If God’s people do not become or remain disciples of Jesus they will drift towards consumer Christianity because of the selfish nature of sin. The emphasis of the Bible is to become disciples of Jesus (followers, learners, and those who stick to Jesus). God’s people are indentified 269 times in the Gospels and Acts as “disciples.” Only 3 times are they identified as “Christians” and one of them Acts 11:26 says “the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.” Jesus Himself says to “follow Me/come after Me” 25 times in the Gospels. He says to “believe in Me” only 4 times. The clear emphasis is to follow Him as disciples.”
We are not called to be consumers of Jesus, the church, or the Christians religion. We are called to be disciples of Jesus, consumed by Him.
The writings of Luke (Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts) is the largest contribution of one single writer (27.5%) in the New Testament. While Luke records the life and action of Jesus, Acts records the life and action of the apostles. Really it is more about the continuing activity of God by Holy Spirit through the life of the early church (as Jesus promised in John 14-16). Some title the book “Acts of Holy Spirit.” This is authentic Christianity! There are 55 direct references to Holy Spirit’s activity in Acts. I mistakenly heard as a young believer that Holy Spirit is a “gentlemen” or a “silent partner.” That isn’t what Jesus wants and not what the book of Acts reveals. We have a part to play in “stirring up” Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives. We need to hunger for, and “stir up” ourselves in order to see more of Holy Spirit’s power released through us.
Jesus said in John 6:63 that “it is the Spirit who gives life, human ability doesn’t profit anything.” We need to be a people who are continually filled with Holy Spirit. It was so important that after His resurrection Jesus “commanded” His disciples not to say or do anything until they were filled with Holy Spirit. It is that important! We are not once to be filled once, but just like the early church we are to be “continually filled” (Acts 13:52). We don’t want a Spirit filled history but a Spirit filled reality! There are two clear passages that are “prescriptions” of how to stay continually filled. We must follow His clear prescriptions if we are to be continually filled.
The world lies in darkness and bondage. Paul says in Rom 8:19 that all of creation is inwardly desiring the revealing of God’s people. They may not understand it or acknowledge it, but the world needs to see God’s liberating life working through His people, the church. Jesus said His people are the “light of the world, a city set on a hill” (Mt 5). He desires to put together His people so they are full of His life and power Mat 16:18 MSG…is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.
There is often a big problem however. The very body He desires to be full of His life (Eph 1:22-23) can be paralyzed, lethargic, sleepy, or even dead. The church at Sardis found themselves in that condition Rev 3:1-3 “To the church in Sardis write…you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die. God’s people are first and foremost to be “alive” in Him so they can reveal His life to the world around them.