Chapter 5: The Birth of the Church

Reaching This Generation Through Principles From The Book of Acts

The Birth of The Church

 

Turn on the television in America and you may see a well dressed gentleman wear bright gold jewelry, with boofy well groomed hair talking about new car faith.

Walk into a church in Germany on Sunday, and you may notice somber people who are listening to a robed speaker telling them that all good people will get to heaven.

Enter a church in Athens and you will see quiet people light candles in front of paintings depicting bearded men in strange garb.

Visit the ruins of a Crusader church in Israel and you will hear the guide tell you how the Christian armies stormed the city of Jerusalem in July of 1099, and killed most of the Jews, Muslims, and local Christians (Anyone who didn’t look or speak like them).

Over the centuries, Christianity has presented different faces, many of which have nothing to do with Biblical principles. Ask anyone on Planet Earth what a Christian is, and you will get many varied answers.

In our ministry at the Rio Coco Café, it is important to know and communicate:

What is the essence of Christianity? 

How does one become a Christian?

How are Christians to live here on Planet Earth?

These are questions that individuals have been asking for the past 1900 years. Luke gives an account of the birth of the church, and in the process shows us the answers to these all important questions.

Pentecost was one of the three significant festivals that all Jewish males were required to attend each year. Celebrated 50 days after Passover, this festival has been called “First Fruits”, and many of the pilgrims from around the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf attending Passover remained in Jerusalem to celebrate this festival.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Acts 2:1

The first “Pentecost” is recorded in Exodus 19 (on the “first day of the third month after leaving Egypt”), when the escaping Hebrews arrive at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Luke may be drawing a parallel of the first Pentecost and what was about to happen that is worthy to consider.

16 On the morning of the third day, there was a powerful thunder and lightning storm, and a dense cloud came down upon the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled. 17 Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 All Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain shook with a violent earthquake. 19 As the horn blast grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God thundered his reply for all to hear. Exodus 19:16-19

God spoke directly with the people, giving them “The 10 Commandments”. In the process, they become afraid to hear directly from God.

And they said to Moses, “You tell us what God says, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us. If he does, we will die!” Ex. 20:19

Moses goes up on the mountain and eventually Aaron and 70 others join him for a meal with God on the mountain.  Moses then spends days alone with God, receiving much instruction on the relationship God was going to have with His people.

After 40 days, the people are afraid that Moses has disappeared and convince Aaron to make them a replica of the Egyptian god of slaves and travelers. When Moses returns with the tablets of the law, he sees many involved in a dancing worship of this golden calf. The text indicates a possibility of a sexually orientated dance that was very inappropriate. Moses commands the Levies to strap on their swords and slay the celebrants.

The Levites obeyed Moses, and about three thousand people died that day. Exodus 32:27

Luke’s description of the modern Pentecost contains many similar elements to the account in Exodus.

On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after Jesus’ resurrection, the believers were meeting together in one place.  Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them, and it filled the house where they were meeting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

Godly Jews from many nations were living in Jerusalem at that time. When they heard this sound, they came running to see what it was all about, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

They were beside themselves with wonder. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking the languages of the lands where we were born! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia,  Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya toward Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism),  Cretans, and Arabians. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other. But others in the crowd were mocking. “They’re drunk, that’s all!” they said. Acts 2:1-13

Here is what Luke tells us happened:

1)      The disciples were all gathered in one place;

2)      A sound of rushing wind filled the place;

3)      Fire appeared and attached itself to each of the disciples;

4)      They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began proclaiming “the wonderful things that God has done” in many known languages that were “unknown” to these Galilean disciples.

5)      People from around the Mediterranean heard these proclamations in their own languages and wondered how these Galileans could be speaking their own languages.

6)      Since it was often common to associate “diving inspiration” with drunkenness, the disciples are accused by some of being filled with “sweet wine”.

 

Luke records Peter’s response:

But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day (9 am).” Acts 2:14-15

You can almost hear some in the crowd say: “That’s right! You Galileans don’t start drinking until noon.”   J 

Then Peter helps them understand the current event in light of Scripture:

No, what you see this morning was predicted centuries ago by the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days, God said, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit upon all my servants, men and women alike, and they will prophesy.… And anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Acts 2:16-18, 21

It appears that Peter has been in a deep study of the Hebrew Scripture since his denial of Jesus three times at Passover. Now connects the words of the prophet Joel to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and calling on the name of the Lord for salvation. Yes, Peter is well aware of his desperate need for a Savior.   After years of living with Jesus, traveling with Him, and being used by Him to do some amazing things, he knows that he often chooses his way rather than following the Lord.  He likes the wrong things.  It is a condition common to all mankind. We all need a Savior.

Now is his opportunity for this all important questions:

Who is the Lord – Our Savior?

How do you get saved?

 

The “sign” of speaking “prophetic words” in known languages (but unknown to the speakers) is pointing his audience to an explanation of who the Lord is and how one gets saved.

“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus of Nazareth by doing wonderful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. 23 But you followed God’s prearranged plan. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to the cross and murdered him.  However, God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life again, for death could not keep him in its grip.  Acts 2:22-24

Peter declares an incredible message: Jesus is the Lord, the expected Messiah spoken long ago by the Hebrew prophets. How do we know this? According to Peter, it is because of his death on the cross and his resurrection. To prove the point, he quotes from a well known figure, David, Israel’s most famous king who wrote prophetically about Jesus 1000 years before.  He quotes from Psalm 16 and Psalm 110, well known verses that refer to the Messiah.  Then he connects his own testimony, along with what the people are experiencing that day.

This prophecy was speaking of Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, and we all are witnesses of this.  Now he sits on the throne of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today.” Acts 2:32-33

 

The people in the crowd connect the dots- King David’s prophetic words, the apostles’ eyewitness testimony, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit- and are compelled to respond:

Peter’s words convicted them deeply, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”  Peter replied, “Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Acts 2: 37-39

 

What Must One Do To Be Saved?

Peter’s formula for salvation is simple: Turn away from your sins and turn toward God, and walk with Him. Believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for you sins, and as an outward expression of what is happening inside, be baptized in Jesus’ name.  That’s it.  Nothing more is added to the requirements of salvation. Peter proclaims that once the relationship with God is restored in this manner, each would be given the Holy Spirit.

Then he drops a bombshell: This relationship with God, and this infilling of the Holy Spirit is not only for the Jews, but also for the pig-eating-pagan gentiles.  Obviously Peter is speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit, as later we see that he forgets this last part of the promise (Acts 10).

This was a revolutionary statement for two reasons. 

 

First, many Jews were accustomed to think that a relationship with God involved ritualistic actions on their part, and obedience to the 612 “laws” that God gave Moses. However throughout Scripture, we see that relationship with God was always based on faith, not compliance to the information that God gave Moses about what the relationship with His people was to be (The Law). Abraham was “saved” by his faith in what God promised him.

And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord declared him righteous because of his faith. Gen 15:6

David wrote in Psalm 40:

You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand—you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.

Then I said, “Look, I have come. And this has been written about me in your scroll:  “I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your law is written on my heart.” Psalm 40:6-8

David realized that our connection with God was all about what was happening in the heart. Any external acts (such as sacrifices) had no value if they were not connected to a heart faith in God.

A “faith relationship” with God will always result in a desire on our part to do the things He is telling us.  It will come from our heart, and be displayed in our actions.  Jesus told His disciples at the Last Passover meal:

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.John 14:15

With a love relationship with Jesus will come a motivation to do the things He commands.

 

Secondly, Jewish people believed that this special relationship with God was an exclusive thing- available to Jews only.  For any outsider to come into this relationship meant becoming a Jew and following the regulations of the rabbis.  To think that detestable gentiles could actually hold full membership in the family of God without conforming to the Jewish laws was a foreign concept, as evidenced even by Peter’s response to the conversion of the Roman centurion Cornelius in Acts 10 and the explanation he was required to give later to the leaders of the church in Jerusalem.

This thing we call “salvation” has always been an “out of the religious box” experience that has confused even the most well educated men of history.  John records a conversation between one of the most well-informed men of his time and Jesus about this experience. It is worth reading in its entirety.

 

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, (born from above) you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’(born from above)   The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? 11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.*

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:1-17

 

Nicodemus was a famous teacher who had devoted his entire life to a study of the Law. He loved God and wanted to be with Him in Eternity.  Jesus said for that to happen, Nicodemus needed a “spiritual birth”.  He needed to be born from above. This confuses Nic, who as a Pharisee not only keeps the laws of Moses, but all the traditions of the rabbis, who literally built a fence around the law so that they would never actually break any of the 612 laws of Moses. For example, when the Fourth Commandment forbade any work on the Sabbath, the Pharisees decided to define that to include many activities. Therefore, one was not allowed to spit in the dirt on the Sabbath, as that would scoop out a bit of dirt, which was considered “digging” which was definitely work. So, Pharisees spat on rocks on the Sabbath. Dragging a chair across the dirt floor was forbidden, as this left a small trench in the dirt. Dragging a chair across a paved floor was acceptable. Modern Pharisees continue these traditions. When in Israel, it is important not to get into the Shabbat elevator at the hotel on Friday night if you are in a hurry to get to your room, as it stops at every floor. Pushing the elevator button is considered work! There are more and more and more of these traditions that appear to us as ridiculous. Jesus really got ticked at these guys, because of this emphasis on “outward appearances”.

Nicodemus kept the law- in fact he never even got close to breaking any of them.  Yet Jesus told him that something more was needed to spend eternity with God- spiritual birth.

This confused this learned teacher.  It was then that Jesus, the ultimate teacher, brought Nic back to a familiar place:

And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

Bronze snake?  On a pole? What is Jesus referring to?

It is an event that occurred when Moses was leading the Hebrews through the desert toward the Promised Land of Canaan.

Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”

So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died.Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.

Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!

Because of their speaking out against Moses and God Himself, the people were assaulted by poisonous snakes, who bit them, and injected poison into their bodies which caused death. When the people became aware of their sinful behavior, and the resulting consequences, they changed their attitude (repentance) and asked God for salvation from the snakes. God formula for this this salvation included the same element for eternal salvation: Faith.

The simple act of looking at this bronze snake with Faith that God could heal you in fact was the mechanism by which you were healed.

Jesus message to Nicodemus was this: “Just as people looked at the bronze snake with faith that God could take the poison that was killing them out of their bodies and heal them, so anyone who looks to me with faith that I can save them will have the poison of sin taken from their bodies and have eternal life.”

According to Jesus, Salvation it is all about your faith in God, and His Ability to deal with the poison of sin that is literally killing us all.

Salvation is an experience that we cannot fully explain.  We heard Peter tell the crowd to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must have a spiritual birth. Paul told his friends in Rome that

9 For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10

Repentance? Spiritual Birth? Belief? Public Confession? Baptism?

Yes, these are all elements of the salvation experience. However it is important to separate our modern traditions of “getting saved” from the true life changing experience that the Bible describes.  We have seen many “walk the aisle” and “say the prayer” only to later disappear back into their own world, with no apparent change in their life.  Then how do we know if a person really is “saved”?

It appears that according to the Bible salvation is a three step process:

Step 1:  God offers the invitation to us through Christ to become a member of His Family;

Step 2:  We considers this invitation and make a decision to receive God’s forgiveness and repent (turn) from doing things our way, and turn toward God and commit to doing things in the future His way with Jesus as our Lord;

Step 3: God sees our heart and takes note of our genuine repentance and then accepts us into His family by giving us the Holy Spirit.

How do we know if this process has happened in a person’s life? My friend Randy Smith tells of the time when his four year old daughter Sarah asked “What makes the light on the ceiling come on?”

He could have told her that it was the electricity passing over an element inside the bulb that excited electrons that emitted energy in the visible light spectrum which lit up the room, but as he looked into her young eyes, he realized that she would only understand“Sarah, when you flip the switch on the wall, the light comes on.”

There are obviously many dynamics that are operational in a true salvation experience, many of which we cannot understand or explain.  Like Sarah, all we need to know is that when the switch gets flipped, the light comes on.  That is what happens to anyone who is truly saved.

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35

Jesus said that we would know the truly saved by the love that they would have for one another. It is all about the presence and the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  If we see that fruit, we know it’s for real!  It really doesn’t matter if we “walked the aisle to the altar” or “repeated the sinner’s prayer” or simply had a conversation with Jesus sitting under a coconut tree at the beach. It may have been one conversation with a stranger at a college campus and an instantaneous decision to receive Jesus, or months of processing thoughts of our need for a savior and what Jesus did on the cross. It is probably different for most.  That’s why we call it a personal relationship.

Christianity is different from any of the world’s religions. 

Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age, and other religions say: “Pray more, eat the right foods, care for others more, chant more, remove yourself from the world more, and then maybe God will receive you.”  We work our way to God through one path or another. Through our actions, we are making ourselves acceptable to God.

Christianity says that we are all humans who fall short of God’s personal standards, but He has made a personal relationship with Him possible through Jesus’ atoning death on the cross. Our shortcomings in character are set right by Jesus’ sacrifice. It is not through anything that we have done. It is a free gift of unmerited favor (grace) from God.

Paul said it to his friends in Ephesus this way:

God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Eph. 2:8-9

 

Our friend Dr. Joe Davis of Southeastern University explains this difference with a simple diagram.

The Red Arrows represent man’s attempt to reach out to God through their own efforts- fasting, diet, good deeds, church attendance, meditation, chanting, etc. This is the essence of Islam, New Age, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, Bahai, and other eastern religions. These religions all depend on mankind’s efforts to work their way to God.

The Blue Arrow is a representation of God reaching out to mankind. No conditions.  No efforts on the part of man except to realize their need for a Savior, their acceptance of God’s forgiveness, and a desire to walk in a personal relationship with Him. God actively reaches out to us.  He has taken care of the issue of sin in the relationship, and now He is ready to help us enjoy an eternal relationship with Him.  It is His Grace- unmerited favor- that allows us into His Family.

Once we receive this “unmerited favor” through our belief in Him, then He begins a process of changing us into men and women who reflect His Divine Character more and more. Paul explained this principle and process to his friends in Philippi:

Carry to its ultimate conclusion your own salvation with fear and trembling, for God is the One who is constantly putting forth His power in you, both in the form of the constant activity of your being desirous of and the constant activity of your putting into operation His good pleasure. Phil. 2:12-13  (Kenneth Weiss translation)

God gives us the desire to change our ways into His ways, and the power to do it. That is what makes Christianity unique from all the world religions.

 

What is the effect of Peter’s speech in Acts 2?

Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church—about three thousand in all. Acts 2:41

In Exodus on the first Pentecost, fire, earthquakes, and clouds and wind were present, and the Law was given by God to his people.  They realized their sin, and 3000 died.  On the Second Pentecost, again wind and fire were present, God’s Holy Spirit was given and 3000 souls became spiritually alive.  It would appear that Luke assumes we know about the first Pentecost so we can appreciate the significance of the Second.

 

What else is Luke teaching us through this account of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?

Here are a few suggestions:

1)  To understand current events, it is often helpful to refer to Scripture to get a full understanding of what God may be doing;  Peter understood the outpouring of the Spirit in light of what the prophet Joel had spoken over 600 years earlier.

 

2)  Culturally relevant messages are effective in communicating the Gospel.  Knowing your audience before presenting  this message is important. Use common “touch points” to help them connect the dots.  Make the message relevant, including your testimony along with Scripture references. And as J. Vernon McGee always said: : “Keep the cookies on the bottom shelf.”

 

3)  The essentials of the Gospel are encapsulated in three elements: the Death of Jesuson the cross as a payment for our sins, His Resurrection from the grave as proof of His identity as “God in a human body”, and the Empowering Mission of the Holy Spirit. These three are essential to any and every presentation of the True Gospel.

 

The famous leader of India, Mahatma Gandhi, once said:

“I have never been interested in a historical Jesus. I should not care if it were proven by someone that the man Jesus never lived, and that what was narrated in the Gospels were a figment of the writer’s imagination. For the Sermon on the Mount would still be true for me.”

 

Gandhi was not a Christian and for him, Jesus’ words formed a philosophy of life, much of which he embraced. Yet like many who do profess to be Christians, Gandhi separated the historical reality of Jesus’ supernatural life from Jesus’ words.

To Gandhi, Christian Behavior was more significant than the historical realities of Jesus’ identity.

For the Early Church disciples, Jesus’ words had significance only because of who He is.  Take away the Divine nature of Jesus, and His words become another pipe dream illusion of what mankind could be. Together, Jesus’ identity as God in the flesh and His observations on how He designed life to be, are compelling, authoritative, and life-altering.

It’s because there is Divine Power behind Divine Words.

Receiving this complete package results in a miraculous event in the life of each who receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Cor. 5:17

In the Greek, “new creature” is  “Kainos Ktisis”.  These words have deep personal significance for every true disciple of Jesus.

Kaino:  fresh, new, previously unknown, Ktisis:  exclusively God’s work

At the moment that we receive Jesus as our Lord, we are transformed into a fresh, previously unknown creation that is exclusively God’s work.  We are different from our old selves; and we are different from the non-believers around us.  It all has to do with the insertion of God’s own Spirit inside each of us.  Our thinking becomes different, our values change, as well as our resulting behavior.  This is not because we have decided to adopt a different philosophy of life, but rather because of the power and nature of the One we have chosen to dedicate our lives to. It’s a process that begins the moment we receive Jesus into our hearts.

This crowd of 3000 plus new followers of Jesus are now different creations.  They have the Holy Spirit inside now, and their thinking, and their lives are changing.  Luke describes this new lifestyle:

 They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer.  A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.  And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity –  all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47

With inward change, their outward community life changed.  They sensed that God was doing something special in their midst. They listened eagerly to the teaching of the apostles so that they could understand God better, and walk closer to Him. They shared the Lord’s Supper together, having intimate moments with God and each other.  They spent time in prayer. They were growing in their relationship to God and to each other. This resulted in more concern for one another, and helping those with needs. They enjoyed meals together, really showing each other love and aloha. And as they enjoyed their relationship with God and each other, God was naturally bringing more and more people into their midst, who realized their need for what the disciples had.

This resulted in more people entering into the family of God.

Luke introduces an important concept here that pertains to all followers of Jesus:koinonia.

This Greek word has the meaning fellowship, contribution, participation, and sharing. When a group is connected by the Holy Spirit, they are all sharing in something very special, and each is participating and contributing to the group.

What is the result of this koinonia on the community life of those who are part of God’s family?  What will be the elements that we would naturally expect to see among any and every group of believers?

Here are a few that stand out:

1)  Genuine love and concern for one another;

2)  A desire to strengthen the relationship with God through the study of the Bible, through worship and prayer, and the special sacrament of Communion.

3)  Strong intimate relationships with God’s people, which involve spending time with each other over meals, serving one another, and helping meet each other’s needs.

Chapter Two of this book of Acts is very foundational to our mission at the Rio Coco Café.  We are shown:

•      We don’t necessarily need a teacher of philosophy, but rather we all need a savior.

•      That we need Divine Empowerment to effectively present the message and model the lifestyle to all those that God will bring across our path.

•      What the essentials of the Christian message are;

•      How one becomes a member of God’s family;

•      How we are to utilize God’s Word and our testimony to invite others into God’s family;

•      What the lifestyle of a follower of Jesus looks like.

If we follow the model of Acts 2 in our relationship with God and our relationships with those around us, we believe that like the First Century Church, God will very naturally add to our group new members of His Family. Very Naturally!