What is the Church? – Part 5

As we have seen, Jesus had provided some critical information to help combat the disciples’ confusion as to what comes next after the tumultuous days of the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. And, ultimately, the awaited empowering brought a sense of direction amidst a Pentecost celebration like no other.

The promise of “You shall receive power” became a reality as the Church was launched from an unexpected Upper Room. Some have called this Day of Pentecost the “birthday of the Church,” but such a tag ignores the faith and relationships that already existed among the Twelve, the 120, and an even larger number who had seen evidence of Christ’s resurrection. Jesus gives no indication that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit would begin their relationship with Him–that they already possessed. But this remarkable moment would mark the onset of His Commission. So, the Church began days earlier, perhaps in moments like John 20 (when Jesus “breathed” on them His Spirit), but the Day of Pentecost was clearly the day of their intended launch.

And what a day it was!

First, there was the outpouring–the extraordinary demonstration of the Spirit’s presence in the room and then in them.

Next, there was the first evidence of a message as Simon Peter, of all people, stepped to the forefront to proclaim Christ’s identity and point his bony finger at the crowd who crucified Him. The altars filled with thousands now compelled by the same Spirit that had energized the room above.

Finally, Acts 2 reveals what they did next–and what we still do as Christ’s Church today. They worshipped together, fellowshipped together, served together, received teaching together, and proclaimed a message that people were responding to each day. There it is–the Church in action, ready to spread itself across the globe as the Spirit empowers.

Confusion has melted into commission. The days of not knowing what to do have become a clear sense of direction as they began to worship, fellowship, serve, disciple, and evangelize together. The message spread, but so did their methods. Now, nearly two millennia later, we still proclaim their message and every local church expresses their methods in some fashion or with varying degrees of impact.

The Church’s identity crisis is solved in Acts 2. Fishermen who had returned to their boats in John 21, won’t be returning there again. For they have found their way and launched their mission. Their “now what?” has been solved and their answer continues to guide us to this day.

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