Changed Lives In Christ

Series: Fired Up

June 24, 2018 | Bob Moore
Passage: Acts 2:42-47

I hope everyone is enjoying this sermon series Fired Up as much as I am as we go through the book of Acts this summer. Taylor began our series a couple of weeks ago and reminded us that we like the apostles have kingdom work to do. We must stay busy and obedient to God’s will because this is God’s church.

Last week, Trey preached about the filling of the Holy Sprit and that with the Holy Spirit, we will stand out and be as weird. I always thought I was a weird and last week Trey confirmed it. But at least I’m not a weird-o.

In Acts 2:13, the new believers were misunderstood and were accused of being drunk. Peter defended the believers and said “that in the last days, God will pour out his Spirit on all people.”

At the end of Peter’s message, Luke recorded in verse 37 of chapter 2, “When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and they said to him and to the other apostles, Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the Holy Spirit.”

Our text records how these new believers were changed by the Holy Spirit and how they loved each other. One commentator noted that this was the “age of innocence” for the early church before persecution and internal issues began.

  • Some time later Peter and John were arrested for teaching Jesus and the resurrection recorded in chapter 4.
  • In Acts 6, the believers increased, and a conflict began because the Hellenistic widows were overlooked within the fellowship.
  • Then in Acts 7, Stephen was arrested and taken to the Sanhedrin and later stoned as the first church martyr recorded in Scripture.

We see the body of Christ caring for and loving each other in a wonderful way and not being affected by the world.

The Priorities of the Believers:

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." — Acts 2:42

The word devoted is a word picture of persisting in or continuing steadfastly. The new believers were greatly committed. Why were they committed? Because their lives were changed by responding to Peter’s call to repentance. They heard the gospel message, they repented of their sins, received God’s forgiveness and it changed their lives and priorities. These are good priorities for us today—Bible study, fellowship, worship and prayer.

The apostles taught what they learned from Jesus. They passed along the same instructions to the new Christians. The apostles’ teaching was the church’s foundation of spiritual learning. The new believers did not have Bibles as we do, which is our spiritual foundation and authority. The new believers depended on the apostles’ teaching.

Can you imagine being taught by the men who had actually been face-to-face with Jesus? Their lessons had to include the Resurrection, the Old Testament, how to love and be a good neighbor and their own experiences with the Savior. 

Our text does not include the names of the apostles that taught the new believers, but I think the teachers included Peter, James, John, and Andrew. Can you hear Peter teaching these new believers the truths and lessons from Jesus? I wonder if Peter got excited sharing the experience of feeding the 5,000 recorded in all four of the gospels. Or how many different times he saw Jesus’ compassion for the sick and afflicted. So many stories and lessons Peter could share.

I wonder if Peter’s favorite story that he shared with new believers was the day he met Jesus—the day his life and priorities changed. Peter’s conversion and call were recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke. But Luke recorded the most details. I can see Peter with the new believers—sharing his Jesus stories. His own story might go something like this:  I was a fisherman. I loved to fish. Fishing was my life and the way I supported my family. Fishing for me was so exciting and, like most fishermen, catching nothing was discouraging.

One morning after fishing all night in the Sea of Galilee and catching nothing, I saw a crowd following a man while I was cleaning my nets of the vegetation and other debris from the night of fishing. I could hear this man from a distance and he was getting closer. It sounded like he was teaching the people following him. Before I knew it, the teacher was standing by me with the crowd behind him. He asked if we could get in my boat and float out into the water. Out of respect to the teacher, we got in my boat, and I launched several yards away from the shore.

When the teacher finished His message, he told me to sail into the deep water and let down my nets. I told the teacher that my partners and I had fished all night without catching a single fish. Out of respect, I cast my net into the water and all of a sudden, my net was full of fish. There were so many fish that I had to call my partners, James and John to help me because my boat began to sink. We were amazed. However, my amazement quickly turned into fear because I knew this was not just any man and I suddenly realized how sinful I was and said, “Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man,” I will never forget Jesus’ reply to me.“Don’t be afraid, from now on, you will be a fisher of men.”

When we arrived on shore, I left everything and followed Jesus, as well as my partners Andrew, my brother, James and John and our priorities changed.

The second priority of the new believers was fellowship. Fellowship meaning partnershipor sharing. They wanted to be together, spending time together as a church family. Their gathering was different than any other activity they attended. Just like this Sunday morning gathering should be different than any other gathering we attend during the week.

The third priority of the new believers was breaking of bread. This was a meal that transitioned into the Lord’s Supper and probably a time worship. How could the new believers be together without spending time worshiping the Savior?

The fourth priority of the new believers was prayer. Prayer is so important. I visited a family in the hospital last week and they shared with me how important prayer was to them. They listed the prayers God had answered.

Bible study, fellowship, worship and prayer should be our main priorities because our lives are changed by Jesus. Are you involved in a small group, enjoying Christian fellowship, do you have an accountability partner or someone you pray with consistently? How is your prayer life? If any of these priorities are out of balance you will not grow spiritually.

I have heard individuals say they can worship and honor God somewhere else besides church. They do not have to attend church regularly because they can worship and prayer anywhere. I’ve always wanted to ask the question, “Do you?”

I am not talking about faithful members who are away on vacation, having to work, or our faithful members and viewers on Facebook. This church family made a significant investment in technology for people to join this service through the FBNO Facebook page that are not able to attend. Nathan McQuary does a wonderful job managing this special ministry.  Not everyone can be here with us every Sunday and that is understandable.

I am talking about individuals who claim that regular church attendance is not important or a priority. They are able to join us for Sunday worship, Bible study, fellowship, and prayer but choose to be somewhere else.

Believers receive a blessing from being here with the church family on Sunday morning. Do you believe this? Do you believe your attendance on Sunday is important? Do you believe that there is something special about being present during an event?

Last Monday evening, our church hosted a meal and program in our fellowship hall for the annual Port Chaplin’s National Convention. Philip Vandercook and Global Maritime hosted the annual convention this year. I had the privilege of welcoming the group and giving thanks for the food. Port chaplains from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Minnesota were present. Special music was by the Zion Harmonizers and Dr. Chuck Kelley was the guest speaker. It was a wonderful program. I bought a CD from the Zion Harmonizers and I don’t even have a CD player! They were great. But, you had to be there. There was something special about being there.  

If that was not true, why is the Superdome full for a Saint’s game? We know when it is football season because many of us wear our Saints jerseys to church because you are going to the game following the service. Yes, some of us watch the game on TV, but there is something about being in the Dome for a Saints game.

We should have the same enthusiasm meeting together as the body of Christ. We should be passionate to live a life of holiness and purity—life of sanctification that glorifies Christ as we serve and worship our Lord together.

The Proof of the Leaders:

"Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles." — Acts 2:43

The miracles and signs pointed to a divine truth and proved the apostles’ authority. These are the same words that Peter used to describe Jesus in Acts 2:22. Peter said, "Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know."

The miracles were evidence of the presence of God with the apostles and His people.

I know what some of you are thinking—if our ministerial staff could perform wonders and signs, this sanctuary would be packed every Sunday. Have you ever been accused of performing a miracle? I have, and it was very uncomfortable. Many years ago, I served in a church in Mississippi and a dear friend Joyce had throat cancer. She was in and out of the hospital in Memphis and suffered greatly from the terrible disease and radiation treatments.

One morning while visiting Joyce in the hospital, she mentioned that she had an awful headache which was certainly understandable because of her condition and radiation treatments.

At the end of my visit, I prayed for Joyce, asking the Father for healing and relief from her headache. Sometime later, Joyce called me thanking me for my prayer and reported that her headache was gone. She was so thankful and said that I must have the gift of healing. I thought she was just trying to encourage me, but she mentioned my prayer and her sudden relief from her headache to several church members which made me feel very uncomfortable. I wanted to tell Joyce that if I truly had the gift of healing, I would heal more than her headache.

What were the wonders and signs performed by the apostles? The text does not list the signs and wonders performed. Why do you think Luke did not record the wonders and signs? One commentator recorded that Luke did not record the specific signs and wonders because it was not important. The important details were the behavior and love of the new church.

Are wonders and signs happening today? Absolutely! God is still performing miracles and can do anything through us He chooses.

I believe the greatest signs and wonders are not what people see on TV or hear about in other church services, but how we demonstrate God’s love and presence in our daily lives. It is not necessarily what we do during this worship service, but what we do in our daily spirit-filled lives producing the fruits of the spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

My prayer for us this morning is that people will be amazed by the way we live our lives and they see Jesus. They will see the way we respond in love to a negative comment at work,

  • people will see our patience, peace and self control in difficult and stressful situations,
  • our kindness to strangers,
  • our hope during times of danger and uncertainty and
  • even our patience with other drivers on the streets of New Orleans.

We have opportunities every day to prove to a lost and dying world that

  • we have moved from darkness to light,
  • that we were once blind and now can see.
  • We are a new creation in Christ.
  • Our Christ-like behavior is our proof of the risen Savior and we are filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit.


The Purpose of the Body:

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." — Acts 2:44-47

The believers had everything in common. This was not socialism or communism. This verse simply refers to their harmony and love for one another. They sacrificed for each other—they sold property and possessions to meet a needTheir help was not divided evenly and distributed but was given to meet needs as they were recognized. They were changed from a life of selfishness to compassion and sharing. Someone said, “A real Christian could not bear to have too much when others have too little.”  Do you share easily?

Everyday they continued to meet together in the temple courts. The new believers spent time together daily. They continued meeting in the temple courts to hear the Law, the temple was a place of worship and prayer. Also, it was a place of evangelism. Do you think the unbelieving Jews in the temple saw a difference in the new Christians?

The temple was a place for evangelism and the home was a place for fellowship. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. They praised God and enjoyed the favor of all the people.And the Lord added to their number daily who were being saved.

As I mentioned earlier, a commentator recorded that this was the “age of innocence” for the early church.  Did you experience a period of innocence after your life was changed by Christ?

That time when you knew everything in your life had changed, all you did was praise God, your heart was filled with love, and nothing would ever be the same again. You had this new hope and you knew that you would never be hurt or disappointed especially by fellow believers.

But something happened. Someone made a hurtful comment, a friend did not spend the time with you that you needed, the church leadership made a decision that you did not agree with. Your innocence as a new believer was gone. 

I am in no way suggesting that we are a divided church family. I believe we are blessed and this is a special congregation. God has given us so much. My prayer has been as I prepared this message that we’ll have the right priorities—Bible study, Christian fellowship, worshiping together, and praying for each other and for God’s direction. That we will continue to serve Christ together and maintain our unity and strong commitment to Jesus and to each other. 

Some of you know that our church has a motorcycle chapter called FAITH Riders. Several of us in the church ride together monthly. Kirk Bordelon, Guy Williams, Glen and Anne Delery, and Rocky Thomas. Adam and Stephanie Byrdrode with us before they moved to Washington state. Riding my motorcycle is one of the most relaxing activities I do. I can ride for 30 minutes at the end of a stressful day and by the end of the ride, all my worries are gone.

Mike Flores and I have traveled together on motorcycles many times across our beautiful country. I have crossed the Rocky mountains of Colorado, the plains of Wyoming, the Black Hills and Bad Lands of South Dakota, the apple orchards in Washington state, miles of corn fields in Nebraska. I have ridden though snow and ice in Montana and Idaho, thunderstorms in Mississippi, strong winds in Kansas and Oklahoma, through the red canyons of New Mexico, and through the blistering heat of Texas.

However, do you know what I think people are most interested in knowing? The most common question I am asked, “Does Janice ride with you?” My answer is “not yet.” She is not comfortable riding motorcycles and I understand and respect her decision not to ride. I have had many conversations about my motorcycle trips and listened to people’s opinions about motorcycles. Some people have never considered riding a motorcycle—no interest whatsoever.

But some people I believe would like to ride, but they’re not sure. They just can’t make the commitment. I believe for some people there is a fine line between the thrill of the ride and their fear of an accident.

Brothers and sisters, I believe there may be someone here this morning who is struggling spiritually. There is a fine line between your commitment to Christ and living for yourself.

You know your priorities need to change. You know you need to study the Bible more, surround yourself with Christian friends, come to church on Sunday ready to truly worship, and spend more time in prayer. Your age of innocencehas past and you are holding on to some unforgiveness or past hurt and you have prayed David’s words in Psalm 51, Lord, give me the joy of my salvation. I pray that you recommit your life to Christ and live for him?

There is someone here who has never trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Your life has not been changed by God’s saving grace and forgiveness. Like the early believers, your heart was pierced, but you did not respond.

I hope you are asking, what should I do? The answer is—say yes to Jesus. Just like Paul told the Corinthian church, “Today is the day of salvation.” Now is the time to respond.

Will you pray and ask the Holy Spirit what He will have you do with your life? After we pray, you will have an opportunity to respond and if you would like to talk to someone about how Jesus can change your life or need to pray with someone, please come forward and talk to one of the ministers.


Series Information

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