Monday, September 21, 2009

Holy Spirit and Fellowship

After being back to Canada for about a week, a part of me still misses Australia. Perhap not so of the geographic area (I still love those beaches). More so of the quiet time and the freedom I have. I am leaning more that perhaps this is a sign that I am carrying too much things in life right now. Need to maintain the travel light mentality.

Anyways, one of the most joyful moment is reading the Bible and letting God speak to me. There will be moments I will read through a few passages like a breeze. At other times, I will pause and deliberately focus on different aspect (like Holy Spirit, mission, trinity, justification etc.)

It was during Australia that I am enlightened and something caught my eye between Holy Spirit and fellowship. But before I do so, I like to bring up a passage from Acts 2 about fellowship.

42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)

This is usually the passage we study when it comes to fellowship. In NIV, Acts 2:42 has a heading, the Fellowship of the Believers. Often, I thought about how important it is to love one another. You have to love one another to the point of sharing everything.

If we read a few verse prior to this, we will see Peter called them to "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."

I failed to recognize the importance of the Holy Spirit. There is a parallel text a few chapter down.

31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.

Acts 4:31-37

This is amazing. Between Acts 2:39-47 and Acts 4:31-37, there is a similarilty...and we see what's the horse and what's the cart.

Receive the Holy Spirit <- the horse

Receive the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38b and being filled with Holy Spirit in Acts 4:31b

All believers are together and in one heart <- the cart

As a result, everyone share everything with each other.
Acts 2:45 - selling possessions and goods and gave to anyone in need.
Acts 4:34-35 - there is no needy persons among them as people who own possessions will buy and sell and the money will distribute to those in need.

In Acts 2:46: they meet daily in the temple courts. Does this happen in Acts 4? Nope, but I think it Acts 4 description of the fellowship continue to Acts 5 and we see it in 5:12 (meet at Solomon's Colonnade).

The biggest take home lesson for me is the power of the Holy Spirit and its role in fellowship. For me, it is very easy, very easy, to focus on what I need to do. Ok, what do I have to do to have this fellowship to love with one another. Oh, we can do this or do that (insert program or activities). Or how can we make our fellowship more loving (notice the emphasis on us).

Looking at the Scripture, it dawned on me that the love of one another is the cart and being filled with the Holy Spirit is the horse. The believers were first filled with the Holy Spirit, that's why they come together and share everything in common.

What do I come out of this? All I can say is..come Holy Spirit, we need you. I need you. Guide us. If it is a program that you are leading. Reveal to us.

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