists some prominent names, and verse 28 realizes that all that was done to crucify Jesus was allowed by the hand of God. That strong hand of God is another reason to give Him worship.
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
As they were praying to the Lord in the midst of persecution, they did ask to be hid, they asked for boldness. They had the heart of a servant asking for power from the Master.
2. They worked together. Verses 32-35 start out by reminding us they were of one heart and soul. This is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit working in their lives.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Love for each other is a mark that God places on us.
We have mentioned this before; that there is a love that goes beyond human comprehension, and we love one another because of the power and love of God in our own lives. I say they worked together, but the bottom line was that they worked together to help one another. This is good practical teaching. They were consumed with ministering to one another, and in verse 33; they were focused beyond themselves to reach the lost with the Gospel, that they had little time for the small stuff. What a giant step in spiritual growth to be able to put another’s needs ahead of yours.
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
In verse 34, we see that no one was lacking, because the people were sacrificial in their giving. You do not have to be wealthy to give sacrificially.
Mark 12:42-44 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have a church like that? Just the idea of the cooperation and love for one another excites me. But you bring in the precept of corporate worship, trsting and praising Go, and couple that with sacrificial love for one another, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if God were to shake this place, and pour out innumerable blessings upon us. That is just good behavior in the assembly; and it is what God expects of us this morning.
How is your love for one another this morning?