TEXT: Acts 1:12-14
12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.
13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 201 messages in this series.
This is message #202 titled, The Church Was Birthed Through Prayer, Part 2
In our last message, we began looking at what happened to the very first believers after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus had left them behind to establish His church on the earth and to begin carrying out the Great Commission. But, before that, Pentecost would come and fill them all with the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the time between Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost, these new believers carried out three important tasks that set the church up for a successful beginning. The first thing they did, as we have already seen, is that they were obedient. Jesus told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. No matter how eager the disciples were to begin the mission Jesus had given them, it was more important that they be obedient to Him. First Samuel 15:22 says, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” Doing exactly what Jesus had told them to do was important than carrying out the Great Commission at this point. The disciples obeyed, and the beginning of the church was extraordinarily blessed.
Then, we see from our text that the disciples were unified. Verse 13 says, “they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord.”
The disciples were a diverse group of individuals. At times, in the Gospels, they quarreled about who was most important and who would sit on either side of Jesus in the kingdom. But, here, we find them unified in prayer. All of their differences were superseded by their devotion to Christ who had led them to this point. Matthew Henry said, “They were together in holy love; there was no quarrel nor discord among them; and those who so keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace are best prepared to receive the comforts of the Holy Ghost.”
Jesus had said, “a house that is divided against itself shall not prosper.” It would do no good if the disciples had divided into factions with each group trying to take the church in a different direction. Jesus was their head, and they all were unified under Him. Even when thousands of people began joining the church body by the week, the Bible says, “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul.”
Rick Ezell said, “While each believer had a different task they all had the same calling: to fulfill the Great Commission in their generation. They had one leader – Jesus; one purpose – to communicate the gospel to all people. These early disciples did more for the spread of Christianity than any generation of followers since. What was their secret? Their secret was that all the believers shared in this unity. Not just the apostles. Not just the leaders. All the believers were unified. There was a fundamental solidarity of love and purpose. They were unified in every fiber of their being.”
The unified church that we see throughout the book of Acts is actually an answer to the prayer of Jesus for His disciples in John 17 which we just spent several weeks covering. Jesus prayed, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us… That they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
This beautiful hymn by John Fawcett captures the spirit of the unity of believers that we see in the early church:
Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares.
We share our mutual woes,
our mutual burdens bear,
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.
When we are called to part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.
The early church was effective because they were unified and fortified through obedience and prayer.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.