CAMDEN By Richard Merritt
When the church age began during the Lord’s earthly ministry, there was only the church Jesus built. He called out saved ones that had later been baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus established this called out, local, visible body of scripturally baptized believers as a New Testament church. When He ascended to Heaven, He left behind an organized, working body that He called “my church.” (Matthew 16:18 KJV) Jesus’ church settled in Jerusalem.
The book of Acts relates the advancement of the Lord’s work through His churches during the early years of the church age. The first revival in the book of Acts was the result of a prayer meeting that lasted about ten days. The New Testament church that met in the upper room at Jerusalem “all continued with one accord in prayer.” (Acts 1:14 KJV) The first revival occurred when “they were all with one accord in one place.” (Acts 2:1 KJV)
The power of that revival enabled the members of the church Jesus built to share the gospel of Christ so that “every man heard them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2:6 KJV) The immersion in power enabled them to be bold witnesses for God in the crowded city of Jerusalem where visitors had come from geographical areas that included about 17 languages or dialects. The people rejoiced when they heard “them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.” (Acts 2:11 KJV)
The immediate result of the revival was seen by the burning desire of every church member to go forth and proclaim the gospel to everyone they met.
The indirect result of the witness of the members of the church at Jerusalem and Peter’s mighty sermon was many “gladly received his word.” (Acts 2:41 KJV)
When the church members got revived, they had the same desire to serve the Lord, the same message proclaiming the gospel of Christ and the same mind in agreeing the work of the Lord was the top priority of their lives. The word revive means to restore or bring back to a former condition of consciousness. Synonyms for revive include refresh, reinvigorate and revitalize. As cool water refreshes the weary, the preaching of the Word of God has the power to restore, refresh and energize church members to serve the Lord with great desire.
The revivals of the New Testament church at Jerusalem in the book of Acts chapters 1-11 produced a mighty witness that they “turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6 KJV)
Their work was so effective that from that one church others local churches with the same moral and doctrinal standards sprang up in various places, including the cities of Samaria, Joppa, Caesarea and Antioch in Syria.
The New Testament church in Antioch, Syria became a great missionary church that sent out missionaries such as Paul, Barnabus and Silas. As a result of that mission work, many churches were organized in various locations throughout the Roman empire.
The advancement of the Lord’s work in the world through His New Testament churches during the years of Acts chapters 12-28 was a result of the church that Jesus built experiencing a revival that eventually rocked the world.
When a New Testament church like the one Jesus built is not greatly concerned with the proclamation of the gospel to the world as their top priority, it needs a revival.
A church gets revived through prayer, the preaching of the Word and the response of church members to get up, get busy and go forth to share the gospel of Christ with whosoever. A revived church like the one at Jerusalem excels in reaching out with the gospel.
Try it, you’ll like it.