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Acts 4:23-35


Intro: Imagine being part of a church that is growing by leaps and bounds. A church where 3,000 are saved at one service and another 5,000 are saved at another service. Imagine being part of a church where the extraordinary is normal and miracles are a part of everyday life. Imagine being part of a church that is witnessing God answer prayers immediately, where all the members love one another, where the power of God is in evidence and where Jesus Christ is truly the centerpiece of everything that happens. Imagine a church where everyone is in love with the Lord. If I could find a church like that, I would have to say, "That's My Crowd!"

Well, the early church in Jerusalem was just like that. They enjoyed the miraculous display of the presence and power of God on a daily basis. They saw souls saved in abundance. They were living in a day when the extraordinary was the order of the day. But, all wasn't sunshine and roses! When you go all out for Jesus, the lost and the religious aren't going to like it very much. So it was for these people.

After the lame man was healed at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, the people in Jerusalem really began to listen to the message of the Apostles. When this happened, the religious elite arrested John and Peter, threw them in prison and then brought them before the Sanhedrin for trial. At this trial, John and Peter preached the Gospel. The Sanhedrin then issued an order forbidding them from preaching the Name of Jesus any longer and let them leave. When that meeting was over, the two disciples returned to the place where the church was gathered, no doubt praying, for their leaders. When John and Peter told these folks what had transpired, instead of being upset and fearful, a worship service broke out. I would like for us to look in on the events of that day and see how these people conducted themselves in the midst of persecution. As we see them respond to this situation, we are given a glimpse into their heart and we can see why the hand of the Lord was so active in their midst.

I would also like for us to understand that what the Lord did then, He can still do today! He has not changed! If anything has changed it is His people. Let's notice some facts about the people that made them special and that can make us special as well, if the same things are true concerning this church. Let me share with you why I say, "That's My Crowd!"


(Ill. When these early Christians hear the report from the Apostles, they do not react with fear and trembling. They do not seek a place to hide in fear. Instead, they turn their hearts to the Lord is worship. Notice how this crowd worshiped the Lord.)

A. V. 24a, 31 They Worshiped With Their Presence - Whin it came time for the church to meet, these folks did not have to be rounded up and hunted down. They were in their place when it came time for worship! This is God's desire for all His children. Heb. 10:25. We all realize that there are times when it is necessary to miss church. However, some folks have gotten good at making any excuse good enough to miss the services at the House of God. In fact, around here, it is becoming an epidemic, especially on Wednesday evening! If the problem is the preacher, then I would suggest you tell someone and maybe God will send you someone you will come to hear. However, I suspect the problem is a little closer home, most likely within your own heart! Just let me say that a faith that won't take you to church will not likely take you to Heaven either! Of course, if it is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, then some folks must really love this church!

(Ill. The following statistics reveal church is the safest place of all. Automobiles account for 20 percent of all fatal accidents, while 17 percent of fatalities occur at home. Fourteen percent happen to pedestrians on streets and sidewalks. Travel by air, rail, or water causes 16 percent of the deaths. Yet, of all reported deaths, only .001 percent occur in worship services.)

(Ill. Don't wait until the hearse hauls you to church. If you do, you will go, regardless of the weather. There will be beautiful flowers there, but you won't enjoy them. The priest may say some good things about you, but you won't be able to hear them. There will be beautiful music, but you won't be enjoying it. There will be heartfelt prayers, but they will not touch your heart. There will be friends and relatives there, but you will not worship with them. You will go, no matter how many hypocrites are there. You will go, no matter how much you are needed at home. You won't be concerned about whether you're dressed right. After that final trip you will never have to decide whether to attend church or not. You'll never get another chance. Why not go to church while there is time to enjoy it and to receive a blessing from it?)

That present crowd is my crowd!

B. V. 24-28 They Worshiped With Their Praise - When their worship began, it included the element of praise. They began their prayer by calling on the Lord and blessing His Name! Notice what they praised God for. By the way, these very same reasons that lead them to praise the Lord are still just as true this morning.

1. V. 24 Praise For God's Person - They began by praising God for Who He is! That is a reason for praise that will never cease to be! Every saint of God should take the time to praise God for Who He is and for the attributes that make Him God! (Ill. Holiness, grace, mercy, goodness, love, presence, peace, power, glory, hope, all that God is gives us ample reason to praise His lovely Name! Note: The reaction of the bride in the Song of Solomon. In Song 5:10-15, she tried to describe the love of her life. She finally concluded by saying that "He is altogether lovely." Everything about him caused her to praise him. So it is with God! Everything about Him should drive the saints to praise Him,

2. V. 25-27 Praise For God's Provision - These verses recount the hatred of the world toward Jesus and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the sins of the world. They praise God for His gift.

If there was ever a valid reason to praise the Lord, it is the death of Christ on the cross for our sins! The fact that he took our place, paid our debt and set us free is a reason to praise that will never dim! When I think that my sins are gone! When I think that I have been forgiven! When I think that I have a home in Heaven! When I think that God is my Father, Jesus is my elder Brother and the Holy Spirit is my indwelling Comforter. When I think of the price He paid, of the love He showed, of the gift He gave, I cannot but praise His lovely Name! Hallelujah!

(Note: There is still a valid place for praise on the house of God! Many do not like it, but our God is still worthy of all the praise, honor and glory we can offer to Him. In fact, praise is not an option, but a command, Heb. 13:15; Psa. 47:1; Psa. 5:11; Isa. 12:6. God save us from a dead spirit in the house God, when we have such a glorious God in the midst of His church!)

3. V. 28a Praise For God's Power - They mention God's "hand". This is a reference to His great power. To His ability to exert supernatural power to accomplish His will. May I say that God has not changed! He is still the same today as He has ever been! He still has "all power in Heaven and in earth", Matt. 28:18. He is still the great "I AM", Ex. 3:14. He is still a God Who is "able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or think.", Eph. 3:20. He is still God!

(Note: How many mountains has He moved for you? Shouldn't you praise Him? How many times have you seen God do the impossible? Isn't He worthy of your praise? How many times has He moved to answer your prayers? Don't you think that He should be praised for that? I do! That praising crowd is my crowd!)

(Note: By the way, if you don't praise Him, be careful about criticizing those who do! After all, they have more Bible for their actions than you do for yours!)

4. V. 28b Praise For God's Providence - They took the time to praise God for His providence. That is, they praised Him that in the death of Jesus, things worked out just as He had planned them to. They thanked God that He is in control of all of life! What a lesson for you and me! If we really believe that God is in control, then why not praise Him for all of life, even the parts that we do not like and that are hard to understand? If we really believe that He is Who He says He is, then we can thank Him that, even in the middle of difficulty, things are going according to the plan of God. Just let me remind you that regardless of what comes your way in life, if you are saved, God is behind all of it, Rom. 8:28! He is planning your path, Psa. 37:23. And He is going before you to make your victory possible, John 10:6; 1 Cor. 15:57; Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 2:14. Don't you think He deserves praise for His great control of all of life?

That praising crowd is my crowd!

C. V. 29-30 They Worshiped With Their Prayers - After they praise Him, they begin to ask Him for some very specific things related to their situation.

1. V. 29a Prayed For God's Investigation - Notice that they did not condemn, they merely asked God to take notice. Of course, they knew that God already knew the situation, Heb. 4:13, Pro. 15:3, but they reminded Him nonetheless.

This is what the Lord wants us to do with the perplexing situations of life. He does not want us to worry, but He wants us to bring our matters to Him in prayer, Phil. 4:6-7. He already knows, our prayers merely demonstrated the fact that we know He knows and the we believe He will take care of the matter for His people!

2. V. 29b Prayed For God's Infilling - They prayed for the filling of the Spirit so that they might boldly proclaim His message! They wanted the power of God on their lives. Notice that they took the place of "servants", literally, "slaves", before God. They bowed humbly and asked God to take them and use them for His glory.

This is the kind of praying we need in the church today. We need to be actively asking God visit upon His church His supernatural power. We need His power to witness, to worship, to preach, to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We need Him to get he job done, because we cannot do it by ourselves, John 15:5; Phil. 4:13. We need to pray for God's power to be on His church and on His people!

3. V. 30 Prayed For God's Intervention - They ended their prayer by asking God to get personally involved in the situation. They wanted him to demonstrate His approval of the church by manifesting His power through the church. They merely prayed that God would show up and show out in the midst of His people.

Again, this is a valid object of prayer in our times as well. We need to pray that God will do the miraculous in the midst of His church once again. Now, I am not referring to some people are doing and blaming on God. I am referring to an old fashioned moving of God among His people in which their hearts are stirred to love Him, their lives are changed and made holy and the strings of their tongues are loosed to praise Him, pray to Him and tell the lost about Him. We need His intervention in our day! Let is not be afraid to ask Him for it. He will answer, Matt. 7:7-8; Jer. 33:3; Isa. 65:24.

(Note: Nothing honors God as much as does the prayer of faith!)

That praying crowd is my crowd!

D. V. 31 They Worshiped With Power - This was no ordinary church service! As soon as they finished praying to the Lord, they experienced an immediate answer to their prayers.

1. The Place Was Shaken - When the Lord shows up it cannot be hidden! He turned their prayer meeting upside down! In other words, things got different real fast.

By the way, you know when God is in a service and when He is not! When He is, things cannot remain calm and collected. When God shows up, and His Spirit begins to move through a place, that place will be shaken for the glory of God. We need God to shake us in these days! We need Him to move in these services so that things are not run of the mill. Our world needs to know that God is alive and that He is in the midst of His people!

(Note: Many would not like a real move of God. That is evident by the number of dead churches all around. However, I say, "God, pour on us all you have! Give us your power, your presence and your glory. Move in such a way as to shake this place, that you people might worship you once again!")

2. The People Were Saturated - When the Lord moved in, those who were looking for something got it! This verse says that they were "all" filled with the Holy Ghost. Could you imagine what would happen in our homes and our communitites if every member of the church was filled with the Holy Ghost? Not only would we be shaken, but the world around us would be too! There would be revival in the churches and the communities again. We would see whole families come to faith in Christ. We would see a difference in everything we do in life.

Some would counter that this was an extraordinary event. I would beg to differ! Eph. 5:18 is a clear command for EVERY Christian to be filled with the Spirit of God.

3. The Proclamation Was Sounded - When the Lord began to move in their hearts, they could not remain silent, but they began to proclaim His Word. It is worthy of noting that they were not proclaiming the word to the lost at this point, they were still in the church meeting! They were praising the Lord in the church house, of all places!

In other words, there was spontaneous praise and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord. May God help His church to return to those glorious days when His people were not ashamed of Him and were willing to worship and praise Him openly and boldly! He is worthy!

That crowd that worship with power is my crowd!


(Ill. These verses make it clear that the early church was a busy bunch. They were active in the Lord's work and they were active in the lives of the Lord's people. In doing what they did, they set a good example for the church in our day.)

A. V. 32 The Reason For Their Work - This verse gives us two reasons for their doing what they did.

1. They Shared A Common Love - The Bible says that they were "of one heart." That is they had a love one for another that could not be explained in human terms. As a result, they worked on behalf of their brothers in Christ.

This love, when it is present, and when it is real, is a supernatural work of God in our hearts. When He saves us, He gives us the ability to allow Him to love through us. The love the saints have one for the other is impossible to understand or to explain. However, Jesus said that its presence was a powerful witness to the world, John 13:15. It is also said to be a proof of our salvation, 1 John 3:14. And, that it's absence indicates a serious problem in our lives, 1 John 4:20-21. If this kind of love is really present in our hearts, it will be demonstrated in our care of one another, 1 John 3:16-18; James 2:15-16.

2. They Shared A Common Life - What made this possible is that within each of their breasts beat the same heart! That is, the Bible says they were "of one soul". This means that one life filled each if them. They were not in this thing alone and they knew it. They needed others and were needed by others! So it is in the church! When we are saved, the life of Christ comes into us. The same life that lives in me lives in you and we are one in the Lord. That is why when you have a need, I should have a need. When you hurt, I should hurt. When you are happy I should be happy. When you are blessed I am blessed. This is what the Bible teaches and where this is true, the saints can rejoice in the work of God in their midst, Rom. 12:15; Phil. 2:4; Gal. 6:2; 1 Cor 13:5!

B. V. 34-35 The Results Of Their Work - Because they were so unselfish in their expressions of love one for another, they demonstrated the proof of God's work in their midst. Notice what they demonstrated when they served the Lord like they did.

1. They Demonstrated Servanthood - Each willingly placed himself at the service of others. They realized that the church was about more than them getting their way. That's still true today! No person in this room has a right to have their way! We ought to want the Lord's will to be done in the house of God. By the way, that's where churches begin to get into trouble. When you get a few people who think they run the whole show and have the authority to call the shots, they will begin to try to tell the preachers how to preach. They will try to run the business and the affairs of the church. They will try to exert their will over everyone else. That is not God's will for any church! He never intended for any family or group to hold supreme power in His church! His desire is for the people of God to serve one another, as Christ served man when He came to die, Mark 10:45. Ill. John 13:1-17. Would you be willing to do that? Remember the greatest in the eyes of God are those who take the lowest positions, Matt. 23:12; James 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:6.

2. They Demonstrated Selflessness - These people also placed others ahead of themselves. They placed their brother's needs of their ahead of their own greeds! They demonstrated the spirit of Christ in that they were totally selfless in their love one for the other.

Did you know that this is God's plan for the church? We must come to the place where we stop thinking about how things affect us personally, and where we start thinking about how things affect the church as a whole and our brothers and sisters as individuals. Everything in this church is not about me having my way! There may come a day when this church will be better off with someone else in this pulpit. When that day comes, may I have the grace the wisdom to step aside and let God have His way. May I think about what is best for the family of God more than I think about what is best for myself. That is God's desire for you too! Whether you are a Deacon, another position, or whether you are member of the church without a position, this thing is not about you having your way.

We must learn to put self to death on the altar of sacrifice so that the Lord might have His way in the church. Self has to go! And, it will when we love the brethren and the Lord more than we love ourselves!

3. They Demonstrated Sacrifice - These people gave up things that were precious and important to them, so that they could meet the needs of their brothers in Christ! In other words, they were not just living for themselves, but they were living for the good of the flock.

What a lesson for us! May we be willing to sacrifice what we think is important for the good of the body of Christ. Whether it be our time, our talents, our tithes or some possession or the other, may we be willing to lay it down to help a brother in need. A sacrificial heart beat within the breast of our Savior! May that same heart guide us to love one another rightly and to show that love in a way that honors God and lifts our brothers.

(Note: What better way to prove my love for you than to give my all for you? Ill. That's what Jesus did at the cross - John 15:13!)

That working crowd is my crowd!


(Ill. This verse tells us that these people were not quiet about their faith. They were bold in their witness and they were not ashamed of what they had, or who they were in the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice two quick thoughts about the witness of these believers.)

A. They Witnessed In The Power Of God - When these Apostles went forth bearing the message of Jesus, He went with them bearing witness to their message! He placed His power on them and enabled them to witness for His glory.

When we as individuals, and the church as a whole, is as it should be, then we will be able to count on God's power in our witness as well. The reason thousands were being saved wasn't the quality if their preaching or the glory of their services. Thousands were saved because they were operating in the power of God. We need that power today! It is ours if we will only claim it by faith, Acts 1:8.

May we pay the price to get the church where she ought to be! May we pray until He fills us and pours us out for His glory. May we get to the place as a church and as individuals that the power of Christ may rest upon us! We need that more than we need anything in our day!

B. They Witnessed In The Provision Of Grace - The Bible tells us that "great grace was upon them all." The word grace means "favor." It may mean favor with people, this was the case in Acts 2:47, or it may mean that they found favor with God and He blessed them accordingly. I am inclined to lean toward the latter explanation for this passage. If that is true, then they went forth under the grace of God and were aided of Him as they witnessed of His plan of salvation. In other words, God helped them get the job done for His own glory. He gave the grace to preach the Gospel and to tell a lost and dying world about a saving Lord.

May we seek Him for that same grace to go out and tell a world about a Savior Who loves them. May we not fear their rejection or their ridicule, but may we have grace to tell them about the bloody cross and the empty tomb so that we might fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus, Matt. 28:18-20. May we have the courage to stand up and be counted among those who are washed in the blood and different because of the saving grace of Almighty God! May we not be ashamed of Him, but may we declare the true Gospel and trust Him to save sinners for His Own Name's sake!

That witnessing crowd is my crowd!

Conc: Are you part of that crowd today? Are you saved and part of the church of Jesus Christ? If not, you need to be, and He will save you if you will come to Him! If you are saved this morning, are you part of that crown that is Worshiping, Working and Witnessing for the glory of God? If you are saved, but are not all you should be, then this altar is a place to find the help you need to be all you can be for the glory of God.

You know, I am glad that I have found my crowd! I am glad that I am part of something bigger than me, greater than man and of something that honors God. Will you join me in praying for this church that we might be found pleasing in the sight of the Lord? Will you look at your own life and see if there aren't areas that could be improved? If there is a need, whatever it may be, this altar is open!

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